Boss
Caterpillar

 

"Boss Caterpillar is a 3rd person action adventure boss fight, with a focus on movement and positioning.

Based on the gameplay of Nier: Automata."

Specifications 

Developed in Unreal Engine 4, with four weeks of development time.

Workload Included:

  • Game design (3Cs and Boss).

  • Boss model and animations.

  • Scripting (Player and Boss)

  • Level design.

Pre-production

 

The first thing I did was develop the player character, as the player dictates what the boss is capable of.

I had a list of limitations:

  • Time:

    • I had around 6 weeks.​

  • Scale:

    • The boss should be biiig.​

  • Telegraphing:

    • Everything Boss related was going to be made by me. As I hadn't done much animation befor I need to be smart about what I make.​

After juggling some ideas such as giant spider or a scorpion. I decided that the caterpillar had the most benefits. 

Scope is resonable, the length would support scale and I could probably animate it.

Player Character 3Cs

I like character move-sets that are versatile, but also quick to understand and get into. 

 

Using few inputs that then interact with each other is an efficient way to build complexity while keeping the knowledge the player has to learn in order to play low.

The player can move around, jump, attack as well as a special ability in "Ice Block".

The Ice Block ability changes depending on the players state:

  • Standing:

    • Creates a statue under the player elevating them slightly.​

  • Moving:

    • Player does a dash leaving a statue behind them.

  • Airborne:

    • A single dash in the air. Also drops a statue that falls and then smashes on the ground.

Players can also hit a statue launching a projectile.

The Boss (Phase 1)

 

Caterpillar is set up in two phases.

The first phase introduces three different attacks, while the second phase expands upon them.

Bullet Pulse


Laser

Bullet Spread

 

Boss Attacks

 

Each move is meant to challenge the player in a new way.

 

  • Bullet Pulse:

    • forces the player to jump.

  • Bullet Spread:

    • has the player strafe.

  • Laser:

    • Is about timing. Players need to dash at the last moment.

    • Laser will also destroy pillars if the player hides for to long making sure the fight is always engaging.

Arena 1

 

The Arena is littered with Ice pillars that the player can hide behind allowing them to approach the tutorial at their own pace.

ScreenShot00112.webp

The Boss (Phase 2)

 

Caterpillar is set up in two phases.

The first phase introduces three different attacks, while the second phase expands upon them.


Old Attacks Enhanced

 

The movement of the caterpillar adds a new layer of unpredictability to the old attacks.

Bullet pulse in particular now spawns from each body segment. Players now need to consider the position of the boss when jumping.

Missile


Head Slam

Leap of Faith

 

New Attacks

 

The Phase two moves hadto feel bigger than the phase one attacks.

   

  • Missile:

    • spawns from each body segment and homes in on the player. Missiles are deadly up close but approachable from a distance.

  • Leap of faith:

    • closes the gap between boss and player.

  • Head slam:

    • pushes the player further away if they are close for too long.

Attack RNG

The boss attacks are random with a set of parameters. When Randomising a move I check for:

  • Previous Attack:

    • If the move was the previously used attack so the same move will never be used twice in a row

  • Spectacle:

    • If the move is “Spectacle” for example the LEAP OF FAITH takes a long time and should therefore occur less often.

  • Distance:

    • The distance between the player and the boss

​​

Stateatadnblew_PNG.webp
CaterpillarTree_PNG.webp

Arena 2

 

Phase 2 starts with a transition where the caterpillar leaps out of the ground. smashing the arena in the process. The pillars from before remain. These pillars are destroyed quickly, I wanted to give the feel that there was no longer anywhere to hide.

ScreenShot00115.png

 

During the second phase players would often dash towards the camera to avoid attacks and eventually hit the wall.

I surrounded the arena with a darker blue so that once the player reaches the edge they would know that they're approaching the end of the arena.

This worked well removing this kind of behaviour in all later play tests.

The caterpillar also stays in the light blue area to try and keep the player closer to the centre.

Insights and closing thoughts

 

Boss Caterpillar was my favorit Portfolio piece to work on. It was really satisfying to see my theories on player and enemy design in practice and the results were better then I was expecting.

My main take away is how important context is to enemy design. It's incredibly important that the aesthetic design of the enemy matches what their abilities are. Players will use real world and previous reference to figure out what a creature is capable of and it's powerful to draw from this.