I’ve been in real dilemma with the mechanic I’ve implemented since dev weeks 8 and 9. There is a timer where the firing rate decreases at a gradual rate putting pressure on the player to aim quicker. To begin with the gap between shots was 4 seconds, then gradually over 2 minutes it shortens to just one second for a brief moment, before going back to 4 seconds and repeating. Over a few iterations I made it take just 40 seconds instead of 2 minutes because the players weren’t noticing it happen. What they were noticing was that it was firing more often when they didn’t expect which I saw caused more frustration and confusion than joy. I introduced it because I wanted the game to increase in difficulty and for the player to be rewarded for when they overcome hard moments. I also saw a vision for what I wanted to include for my 8 core drives.
The large 4 second gap I expected to encourage players to shoot manually and in effect improve their skill at the game which didn’t really work. I still think with the bars on the side of the screen that visualise the ramp up in difficulty, when they suddenly drop and extra points fire across the side, that does give an extremely rewarding moment.
Having the cannon fire automatically and manually does create some confusion. The player tends not to fire manually and relies more on the game firing with the whole timer system which then prevents them thinking less about challenging themselves to gain multipliers, which the player will lose out on bigger rewards which also makes them think less about their strategy. So although they get the regular phase reward they don’t necessarily get the constant reward from the multipliers.
For this iteration I’m going to remove the timer system and as well as this I’m going to be dropping the whole auto shoot mechanic all together. Instead the player will only be able to shoot manually.
A lot of players where confused on the cannon movement so I’ve made the game a lot easier so instead of tapping to shoot and swiping to aim you now just tap the available square that the next X can go to and the cannon automatically snaps to the position. The player can spend more time focusing on where to put their next X rather the fiddling with the cannons position.
The main change is just the controls. Instead of now choosing where to aim the player is now just choosing where to put it.
Over the next two weeks i’m going to get lots of people play testing. The timer is gone but I need to know what players prefer. Swiping to aim or just a simple tap.