And so, here we are. Our Design-A-Boss finalists! Each one has been chosen for the ideas described by the words and pictures, not for artistic ability (although some are beautifully drawn), and especially how well they fit into our plans for the game. Some people obviously paid close attention to the video trailer we were playing at the shows, or asked the right questions, and used the information about planned levels and settings in their designs, which was awesome!
Here's why we chose the entries we did:
This entry has cleverly taken into account our planned 'inside a monster' set of levels (sneak previewed in the teaser video), where the player will be fighting through enemy cells and even internal parasites. The inclusion of "immune system cells" fits into this theme perfectly. The bit we liked the most however is the friendly ship trapped in the wall. Could it become an ally? Could the player salvage it for parts? Could it become an enemy if we approach it the wrong way? Maybe it has a kind of icky, infected abscess around it so rescuing it will be a challenge. Lots to think about and it could be fitted nicely into our planned plot.
At first we thought this one must have been drawn on a computer, it is so neatly drawn. We love the idea of the brains housed in various locations around the boss, offering a range of challenges to destroy them all. Especially great, however, is the inclusion of information about the world surrounding the boss. The designer has thought about the whole fight senario, not just the boss itself - the blast doors blocking both the enemy laser and the player's ship add that extra dimension of difficulty to this carefully thought out and well-rounded boss design.
We were really taken by this boss as soon as we saw it. The rotating layered segments both house a range of weapons themselves but also protect the inner core which is the vulnerable area of this boss. Destroying this boss will involve careful timing to both avoid being shot whilst managing to hit the core while it is briefly exposed. With the rotating layers, each of which could be eventually blasted away, this boss could be a lot of fun to create and even more fun to fight!
These two have been grouped together as there are many similarities in the designs, although they were created at totally different shows. Both have huge tooth-lined maws which can swallow or trap the ship inside, and both have jellyfish type stinging tentacles (although one has them on the back and one on the front) to damage or snare the ship. With warty, scaly skin, these creepy deep-sea creature inspired designs would fit very nicely into the underwater levels in the game.
This seemingly simple design is actually very clever and scientific. The boss is an atom, the nucleus of which is protected by an negatively electrically charged orbiting cloud of electrons. As these are destroyed, the atom has to maintain electrical neutrality and so loses a positively charged proton at the same time. This could fire at the ship or cause some other damaging effect. Once all the electrons (and protons) are gone, there will just be a neutron filled nucleus. How easy will that be to destroy?
Another boss design with moving 'shells' around an inner core, this one has closer layers, and more of them, than Finalist 3. The layers rotate and occasionally the gaps line up to fire 4 missiles off in 4 different directions. We can see this boss working brilliantly if the layers are touching (like an onion) and can rotate into a range of positions to fire different weapons. A lucky, well timed shot could destroy the inner core but this would be almost impossble, so destroying each layer in turn could weaken the whole boss, reduce weapon damage and ultimately destroy it.
This super piece of artwork could easily be the huge worm-like monster that devours the ship, leading to the planned set of levels inside it's body. The weapons described would provide a fantastic challenge for the player - sticky tentacles to snare the ship, a stunning flash of light to dazzle sensors, a vulnerable but dangerous tongue, impenetrable teeth and even a uvula at the back of the mouth as the ultimate weak spot. Perhaps that has to be shot at close range which then triggers the swallow reflex.....
Whilst appearing to be just another spherical enemy, this boss has a range of weapons bristling all over it's surface. It can rotate or roll to bring different weapons into play - perhaps in a predictable sequence that the player can take advantage of? The core itself is an energy weapon, but destroying it will be a challenge as the blast doors protecting it only open when it is going to fire....
Both these entries had the same ingenious idea, a black and evil clone of the players own white ship. Possibly even with it's own version of the buddies and the power bar, this sneaky boss will mirror every move and shot the player makes. So how can it be beaten? Is it an absolutely perfect copy, or does it have hidden weaknesses?
Scorpogoat - this beautifully drawn and well described chimera creature is fearsome to behold and even worse to fight. With almost every weapon imaginable somewhere on it's mutant body, from fireballs to poisonous tentacles, laser eyes to acid breath this creature would provide a huge challenge to even the most experienced Tenacious Class pilot, let alone an unskilled one.... And just as the player thinks they can beat it, it starts producing baby goat-wasps which block missiles and home in on the player's ship, stingers dripping with toxins.
These are our finalists, we hope you like our choices. The ideas represented and their potential for creating some original and challenging bosses are truly impressive and we can't wait to make (at least...) one of these into an actual boss in the game. The winner will be announced at the end of the Kickstarter.
The standard of all the 130+ entries was very high and we would like to thank everyone who entered!