Horde Leaps Forward, But We’re Feeling Bor-ed

It’s that time again folks! A fortnight has passed and we have updates to share! You all know the preamble at this point, so let’s jump to the important bit and ignore the terrible title rhyme…

Horde is finally starting to feel like a game! Last week a lot of dots connected in a way I wasn’t anticipating. One thing led to another and before I knew it, the full game loop materialised in front of me. The flow from splash screen to main menu to level select worked. I roughed out the first world, adding 10 very basic levels, and set up the next level, restart level, and back to menu functionality. The result is that you can now smoothly transition from any part of the core game to any other point, without having to restart the game:

This video was thrown together super quickly, apologies for the low quality!

Now, things may look pretty similar to what’s been shown before, but I assure you, this is a significant milestone. The level resetting and reloading is fully working, something that only worked before by actually changing the scene (meaning you had to go back to the menu to play again). To get this flow working I had to ensure that the old level cleans up correctly, the new level loads in without causing conflicts, and the zombie counts and humans all reset properly. Thankfully, once the ability to reset worked, progressing straight to the next level was a breeze, so it was all set up in one fell swoop! And thanks to the editor I previously created, adding 10 levels took as many minutes!

So what is the take-away from this new, pre-alpha demo I have on my phone? Well… To be honest, the game needs a lot of work. I hate to admit it, but it doesn’t feel that fun yet. A lot of that can be addressed by making it look and sound good, good animations and audio will do wonders, but fundamentally, you let loose your zombies and are stuck waiting. It’s hardly gripping.

So now what? Do I can the project? Well, no. There’s something here, I know it. It just needs more development. The problem is the amount of dead time the game has, so we just need to address that. I have several ideas at the moment:

  • Add more zombies, make it really feel like you are unleashing a horde and make the humans more brutal, so you need to be constantly planning your next move.
  • Speed the game up even more, so that there is less time to just watch and wait.
  • Add new features to get you thinking more strategically: maybe barricades stop bullets, so they can be used to your advantage, thus making where you coax the humans into going more significant?
  • And finally, I’m considering adding abilities that you activate on deployed zombies, so they get a boost when they need it. This would mean that even when all your minions are out, you can still buff them to change the tide of battle.

I reckon a combination of these is the solution, but to start with, I think we’ll prototype and trial them individually, and see what we get.

Do you guys have any ideas? We’re egotistical here, but not so much that any thoughts from you lovely people wouldn’t be much appreciated! If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please leave a comment below of on whatever social you find us from.

I think we’ve done it again, we’ve managed to keep on topic for a whole post! Before I ruin it, I’m off to ponder the next steps for Horde some more.

Matt out.

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