Unleash the Extra Levels!
Free new content for War Ender has been released!
A week and a half ago (as of this writing), War Ender got an update. This update, coinciding with the Autumn Sale, is the biggest update for War Ender. Readers of recent dev blogs will most likely know that I’m referring to the three extra levels given out for free. It took a whole computer getting those levels released and I hope players enjoy them. There’s one level, Extra Level 3, that I particularly want to discuss today, but first let’s do a quick recap of what the first two extra levels were all about.
Extra Level 1 places players in what was originally meant to be the first bonus level of the game. In fact, both Extra Level 1 and 2 are scrapped levels from the original game. The reason for Extra Level 1’s removal was pretty simple. Bonus levels needed something a little more special, and what I came up with didn’t incorporate any of the mechanics of the original level, which was just a harder War Ender level to begin with. Extra Level 2 has a similar backstory but with an extra chapter. I debated with myself on whether Extra Level 2 would be a regular level or a bonus level. In the end, it was neither. Thankfully, both of these levels were given new life in the form of Extra Levels. It’s always nice to see old ideas come back to your projects.
With the recap out of the way, let’s bring our attention to Extra Level 3. While I certainly didn’t hide its existence, I refrained from talking too much about it, let alone show it. Extra Level 3 was what I will refer to as a “pitch level” which in my head means that it was a level used to demonstrate various concepts for War Ender, or Action Square as it was originally called. In this case, the level showed off basic platforming, how the main character would behave, and what sort of obstacles would be present on the player’s adventure. At this point in time, only a handful of enemy types were created. Not only that, but the shoot-float mechanic was completely different.
Enemies in the level included Basic Enemies (the robots), Shooters, Grenade Enemies, Turrets, and Rocket Turrets. As you can see, many of the basic enemy types you’ll see throughout War Ender got their start in this pitch level, with the remaining enemy types coming much later. As for the shoot-float mechanic, it also got its start in this level. Originally it wasn’t so much a shoot-float as it was a shoot-”slow down my descent". That doesn’t have nearly as good of a ring to it, and it was wildly inconsistent. Sometimes your descent would be slowed by a lot, and other times it wouldn’t change anything. So the decision was made to change the mechanic to what you see today.
All these differences between then and now don’t stop there. The dodge mechanic wasn’t even a thought in my mind. Various enemies didn’t exist, and many of the platforming mechanics were not present. If you play through Extra Level 3, you’ll notice there are only buildings and “jump through platforms” present throughout the level. There are no moving platforms, jumppads, or torches. Yet another area where Extra Level 3 shows its age. Another detail I left in was the building colors. While some additional decor was added to the level, I intentionally kept all the buildings a brown color.
It seems like an element of the level that should be updated. After all, seeing the same brown color on every building grows tiring, does it not? As crazy as it sounds, I didn’t add building colors until later in development. But it would have been simple to change the colors, right? Yes, that is correct. However, it was important to me to retain a sort of “old” feeling in this level. This would include keeping an older aesthetic for the level as well. The only real changes to the visuals of Extra Level 3 come from added decor (namely the fire escapes and doors), and the background. To keep in sync with the rest of the War Ender world, I explicitly mention in the opening text for this level that this battle takes place in “an old part of The City.”
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that all three levels have the option to use or destroy all the checkpoints, just like any other level in the game. However, destroying the checkpoints in the extra levels do not contribute to the Lore Book and do not help you unlock any of the bonus levels. The option to clear any of the levels without checkpoints is purely there for bragging rights. That was another thing about these levels that was fairly important to me. I wanted to make sure that anyone can jump in and enjoy them however they choose. Thus, I made sure that the levels could be chosen from the main menu right from the start, regardless of your in-game progress.
As for what the future holds now? Well, at this point I’m starting to shift gears. I’ve talked before about two projects I am currently working on, and as usual I am unable to show them off right now. But with these extra levels released, I am planning on moving most of my attention to those two projects. I don’t know when I’ll be able to show them off proper, but I’m hoping it will be sooner rather than later. In the meantime I’ll find some interesting things from War Ender’s to talk about that I may not have touched on much before.
Being the December dev blog, I don’t believe you’ll hear from me in this space before the new year comes. I mean, there’s always the chance another freak accident could happen like what occurred in October with my dead computer, but I’d prefer nothing like that occur. So knowing this, I bid you a lovely holiday, whatever that may be for you. See you next year! Keep on gaming.
Until next time!