After some iteration, I decided on an artistic direction that would involve pixel art in order to recall some of the classic 2D shooter games such as Galaga. While I wanted to recall some parts of this space shooter game, I also wanted to introduce a new background and also to give more lighthearted emotion to the gameplay.
After deciding on an artistic direction, it was time to get into asset design. I decided to create more motion through characters that with faces and animated sprites for different emotions. Creating small animations of the characters gave the game much more depth. So, I created a fluttering bee to be the main player's buddy. In addition, all of the characters, including the enemy spiders and birds, as well as the moving sun were given minor sprite animations.
The technical components of the game were continuous iteration with playtesting from various classmates who played the game without any instruction. These playtests were invaluable for the game design in adjusting the difficulty of the game. The first round of iterations resembled a very simple basic shooter game, such as creating enemies, shooting at them using the space bar, and being able to move right and left.
The next step was to programmatically generate enemies to create "levels" of difficulty. The birds and spiders have different attack motions to give variance. Sprinkled in between these difficult levels are water droplets add to "life" points to give the player encouragement. During one round of playtesting, I received feedback that there needed to be more obvious signifiers for when damage occurred. So I then added a screen shake and audio to signify that the main player was hurt.
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