This week I went through every level, enemy and boss (so… the whole game) with the goal of unifying how everything feels and looks. There are a bunch of (admittedly fairly common) tricks I use to try and make Bleed 2 feel extra good to play, such as…
- Hit stun: The game freezes for a split-second to lend extra punch to certain events, like reflecting a large attack
- Screen shake: The camera shakes around to accentuate events like explosions, heavy objects landing, etc
- Screen flash: The screen flashes for a split-second, which also accentuates explosions and other strong hits
- Sprite shake: Enemies themselves shake — a little indicates damage, a lot indicates charging a strong attack
- Particle effects: Dust clouds, bullets impacts, metal bits and other debris, etc, make the game feel more alive
- Enemy corpses: Many enemies leave corpses when they die — it just feels better than them disappearing in a puff of smoke or the like (fun fact: enemy corpses move a lot slower than other objects when time is slowed, so you can get that typical anime-style all-the-bad-guys-fall-to-the-ground-at-the-same-time thing going on when you un-slow time.)
…etc etc! But their application wasn’t universal or consistent, so I paid attention to each one to make the game a more unified whole. Many elements were especially missing particle effects, so I had to create a bunch of those as well. The art never stops!
This “consistency” might be hard to consciously appreciate generally, but many areas of the game were sorely lacking in these bits of polish and illustrate really easily the difference between having them and not. For example, the Kitty Chopper’s death animation before:
And the death animation after! It might look a little strange playing out in this debug room, but in-context it makes sense.
I put a bunch of time (maybe too much?) into deciding little details of the particles to make them look as good as possible. For example, the metal scraps fly out from the explosion, but quickly shrink and fade after a set time — it would have been easier to let them simply tumble off-screen like every other particle in the game, but something about it looked really cheap to me and I couldn’t leave it like that.