You Guys Are Awesome

Whoa! We had over 60 entries for this contest! Narrowing it down was very difficult, as I was truly impressed by the diversity and caliber of ideas you guys came up with.  Thank you very much to everyone who submitted, your engagement and support means a lot to me.

There are more fantastic entries than can reasonably fit inside of this blog, so I've tried to prioritize showcasing entries that were the right combination of either:
- High game value (Entry actively improves the quality of the game)
- High-effort submissions (Entry shows real effort and thoughtfulness)
- Practicality (Entry could implemented realistically, with the resources available to me)
- Excellence in craft (Entry uses good design and/or artwork)

I'll show some of my favorites first, in no particular order, and announce the prize winners at the end.

Here we go...

Multi-Sword boss, by Via

"Concept: A melee boss with destroyable parts. Player's shots can push back some of its attacks, so it provides attack vs. attack head-on battle rather than evasion battle. Appearance: Several kinds of sword, and limbs to hold them. Kinda knight-ish, but shouldn't look too 'virtuous'. Maybe the sample shape is too finely divided.
Nature: Perform sword attack and normal bullets/lasers attack alternately. Sword attacks can be pushed back depending on player's firepower and knockback ability. When the sword is broken, the boss's health greatly decreases and each sword attack ends. If destroying all swords, the boss begins to explode and performs the final attack.
Warp out: It might be cool to rip the dimension wall when coming on. Chainsaw: Charge player while swinging it. Scattering sparks when shots hit the blade may be great for the sake of a player's feeling.
Whip Sword: A sword that gets longer unrealistically. Reflect at the edges of the screen toward player. The attack will be interrupted when the screen is filled enough."

This is a genuinely well thought out boss fight, gorgeously illustrated, and artfully executed. While it would be a lot of work for a team this small, there are many fun and stylish elements here which could be adapted for Nova Drift. I can absolutely see creating a slightly streamlined version of this guy.

Scavenger, by LinkLetter

"- Name: Scavenger
- Small, fast moving ship that shows up after large swarms to pick up the pieces for recycling purposes.  No true combat capabilities of their own, but a potentially troublesome foe, as they speed around space collecting neglected XP.  Once cleanup is complete, they quickly leave, robbing the player of potentially precious resources.
- Elite/Champion versions use the "banked" XP in some way, either as a stronger hull, bigger shield, etc.
The overall concept was similar to Space Invaders' or Asteroids UFO enemy: fast moving/high value target.  Also gives the player a little more incentive to try and actually collect XP.  Losing it to the void is one thing, losing it to the enemies?  That's rough buddy."

I think Nova Drift could really use more moments like this. Unexpected, rare encounters that incite quick thinking and potential rewards. I like the idea that it powers itself up by the EXP stolen, perhaps "spending" it on one big attack before fleeing with its illicit bounty.  

There's also potential for enemies like this to fill the "metal slime" trope, providing a big reward if you kill them before they flee.

Armored Cargo Trains, by scouttea

"Protected Cargo trains. Regular cargo trains, but each segment has a chance of being upgraded (depending on Common/Elite/Champion). Some Upgrades (in no particular order): Celestial wake (tail segment only): leaves behind a deadly wake. Station Omega laser: periodically actives a laser beam on both sides similarly to the Station omega boss. Juggernaut rapid fire: shoots out small projectiles in quick succession aimed at the player. Hive spawner: spawns Scatter drones or other enemies."

Variant or dangerous cargo trains has been a popular request over the years Nova Drift has been in development. This is the first I've seen the individual segments rolling randomly from a set of possibilities. Interesting. This would also allow other rare variants, such as versions that use a chain of exclusively one type of variant.

Another interesting element could be that these trains are "docile" until attacked, while their rewards are improved and their defenses are genuinely risky.

Mandala, by John Solaris

"Normal: Has a simple circular shape, approximately the size of a Vanguard. Creates an unbounded number of concentric burning rings around itself, starting at a radius around twice that of the champion Eclipse's, then an extra ring whose radius is the previous ring's plus around twice the player's length. Each ring has four openings at the cardinal directions of the Mandala, twice the width of the player, which can be safely passed through. The normal Mandala will create faint harmless indicators of where the rings will show up, and the indicators become real burning rings a few seconds later; the Mandala will not move or rotate when the rings are up. The rings persist for ~10 seconds before disappearing, after which the Mandala will slowly move and rotate for a few seconds before starting the cycle again.

Elite: Has a square shape that encloses the normal variant's circular shape. Instead of circular rings, it creates concentric squares, with openings at each square's corners. After creating the squares, each square will slowly move outward, and a new innermost square is conjured whenever there is enough room. The elite variant otherwise behaves identically to the normal variant.

Champion: Has two concentric squares of the same size that enclose the normal variant's circular shape, rotated 90 degrees relative to each other so that they form an eight-pointed star. It now creates concentric eight-pointed stars around itself, with openings at four of each star's points. Unlike the normal and elite variants, the champion Mandala will never stop conjuring its burning shapes. It will slowly move and rotate, and its eight-pointed stars will move and rotate along with it, all the while slowly expanding like the elite variant's.

All Mandala variants are defenseless against anything inside the area of its innermost burning shape. This enemy is meant to be tough at range but easy up close. No more than one should spawn at a time."

This sounds very visually interesting, and it also serves to solve quite a few problems. Nova Drift has plenty of ways to punish players at close range, and few to reward the strategy. Additionally, more sources of enemy burn damage serve as a reliable means to challenge even the most dominant builds, since nothing hard-counters it.

Drillers, by MaxTheMurdererV2

"My third submission, the Drillers! These enemies hide inside of asteroids and can come either when the asteroid is destroyed or when it remains on the field for too long. They fire their drills as homing missiles and even pursue the player afterwards."

This is clever and fun. I'd like to see it as a rarer, more surprising encounter than the creator's intention, though. That way there is always the consideration of a possible ambush, which could be made quite dangerous and rewarding. I also like that this gives more weight and risk to the choice of enabling the "Hostile Universe" game mode, which is currently decidedly beneficial to the player.

Marder, by Azele

"Enemy: Marder
Type: Explosive Rammer
Small ships that flash red as if they were going to explode. Their whole purpose is to ram your ship and deal hull damage. It is small enough to bypass shield and do 5-10% hull damage. Once killed they explode, causing a small aoe damage effect. If killed next to another Marder, that Marder explodes too and can cause a chain reaction."

I can see these being a lot of fun if executed well, especially with the changes I have planned for the new wave system, which allows for "interruptions" of small enemies during your larger battles. A tool like this can allow slower zoning enemies, like Juggernauts and Eclipses, to have a more meaningful role. Like Gyroguns, these guys would demand your immediate attention and reaction, with the bonus of a satisfying chain reaction. I imagine them emerging slowly, "enraging" with a flashy red effect, and then accelerating to a full charge. It might also be interesting to make them a small but fairly hard target, in order to reward burst damage and good aim. The chain reaction effect would allow the player to focus down only one of them to remain safe.

I likely wouldn't let them bypass your shield, though. Not unless a mechanic would be added to protect the likes of Omnishield from getting completely shut down by it.

Maybe they look like hammerheads. Cute little shark battering rams, filled with anger (and C4).

Large Warship, by Via

"Not too tough/intense enemy,  but a change of the pace. It's a relatively slow-paced time mainly of evasion patterns and attacking a stationary target with full firepower, and provides a giant-killing feeling. In other words, 'the later Omega'. Also, adding a different type visual to the game.
Appearance: This is just an example, but basically some sort of slender shape would be better in order not to disturb player's action too much. Probably dividing the shape a little more finely may be necessary.
Nature: Several encounter patterns are selected randomly, such as approaching from the front, passing through from behind, traversing with using screen warp, etc. Large warship has multiple attack types and uses randomly or depending on the positional relation from the player. Giving a certain amount of damage causes the explosion and interrupt the attacks (a kind of hit stop), so player ship with sufficiently high firepower may almost one-sidely destroy large warship. Since crash builds, especially Phantom Strike, shouldn't work as normal, some exceptional settings would be needed, I guess.
Attack types (examples) Main battery: Wipe the screen while firing a beam, based on the love with Omega. The core bared just before firing the beam is a weak point especially to crash damage. Probably some powerful crash builds can destroy large warship with a perfect timing single blow. Missile: High-speed, large missiles that track player with random deceptive movement. Because of their fragility, they're not so lethal, but rather mainly 'bullets to be broken' for aesthetics as with Juggernaut's one.
Photon (or some sort of energy) torpedo: It loosely tracks player and explodes like small Grenade after a moment when getting close enough. A type of attack to be lured and induced self-explosion.
Refractive laser: After showing energy lines first, shoot the actual lasers. Repeat it several times or wipe left and right while firing. Normal bullets: Since it's generally hard to use screen warp for this enemy, normal bullets shouldn't be so intense."

Wow! WOW.

I absolutely love the aesthetic of this thing, and it sounds like a blast to fight. Nova Drift's sprite-based nature means it would be a hell of a thing to actually implement (and I might need a small team in order to get it done!) but that doesn't stop it from being a great idea and an elegant design.

I think it would be possible to do something like this if the boss was "broken down" into repeatable sprite components that would more easily fit into 1-2 2048 x 2048 sprite sheets.

Spore, by Hobboth

"Comes into play like fast asteroid, it's an egg of a distant celestial being. Doesn't collide with enemies and their projectiles. Wraps screen and changes direction when hit. Has some crash damage.
Has a timer: - before X1 seconds it can be simply destroyed- during X1-X2 seconds after destruction it spawns normal enemy (certain or random, currently existing in game or some new)- during X2-X3 seconds after destruction it spawns elite version of enemy- after X3 seconds it destroys itself and spawns champion version of enemy."

I like this idea more the more I think about it. While Hobboth left it open ended what this enemy does once "hatched," I imagine the Champion version is a force to be feared. Leaving this thing alive to deal with whatever else you're tangling with could be an interesting decision.

I also appreciate that it helps to convey the biological nature of our antagonists, as well as their propensity for rapid growth and change.

Scytars, by Advent

10/10 arrow, thanks for the clarification.
"A Boss sextet designed to become less painful as the fight goes on, based on a common Bullet-hell pattern (a  C-shaped impenetrable wall of bullets that spawns offscreen, slowly encroaching and forcing the player to pass through the gap in the circle) Scytars pick a random point roughly on the middle of the screen, and spawn offscreen, tangentially accelerating towards said point, until they meet in formation. Once in formation, they perform the following actions:
-Rotate clockwise
-Fire railgun-like shots outwards, frequently enough that some dodging is required
-Fire rapidly decaying plasma balls inside the hexagon, similarly to Station Omega. After a full rotation, the Scytars will dash offscreen, and pick another random point.
The idea is to have a boss that requires constant movement and rewards single-target attacks, since once a Scytar is destroyed, it becomes much easier to avoid getting trapped inside the hexagon, at the start of the attack.
*The boss would benefit from a high HP pool or movement speed, but I leave the stats to Chim. *Could be demoted to a common enemy, if it feels too meh for a boss. *Art by me, with help of @scouttea  and @Boggy"

Iiiiinteresting... This is a "hazard pattern" the game does not yet have. Like the Mandala idea, it provides an interesting new way of "zoning" the board.
I wonder what happens if you get trapped inside?

Asteroid Station, by Voltorn Elda

"This boss will take place in the middle of the screen similar to Station Omega, but will remain in motion, flying in circle motions around the middle of the screen. (It would be similar in size to a spitfire or scion boss, perhaps a 'bit' smaller)
Through the use of special technology, this boss is capable of summoning/spawning/attracting a comet rain (the one where the comets fly across the screen). The longer the boss stays alive, the more frequent and larger this attack becomes. Asteroid-Station will be IMMUNE to damage from these comets (to avoid the boss blowing himself up)
It's second attack involves the boss's constant circling movement around the center. Similar to Scion he will spawn a singularity (though smaller in size), as if his constant circling caused this black hole to appear. The player will have to worry about getting dragged in for both contact with this mini-singularity and the boss itself will deal some hefty damage (See it as if the boss has the hullbreaker body and deals crash damage)
The final attack will spawn 4 'singularity mines' similar to the 'Champion Minelayer' in each corner of the screen. These mines will have a bit more health and will deal less damage, for their main purpose is to affect the player's movement.
Now the main thing about this boss is that the spawning of the comets (1st attack) will be a constant threat 'because' of the movement altering attacks (2nd and 3rd atack, which both will alternate). While avoiding the spawned singularity you'll have to keep an eye out for those comet-showers, and if you can't destroy the singularity mines in time, their 'pull' will make it harder aswell to avoid those comets.
EXTRA: The 'spawning' of this boss might be even cooler if it came 'out' of a singularity in the middle of the screen (second attack) as if it 'warped through', to really showcase it's immunity to the singularity. It 'controls' the hazards of space."

This is a well thought-out battle. I think it could be made even cooler by enhancing comets such that they're liable to be redirected or "sling-shot" by the singularity, and maybe even able to enter a stable orbit.

Also: I would like to have this boss's power in real life, please. I promise I will be responsible with it.

Channeller, by Advent

"A ring-like enemy that concentrates energy to create a dimensional tear.
Normal: Charges up and creates a growing Vortex (like Eclipse).
Elite: Charges up and creates a static Vortex with a gravitational pull.
Champion: Charges up and creates a smaller version of a Singularity."

I enjoy the radial design of this, and the dagger-like animation looks cool. I'm curious if the attacks would extend beyond the boundaries of the boss.

I imagine most people's first inclination was that it would attempt to CHOMP the player (I know mine was!) just looks so bitey!

Sponge (working title), by Mothra

"A slowish enemy with an absorption field which activates to catch the first bit of damage it takes. While this field is active, the ship is invulnerable. The field's duration extends the more the player blasts away at this enemy, up to perhaps a certain time limit. Burn damage (esp from Dying Star) has a reduced effect on the field. Little shots from drones do not extend field duration. Aside from this shield, the sponge has a rather plain forward blaster similar to the player's starting weapon, which may or may not activate while the ship is 'blocking'. Elite & Champion variations of the Sponge have Rebuke. The intent of this enemy is to punish weapon builds and all-offense playstyles to some extent."

This one got me thinking. I've known for a while we needed a better class of Barrier enemy. While this idea is solid in its own right, I think there's great potential in combining it with an already-dangerous late-wave enemy.

Mothra suggests Rebuke, but I'm also imagining a barrier which visibly heats up as it absorbs damage, from a "cool" color to red, to yellow, to white hot, and then unleashing a face-melting attack.

You could do a lot of work with an enemy like this that protects some designated DPS ships positioned behind it. Another great candidate for the upcoming rework, and a great way to ease up on the screen-spam without making the game any easier than it needs to be.

Cobra (boss), by scouttea

"Why'd have to be snakes, a mix between serpent and snappers phases
Dash: rotates/moves towards to player, when the boss is facing the player accelerate and keep moving in a straight line, until the player is hit or the boss missed the player.
Constrict: try to encircle the player be moving around him and slightly towards him, during this phase the "wings" of the main head do something cool (idk yet), this phasetake a certain amount of time.
Extra: this boss (similar to serpents) can be split into multiple pieces, the heads of the new pieces don't have "wings"."

I had to show off the artwork on this one. <3

Release the Kraken, by scouttea

"Release the Kraken
Behavior: tentacles, these passively drift around trying to (roughly) spread evenly across the screen.
When they touch a player they try to encircle them.
Main body, behaves similar to a snapper, (however I'd swap the elites snapper laser with something else.)"

Cool cool cool. I don't have the inverse kinematics tech for this sort of thing just yet, but I'm looking into it. An enemy that could physical impede and manipulate the player would be scary indeed.

Displacer, by Remni

"A tough agile enemy that gets aggressive."

I like the potential of this enemy to spark genuine fear in players without requiring total screen lock-down in the way Champion Celestials do. An enemy that can cloak and teleport behind you could have some serious presence. Tentacles just make things worse. The good news is that I think I could code this sort of tentacle without needing the inverse kinematics / bone system I mentioned above, provided that the "animation" was sort of a symmetrical and predictable arc, which I think could work here.

Also: I think this guy needs the ability to actually slow or halt you with its grab.

Void Mimic, by Boggy

"An enemy waiting for you in the darkest depths of the universe. Going kind-of all out on our allotted complexity here"

You gotta fight your shadow self, right? Combining this with THE VOID mod is a clever choice, and I like the mechanical interaction.

Stronghold, by HaveYouSeenMySon

"Stronghold, an enemy that basically has the shielded constructs mod. It will give a shield to every enemy in its radius, the shield has a shared health bar between all shielded enemies, much like shielded constructs. The enemy itself does not benefit from a shield. This enemy has a railgun turret that can shoot in a 180 degrees radius, so it has blind spots.
The normal version of this enemy is somewhat fast, and it can give its shield in a diameter of about one fourth of the screen length. It has one railgun in front. It will try to stick to other enemies.
Elites have two railguns on either side, eliminating most blind spots. Their shield effect  is half the screen length in diameter and because they are decently slower than normal strongholds, they'll try to stick to the center of the screen where they'd have most effect. In addition, they also come with three defense drones that orbit the stronghold. These drones benefit from the stronghold's shields.
Lastly, champions are barely mobile but always cover most of the screen with a diameter of about 1.5 screen lengths. They have 4 railguns and 5 defense drones that are in rampart formation. These drones try to position themselves between you and the stronghold, thus encouraging you to constantly move around the stronghold and be under fire from its railguns  Shield durability is also stronger on elites and even stronger on champion."

I agree that shield-projecting enemies are something the game needs. This is especially true once they're capable of working together in formations / phalanxes. Again, its a good solution to increase the game difficulty without the current need to spam the screen with bullets and bodies.

Boss Chariot, by HaveYouSeenMySon

"This boss is made out of 8 horses that pull the chariot.  The chariot is a fast boss but its speed is dependent on the amount of horses it has. Horses can be destroyed to slow the boss down and eventually bring it to a stop but killing horses will anger "peta activists". For every horse destroyed, two activists will come from outside the screen. Activists are small to medium sized ships with a close ranged pulse attack.   The chariot will try to circle around the player. It can throw two spears at a time, deploy an energy field that drastically lowers movement speed, like a net. And every now and then the chariot will ride horizontally across the screen and shoot out lasers from its sides trying to ram the player."

Hahahahahahahahahaha. Ohhhh man...

This is a cute idea and genuinely funny. "Ensnaring" effects are something the game could certainly use! If there's one thing that "Wild Metamorphosis" taught us, it's that for some builds, constant player speed is its own defense.

Quasar, by TheCerpent

"Following on the relative success of the Saucer, which was surprisingly durable considering how easy and inexpensive it was to produce en masse, development turned toward a variant of the Saucer with powerful warp drive capabilities to allow it to arrive swiftly and forcibly into battle. The resulting ship was dubbed the Quasar.
Slightly larger than its precursor, Quasars are called to deploy into enemy territory as literal shock troops. The Quasar's increased mass, coupled with the velocities it can achieve in warp travel, cause it to arrive with a powerful shockwave as its velocity dampers kick in for a sudden stop. Quasars are also equipped with Flak cannons for point defense in case any enemy forces have survived its arrival; however, the sheer mass of the Quasar inhibits its speed and maneuverability once it has arrived at its destination.
Elite and Champion Quasars, however, were expanded to include warp portal technology, sending them back to their origin fleet for a return trip. It does require some time to charge this transportation, though Champions have improved capacitors to increase recharge time.
Mechanically, these ships appear in the background field before an indicator arrives onscreen to warn of the impending Pulse-style burst. I'm thinking something similar to what the Champion Celestial's auto-mine explosions look like as a warning signal. Elites and Champions would periodically portal back to the background and burst back onto the field (Champions, of course, doing so more frequently)."

Enemies warping in from the background, after telegraphing their presence (and even warping back and forth!) is a big improvement on an already fun idea. Nice.

Drum Roll!

Due to how varied the strengths of the entries are, I've decided to award 8 prizes! It was a tough call, and a close one, but these are the entries which I felt contained the right alchemy of either:
- High game value (Entry actively improves the quality of the game)
- High-effort submissions (Entry shows real effort and thoughtfulness)
- Practicality (Entry could implemented realistically, with the resources available to me)
- Excellence in craft (Entry uses good design and/or artwork)

Prize Winners will receive a Pixeljam Games collection, an extra 2 Nova Drift keys to give away, and their name in the "Special Thanks" portion of the credits.

Honorable Mentions (everyone else featured in this blog post) will receive one extra Nova Drift key for a friend.

Prize Winners

Remni - for "Displacer"
MaxTheMurderer - for "Driller"
Advent - for "Syctars"
Mothra - for "Sponge"
Scouttea - for "Armoured Cargo Trains"
Via - for "Large Warship" and "Melee Boss"
John Solaris - for "Mandala"
Azele - for "Marder"

Honorable Mentions

Hobboth - for "Spore"
LinkLetter - for "Scavenger"
Advent - for "Chaneller"
Scouttea - for "Cobra" and "Kraken"
Boggy - for "Void Mimic"
HaveYouSeenMySon - for "Stronghold" and "Boss Chariot"
Cerpent - for "Quasar"
Voltorn Elda - for "Asteroid Station"

If you are a either a prize winner or an honorable mention, please contact me directly if you do not receive your prize within 24 hours.

Thank you to everyone who submitted to the contest, I truly appreciate your dedication to making Nova Drift even more powerful! Whatever you do, keep creating, and keep the ideas flowing!

The Fine Print

I'd like to be clear that if your entry was selected, it may not be used in its entirety, or it could be altered or repurposed by Chimeric. Placing in the contest does not obligate Chimeric to create anything, though it is likely you will see an aspect of your idea in the game in some form.

Thanks for Reading

Nova Drift is a premium game which regularly receives free updates. I developed it mostly alone, out of my own pocket. If you'd like to support me and the game's ongoing development, you can always BMC!:

Thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm. Please join our community and share your thoughts on Nova Drift on the Discord. Happy Drifting!



Jeffrey Nielson