Tips on creating enemies

By Invisibledoogey
Copied from ProjectSpark.com

I’ve actually recently had a lot of fun building enemy brains. You can take a look at Dark Brain – Enemies. If you have all the DLC I used in that showcase level, you can feel free to use all of the enemies in your own games. The twin supernovas it might be hard to bring over to your level since they reference so many custom props, but the shooting spaceman and brute grenadier are easy enough to take.

As for my tips on creating your own enemy, here are a few things I would say:

  • Raycasting. The most game-breaking thing about an enemy is their inability to understand their surroundings. The best way to accomplish this is to have an understanding of raycasting. Mescad has a starter tutorial on it
  • Jared with TD also gives a semi in-depth look at raycasting around the 30 minute mark in his video The most important thing is looking at an enemy’s raycast forward (and setting the length of that). Once you are looking at that then you can say when an enemy has a raycast hit in its forward direction then it jumps. This allows it to jump over obstacles. You could also make it turn so it moves in another direction to get around the obstacle. For instance, with my floating spaceman enemy, I have him moving away from you while he’s firing. Then as soon as he has a raycast hit backwards, he moves towards a position to the left or right of you, strafing. This makes him feel dynamic, like he has a plan while moving.
  • Custom Sound/Effects. If you really want your enemy to feel cool, every special move of theirs or attack you should pair with cool sounds and effects. If an enemy punches you and knocks you back, that’s boring. If they punch you and knock you back with a rock explosion and a crunching sound, it feels powerful. If you check out Dark Brain – Enemies, feel those supernovas when they slam in the ground to try and squash you. I think they feel powerful. But if you were to strip that away, they’re just bouncing of the ground and moving back to their original position. Playing with custom effects and sounds can also help you with your character design. For instance, you really like the look of the stone explosion. Okay, then your enemy should have stone fists.
  • Attack Variation. Your enemy should have at least two attacks or some variations on the first attack. These don’t have to be two very unique mechanics. But for instance an enemy may shoot at you with a bow when you’re far away, but as soon as you get in spitting distance, they pull out a sword and rush at you. Also the Random Number Generator is your friend. Experiment with it. I use it for a fast-paced shooter enemy, so you never know how fast it’s going to be firing at you.
  • Modifier Experimentation. Every attack can be broken down into melee or ranged. No matter what the mechanic is, it’s an attack from a distance or close up. How you make it unique is their attack process. When using the shoot and throw tiles, really experiment with all of your modifiers. For instance, [with gravity] can cause cool looking attacks where things are lobbed in arcs. Speed duration can make a shoot mechanic feel so different. The melee attacks may not have as much modifier variety, but the difference between light, medium and heavy give you some different looking attack animations to help flesh the bad guys out.

Making enemies can be really fun and should be a thing you can go crazy experimenting with. Typically, I first create my main character and decide their mechanics. Then before I build anything else, I start playing around with the enemies. And I constantly jump back and forth from test mode to see how the look and feel. Experiment early and often at the beginning of creating your game. It’s a lot easier to experiment then and you’ll have a blast finding some unintended outcomes that might make your enemy even cooler.

Anyways, hope all of that helps. Now I’m going to go make a few more enemies, because this has gotten me more excited.

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