Most of the work on Space Grunts is now slowly, but surely, coming to an end. This means I have to start planning the next game, because that’s life of an Indie game developer!
I don’t have to think long about the next game tho, because while working on Space Grunts, the itch of doing another Heroes of Loot has been growing and growing. So unless I mess things up very much during the prototype-stage, I’m pretty sure the next game is Heroes of Loot 2 !
Having a plan
I don’t believe in doing quick and dirty sequels, I have done that in the early days and they work but the landscape of games has changed a lot, and you simply need to up your game if you want to stay indie. So that means in order for me to make a sequel to Heroes of Loot I better have some good ideas to improve on the original.
Luckily, I have great ideas to improve on the original. Where the original kinda flawed was the duration / endgoals. Basically it was an endless dungeon shooter, and it worked great but it can be done better. Having the experience of the first game, and now the experience of Space Grunts, I’m much more capable of making it a great balanced game with an end-goal as any good rogue-like should have.
Some of the gameplay elements I have in mind, and please note that this might completely change a hundred times over before the game is the game, but for now these ideas are floating around in my head.
You’ll play the game with all four characters at once. So while you only control the main character, you can swap between the other three, and the non-controlled characters will follow you around possible helping you fight in battles.
Speaking of characters: each one will play different. This is already partly implement in my prototype. The Elf and Wizard both have range-weapons, but the Elf can shoot faster than the wizard, also the wizard stops when shooting cause he is old. The Warrior has a big-ass axe for close-combat, but has a longer delay between “smashes”, and the valkyrie has a fast knife, even less range as the warrior, but fast as lightning.
Pickup-items like keys, bombs, and others will be “big” so that one character needs both hands to hold the item, and thus loses the possibility of using his weapons at that point! So a key carrier suddenly becomes important to protect.
Better dungeon layouts are also on the list.. this will be based much more on the level-generator used in Space Grunts, but with less doors and more open area’s. Luckily that code is pretty scalable and thoroughly tested, so already running in my prototype ;)
More hack’n’slash-ing! If possible I’ll be dumping even more enemies on your ass ! There will be more bigger enemies and just hopefully more fleshed out enemies in general.
Destroyable stuff: walls, doors, scenery, etc. I liked how that worked out in Space Grunts and this game will get it
Visually I learned some new tricks with the lighting stuff, which will fit the dark dungeon setting perfectly, and I already have some nice new versions of the heroes drawn and animated. They are possibly even cuter than the first ones. I also learned more about rounding out animations and special effects thanks to Gunslugs 2 and again Space Grunts. It was something that often was an afterthought in the original HoL. So puffs of smoke, flames, debri, dust, etc, will all be much better and hopefully enhance the experience of being in a dungeon.
I also moved away a bit form the bleeps, and bloops with Space Grunts, and I plan to do the same in HoL2. It will add more volume and depth to the sound effects and again should help you get sucked in by the dungeons and action. As for the music, we’ll see how we handle that this time based on how the gameplay will feel and look.
So there you have it.. my game design doc for Heroes of Loot 2. I’ll still be pushing weekly updates to Space Grunts for a while, but in between those I’ll be working on the prototype for HoL2 until Space Grunts is released and HoL2 hopefully gets the full attention to become the next game.