Bubble Trap started out as a personal challenge to make a game in a week. I had recently acquired a new job, and I managed to get moved into my apartment a week before I was scheduled to start, so clearly the best way to spend my time was to no-life on a personal project. After finishing an initial prototype with eight levels, two of which were boss fights, I decided to expand the idea into a long term project that would let me practice all the skills I never seem to find the time to develop, including art and music composition. The game currently consists of six worlds, each containing four levels and a boss fight.
The core mechanic that Bubble Trap is built around is the player's ability to trap things in bubbles using her charged shot. The version of the game built in the original week focused on bubbling enemies and enemy projectiles alike and throwing them both at special walls (which only break when hit by a bubble) and enemies. It also included two boss fights designed to drive those mechanics home.
After starting my current job, I decided to flesh the game out into something bigger. The plan was to spend a week or two drafting ideas for mechanics that stem from the mechanical core of trapping things in bubbles and let the game tell me what it wanted to be. It was also important to me to do make all of the art and music myself, as these are things I enjoy doing and genuinely want to improve in (though I have little interest in pursuing them professionally). After creating a prototype build containing six worlds each comprised of five levels (the fifth level being a boss), I would share the game with other people for feedback, then change and expand on the game, using that feedback and my better sense of the game's core engagement to remake it into a more cohesive whole.
Even though I'm waiting for feedback, I can still think retrospectively about the development of this build of the game. While the original five levels focused on wearing down enemies' shields so that you could bubble them, basically every level after five focuses on bubbling large projectiles shot by enemies from places where they cannot be bubbled themselves.
In developing the final boss fight, I realized that the mechanics I'd created have a much deeper, more interesting root than simply the core mechanic. The final boss fight involves a boss that dodges anything you shoot at her. You win the fight by tricking her into shooting her electrically charged bullets into switches that then trigger lasers scattered around the arena. This fight completely throws the game's core mechanic out in favor of a deeper exploration of the fundamental theme of these mechanics: Turning your enemies' strengths against them. Future iterations of the game will likely utilize this theme much more heavily in everything from the secondary mechanics to the visual design of the characters and the world. Bubble Trap is about finding new and creative ways of turning your foes' aggression into solutions to your problems, ranging from triggering switches to beating bosses to simply traversing.