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Starting Levels

Let’s take a look at what the first levels are. The first 2 levels of the game are pretty tame.

1-Hangar

The first level is of course the beloved Hangar; it has the purpose of teaching the basic mechanics of the game and is the home of the Shotgun and the Grenades. It doesn’t have much combat or platforming.

It has some nice outside areas though

2- Central Processing

The second level Is Central Processing, it has a high tech setting. The level will give you two new powerups very early: Double Jump and the Plasma Gun. Yeah plasma is the second weapon in the game, this is because it has an important role. The weapon is very powerfull, but it consumes a lot of ammo and your maximum energy cells are not very high at the start.

High tech all the way

The rest of the level has more platforming than combat and a lot of enemies in angles to get players used to the double jump and plasma. There are plenty of electric traps and the first chosen hellspawn awaits there to battle.

3-Foundry

Shit gets serious

Level three is the Foundry, a Doom2016 inspired level. And it’s here where you learn the last of the basic mechanics like rolling around and using switches. It is a large stage with a lot of combat. This level is the first real challenge in your journey.

Seconds away from death.

But I won’t get much more into the levels than this. I don’t want to spoil too much, also I don’t think I will do any more of these descriptions for the other levels, so you’ll just have to play them.

See you soon!

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November Progress update

Things are moving along. We have the Save and Load functions working! There are 4 save slots to save your game.

Just a dummy menu I’m using, but it works perfectly

I’m finally adding textures to some levels. More on this later this week!

Level 3 is looking damn fine

Also here is a section of the Hell over world map.

The hell map is hella-awesome *wink*

Much to do, see you very soon!

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MiniDoom and Exploration

Throughout this year I’ve been able to watch many different people playing MiniDoom. I got a better idea of what people want or expect when playing the game. And exploration IS NOT IT. A clear path, clear objectives, hard challenges and quick retries. This is the best formula I came up with, this is most of all an action game.

But I always liked exploration in games, it can be so rewarding if you have the time. I wanted to put something in miniDoom to discover, not just carve a straight path of blood (which also is awesome, don’t get me wrong).

Plenty of stuff to discover in every level!

Remembering MiniDoom1 the place where most players stopped playing was level 3: the Toxin Refinery. This is because the Toxin Refinery is not a lineal level, you can chose between two paths to get the keys, and then use them in a poorly placed door. The problem here was that the objectives weren’t clear, but I also believe the maze like layout of the refinery caused frustration in a fast paced game.

With the level structure in MiniDoom2 I try to solve these problems. The main route through most levels is very straight forward and clear. There are also optional areas which contain powerups or upgrades. These optional areas are usually harder to access or hidden.

Level 1. Red are optional areas. Its the smallest map, the larger maps have less optional areas.

So a player who plays straightforward can finish the levels without confusion. And someone who wants to explore a bit can look for optional secrets. In the end, the upgrades should only be necessary if you plan on playing the higher difficulties, or if you are having trouble in a certain level (they are optional after all). You also have the option to revisit other stages and search for upgrades or you can just lower the difficulty.

So is exploration a part of MiniDoom2? Nope, but there are things to discover if you want to.

See you next time.

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Hazards and Traps

Let’s get into the more platforming aspects of the game now. As I mentioned before, each level has its own thing, so there are level specific hazards for each map.

Whats a 2D game without spikes? Don’t worry they don’t insta-kill

We have got barrels, teleporters, spikes, spike traps, lasers, electric traps, acid, high jump platforms, falling platforms, pits, lava and even more shit to keep you on your toes.

Deadly geometry

The cool thing about these hazards is that all of them can be used against the enemies (just like barrels). And you will probably have to use them in battle to overcome some challenges MiniDoom is an action game after all.

High jump pads in level 3

I don’t want to show too much about these mechanics to not spoil the game. So just know that hazards are here but they are not the focus of the game, they just spice up the gameplay.

See you soon!

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Other Powerups

There are other less common powerups around the game. I’ve already talked about the Berserk, but haven’t yet mentioned the Megasphere or Invisivility powerups.

Supercharge (AKA Soulsphere) works a bit different here than in regular Doom. Just like in old Doom, you can go beyond the regular 100 health by picking up health bonus or Supercharge. But in MiniDoom you can only go up to your maximum + 25 (unlike the old 200). Double the health was too damn strong. However there are ways to upgrade your health and armor total. It also fully charges your souls! (A nod to its name).

The Megashpere is very simple, it will max all your ammo types, this also includes BFG ammo and souls unlike the backpack (which gives you a medium amount of every other ammo). It will also max your health and armor beyond your current maximum as if you had picked up the max amount of health bonus pickups or a Supercharge.

I’ve already showcased the Berserk powerup, before here: http://calavera.studio/en/weapon-spotlight-chainsaw-berserk/ (Berserk also heals you like picking up a large Medikit)

And finally we have included the Invisibility powerup (AKA Blursphere). To me this seemed like the most interesting of the Doom temporary powerups, it gave you a brief burst of power, but you still had to use strategy to make the most of it (unlike the Berserk). While invisible enemies won’t shoot at you, and chaser enemies will react more slowly.

*Instert John Cena song here*

Other strong candidates to make into the game where the Invulnerability and Quad Damage. They might have been interesting to include, but they would need sections of the game crafted to suit them and I’m afraid we are out of time for that 🙁

That said there are still other secret powerups that might surprise you, but I won’t be covering secrets in these devlogs, you’ll have to discover them!

See you very soon!

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Combat Trials

There are 4 special levels around the maps that are trials. Each one of these is like a really short stage focused on a certain theme.

All enemies in the Trial of Might are Chosen Hellspawn that’s the theme!

Difficult

Trials focus on combat and have little to no platforming. They will pit you against enemies you have faced in new and challenging ways. All trial doors will remain closed if there are enemies nearby. The difficulty of trials is higher than levels up to that point.

A bunch of pinkies in a corridor with no room to jump?

Limited resources

Most trials don’t have any checkpoints and have little to no health refills or ammo pick-ups. Combat trials demand precision to dodge and dispose of enemies efficiently. Without checkpoints you need to do it in one go, and unlike regular levels if you die after unlocking a killing room, you will have to clear it again.

Or a plain old pinkie swarm

Rewards

There will be a small reward at the end of each trial in the form of a regular upgrade. However a greater price awaits those who can complete all 4 trials!

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MiniDoom2 gets a full Soundtrack

For miniDoom1 we used fan made music from cover albums (“Dark side of Phobos” and “DoomII: Delta-Q-Delta”). Awesome music indeed, but maybe not appropriate for every level.

This time the will have a complete soundtrack, this means that every level will have its own music according to its theme.

Responsive music and transitions

The music in some levels will vary according to the environment such as electric blasts in level 2 that will trigger an electric guitar, it will also slow down when opening the weapon select menu and other effects such as that.

Also the music will have a normal version for the normal or platforming sections of the levels and another version for the closed fights that will be much more aggressive and fast.

Here’s a really small sample of the music with some gameplay.

A third member joins the dev team to take charge of music and other aspects of sound design! He is very talented and will give all the music the Doom flavor it deserves.

Oh and don’t worry this won’t delay the game further, he’s already been working on the music for months.

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Go to hell

As we mentioned before half the game takes place in hell. We wanted to make a nice transition from mars to hell. So we made a portal loosely based on the one from Doom2016!

I’m quite happy with how it turned out, the artist went ham on the concept and came up with a room that was way bigger than the camera so you have to walk around the room to get the full view of it.

The full room, it’s the end of level6 and the first half of the game.
It has some nice lightning effects in-game but I removed them for the capture because of the camera-shaking too much.
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Respawning Enemies and Game Progress

During playtesting respawning enemies seemed to cause confusion. People usually play rushing through the stages and killing any enemies in sight, but when required to navigate a stage or backtrack a bit they would start killing enemies that respawn without realizing that they had already cleared that area.

Some of the new decorations and graphics.

This made me rethink the whole respawning enemies deal. Was it really necessary? What’s the point of enemies respawning anyway? I couldn’t find a reason to leave it in game. So now enemies behave much like items. They won’t respawn if you leave the room, but they will respawn if you die of course. The only exception to this is killing rooms. Once you clear a fight you won’t have to do it again even if you die before reaching another checkpoint.

About game progress

More new objects to interact with

I realize there has been a lack of updates recently, sorry about that. We have been advancing steadily but we can’t share many of the things we are working on right now because many of them would spoil the game.

We are currently polishing level design and completing missing graphics. And damn it takes a long time! We also have someone helping out with music and sound (hope I can share more on this soon).

What is this?? I just cant tell you 🙁

That said I will find something or other to update every week, don’t want to stay silent. More stuff coming soon, see you next week.

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Level Design

Turns out making levels is pretty hard. Specially figuring out whats gonna work. So whats the design process like over here? Well let me give you a brief tour:

When designing a level first we decide on an overall theme for that level, also which new weapons or mechanics need to be introduced there. Next think about which enemies will fit that level and will go well with the new weapons.

To keep the game fresh each level has some unique hazards or obstacles (like the jump pads from Doom2016), or a unique layout (like a vertical descending level for example). I’m not gonna go into each one of them; don’t want to spoil the game.

A shitty sketch photographed with a shitty camera

Next is to roughly sketch the level in paper. Its good for visualizing the whole route. Here it gets tricky since its hard to come up with something new (or at least different) for every room in the game.

Thats the room editor

Then its translating the sketches into the game editor, and everything usually changes a lot! When a room is done, a quick play to check for errors. I don’t usually place textures or graphics in a level before testing since changing the terrain would mean repainting everything all over again, and we don’t have the time for that. A pity since graphics change the experience and tests become less reliable.

Not the room editor; its a composition for the artists to get the layout of the level

And that’s how we do things, pretty standard I suppose. But that’s what we have been doing right now; finishing what’s missing in the last few levels, and revisiting the old ones. See you next time.