Primordial Smackdown – Bacteria with Badditude

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April 23rd, 2012 5:21 pm

After 72 hours of development (including skipping school Monday), I have finally finished by Jam entry.  You can play and rate it here.  Overall, I am very pleased with how this LD went down.  I wasn’t expecting Tiny World as the theme, so when I was looking down the theme list I neglected to pre-think of a game idea – but it didn’t really matter.  My brother, who also did the game’s soundtrack (download link on game page) helped me do a lot of brainstorming to get a good idea, think up pun-ny names for the abilities, narrow down the feature list and expand it again, and in general was a fantastic second opinion on making game design choices.  I am proud of how the game turned out.

Survival of the fittest in progress

I’ve learned a couple things:

Happiness is intrinsic to success.  Last LD I gave up on the last day of the Jam because I was depressed and couldn’t handle the constant solitude and sitting involved with a 72-hour game jam.  I was going to do the 48-hour Compo this time for that very reason, but I went back to doing the Jam because I wanted to include my brother’s music.  Everything ended up better than last time: since he was hanging out in the office I had occupied, I wasn’t so lonely (ironic considering LD22 was Alone).  I also was oddly optimistic Saturday and Sunday.  It’s important to be happy and make a game that makes you happy – I’ve seen a lot of people now give up because they didn’t like their entry.

The small changes make the big differences.  The difference between the finished-looking product I have now and the clearly-in-development game I had two days ago isn’t much about the features I added – it’s more about the small graphical niceties.  For instance, the background: it was just blue, but then I made an image filled with blue-ish noise.  I let you know when the camera was scrolling and, as a bonus, looked kind of like a microscope.  That similarity led Lectvs to comment that it looked thus, which gave me the idea to add the scope graphic – something that made it look even more like a microscope.  The great Notch once said the difference between a prototype and a finished game is about ten thousand particles, and that was true of this game too – particles added to the aesthetic quality.  Similarly for the change from armor being a tint to a shield-like graphic.  Small things like that, or sweeping menu transitions, make a game look professional.

Microsoft XNA deployment is unnecessarily complicated.  I mean, seriously, Microsoft?  There’s so much stuff to customize and fit into big-budget company things where they know what they’re doing, but there’s no simple “Make a .exe out of this, kthx” button.  I hope my installer/standalone thing covers all the bases.

It’s really easy to make something that isn’t a platformer. I went with a top-down game not only because it was what the game idea entailed, but also because there’s no collision engine.  It’s really easy to do stuff without having to worry about what happens when it hits something.  The closest I have to collision is things running a query for the closest bacterium to a position – nothing really complicated.


Short description from game page – You are a bacterium struggling to survive, thrive, and evolve. Attack other bacteria with a variety of weapons, get a variety of upgrades and buffs, and for goodness’ sake watch out for bacteriophages.

There are 2 references to kittens.  Can you find them?

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