After finishing my reflection for the latest update to Qualdrin, I realized I wanted to go into more depth about issues and philosophies involving the game.
Cue the new blog category: Deep Reflections! During these times I will explain the deeper reasoning to decisions in my games. Who knows, maybe this will extend to deep reflections of other games and areas as well.
In any case, let's begin our decent and go deeper...
If an astute observer (such as yourself) were to analyze the point system of Qualdrin, you might notice something odd: the 1x1 blocks currently yield low risk and high reward with their short cooldown and higher point value (now mentioned in the Tips section of the game). But the larger, more "powerful" blocks have longer cooldowns and lower point values. There is also a greater risk involved using these blocks since you could end up trapping yourself. So should the the highest point value be attributed to the 3x1 block and the lowest to the 1x1 block?
This depends on the user experience (UX) I want my players to have. If the higher point value was attributed to the 3x1 block, the gameplay strategy would change to favor strategic positioning. Given that the 3x1 block has a long cooldown, players will have to position themselves as best as possible to hit the most amount of enemies and get the most amount of points.
While this is an interesting and valid UX, it is not the UX I want for my players. The strategic positioning gameplay is much more akin to the slower pace of Space Invaders. The Qualdrin I want has more similarities to Galaga, Gradius, Thunder Force, etc. (not including "bullet hell" games). Those games favor high mobility, rapid fire, and resource management. This is reinforced by sporadic waves of enemies, having reliable rapid fire weapons, and a limit (usually ammo) on powerful weapons like bombs or missiles.
In the same way, Qualdrin has sporadic waves of enemies, uses 1x1 blocks for reliable rapid fire, and restricts the powerful 3x1 block with a higher cooldown and a greater chance of trapping oneself. To give the greater point value to the 3x1 block would throw this equation out of balance. I would also have to change how the enemies spawn, given that it requires luck to hit many enemies you cannot see yet with a 3x1 block. So what looked like a simple change at first glance revealed itself to be a literal game changer.
I'm Gerald Franklin, an aspiring game and interface designer.