Defining Difficulty in SodaCity
Probably one of the hardest things to decide in any game, would be the game difficulty. When we were designing the levels for SodaCity, we had a hard time deciding whether we liked or not the resulting difficulty. We wanted the game to be a challenging one, but we knew that just by being hard, a game won’t necessarily be good.
We were inspired by old school games, which were extremely difficult, but we didn’t based our design in them; so it wasn’t enough just comparing our gameplay to those games.
There were various factors determining the difficulty in the gameplay: we had the already programed AI, with each one of its parameters; the damage per bullet for each one of the different weapons; the number of enemies at any given time and the hit points for both the enemies and the player. We could move everything and play with the numbers until we felt like the difficulty was good. But that would require a lot of time and maybe when we decided onto something, we would have developed balancing or testing immunity.
We came up with some basic concepts of what we wanted to achieve, so everything we moved, had to take us closer to them.