So, we are up & running on the new system, and I am doing some more game code. We made two great design decisions over the past week or so that will make the game more interesting & more streamlined.
One is that we simplified the crystal system, while simultaneously making it more interesting. Without going into the old ideas, the new system works like so. You can find mineral deposits of various types across the levels, and atomize the material with your scanner. You can then take these materials back to the lab on your spaceship to create various crystals, or you can find whole crystals as well. Each crystal has a unique color, and represents a temporary power up if you use it. So one will slow down enemy bullets and firing rates while it's in effect, another will triple your shield strength and the shield recharge rate, etc. Sounds simple, and it is, which is why it's so much better than the old system.
The other innovation is enemy cloning. We are adding 3 clone pods to your spaceship, that can be used to grow alien bodies. You can then inhabit the bodies and go on various missions as a robot, a lizard guy, etc. each with different health, speed and physical attributes. You will be limited to having 3 clone types active, and will be able to get new ones by scanning a certain # of enemy corpses. The clone physical properties will be tied to your player's physical attributes, so if your human is in the 50th percentile in terms of health and hit reaction, your robot will be in the 50th percentile too, but in actual terms may be more or less than the human character. You can use the clone body as a disguise, or for its different physical abilities, or to avoid bio-scans, etc.