Dev Logs

Making Boss Battles More Interesting

I face two challenges when making boss battles. The first is handling difficulty. The second is making the boss fun to fight against.

This can surely take up a lot of design and development time. One of my latest boss battles (image above) took about a month to figure out and develop. I had tested a variety of boss behaviors before finally settling on what I’m currently using.

I’m no expert and it’s not like I want BBG to be compared to some of the more well-polished games with amazing AI… but there are a couple of valuable tips I picked up that could help you if you are trying to put together a fairly simple game as well.

  1. Bosses do not need to react too intelligently to player actions – This is probably the most obvious point. In many games, enemies/bosses can attack and defend. In a simple game, having the enemy just attack is more than enough.You can get creative on how you do this. And depending on what you are going for… you might be able to fake a defense reaction.
  2. Giving your boss multiple parts can be a good substitute for complex State Machine AI. – A lot of classic games had this. A boss would have multiple body parts which you shoot some kind of projectile at you. Destroy it and you have one less dangerous situation to worry about. When you are down to the last body part… then the boss goes on like a rampage of sorts. This is quite sufficient for a good battle I think.
  3. The environment can be part of the boss’ danger – We don’t always think of this, but the environment in which you are fighting the boss can add to the challenge of the battle. It is an overlooked gem. But of course, you have to plan it well. You don’t want to frustrate the player too much.

Well… that’s it. I will probably share some other tips I come across as I continue to develop the game.

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