August 24th-27th 2012 :: Theme: Evolution

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Unnatural Selection

by goffmog - 48 Hour Compo Entry

For once there are help texts in-game that explain the controls. I'll list them here anyway:

W, A, S, D - do what you'd expect.
Q, R - rotate your view
SPACE - beams up/down creatures and does something else in the endgame.

The game is about encouraging creatures to evolve and mate to strengthen their species in the face of an incoming invasion.

UNITY WEBPLAYER: works only on systems that support the Unity Webplayer plugin.


I have had the chance now to fix a few of the bugs - the endgame problem is fixed, and distances are now all calculated based on the zx plane for things like beaming up creatures and finding mates. The deathray now fires properly and I increased the speed of males when chasing mates - and fixed a bug which meant the creatures weren't getting faster as they evolved.

Downloads and Links




goffmog says ...
Aug 26, 2012 @ 10:21pm

Known bugs:

Creatures rarely ever face the right direction
Creatures sometimes go beneath terrain
Terrain chunks have visible seams

If I'd had more time:

Explosion effects when you shoot down invaders
High score table
Music and sound (sigh)

Should have done differently:

Should have used Unity's terrain system instead of my own, since I did nothing special with the terrain in the end.
Should have used Unity's physics
should have been 2D? :)

CaptainIcy says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 4:59am

Well, for a short and sweet game, this is pretty fun. I enjoyed it for a few minutes but it did kind of get a little boring after a while. For what it is, though, nice job. :)
I would like to see an enhanced/expanded version if you want to sort of complete it for post-LD play!

nylos says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 6:25pm

can't get over evolution level 8 :S

Andrew says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 8:42pm

I liked the concept but it got repetitive too fast. I did like how the various features started appearing on the creatures.

goffmog says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 1:47pm

Thanks for the comments guys. There's another pretty major bug where half of the time the "endgame" invasion doesn't seem to work - either the bad guys don't manage to reach the creatures or the death ray doesn't work. Sometimes it works perfectly though, I think it's related to the steepness of the terrain the creatures are on - when the terrain is flatter the game works better overall. If the monolith spawns on the side of a steep hill it's better to just restart the game (F5)

monomanio says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 9:00pm

Its an interesting concept :)

aare says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 9:03pm

Nice one - I love the space odyssey reference :D

DevoreUK says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 9:10pm

Really like the concept would love to see you take it even further, maybe for the October challenge?

Jeremias says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 9:26pm

Here my feedback:

- Death ray doesn't work in the endgame (as you stated above)
- The introduction textes are skipped too fast... you should make the player skip them instead
- My ship can fly under water ^^
- What do the symbols near the creatures mean? The number is the level, but what are the others for?
- I had a big black rectangle somewhere in the landscape

I hope you continue with this game!

goffmog says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 9:58pm

Jeremias, your ship uses a fantastic futuristic magnetic levitation propulsion system, it flies under water because it can :) I tried it out both ways and thought that it was more fun like that.

The heart means they have mated (and can't mate again) and the arrow means they've been beamed up (and thus mutated) in the info at the bottom right when you pick them up, it tells you this too.

The big black rectangle is also intentional, it's an artifact you brought with you that attracts the creatures. Actually, it's the source of all your evolutionary powers too!

Aug 31, 2012 @ 11:14pm

I wonder if there's a better way to teach the player how to play. The on screen instructions are better than off, but there's still a lot of reading to do, especially when I'm supposed to do it as I play in a font that is a little tough to read quickly.

cakemonitor says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 11:18pm

I found this game a little confusing so spent most of my time just randomly clicking to see if anything happened then I went for a fly around the island instead :) But it has a lot of potential so keep up the good work.

goffmog says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 11:21pm

Yes the help texts are too wordy - context sensitive cues would have been better but the way it works was just quicker and easier to get into the game in time. Also should have made them queue up and not disappear until the player presses something. All good feedback, thanks!

BrothersT says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 12:08am

Couldn't use the death ray as you said :(

DavidErosa says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 12:47am

I got lost really fast. Maybe the instructions should be readable again.

goffmog says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 11:05am

David, the basic instructions are at the top of this page, also if you get lost on the map there should be little floating icons around your ship showing you the direction of the monolith/creatures/etc. The idea is simply to pick them up and put the blue ones down near the pink ones to encourage them to breed. When you pick them up they evolve, but only once per creature. Their offspring can then reach a higher evolution level than they did (if you're lucky), be evolved and breed with another of the same or higher evolution level to create even more evolved offspring and so on until they're as evolved as possible in the 3 minute or so time limit.

Sep 1, 2012 @ 1:25pm

So wait, we evolve the creatures to defend themselves and then they can't. Whaa.. why? Nicely built I must say;

goffmog says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 1:36pm

Hehe, the original idea was that once they grow the arms at the last evolution stage, they would have claws and be able to fight back against the invaders, who originally looked like the creatures but were black and red. I decided there wouldn't be time to do the fighting mechanics so changed the ending... unfortunately what I changed it to turned out to be more complicated and rushing it caused the bug that stops it working half the time :(

DavidErosa says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 1:38pm

Goffmog: Thanks for the explanation. Sorry, I didn't want to mean the game was not well explained. After playing again I realized I got lost because I couldn't clearly see what creature has already paired and which didn't. Not your game's fault but mine. Anyway, that didn't influence my rating :)

goffmog says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 1:43pm

Thanks for playing again David - your game was really good, I need to have another crack at it to see if it's possible to beat the last stage :)

Jedi says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 1:50pm

Really cool idea and I had some fun but I had a hell of a time controlling the ship. It seemed like you somehow programmed the game to pick up every creature BUT the one I was aiming for. I really couldn't figure out why. With a time limit, that frustration killed the fun for me.

BrothersT says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 2:16pm

Sorry my comment was not v. constructive - I really liked the landscape and the idea was cool, one thing that popped to mind was that if you pick up someone it mutates them, and only if you pick them up do you see the "status: mutated" text, so does the text really ever change? kind of a Schrodinger's cat situation. I would love to play this again when it's fixed!

DavidErosa says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 4:03pm

Haha, I really doubt anyone can beat it... Anyway fell free to try it :)

goffmog says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 8:22pm

Jedi, sounds like you had some hilly terrain :) The problem is that, just to get it ticked off of my to-do list, the algorithm finds the nearest creature to the player does so by distance in 3D, when it really should be doing it by distance in the xz plane. So when you're floating over a creature at the bottom of a steep hill, and there's another one half way up the hill, the one you beam up will be the one on the hill because technically, he's closer to your position in mid-air.... doh!

goffmog says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 8:32pm

BrothersT, lol, there's the connection to kittens for you. My original design had primordial ooze instead of water and you had to beam up ooze and drop it on the creatures to evolve them - but I culled that to save some time.

MurrayL says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 10:02pm

This looks like it could be a lot of fun once it's worked through the teething problems. I love the idea of flying a saucer around and abducting tiny creatures.

Sadly I had the bug where the death ray didn't work, but I was just starting to enjoy myself!

hamster_mk_4 says ...
Sep 3, 2012 @ 10:53am

At first I taught there were two species pinks and blues. So tried to encourage the blues to mate with the blues and pinks with pinks. My early experiments were unsuccessful. I wonder if this is how real alien abductions work out.

juaxix says ...
Sep 3, 2012 @ 12:41pm

OK, I liked it, but...
now what? where is your god now? XD
The things I appreciate too much is the circle around de UFO which you control and the smooth movement, do you know you can cast a ray from the base of the ship to the ground and sum the y (axis value) of the ground to the y of the ship a constant distance ,so you have a ship flying over the mountains up and down ,it's a cool effect :)
I am very confused with the gameplay, sounds and some guide should be very good help...

goffmog says ...
Sep 3, 2012 @ 2:10pm

juaxix I'm struggling to get what you mean by the circle around the UFO. The ship does follow the terrain height in a similar way to which you describe, except instead of raycasting it gets the optimum height directly from the height data the map is generated from - the UFO floats gradually down/up to the desired height - and that was the effect I was going for. Following the terrain at a constant height seemed less fun to me - although that's exactly how the bad guys move.... Re. the screenshot... Well, you're prety much screwed at that point :) Did you read any of the helptext? That was meant to act as a guide.

Hamster - given more time I'd probably have more of a context sensitive help system that would point out what each thing is the first time you encounter it.... This is one of those games that seemed like a very simple idea at first and only later did I realise the number of points at which it isn't totally obvious what you should be doing - especially if you don't read the helptext.

Sep 9, 2012 @ 5:21pm

Can you build a Windows binary? WINE won't help me run this in the browser.

goffmog says ...
Sep 9, 2012 @ 5:44pm

Josh, sorry it doesn't work for you :( Are you using WINE on a Mac? I think the web version should work natively in Chrome or Firefox on Mac with the Unity plugin. I keep meaning to do a windows build but right now I'm travelling and don't really have the resources but I'll see if I can get one uploaded on Wednesday.

Qaterknan says ...
Sep 9, 2012 @ 6:54pm

Nice, but in general you could slow down the tutorial a bit. I read the text, but I wasnt thinking about it and I started again and missed it. And even in second try i didnt know what to do. But i like the concept.

yanmania says ...
Sep 10, 2012 @ 8:59pm

Couldnt rate as your site appeared to be down. GoDaddy?

goffmog says ...
Sep 11, 2012 @ 8:43am

Yanmania, godaddy are an enormously massive domain registration thingy, my domain is registered with them. I guess you were served a domain parking page. I haven't been having any issues though, have you tried again?

ollie says ...
Sep 12, 2012 @ 8:01pm

Had fun with it, got to the endgame and couldn't use my death ray though (as you mentioned above) which was disappointing but the concept was cool and I liked the style of it

goffmog says ...
Sep 13, 2012 @ 11:17am

Thanks Ollie, your game was really good! One of these days I'll make something that's a simpler concept that I can polish a bit more. did you check out the bugfixed version? endgame should be ok in that (it hasn't crashed for me yet)

airdeck says ...
Sep 15, 2012 @ 3:59pm

Nice game, I think the style of the terrain was really well done

kibertoad says ...
Sep 15, 2012 @ 5:30pm

Really interesting concept, wish it was more polishes - also you run out of proper mates too soon :(.

RawBits says ...
Sep 16, 2012 @ 8:16pm

I don't know what to do in this game. Things are in the ground and was hard to figure this out. It's also hard to know if the icon is showing the creature or just the direction to it. The beam isn't getting the right ones and I don't know if the bullets are going the direction they are because they are tracking an enemy or not. Why the UFO goes under the see or sliding up the hill instead of hovering above?

goffmog says ...
Sep 17, 2012 @ 10:00am

Because I found it more fun moving about like that, zooming up the side of hills and floating down into valleys and trenches instead of just floating boringly.

goffmog says ...
Sep 17, 2012 @ 10:06am

It's interesting that people think the way the saucer moves is a bug :) I spent quite a while making sure it didn't just follow the terrain at the same height, and did something more interesting. The saucer has a preferred height that it adjusts itself to, but it doesn't do so instantly because I wanted to create a specific effect reminiscent of playing old helicopter flight sims with auto ground avoidance.

goffmog says ...
Sep 17, 2012 @ 10:11am

RawBits, the deathray is still buggy even in the bugfixed version, it has to do with how I'm rotating the camera, the angle I think the player is facing starts off correct but drifts as the player does a lot of rotation. Beaming up creatures should be fine now though, I assume you're using the original buggy version in which case the reason you don't beam up the right creature is that it's taking vertical distance into account when finding the nearest creature.

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