Recently Nova Drift has had a flood of new players, many of which discovered Nova Drift via the YouTuber "DangerouslyFunny". If you're new to the game, WELCOME! With so many new players, it seems like a great time to talk about what's coming up for Nova Drift.
Even though the game has received dozens of updates, there's still a lot more coming. Right now you might think of Nova Drift as a big juicy caterpillar enclosed within a chrysalis, waiting to emerge resplendent and glorious. In other words, big gameplay changes are coming, especially to the late-game, along with new challenges to face. As things evolve, you'll need to reset your expectations and adjust to an all new meta-game!
First... ROADMAP REVIEW. We're in Phase 1 and the current focus is on Enemies 2.0 and the Wave Overhaul.
What is Enemies 2.0?
Enemies 2.0 is a series of updates planned to drastically overhaul the wave system and the enemies you face. This includes how they enter the world and interact with each other. Also, many enemies will be reworked, and many new ones will be introduced. It will be released in many small parts. Beyond raising the bar on enemies, the overhaul aims to improve Nova Drift's variety, scaling, and fairness, while emphasizing tactical gameplay, improving build versatility, and reducing general chaos and confusion.
Until these updates begin to roll out, you can consider the current wave encounters (especially the very late game encounters) to be place holders for what's coming.
Enemies 2.0 Progress
One of the more common complaints about Nova Drift is dying to late-game confusion. Player feedback indicated that things were feeling cramped as waves get into the several hundreds the screen begins to fill and with bullets and explosions. Also, the more tactical enemy formations that we wanted to create required more room to work correctly. We needed a way to control the battlefield size. To mitigate these concerns we added camera zoom functionality allowing us to pan out and view a larger battlefield. In future versions, the game will gradually zoom out as waves advance, or zoom way out for certain big encounters. We also added shiny new parallaxing starfields.
In order to make the zoom changes super-noticeable we revamped Station Omega. It was made 70% larger, much bulkier, and more visually interesting. We also gave all of its visual effects a once-over and added some new ones. It's more or less the same fight, but now it is easier to access its vulnerable nodes. Most bosses will similarly receive a revision before we're done and a few will receive drastic overhauls.
Enemy weak-points allow us to assign segmented enemies multipliers to player damage. So far, this has been applied to Eclipse cores, Station Omega nodes, and the center piece of the Warbringer. When you hit these parts with projectiles or crash into them, they will take double damage to that segment. To compensate, we're increasing the hull of certain parts of these enemies. This mechanic could alternately be used to create armored enemy segments that take reduced damage.
Most bosses and many enemies will be overhauled over the course of the Enemies 2.0 updates. Additionally, many brand new enemies and alternate boss encounters will be introduced. Here's a preview of some of them:
Meet the "Bulwark": This biomechanical titan utilizes enemy formations to control the battlefield. Its barrier heats up the more damage it takes, precipitating a proportional retaliation when the player is in range. The heat of the barrier dissipates over time and can be determined by its color. Rear attackers must endure or avoid its fiery propulsion. Destroying its thrusters limits its maneuverability and propulsion.
New enemy formation behaviors will also be introduced with the next update, allowing them to trail, orbit, flank, form rank and file, or protect other enemies! Pictured in formation with the Bulwark is the new "Hammerhead" foe.
Meet the "Tracer": This technologically advanced being is capable of controlling the battlefield and cooperating with other Tracers. They have several attacks: A slow moving, searing orb of plasma and a fiery, fast moving flame shot. Two Tracers can combo by shooting the other's plasma orb with their flame shot, resulting in an explosion and a fan of splinter-flame-shots! Flame shots leave lingering burning trails behind, so it's advisable to prevent this. Additionally, some Tracers are able to spawn with a hardened shield, protecting them from alpha strikes. The shield deactivates as they route power to their attacks, rendering them vulnerable. Often encountered supporting a larger ally, Tracers are troublesome foes.
Meet the "Hammerhead": With zero self-preservation instincts and bellies full of highly explosive materials, Hammerhead swarms demand swift action. A surprisingly hard target, Hammerheads take quite a beating before exploding violently and creating a deadly chain-reaction with every other Hammerhead in the area. While not terribly fast, they're good at limiting your positioning and are capable of short bursts of speed, ramming you with their reinforced hulls.
Meet the "Cherub": Rarely spawning alone, Cherubs exalt their allies by providing either buffs, recovery, or protection. While not terribly robust, they are capable of constantly regenerating their hull and the hull of allies around them. They're known to actively avoid gunfire, sometimes taking shelter behind enemy heavies.
The backbone of enemies 2.0, enemy formations allow us to assign enemies certain behaviors while their leader exists. Currently there are 6 formations:
- Trail - Enemies follow their leader in a line
- Orbit - Enemies orbit their leaders in an ellipse
- Flank - Enemies flank their leaders at a certain angle
- Rank and File - Enemies line up rank and file behind their leader
- Support - Enemies focus on healing and supporting their leader instead of nearby allies
- Protect - Enemies will place themselves between you and their leader
An enemy in a formation that loses its leader will resume normal behavior. Also, formations can be set up to disengage on a timer, or even in a cascading pattern. These should really help spice up battles!
Quality of Life Changes and Balance
As with all of our updates, we'll continue improving the quality of the game. In addition to the usual Gear and Mod additions, here are some features you can look forward to:
- Borderless fullscreen mode
- Shockwave distortion visual effects (can be disabled in settings)
- Separate in-game leaderboards for Wild Metamorphosis and Standard play
- Player and enemy balance iteration
Discord Upgraded! Come Hang
We've got quite an active discord with a very chill and inclusive community. The dev team is also pretty active there. We recently upgraded the server to level 2 and opened some new channels like #ask-the-devs and #feedback. The latter allows you to submit feedback to a bot that lets players upvote or downvote the suggestion. I'm also quite proud of the #game-dev-help channel, which is a space for current and aspiring developers to learn and collaborate. So... come chat with us!
Want to help Nova Drift grow?
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Thanks for reading. Best wishes,