Why another shoot 'em up. Well, I suppose that the first reason is because we like the genre. We learnt a lot with our previous game Clash: Space Battle. It was our first game and we were limited because our own ignorance. Even if the game didn't sell well, we got back great feedback from our users and other game developers. We felt we could do way better with all the knowledge we had acquired so here we are once again.
We wanted to make a that could have everything we liked as long as it was fun. And we started with the story: a ten chapter story that will take the player along many places in the stars, looking for comrades. Not trying to conquer or win a war, but just fighting to survive one more day. After all, what can a single pilot do, right?
Players like to customize their avatars and we like it too. So as you play and unlock new avatars their parts are made available to any of your current avatars. You can choose main and accent color and the accent color doubles as lights for when it is dark. Also some game graphics change to adapt to you color choices. As your ship gets damaged the painting chips off so don't forget to repaint it.
Something we wanted to change in this game was weapon customization. In Clash we had one weapon and some customizable special skills. In Biotope we chose to use the traditional skill trees but we have created 4 different weapons, of which the player can use 3 at the same time and the special skill is built from their skill configuration.
During the prototype we tested many camera views and we saw that some were worked well in some situations while others worked better in different ones. This evolved into having different views in the same stage as part of the game flow. Now it's even better: the player can change the camera view (at almost any time) while playing. Use this as a tactical advantage to avoid dangerous shoots, find hidden bonus and even find secrets that open alternate paths. Some attacks can only be avoided by a well timed view change so be alert!
In Biotope we have dinamic weather conditions. The weather can and will change during a stage if the story requires it but it is really put to work at challenge stages. Weather adds a visual challenge to the player and that is how it is used. Yes you have beaten this story stage, but can you do it again with low light and limited visibility? Can you find and save the VIP in a sandstorm before she dies? Are you able to protect the refugees that flee under heavy artillery fire? Yes, heavy artillery fire counts as a weather condition :)