For the Polish theme of my game, I have invested most of my time in the end-boss fight, because I had a very concrete idea of how I wanted the boss-fight to evolve in a narrative way. This theme, polish, was the perfect chance to play with that thought because the idea was to add music to create the mood, setting and atmosphere. Not just as a separate component that can be detached without having much effect on the game experience. I wanted to create a boss-fight that told an epic story through the media of music. A story in which the audio dictates the boss' actions and when the music's dramatic arch changes, so too changes the arch of the boss.
What went wrong?
Adding the audio 'story' to the game turned out to be more difficult than I though: first of all, all output feedback from the game would have to be graphical, because any auditorial feedback would disturb the subtle story-line. Secondly, balancing the game was very difficult, because the audio dictates the dramatic arch of the boss and any changes made at one level of the arch might change the difficulty in a negative way at another arch. Thirdly, getting the audio just right was a difficult task in itself. It would have to tell a story on it's own that was conveyable to the boss-fight and create a story of it's own and while also adding something more than just music. So, to be fair, this isn't really a 'what went wrong' paragraph. It's more something along the lines of: 'it took a lot more time and effort to perfect the music than I though' paragraph.
What went well?
This can be answered short and simple: in the end, the the end-boss phase of the game turned out to look a lot nicer than I had anticipated when I started working on it (and that is without any graphical aid in the form of imagery other than particles and awesome lasers).
During play-testing this theme (I tested the end-boss fight separately from the rest of the game) these were the most noticeable flaws:
the collision checks were a bit fuzzy sometimes and it was hard to see if an attack has missed or hit;
the rate of attack coming from the boss were imbalanced;
The player often died before the fight had really started;
the game did not reset when the player ran out of life points;
the boss did not have a kill or victory sequence;
the player didn't know what to do until he was dead, there was no well designed script to follow;
the gameplay got a bit boring after playing for some time;
the controls were confusing and hard to master.
To counter these flaws, I used a series of solutions:
So what now?
Rocket Attack is a game that I definitely want to continue with. Especially the final theme seems very interesting to me. Just like Zombie Appocalypse, I have spent a lot of my time designing, testing and adjusting the mechanics in this game. I want to keep working on the end-boss idea where it is the song that tells the story, because it worked out a lot better than I expected and I think it has some real potential to become so much more than just a cool interactive audio tour through multiple songs. This is a game that I want to put on my portfolio because it's a good example of a game where my skills in design and programming go hand in hand to create a conceptual game that I am proud of and can be used in the future for other projects. Heck, I might even come up with a better name.