The response to our 'Design-A-Boss' competition that we ran at various shows this spring and summer was fantastic - we got over 130 entries, and those are just the ones from people who remembered to put an email address on! Entries ranged from the simple to the complicated, the realistic to the fantastic, and contained an impressive level of imagination. Ideas were what we were looking for and we weren't disappointed!
It was a daunting task to judge all the brilliant entries, but we've finally managed to whittle them down to a short-list of finalists. Whilst choosing this list, we quickly realised that although some of the designs wouldn't work in the game as they were, they contained some excellent ideas that we would love to implement. With this in mind, we have also produced a list of 'Honourable mention' entries which we are announcing here today.
Whilst a giant space spider is very cool, the feature we particularly loved was the idea of a tether, that would snare the ship and restrict your movement until it released.
This design has little info about how it works, or even whether it is mechanical or organic, but we fell in love with the shape of this evil-eyed, gun covered creation.
Sharks with "frickin' laser beams" - Austin Powers made them cool and this design is no exception. The standout idea here though is the gills giving off harmful bubbles - lots of potential there for the planned underwater set of levels!
Along with the previous entry, this magnificent giant fish also demonstrates the idea of harmful bubbles, adding the extra twist of some large bubbles that pop into masses of smaller ones.
Tentacles. Always good, and this entry had them in abundance. The feature we especially loved, however, was the little captive spaceship which mysteriously flies away once the boss is destroyed. That links in with some plans we already have, plot wise.......
This entry shows some kind of base with lots of small fighter ships waiting to be deployed - we loved the idea of them being launched in waves, perhaps in complex and challenging attack patterns.
A huge laser beam and a name to match, but we especially loved the idea of it turning around to have a different attack pattern with different weapons, and possibly different vulnerabilities.
This entry, like the one before, suggests the boss turns around to use a different attack, in this case tentacles. This could add an interesting twist to the strategy needed to defeat the boss.
This entry caught our eye with the four tentacles each bearing a different weapon. This could allow for options in strategy while killing the boss - which weapon to destroy first?
It was the sliding doors on rollers that got our attention on this minimalist design, meaning the player will have to time their shots carefully if they want to destroy the laser when it is briefly exposed (and presumably firing!).
A detailed description means we can understand the intricacies of this design. A giant squid is a great idea, and we were especially taken with the use of squid ink as a weapon, potentially confusing targeting or obscuring the enemy.
Wormholes. Awesome! Bullets/baddies being moved around to unexpected locations. This is something that we already hope to implement and it was terrific to see someone making them a key feature of their boss design.
This happy chap doesn't look too threatening at first glance, but we wouldn't want to get in the way of those huge arms! We especially loved the original idea that each time he is hit, he shrinks, to the point that he becomes invisible. He could then slink off, recover and return to fight again - the enemy the player thought they had destroyed...
The idea that this boss sends out radio waves really captured our imaginations. These could interfere with missile guidance or even the on-board AI systems. This led us to thinking about an EMP as a weapon to take out electrical systems on the enemy, or even on the player ship....
We will be having a set of levels based inside a monster, so this simple idea that the boss is a virus fits perfectly. Maybe it could even be an ally rather than a boss, attacking the enemy cells with the player?
The design that made us smile the most, this boss is a like a Katamari - it looked like it has picked up a little something as a souvenir of everywhere it has been - it even has a palm tree!
What can we say? We wanted ideas and weren't worried about art ability, but this incredible, terrifying vision has to get a mention. Those eyes, those teeth, those tentacles - such is the stuff nightmares are made of!
It has an 'Awesome Cape' which gives it our thumbs up alone, but the bit we really like is the giant chainsaws as arms. These would provide an original challenge as the ship couldn't get too close and bullets could ricochet off in unexpected ways. And yellow and black stripes spring to mind which always look good.
We hope you like our Honourable Mentions as much as we do, and can see why we chose them. Well done and thank you to all of the entries - it really wasn't easy to select just these few!
If your design isn't here, don't despair, it could well be in the finalists short-list which we will be announcing in a few days!