Developer, Magic & Mirrors is only a year out from their successful Kickstarter campaign and they are already looking for more of a challenge. The developers raised $38,269 to create Nelo, a hyper fast, sci-fi action game with its own take on the shoot ‘em up genre. Now they’ve changed up the formula even more.
In a recent Kickstarter update the devs explained how they’ve changed the enemy AI to be less predictable and therefore more challenging. “Our original vision for the enemy behaviors was inspired by twin-stick shmups like Geometry Wars, and Waves. Twin-stick shmups typically have enemies move in very specific patterns and never really change their tactics. We originally wanted this because we thought we could have enemies rely on overwhelming numbers over smarts. But because this game has a very lengthy campaign, the enemies’ repetitive behaviors would make the combat dull really quickly.”
To allow enemies to make conscious fighting decisions the team created a new behavior tree. The new tree takes into account various conditions and even the unique personality of different enemy types. “Some enemy types prefer to just charge at you and some may rather stay back and spam rockets at you, and sometimes they will lead their shots to increase their chance of hitting you with rockets. But just because they prefer it doesn’t mean they will always use that one tactic,” the update explained.
No Room For “Easy” Difficulty
The result is a frantic fight for survival from alternating viewpoints. The team has been re-balancing various difficulty levels to account for the increased challenge players now face. “We think it’s great that this game is insanely challenging, but we don’t want a steep difficulty curve to turn players off,” they wrote. The difficulty modes in Nelo were all renamed so players wouldn’t feel bad for selecting a lower difficulty level. “Nobody wants to pick a difficulty called ‘Easy’, but when they pick ‘Normal’, they discover that this game is significantly more challenging than other game titles and we really don’t want to mislead players like that.”
You can keep up with future Nelo updates over on their Steam Greenlight page.