Arachnotron Post-Mortem Part 4: Bosses

I love making boss-battles. That’s one thing I’ve really learned, working on this project. The way it brings together art, design, and programming really makes it fun to work with all parts of the team to create an awesome finale to a part of the game. Our lead artist seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, too. He and I both put a ton of work into getting all three bosses working. I still think the first boss is the best one, though.

Because we wanted the boss battles to be grand Shadow of the Colossus style battles, with the player climbing all over them and dismantling them piece by piece, the shape of the boss had to be a close collaboration between my design work and the art. The first boss’s shape came from the design of the fight first, and was later made to look more like a robotic bug, and then the design adapted to fit that more. The second boss, however, was more designed based on the art. We knew we wanted a millipede monorail to end up as the boss, so I was more constrained in the design of that one. Because of the limited time we had to plan, and how it was animated and pieced together because of that, I wasn’t able to make use of the wall-climbing mechanics nearly as much as I wanted to for that fight. As with many aspects of this project, I would’ve wanted a much longer planning phase to make sure the design used the game’s mechanics well and also made good use of the art.

The final boss was created mostly by the lead programmer, after an intense planning session between me, him, and the lead artist. It was meant to use abilities more similar to the player’s own, and be more of a environment and evasion focused fight than the other big robots that were the earlier bosses. It was surprisingly successful, considering it needed a lot more time in the oven. We barely got it working on time, let alone tested and improved. It was pretty fun to adapt the leg-animation system I built to an NPC though, I’d love to learn more technical animation at some point.

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