My focus for this project was on the game's combat systems. This has involved working closely with design to examine the current state of combat in LEGO® games and determine which areas we wished to retain, which areas we wished to modify and of course new combat mechanics we wished to add. A preview of some of the game's combat can be seen in this trailer for the game.
When approaching combat development for this game, we wanted to focus on a few core areas: improving the accuracy and control when in combat, empowering the player and providing rewarding and satisfying moments in combat. We were able to achieve these through a combination of analysing the underlying combat code within the engine to identify potential improvements and also through the creation of some new bespoke combat mechanics.
Some of the major changes made to the underlying system involved modifying how target evaluation is peformed and adding additional design controls to the existing combat mechanics. These tweaked mechanics would find their way into the game in the form of the Arts of "Striking Rabbit", "Rushing Boar", "Swooping Hawk" and "Floating Butterfly." These combat attacks would tie into the new combo system in the game designed to empower players and provide additional in-game rewards based on combat performance. Some of the new features that were brought to the game were the Arts of "Skyward Dragon" and "Stinging Bee": devastating finishing moves that gave players the opportunity to build up combo points in a visually spectacular manner.
A major change I also implemented was rewriting the core "Goon" AI tasks that enemy characters use when in combat. Enemy AI use a new weighted position evaluation system when setting themselves up in combat based on a large number of factors, all of which could be controlled by design. Special enemy behaviours (seen on the mini-boss style enemies throughout the game) were all created and designed to be attached to these AI tasks in a modular manner. This gave design the ability to build any combination of enemy behaviours with no additional code support required.