Developer Update #7 – New Weapons & Enemies

The latest Core Decay development progress sees the arrival of a new weapon and two new enemies!

The Coilgun

This 6 round shotgun fires electrically charged pellets that deal a significant amount of damage. Rate of fire is slow, but it reloads very quickly and can be extremely effective at long range. Once weapon upgrades are implemented, the Coilgun will be able to receive one of two upgrades – it can either make the projectiles bounce off walls, or change its weapon type entirely to fire a continuous electric arc.

The design of this weapon required it to support reloading – which Core Decay did not have as a feature. Thus, I also spent some time implementing proper reloads where each weapon (with a few exceptions) has a magazine independent on the ammo pool which it reloads from. It definitely makes it a bit easier to have weapons be more distinct from each other, with more powerful weapons able to be offset by lengthy reloading or small magazine sizes – and vice versa.

The Mite

The Mite is a small, fast-moving enemy – it has no conventional weapons, but seeks you out when nearby to self-destruct. It deals a lot of damage but is easily destroyed if you spot it before it can explode. Be sure to listen for its characteristic beeping noise, as it likes to hide in ventilation ducts!

The inclusion of a smaller enemy also solved an earlier design challenge – ventilation ducts were always safe havens, which made combat a bit too easy since you could just retreat into an air shaft whenever threatened. This way the player has to navigate these areas more carefully, especially since movement is slower and a self-destructing Mite is much harder to avoid. Since levels in Core Decay features a lot of these smaller areas, it is a welcome improvement!

In the future, Mites will also be spawned from the Mite Nest enemy – a large, slow-walking mech that can create new mites and drop them around the level.

The Sentinel

The Sentinel is the most common long-range foe appearing throughout the game. It fires volleys of slow-moving, target seeking missiles that are relatively easy to dodge away from in open spaces but presents a significant challenge in areas where movement is more restricted.

The missiles themselves deal splash damage, so simply dodging away from the actual missiles won’t be enough if standing close to an adjacent wall!

The best strategy when engaging a Sentinel is either dodging its initial volley and taking it out quickly with a few well-placed shots, or close your distance making it unable to fire.

In addition to firing volleys of missiles, this otherwise slow-walking enemy has the ability to make quick backwards jumps, letting it further its distance from the player if cornered as long as there’s space behind it to jump.

This enemy actually started out as two versions – one long-ranged with missiles and one engaging in melee. Later on the intention was to merge the two into a single enemy that could engage either at range or close up, but ultimately I found that it’s more fun to have different, more specialized enemies than a single one that can handle any situation. The final enemy – which can only engage at longer ranges – lets the player use this to their advantage and makes it either very challenging or very easy to handle depending on distance.

The addition of the backwards jump mentioned above means the Sentinel isn’t entirely helpless up close, but will definitely want to distance itself as far from the player as possible.

One challenging thing about designing most of these enemies is scale – for gameplay purposes it makes sense for most enemies to be able to walk through doors, which means that the size of the Sentinel is roughly as large as they get. I’m exploring the idea of larger, room-constrained enemies though!

The enemy model uses an IK-based rig to easily be able to handle realistic walking and firing animations, in a similar fashion to the Mite enemy.

Next up is another weapon, and after that a bunch of levels! Stay tuned for more updates in the future. 🙂