An action game lives and dies (sometimes literally) by it's enemies. The Elementalist blends action, puzzles, and exploration so having a good cast of baddies to practice all those cool spells against is a must. Suffice it to say I have put a lot of time and effort into making the enemies that our wizard will face.
Every enemy in the Elementalist has a distinct AI that drives it's behaviors. Each individual AI is directed by a set of motivations that can be predicated on the conditions present in their environment and the ability of the enemy to detect them. More simply stated the enemies decide what looks tastiest moment to moment and drool accordingly!
Enemies also have the ability to react to events occurring around them and navigate their way around the map with varying levels of sophistication depending on how clever they are. Some enemies fire projectiles back at the wizard and have custom intelligence that determines how accurately they can aim. I quickly realized that making their aim too accurate made things a little too challenging (and made the wizard a bit too much of a pin-cushion). All of these custom behaviors are still being tweaked and adjusted as I play and re-play the alpha content, but I am excited to get your feedback to really dial them in.
Along with their custom AI all enemies also have a set of strengths and weaknesses that dictate what kinds of attacks work best to overcome them. Hopefully they are mostly intuitive (and helped out by the floating damage numbers) but I do expect players to experiment and find new strategies where all else fails (and it will probably fail at some point). Defeating enemies will add an entry into the wizard's "Bestiary", which can be accessed from the in-game pause menu. Defeating multiple enemies of the same type will reveal more information about the enemy, including the strengths, weaknesses, and hit-points (HPs!) of each. Be sure to check your Bestiary after whacking a new fiend!
Now I don't want to give too much away because exploration and discovery is such an important part of the experience of a game in my opinion but it is probably fair to give an example of a couple of the enemies currently in the alpha code. These animations are taken from the bestiary entries for the respective enemies and are subject to change...
There are roughly a dozen enemies currently in the alpha contentout of the currently completed set of twenty-eight. I have also created art assets for another half-dozen or so and have a few more designs in mind. I expect the full enemy roster to be in the neighborhood of fifty when the game is complete but in the mean time I hope my first dirty dozen can keep you occupied!
Most of the alpha content is complete and I am just adding a few visual, auditory, game-play and interface tweaks as I go through the content over and over (and over). My hope is to get things ready for alpha release right around Christmas. Yule never expect it! (ouch! sorry).