The Boss of You
How War Ender's newest boss, RAWM, came to be.
If I'm being honest, I did not expect the second boss to take as much time to make as I thought it would. As it turns out, creating RAWM (which in case you're wondering, stands for Really Awesome Wrecking Machine. That's right.) took the entire two weeks its been since the previous dev blog to construct. RAWM had a lot of moving parts to it, from laser beams to punching animations to electrical fields. In creating this giant robot, I learned a couple new tricks that I'll carry into the rest of War Ender development and into the future games I make.
But where did I get the idea that the player must fight a giant robot? Well, there's a couple inspirations for this metal behemoth. One of the first inspirations came from none other than Sonic the Hedgehog of all places. When I showed RAWM off to my wife Katy, one of the first things she pointed out was that it reminded her a little of the final boss of Sonic and Knuckles in which Robotnik (that's his name. Not Eggman. Get it right SEGA.) pilots a giant robot in space and uses it to defeat Sonic. His first attack involves taking his giant robot hands and trying to crush the hedgehog underneath them. This immediately gave me the idea to have RAWM try to pummel the player from above by swinging his retractable arms into the air and bringing them back down to the ground. You can see what this looks like in the gif below.
The other inspiration for RAWM came from the recent Metroid: Samus Returns. I suppose this is where I should give some kind of spoiler warning for the game since it is a bit newer and I don't really feel like being accused of spoiling the new Metroid for anyone. So with that said...
SPOILERS FOR METROID: SAMUS RETURNS BELOW
Right, so a few times through Samus Returns you're confronted by a large robot that goes by the name of Diggernaut during your adventure. The first time he just sort of walks around and doesn't cause you any trouble. The second time, due to Samus triggering some kind of alarm in his system he gives chase to Samus inside a large cave. Evading it during this segment grants you one of the game's power ups. Then you get to actually fight back against this giant mech at a later time. Two of its most notable attacks are firing lasers and attacking you with its drilling arms. It was possibly the hardest fight in the game during my first playthrough, and though he certainly had some annoying aspects to him, I overall did consider Diggernaut one of the best bosses in the game due to his variety of attacks and sequences and for the considerably different challenge he posed in comparison to the other bosses in the game. The boss music for Diggernaut probably helped out a lot too.
OKAY, END OF METROID: SAMUS RETURNS SPOILERS
So yes, a character from Metroid did inspire a few of RAWM's attacks and even its very appearance. Between it and the final Robotnik boss from Sonic and Knuckles, this Metroid character was undoubtedly the biggest inspiration for RAWM.
Okay, you now know where some of the ideas for RAWM came from. What about RAWM itself? What more can I share? Well, quite a bit as it turns out. I am the developer after all. I've shown off a few of his attacks in the gifs above. Some other attacks of his include shooting regular bullets across the field, swinging his arms down to the middle of the stage to crush Red, and sending electricity along the ground. RAWM, like Wall of Lasers, is split into four phases. Whenever you enter a new phase, RAWM will begin using new attacks and making it a point to attack more frequently. Towards the end it'll even acquire the assistance of a few familiar enemies to make your life that much more difficult.
This boss also introduced a few new elements into War Ender that you can expect to see in the rest of the game. Perhaps the biggest one can be seen in the gif above with the inclusion of homing bullets. War Ender already had homing rockets that are shot out of rocket turrets, but these projectiles function a little differently. For starters, they are considerably slower than the homing rockets that you'll be used to by this point in the game. And if you think RAWM is the only one that's going to fire multiple homing bullets like in the gif above, you're sorely mistaken. There are plans to make a new enemy for War Ender that fire the homing bullets you see above, and though they won't shoot as many at once as RAWM does, you can be sure they'll fire a few at a time for you. We'll be seeing those enemies make an appearance in chapter 3, along with some other new enemies I have planned. As I've learned, bosses don't strictly have to be a combination of things you've learned up to this point. They can pull out a few new tricks too.
Though challenging, I quite enjoyed my time with War Ender's newest big baddy. RAWM feels like a nice way to round out chapter two and start gearing the player up for the crazier stuff that will be thrown their way. I learned some things creating it too, from how to make new kinds of particles to finding ways to make animations create a more interesting encounter. They're all lessons that will certainly carry over into the rest of the development and beyond. Thinking about it, the creation of RAWM was also a nice way to end the year of 2017. In War Ender, RAWM will be the conclusion of a chapter. Once you beat it, you move on to the next chapter and see what lies in store for you. In a similar way, RAWM also puts a nice final touch on 2017, although thankfully it won't be nearly as destructive.
War Ender will be launching into a new year with me as I work on its final chapters and get it out there for all to play. I'm still aiming to release War Ender in the early part of 2018. Provided things go as planned, it seems like that goal will be reached. Quite a bit has happened this year, both to me personally and to War Ender. I look forward to writing the dev blog informing all that the game is out and ready to play to completion. But that's still a little while longer, so in the meantime I'll keep working on this game that's come to be such a big part of my game development career.
Until next time, in 2018!