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 Post subject: GD: Black Bird
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:22 pm 

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Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 2842
Location: ND, USA
I grabbed Black Bird on the Steam Winter Sale and have been having a great time with it, and I think there's enough depth in this game that I've started laying out some of my observations on how things seem to be working. Would love for people to add theirs so we can have a worthy strategy guide for this game. Apologies if this is organisationally a mess right now; as it gets more complete I'll give more thought to how it should be structured.

Stages are based around destroying six enemy spawn points, at which point sirens sound and the boss appears. When sirens start sounding, enemies start to flee and gems, items and the environment begin to disappear so the last spawner should not bet destroyed until you're sure you have everything you want out of the stage. Each stage has many environmental bonuses, covered later. Normal Difficult has 4 stages, True Difficulty has a TLB.

Want to understand:
* How should one plan to move through the stage - prioritise air over ground, maintaining combo for right spawns etc
* Difficulty differences - spawn schedule seems the same, but are there changes to powerups or bonuses? Do gems fall faster?

Enemy spawning happens on a fixed schedule in each stage, in addition to the enemies created by the six spawners.

Want to understand:
* Are there any spawns triggered by certain events or bonuses?
* Are big enemies on the same timer or are they triggered?
* Do enemy clusters stop spawning at a certain point?

Bosses come at the end of each stage. When you beat them they shatter into many pieces, which turn into large soul gems when they bounce. Some bosses can be manipulated to make the gems easier to collect:
Stage 1 seems to be easiest to collect if you kill it while he's near the bottom.
Stage 2 is very easy to collect if you kill it while it's on a downward bounce.
Stage 3 doesn't seem to be manipulatable at all?
Stage 4 doesn't either.

Want to understand:
* How to handle the stage 4 boss's wing attack

Green Soul Gems drop when an enemy is killed, and your bird becomes stronger by collection them. They come in several sizes, and will fall when released, shrinking in size when they bounce until they disappear. When you get hit, you lose gems and can potentially lose a power level. Once you are at max power, gems begin to be worth points instead of contributing to more strength. As they bounce, they are worth fewer points.

Want to understand:
* Do bouncing gems reduce in their powerup value or is the shrinking just a visual indication of how much longer they're on the screen?
* Is it worth trying to collect them all, or can single/tiny gems be safely ignored?

Powerups are released from pots which can be uncovered from the scenery. They can disappear if not collected. Shooting a powerup will change it to a different type, cycling in the following order:

- Life
- Speed
- Bomb

Want to understand:
* Is it ever worth picking up life/speed, or is optimal play all about bomb pickups?
* What causes disappearance - is it time based or going off the screen?
* How many/locations in each stage

Scoring revolves around building your chain, getting bonuses with a high multiplier, and using bombs at opportune times with a max chain. Collecting gems helps by building your multiplier faster.

Want to understand:
* Confirm that the multiplier growth/max rate is tied to your current power level.
* Max multiplier is x80 at full power, yes?
* What are the things the bonus doesn't apply to (Max power gem pickups, asparagus? Is it applied to individual enemy kill values or just the wave kill bonuses?)

Bonuses are scattered throughout each stage and triggering them can be a bit mysterious. Some are consistent across stages (ex: each has a spinning environment item that will grant points and eventually be destroyed for a bonus) and some are unique to each stage. Score multiplier is applied to most bonuses, though there seem to be exceptions (particularly, the Asparagus rockets you can dig out of the ground).

Bonuses present through all stages include:
- Bonus for destroying enemy waves or specific enemies/an enemy spawner.
- Asparagus
- Wizards (I think they're wizards? I think they show up on every stages?)
- Spinning targets

Want to understand:
* List of stage specific bonuses, their triggers and their value
* What uncovers asparagus/where are they
* Which bonuses aren't affected by the multiplier?

Bombing at max chain resets your chain and gives you some sort of bonus and a gem shower. Your bomb changes from a black hole/Katamari-type thing to a screen clearing two-way cannon when your bird gets the ability to fire behind itself.

Want to understand:
* Are the different types of bomb bonuses (Tiny, Needle, Thunder etc) based on how any enemies get taken in with them?
* Is the multiplier tied to the bomb bonus type?
* What does the multiplier apply to and how is the bonus calculated? Does the multiplier affect things like the asparagus, which don't typically use the multiplier?
* Is there a "best way" to catch the falling gems?

End of stage bonuses are based on evaluations of your clear time and number of enemies killed. Each is evaluated as Amazing, Superb, Great, or Good (or none). The time bonus is higher the faster you clear the stage; if you fail to get any sort of evaluation on the time you will get a time bonus of 10,000. Your kill bonus is a multiplier of the time bonus - Amazing/Superb gets x3, Great x2, and Good/none x1.

Want to understand:
* Is it worth going for time bonuses or do in-stage kill points make up for it if you fall to a Superb bonus?
* What is a good way to determine when it's time to exit a stage (an enemy spawn cue, for example)
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