By now you’ve probably come to realise that Fragmental is pretty much all about killing each other, over and over again. You may also remember that we mentioned how easy it is to accidentally kill yourself by taking a nose dive off the edge of a level or falling foul of one of the various different environment hazards we have – see “Red Balls of Death or Deathball™”.
Well, prepare to have your mind blown, sort of…
We have a new round type, imaginatively named ‘Survival’, at least for now. Instead of winning by killing other players, in these rounds you have no weapons, and the aim is to be the only remaining player not to die / commit suicide. From playtesting, it seems the best way to do this is to melee your opponents off the edge of the map or into environmental hazards.
See how different it is! Normal rounds = Kill Opponents. Survival rounds = Don’t Die. You = Mind Blown. Told you. This game design business is easy.
I’m currently enjoying these rounds as much as, if not more than the normal rounds. Melee is admittedly a bit rough in the game at the moment, but having all 4 players unarmed in a tiny arena, with a massive Deathball™ bouncing around tends to get some of the biggest laughs. Even more so when you’re trying to push your opponents into it, while at the same time trying to avoid it yourself.
These maps are generally the quickest to create, but tend to take the longest to come up with the original idea, as it’s tough to keep coming up with new, and funny ways to allow players to kill themselves. To be completely honest, some of these levels come into being from genuine mistakes. One example is when I wanted to create an energy beam that remained static along a wall. I thought I’d be clever and steal use a blueprinted energy beam from one of the other guys on the team – no point reinventing the wheel when someone else has already done all the hard work! What I didn’t realise was that their version had a rotation over time applied to it. When added to my level, the energy beam proceeded to slowly crawl around my map, in a semi-sentient looking way. Imagine the Borg assimilated Electro.
So the question is: Why, when we are trying to create a pure arcade shooting experience, would we suddenly change things up? The answer to that lies in Street Fighter 2.
Despite being a 1-on-1 fighting game, everyone loved the bonus level where you have to destroy a car. It didn’t fight back, it just sat there, like an automotive palate cleanser from the constant combat required for the rest of the game, but most importantly it still used the existing systems and themes. There were other bonus levels, but we don’t talk about those.
Our survival levels are similar in their approach, you still use the same mechanics and your goal is still the same – you want your opponents to end up deader than a dead thing – it’s just the method you use to achieve that goal that’s different.
To sign off, here’s a screenshot of a WIP Survival level with the Deathball™ thing I was talking about earlier.