How difficult is TOO difficult?

    BulletRage: Adaptive Difficulty System from Casual to Are-You-Kidding-Me?

    Soul blisteringly difficult changes may be good for the hardcore fans, but we did not want to make BulletRage unplayable for everyone else. We needed a fun difficulty system that players of all skill levels could enjoy, all without watering down the experience.

    The 5 difficulty levels ranges from Normal, Hard, Insanity, Ultra Insanity to Beyond Infinite ∞. There are many game variables that changes based on the difficulty level and how many active players are in the party. Each difficulty level was carefully calibrated with a different gameplay experience in mind. Some of the highest combo tiers will only be possible at higher difficulty modes.

    Difficulty levels breakdown:

    • Normal: Great for the more casual players who want a fun and interesting gameplay experience.
    • Hard: For those who loves games that will make them sweat and feel like a badass doing it.
    • Insanity: For the gamers who welcome pain and anguish with a big smile on their face.
    • Ultra Insanity: For the battle hardened reflex honed gamers who are out for blood.
    • Beyond ∞: A love letter to the hardcore gamers who are seeking the ultimate challenge.

    Difficulty Level Score Multipliers

    To reward players for playing at higher difficulty levels, the regular score counters and the large bonuses are influenced by what difficulty level is being played.  Many score bonuses also stack with the score multiplier as well, so at high difficulty levels and with a high current score multiplier, your highscore can get quite high. (more to come in another post about the score multiplier)

    The Indiana Jones Factor

    The traps in BulletRage are also affected by the difficulty level. Since traps are a large part of the challenge within BulletRage, it originally felt like something was off when the enemies got tougher at higher difficulties, but the traps did not. Now, the traps will be sure to provide an exciting challenge at the higher difficulty levels.

    Steam beta testing is soon! Yewwwwwwwww

    Level Design Process

    BulletRage Level Design Concepts: Pure Handcrafted Carnage

    BulletRage initially experimented with procedural levels but something just felt off…. It was lacking that handmade and fully designed experience that we wanted for BulletRage. So we decided to go with 100% handcrafted levels instead.

    With purposely designed levels, there were many advantages with several main things that BulletRage strives to achieve.

    Choices:

    BulletRage levels, and BulletRage in general are all about choices. The freedom to choose how you play the game. And so the levels are designed to allow players to speed-run if you are great at dodging everything, or be destruction incarnate and lay waste to every enemy and destructible environment in your way, or cautiously creep forward and play it safe.

    Destructible Environment:

    Almost everything except for the boundary walls are destructible in BulletRage. Of course, some structures will have a much higher HP than others to avoid having empty rooms within the first few seconds of battle.

    We purposely kept the score bonus very low for structural destruction to avoid encouraging players to sit there all day destroying high HP environmental structures, unless they really enjoy doing that. We understand that there are some players who just loves to destroy everything in their path though, so that’s definitely still available to those must-smash-everything players.

    level design wireframes 1

    Level Shortcuts:

    There will be shortcuts and optional paths in some levels in the game. Some may be hidden, and some may be an obvious challenge. But none of them will be easy. If you want to take the shortcut, you will have to pay dearly in pain for it.

    Secrets:

    There are a minimum of 3 secrets in each level, with each granting a nice score bonus and an item to greatly speed progression. So depending on your play style, the secrets could make a large impact. Some secrets are straight forward such as hidden walls, and some secrets will be more complex. Don’t worry about not knowing about the existence of a complex type secret in a level though, the prize will be dangled in front of you while we laugh in evil glee.

    Stay tuned and follow us for more dev updates, showing all the cool stuff that is BulletRage.

    BulletRage

    BulletRage: A journey into the world of pure co-op arcade insanity

    When BulletRage first sparked as an idea in my brain, I knew it was going to be explosive. A game that would keep you on the edge of your seat, a game that would make you sweat.I felt that many recent games had lost that old-school arcade intensity – they focused more on replayability and progression rather than pure intensity, and I was about to change that.

    Many games now use procedurally generated levels, stat building RPG elements, complex mechanics and things like that as part of the core mechanics. Don’t get me wrong, those things aren’t bad – but for BulletRage we wanted gameplay action that is pure BULLET RAGE!!!

    I focused heavily on the arcade adrenaline factor – room scale bosses, hand crafted room and battle designs, and a recklessly fast game pacing.

    bulletrage-gameplay-6 (1)
    I hear your like BULLETS with you RAGE!

    Weaponry

    Next were weapons. Must be epic. That was the golden rule. But at the same time, I wanted the players to feel progressively more powerful, without the player having to grind for hours. So we implemented 5 tiers of weapon power, similar to old school arcade shooters. But if you die, you lose it all!

    Harnessing your RAGE!

    As the name suggests, RAGE is your most important asset, after bullets!
    With each normal weapon already feeling powerful, I added Ultra Attacks that went even beyond that, like the super attacks in the arcade classics. Ultra Attacks fill up the entire screen with death and destruction. Managing resources ‘Mana style’ is not something I wanted a player to think about, so these attacks use up your entire collection of Rage energy.

    You have to choose your moment carefully, and there is no going back. Apart from epic destruction, there are also some tactical uses for your Rage, such as the Dash Attack, which can be used either tactically or violently, or both!

    bulletrage-gameplay-2

    Unique Character Roles

    One thing that I was very consciously careful about, was to make each character play differently. I did not want to simply go with a basic re-skin route, I wanted different people to be able to enjoy different playable characters based on their gaming style. This turned out extremely well, as our early testers all had different characters they preferred to use! Mission accomplished!

    Crazy Power-ups

    When it comes to power-ups, I wanted powerful effects that had a large visual impact, and gameplay alteration that opens up opportunities for players during battle. One my favorite uses of power-ups was in Bomberman – the variety of both good and bad effects and they way they greatly changed the gameplay dynamics was delicious and made each round it’s own experience – and I think we have incorporated the best of that into BulletRage.

    bulletrage-gameplay-3

    Local Multiplayer Co-op

    We didn’t plan for multiplayer when we first began BulletRage, but once we started sharing the early demo with players, it was clear that needed to happen! Apparently there are quite a few couch-coop players out there feeling neglected these days. After some serious effort, we included local multiplayer support and new multiplayer mechanics, and the results were astoundingly fun. With multiplayer, the potential of the game exploded! When combined with the power-up ideals we had already established, the multiplayer experience really takes BulletRage to an endlessly replayable zone – without having to sacrifice any hand-crafted aesthetic or design by using things such as procedural level generation.

    We even have ideas for future game modes to take it even further! We’re really excited by how BulletRage is developing, and would love to get some players as excited as we are! If it sounds like a game you might enjoy – stay tuned. There is LOT of information we want to share with everyone about why we love BulletRage!

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    Get your RAGE on!

    Team BulletRage