Endless Mode Part 4: Enemies

It’s finally time to talk about the baddies and hazards you’ll face in Bleed 2’s Endless Mode — yay! First, some broad information:

An Endless Mode “run” is five levels long. To differentiate those levels and lend a sense of progression to each run, every level is tagged as a different “environment”, changing the chunks that are used to create it as well as the baddies and environmental hazards that appear!

So for example, in a level that’s a “lava” environment: when the level gets pieced together from random chunks, special lava-only “hazard” chunks are sprinkled into the mix — those chunks are built around lava-themed hazards like falling rocks and lava-spewing geysers. Throughout the level you’ll also see lava-themed baddies, like the flying and burrowing bugs from Bleed 1. It helps give levels their own identity!

Hazard chunks are used only by specific environments, but all the other chunk types are shared across all environments — so every chunk needs to spawn the right baddies for whatever environment they belong to. To accomplish this, chunks have generic enemy spawn types and spawn positions. So instead of saying “always make two flying bugs here”, it’s more like “make two flying enemies here,” and then it’s up to each environment to fill in the blanks with their unique baddies.

So for example, above, you can see the same chunk used two different ways. One uses Kitties and Lil’ Guppies, the other one is mirrored and uses turret Invaders and organic spores. Every enemy spawn has to factor if the chunk its in is mirrored and the direction it’s mean to be traversed, so that enemies can be placed facing and aiming the right way. Spawn positions are also semi-randomized — I over-loaded each chunk with tons of enemy spawns, but only a certain number will be randomly used, depending on the difficulty level (and never all of them at once.) So it’s kinda hand-crafted, and kinda random, too!

Every enemy also gets assigned a random reflect colour (purple or yellow.) On easier difficulties more reflectable enemies appear, but of course on harder difficulties it’s closer to an even mix. Finally, in the case of Invader enemies (who appear through all levels) they even get randomly-chosen weapons! I tried to mix things up as much as I could. Finally, the environmental hazards have a chance of spawning in standard (non-hazard) chunks too — and that chance increases the farther into a run you get.

Here’s the same chunk as above, but in different environments, and with environmental hazards randomly spawned in — a lava-spewing geyser in one, and a vent dripping out those physics bubbles from the warship in another.

A couple last notes: I hoped to include Endless Mode in the PC launch, so Joonas was kind enough to make sounds back then for all the baddies and hazards I had planned! Now that it’s actually happening, I can finally use the sounds he made — and they’re all fantastic! You should also see the giant enemy sprite sheet the game uses now. That thing is packed to bursting!

Also, if you get far enough into a run, you may find yourself in a hybrid environment…!! Levels can be marked as multiple environments– they just randomly use baddies, hazards and chunks from both environments. I’ll let you discover what that looks like on your own!

Lastly, yeah, if you’re wondering, all environments use the ‘virtual reality’ looking tileset, no matter which environment it is. The colours shift and change between levels, so there’s that…! I had big deams of a unique tileset per environment, but that would have multiplied the workload by literally 6-10 times. Not something I want (or can afford) to spend the next year working on, so it got cut.

From here, it was a lot of small miscellaneous things to bring it all together, which I’ll deal with next week!