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Just in time: Contagion

Sunday, August 26th, 2012 6:55 pm

 

I just made it! I really thought I would have to go for the Jam. But now I can proudly present: Contagion. In my opinion, by far the best I’ve come up with in 48 hours.

The goal of Contagion is to expand your territory, consisting of green cells and you fight against different colored cells :) You win, if you destroyed everyone elses mothercell or you lose when your own mothercell is destroyed. In order to get to the enemys you can build your way by placeing different kind of cells. Here is a little overview:

Default Cell: Just an ordinary cell.
Healer Cell: The generous one. Shares its energy with every neighbor cell to restore their health.
Wall Cell: A very thick cell. Enemys will have a hard time cracking this nut.
Assasin Cell: The ninjas under the cells. They are deadly but a bit pricey, so use them wisely.
Producer Cell: The workaholic. It will produce raw, unaltered DNA for your daily needs.
Tower Cell: A real masterpiece. Strong, durable and unbelievably expensive.

You can conquer 10 levels in total.

Now a bit of the making of :)

I used XNA, because it gives nice graphics, great windows integration and good performances. That was something I really wanted to do, to make it look as good as possible. Since handdrawn animation takes to much time for the 48 hours compo, I decided to use my old fiend AfterEffects. With that I could create great looking images and animations in a fraction of the time. Basically every animation in the game was made with AfterEffects except the DNA string, which was modelled in 3ds Max. For the music I got really lucky because I don’t have any music software, but a friend of mine offered me to use his software, so I went on over and created a little something in FL Studio. I’m by no means an expert, I just used tons of filters until it sounded halfway decent.

Programming was a mess. The concept itself was fairly simple, but I implemented it in what seemed to be the most inefficient way ever. I’m basically brute forcing to update every cell with every of it’s 6 neighbors, which gave me exponential processing times. But unless you created hundrets of cells everything should work fine (I hope). My main .cs file has just about 1000 lines, but half of that are probably three or four statements in one line. Yeah, it wasn’t great to read. But you can see yourself, the source is in the entry post down below.

After the first 24 hours and many rage quit attempts, I finished the basic gameplay, as well as the overall graphics. Day two should be all about ui, ai and cleaning things up. However I dit the dunbest mistake of this whole project. I made a menu, that was too fancy. I now I couldn’t quit. And in the course of time i kept adding new menu bulletpoints, which was always a pain in the butt to implement. You can see down below the method of displaying the menu points.

Each menu point name slides out of its icon revealing itself. It looks great, but I added new menus, like “About” and “Tutorial”, and each of them required a “Back”-button. After all the look totally defeated my nerves. Then after finally impementing a little and silly ai I only needed to finish things up. Adding the 10 levels, the “About” and “Tutorial” bulletpoints, working settings menu and I was done. 29 minutes before finish.

It’s now 3:36 am but I’m so excited I wont be able to get much sleep. As mentioned before this is by far the best I’ve come up with in 48 hours. This is my first Ludum Dare and I probably already overstrained myself. If I should ever do this again, it will propably not be something as graphics intensive as this, I thing this was almost overkill…

Yes, Contagion supports drawing (kind of)

 

All in all it was a great experience (maybe I’ll do it again for LD25). I really had fun programming and seeing everybody elses projects and blog posts on the page. Here you can really see what you can accomplish when you set your time and just program the best game  you can come up with.

-bernie

 

Ludum Dare Entry Contagion:
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=16256

Direct Download Contagion (via Mediafire):
http://www.mediafire.com/?4xmul2phnq09vvp

My Twitter (if you are interested):
https://twitter.com/TheVastBernie

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 5:57 pm

Screenshot of the gameplay

 

Finally halftime :) Assets are done and a bit of gameplay. Spent way to long on graphics but I think it looks fancy schmancy.

Basic goal is to spread your cells into enemy territory and destroying them. Whith stemcells you are able to build new cells and evolve them to be more powerful.

It’s now 3am but I think I will keep programming just a little bit longer. There is still much to do. My plan for the last 24 hours:

– UI + Menus

– Sound / maybe some music??

– AI

– Bugfixes :(

Also I should let some people play a little bit, to figure out if everything is right balanced… Nah, maybe tomorrow :)

-bernie

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