This week I have wrestled with the user interface for Attack of the BiiBiis. Still not settled, but I ran many different styles to try to see how to present the core things you need (how much RJ cash you have, what level you are running, timer and score, buff area) and also a help system to introduce you to the game. These don’t just lay in easily, there is a lot to consider about screen real estate and value…
I also started to work on levels 2 and 3 to up the progression and get some different gameplay going. Level 1 was about stopping the flood of BiiBiis from a single source point. Level 2 will ping-pong between two source points and require you to use a speed buff to get around fast enough to survive it. Level 3 will drop BiiBiis in a circular pattern so you have to run the edge of the map and quickly get them off to survive. Level 4 will provide a completely random “rain” of BiiBiis all over the map.
Those 4 feel like solid ways to start this off. I do see some danger in that there may not be enough variety to support 20 or more levels. So more ideas will be necessary. TuTu Jennie had a great one – that you could get a new buff called “life coach” and when you place down a life coach, she starts a lecture and it draws all nearby BiiBiis to listen until she is done (and not eat the land during that time). This would be an effective way to corral an entire section of the map. Also extremely handy in a crisis phase where your home base is about to be under siege.
Today I had another of those big ideas. What if there was gameplay -between- the levels. So the level system is the active, energetic phase of the game. But between the levels maybe we could add in a “base building” aspect to the game. Using RJ bucks, players could purchase permanent upgrades such as speed boosters, fences, walls, other defensive things.
We could also eventually add gamepasses, perhaps simple ones that add a mass of RJ bucks, but others could be more involved like adding a fort instead of your normal home base… The base building experience was the missing piece, as otherwise, the game would be non-stop level after level with no breaks. This could be expanded on later so that perhaps we have some NPCs that show up only when levels aren’t active and you can interact with them and, after working with them a bit, they offer a “base building” upgrade. Example: one NPC could offer a base upgrade, but only after you have traded RJ bucks to a friend 5 times or something.
When and how to do gamepasses is also a tricky thing. My first objective is to -not- put our hand out too much. Attack of the BiiBiis should be fun to play, to reward you for playing it, and just not ask for Robux (the real cash in-game commerce system). But, to fund future development, it’s not wise to cut it completely out. So maybe I can focus on gamepasses that are fully optional. The reason that can be tricky is game balance – if you are working level 20, and it’s very hard, gamepasses as the way through feel cheap. So this will take some serious thought.
Coming up soon on my to-do list is the BiiBii monster modeling. I’m not really looking forward to it, I bet it will be very time-consuming and slow down prototype building to a complete halt. But the step is 100% critical path, the game will ride on how adorable the BiiBiis are… it’s that simple…