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starstriker1

Problem designing a 2D enemy

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Alright. I'm currently building a game (described on my blog if anyone is interested). It's a 2D, sidescrolling action game with a focus on tactical combat in a sci-fi setting. The problem I have is the visual design of one of the enemies I have. The enemy is a hovertank, which is meant as a tool to force the player to move from wherever they've dug in. It's mean, slow, and durable, so it (should) win any head on encounters, but it doesn't recharge health like the player does, so it's vulnerable to hit and run. On that blog post I linked, there's an image with the current hovertank enemy at the top right corner (link for those who don't want to dig through that huge blog post). The image does the job decently enough, but it is rather jarring when the tank wants to pull a 180 and flip around. On the player characters, that's not an issue as they're thin and agile already, but the tank flipping around like it does is very obvious and very ugly. I'm trying to figure out the best option for redesigning it. The obvious solution is symetry, but that's not the look I want the tank to have (it'd end up looking like a flying saucer, or some kind of floating platform). Alternatively, I could keep it assymetrical, and then just not allow it to turn around. While that might have neat gameplay implications, I'd prefer to have the tank be more manueverable than that, able to follow and engage the player in any direction. Since I don't have any options so far as prerendering a turn animation or using a 3D model, what else could I do to reconcile those two design goals? Are there any other options here that I've missed?

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What you could try instead is design the ship so it has a "sliding" part.

So let's say it has three main sections:
-------
----------
-------

Now all you need to do is make that middle section slide to the left and hurray, your ship is now aiming the opposite direction with minimal animation needed. This helps a lot with the symmetry problem, and can inspire some neat designs.

The other option is just to make the rotation very fast and skip most of the frames. Actually, you only need to draw two! One facing directly at the screen and one facing 45degrees. Then it's just:
(1) facing right -> (2) facing 45 -> (3) facing screen -> (2) flipped facing 45 -> (1) flipped facing right
As long as there are only 1 or 2 frames in-between each image it will look alright.

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Hmm... that's definitely a thought!

I like the sliding component idea. I was already planning to rebuild the tank as a series of components so that you could shoot pieces off with differing effects on how the tank behaves (like immobilizing it, setting off fuel, etc). This could work in nicely...

...maybe the front could have a large blast shield with the turret mount, and then that rotates over the top while the rest of the chassis stays stationary. That would leave the components on the back vulnerable during the transition.

Thanks LockePick, that's definitly gotten the gears in my head turning.

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