Flame Sword: Blog #8: Dazzle to Difficulty


With Twitter, I’ve tried to dazzle and show off with some challenging mini courses. I assume people react better to seeing lively movement and an overwhelming difficulty overcome. I’ve been dumping videos of specially made challenges into a secret demonstration level. Since these are more challenging areas finding their way into the game, it’s time to add difficulty levels to enemies and collectables. For the time being it’s easy and under or hard difficulty and up. This way easy can have more collectables for health and well placed enemies to open secret areas, while hard can have more enemies and it too can have enemies that open secret areas.

For example, the last .gif of the tumblers and hover mines, the hover mines will only appear on harder difficulties. It’s a simple and easy system like the shock squares and power squares that change properties. This should make for a more all inclusive challenge system so everyone can have fun doing the same routes rather than getting forced into easy routes, which sees less of the game.

To explain difficulties more, the higher the difficulty, the more damage you take when getting hit, like all my previous games. It also determines your lives, but there are currently infinite lives. It’s a simple system that gets more complex with the difficulty properties for enemies.


We got the ball rolling on a grander experience to get from point A to point B. With this being a science fiction game with a lot of open air space, doors are now transporters. Even the previous iteration of doors was more like a futuristic frame of hovering rocks that almost looked like an abstract door. Now when you get near a teleporter, it will rise, almost as if a trap. The rings hover and will shut down when the player leaves the area.

Also added is a small up arrow emoticon that pops out above the player’s head when the player can use the transporter. You have to be standing atop rather than next to it or something. The transporter has a platform, so now the player has the ability to traverse slopes, even if the transporter platform is the only slope. Oh and signs that force the player to hold up to interact with also have the up arrow pop.


There are plenty of hover platforms throughout the game that do numerous things, but now there’s a more narrow hover balloon. Objects like the player and enemies can stand on these balloons and they’ll gently float down. Leaving the platform will let them raise again to their starting point.


For the sake of diversity, there are more versions of enemies with different looks to them that behave differently. There are two tumblers, one tumbles everywhere. The other has weight so it travels along the ground before tumbling. Hermiturrets also have sprinkler versions that shower projectiles that have a weight to them so they come down. Beyond that, any foe can be electrified, giving it a defense to shock the player and now there is an explosion on death property. Enemies can have one or the other if they have one. These new dangers are marked by outlines around them at least for now. Electrified enemies have electricity around them, but that’s more difficult to see than outlines.


For all the new enemies and new level mechanics added to the game, a new level has been churned out. I think we’re up to 8 demo levels and 2 extra test levels for testing. This new level features tumblers, hermiturrets (sprinkler and standard), and balloon platforms. You’d be amazed what a 4+ minute level you can get out of those three elements with others. It is the biggest level and you get a choice of 3 sections to tackle. If you die in any of these segments, you respawn at the choice of three.
These three sections were from Twitter that are more challenging, so you pick your poison. The routes cover speed, endurance, and agility. Speed is outrunning tumblers. Agility is facing a gauntlet of jumps both to attack and dodge foes. Endurance is destroying a landscape full of hermiturrets.

With eight demo levels this brings the game to 25 – 30 minutes to speed run through it. Seems like the weekly level has now turned into every 2 weeks as this project enters its third month.

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