More art, retouched art. More enemy sprites so new enemies will be coming. Doors and checkpoints have grander art. Same environment theme.
I did the weekly inventory of levels, where I force myself to play through all 7 demo levels to see if it still feels good despite getting longer. The entire game still feels good, with the exception of the first two levels which are a bit more basic, vacant (lacking enemies) and let players get a feel for everything. They don’t really show off some of the level mechanics or combat that well compared to other levels. I will change them as the demo levels get touched up to add more flash to the early parts of the game.
Levels constantly get tweaked and now the visuals are getting tweaked, there are more background walls to give areas some texture. Secrets get added here and there.
KEEP IT A SECRET
There are now secret levels and secret exits that take the player to those levels. Not that there are secret levels yet. At the moment, all levels are played in succession, but there are now normal exits which will jump the player ahead by 2 levels, thus skipping any secret level between them. Beyond those secrets, I’ve been adding segments made for Twitter to be secret segments of demo levels. It’s a good way to flesh out the levels, even if some of them takes me 4 minutes to speed run and that’s already enough time.
Combat has been getting tweaked and there’s not that much combat in these demo levels. To experiment with breaking up the fact that these levels are like 90% traversal, enemy rooms have been added. These rooms flood with enemies that teleport in. Flood as in a maximum of six foes as I’m not a monster. There’s one room in particular that could make its own mini game as giant robots fall from the ceiling faster and faster. The room maxes out at 12 robots, since you’re supposed to win and not go infinitely. In the future, I can imagine each of these demo levels getting their own enemy room with different types of foes.
Flashes of white for damage and low health are getting tweaked to be quicker so the player doesn’t literally get lost among all the white flashes. Excessive explosions that cover the player now dim to not obscure the star of the game. This goes back to the old shmup rule of “the player can never be obstructed.”