Cosmos Defenders: Unconventional Heroes Against Chaotic Aliens

Posted on Tuesday 9th January, 2018

Ludum Dare

Cosmos Defenders’ idea started out as a very simple prototype created during Ludum Dare 38 in the beginning of 2016. The project was called SORLD at that time and consisted of little characters that had to shoot down 4 aliens using the power of cooperation, it means, players had to colaborate with each other in order to defeat the enemies and win the game.

Aliens tried to take down the players’ houses which kept them alive and enabled them to respawn as many times as they owned a little building. Players could also move their homes across their land or they could give them away to other players, giving them the chance to be back in the game in case all their properties dissapeared (reviving a player).

The strategy was designed to encourage the idea of colaboration and the whole game was meant to send a message about being aware of others, try to care more about people that sorrounded us and support them whenever we had the chance.

The inspiration basically came from the whole situation that my country was going through at that time, I wanted to find a way to indirectly help spread the word about what was going on and in the end I decided to address a more general issue, considering that these kind of things occured around the whole world.

Of course the prototype was very simple, it was full of bugs and unfinished things but it was playable enough to receive comments and feedback which helped extend and improve the basic idea of the game.

Then I decided to take the core mechanics of the game, expand it, polish it and target it to what seemed to be the perfect fit for a couch co-op multiplayer game of this kind… the Nintendo Switch.

Planning

From April of 2016 to September of the same year, I was thinking that it would be a very good idea to have this little game on the Switch, I wanted to create something simple that could bring some old school multiplayer game kind of fun, like that one we used to have when playing Nintendo 64 or NES cooperation games.

Since I was busy at that time, I just focused on researching a little bit about the process of getting the Nintendo Switch, saved enough money to be able to purchase a dev kit and pay for some other things I needed to work on the project, started to write down some new ideas and how could the game become more interesting and interactive.

In addition to making plans about the game itself, a very general schedule of development and marketing was put together, setting some important milestones and starting development in September.

Since this is the second full project of Fiery Squirrel and the first one on the Nintendo Switch and a console, trying to prepare for the whole process of releasing in a platform for which we don’t have any experience, the schedule was created in a very flexible way.

For the soundtracks of the game, the musician that created the audio for Fluff Eaters and I discussed about this new project, he liked it and we are currently working together. Although the art is made in Fiery Squirrel, my brother has been a great help with advices and mentoring about how to improve and have better looking things.

Design and Expansion

If you compare the original prototype (SORLD) with what is called today Cosmos Defenders, a lot of things have changed, some of them still remain and new things were included.

In the first prototype there were only enemies that attacked from the air (the flying aliens), in the new version there are also enemies that attack players from the land, some of them just move from one place to another, some can jump and other kinds I haven’t shown yet can shoot and do interesting stuff.

Another thing that was included in the full version of the game is items, which sometimes aid players with lives, powerups or special skills such as digging from one side of the planet to the opposite side, rolling while attacking enemies, repairing a house, etc.

The other feature that evolved from the first prototype to the full version of the game was the existance of more than one planet. Now players can use portals to move from planet to planet and be able to attack the aliens from different angles.

As you can see in the screenshots, there are more galaxies than the first prototype of the game. There are four different ones planned for the release of the game, however the idea is to include more, each one with different features and challenges so players can have more fun. Including secret, special galaxies is also in the initial plan.

The final new thing I would like to mention is the gameplay modes. Initially it was a very simple “beat them all” kind of gameplay, you just destroyed all the aliens and the game was over. This time a couple of new things were added:

There is a story mode, since the game now has 4 different players with unique abilities, personalities, etc, it will feature a simple story for them and you will be able to play alone or with your friends. This mode includes small boss fights (one per planet) and a big galaxy boss, which is related to the planets of its galaxy.

In addition, there will be a free match mode which involves cooperation and also battle between players in planets created procedurally, which will enable the game to design unique experiences every time you play. I will show more detailes about this in a future update.

Depending on how the game is received in the market after release, we have a lot of exciting ideas to include, things that could expand the current idea, including more content, characters, challenges, galaxies, etc.

Announcement and Progress

After the announcement back in December, a lot of Nintendo related websites and media wrote some amazing articles about the game. Despite that we showed little about the game, they still managed to write such good posts. Check some of them out:

There is still a lot of work to do, new features to implement, enemies, items, galaxies to design and test, I will try to keep making updates about the process so anybody who is interested in how the development is going on can follow it up.

In case you have questions, comments or anything else, feel free to reach out through our social networks or email. I leave you with the announce video, hope you enjoy it and thank you for reading!