Birth of a new queen, part 4

birth of a new Queen

So back to working on a new Boss enemy! In part one I designed it, part two I built it, part three I mostly-rigged it, which means it’s time to animate it and get it working in game!

So I have the spline IK working for the dress – that way I can animate the strands by moving control points around. In practice, since there’s 13 strands, I’m doing a lot of group rotations, by rotating the first ring outwards, then the next ring inwards, I can get some nice jellyfish style flexing. The problem is keeping the dress pinned to the ground, so I decide to do a quick and dirty IK-FK slider for the last control point.


the slider in the right viewpoint is wired to adjust the weights of 26 constraints


it was either like this or on the back of a napkin

It won’t stick the dress to the ground completely, but it means I can move the pelvis around and the dress will sway instead of staying rigidly in place. The ability to switch back to FK is needed for making the character drop in, turn into a ball, and spin around to attack.

So now I really need to start animating! I start with a list of animations, then end up scribbling it up as a flowchart to make sure the boss battle I have in mind can take place. Like Embryo, the Queen will be a six stage boss fight, but she will turn into a ball every other wave. For the other waves she’ll stand up and throw bullets and things at the player and spin attack them when they get too close.

her special ability is escaping from awkward conversations

I start with the idle animation because most things are going to connect to it. It’s just a basic breathe, but I need to get a pose I’m happy with because it’ll become the basis of everything else. Next I animate turning into a ball (Idle -> Ball), returning from ball (Ball -> Idle), spawn in (offscreen -> Idle) and melee attack (Idle -> Idle).

At this point I’m exporting them as I go and testing they play correctly in Unity. I have a simple test script to string animations together so I can see what things look like in sequence (spawn -> turn into ball -> return from ball -> melee)

I also figure out that by switching the constraints off for the Sphere collider, I can roll the boss around like a beachball! I proceed to do this for ten minutes. (this counts as a break I guess?)

Coding goes a little slow because I’m refactoring the enemies as I go, but it needs to be done and will pay off in the long run. The first thing I get working is her curling up into a ball and summoning a bunch of wasps to swirl around her like a protective wall. When she’s balled up she’s invulnerable and you have to take out the wasps to force her out of her shell so it’s a big part of her fight. Originally I intended to leave phase one as her just sitting there but once it’s in game it felt too static, so I get her rolling after the closest player. First try, I had the movement speed too high and I couldn’t actually move fast enough to escape her brutal ring of wasps. Terrifying, but possibly a little much.

more like DRAMA Queen!

With a much lower speed, she’s feeling pretty good! The wasps just pour of the the sky to replenish the ones you kill and when you’ve killed enough she pops out of the ball and stands there. I hook up her melee attack and it looks suitably vicious. I’ve added a new death impulse setting so not only does she kill you, she sends your body flying backwards. I figure the player should have learnt not to go near the boss from Embryo, so this is okay.

I don’t have an animation for Shutdown or Death, and it’s sort of holding me up, so I head back into MAX to block something in.

With the Shutdown animations hooked up you can now stun her with the blue pickup and with her Death animation, the stage can be completed meaning she’s playable from start to finish! Now I say ‘playable’ in the loosest sense, she just stands still during her un-balled phases, but it gives me a framework to tackle the rest of it from and the wasp sections are already looking really promising.

That’s enough for tonight, I’ll continue with her attack patterns tomorrow. For now, here are a few very work in progress screenshots!


pretty sure that’s final title

everyone likes wasps!

This is going to kill so many playtesters


COMING UP NEXT POST : many many bullets!