The Joy of Powerups

I’ve been tackling small modeling tasks in Modo, a 3D modeling/animation program my artist likes. There’s a 15 day trial that I’m about half way through. I redesigned the “mound” that the beaver emerges from, which was originally just a brown sphere.

Mound Empty

Beaver with Mound

Then I moved on to building the new powerups system. I’ve presumed for some time that they would be a key source of entertainment and joy for the user, particularly for this game. You’re smashing the beavers “manually” for X amount of time, then you get to activate a powerup and enjoy taking them down in a more enjoyable way for Y amount of time.

A thought occurred to me to add a new dimension of strategy, I could have the powerups be collectable. Rather than hitting them when they appear with the effect immediately coming into play, they would animate toward a queue kept in the upper right hand corner. Whenever the player wanted to, they could drag the powerup queue button out, activating the powerup at the front of the queue. This has three pros and one con. Pros:

  • The player will feel greater control over the powerups leading them to feel the game has a higher skill-to-chance ratio.
  • There will likely be higher replay value at lower levels in order to stockpile powerups to move ahead.
  • Likewise, the player will have an additional dimension of difficulty in deciding whether to use powerups or save them in a difficult level.


  • Activation of the powerups will obviously be more difficult given you have to go up to one end of the screen and drag to engage it.

While the graphics are just stand ins for now, the first three plugins are SlowMo (slows game to 1/2 speed), Autofire (holding down repeat taps), and Electrocute (zaps adjacent beavers to the one you tapped).

Powerups for SlowMo, Autofire and Electrocute

Powerups for SlowMo, Autofire and Electrocute

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