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

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The SuperBugs

by Josh @ Dreamland - 48 Hour Compo Entry

WASD or arrow keys, your pick. Mouse aim; left click to fire.
W, UP, SPACE: Jump.
Q, E, ENTER: Shift weapons.

The game theme revolves around evolution, but in addition to that, enemies in the game are controlled by a massive genetic algorithm. All movement is selected at random and bred out as you succeed in killing them.

That said, this game is, ideally, self-balancing. If you go out of your way to kill enemies, you ensure that they become stronger and stronger. If you run from them, you'll probably take a licking, but they won't get any less schizophrenic.

Tools used:
ENIGMA Development Environment: Windowing/Graphics/Controls/Compiler
LateralGM: Visual resource organizer
SFXR: Simple sound effects
GIMP: All graphics

Enemies are equipped with a 24-protein DNA. Like ours, the DNA comprises a four-letter alphabet. Unlike ours, each letter represents an entire action, and I don't represent numerals in the same alphabet. At the beginning of the game, the behavior is generated randomly. That's why you see bugs jumping around acting all crazy-like, without really attacking. As enemies spawn, their genes are inherited from the original bug at that position, and from a second parent selected deliberately by virtue of "merit."

Merit is calculated by adding two factors. First, the time alive, in frames, wherein the enemy was within shooting range of you, and you had a clear shot of their exposed starting position. So if you are near a bug for 2 seconds, and fail to kill it (or just do not), the bug receives 60 points of merit.

The other factor is the damage inflicted. For each point of damage dealt, the bug who dealt it receives 200 points of merit.

Now, as for the genome. I preserved the letters "A" "T" "G" and "C" out of irony.

A: Attack. Drop out of hiding and let 'em have it. If the ant/termite/whatever is underground, it will flail up and blast at you from mid-air. If the eye-bug-thing is hidden, it will appear and fire unceremoniously.

T: Take Cover. The ant/termite/whatever will burrow under ground, the eye-bug-thing will vanish. If a "T" is encountered and the bug is already hiding, it will simply come out of hiding without attack (a genetic weakness).

C: Charge. You'll see a small burst of yellow sparkles as the enemy's attack power increases. Only one shot will have this added attack power.

G: Go move somewhere. Ostensibly the next four letters of the DNA will say where to move; in actuality, it's just an integer, because I'm lazy. Essentially, this is coupled with a signed byte. The ant/termite/whatever moves to a position that is right of his starting position by that value (so a negative number moves him left of it). The eye-bug-thing interprets the byte as a set of polar coordinates; a positive value denotes the distance from his starting point, and a negative value denotes the direction from it.

Year 2512: Mutant bugs have overrun much of the earth.

Over the course of several hundred years, common insects have evolved to harness energy within them and expel it toward unsuspecting prey.

In an effort to combat them, human scientists constructed artificial versions of their weaponry with an internal power source.

Despite the hightened potency of the human weapons, the insects were able to breed at a much higher rate than they could be erradicated. Eventually, the lab was overrun from the inside, and later from the outside.

The bugs tore throgh nearly everything within the laboratory.

While the research team is presumed dead, others hope that their findings can still be recovered. It is possible that given more time and with a better delivery mechanism, a gene therapy can be produced to reverse the effects of their evolution.

Your mission is to recover any weapons and research that can be used against the bugs.

You begin the game with nothing but the clothes on your back. There are three weapons to collect before you can beat the game.

Downloads and Links




Aug 27, 2012 @ 2:58pm

If anyone would like a 32-bit Linux build, let me know and I'll arrange for one. I figure Linux users have mostly 'evolved' by now. ;)

levelbylevel says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 12:09pm

It's satisfying killing stuff with the flame thrower... so many particles :D

XmmmX says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 12:13pm

Really nice game, especially the particle effects. I really like them. The fire looks so simple but yet so great.
I have just one question: Are the bugs supposed to drop very large amounts of blood when you kill them with the flamethrower? Becaused it seemed somehow odd.
But nevertheless, Good work! :)

Aug 28, 2012 @ 2:25pm

The massive amounts of blood is a glitch that I noticed some half hour before the comptetition was over, and it was basically too late to do anything about it. I'm not really sure what's happening, other than that having fifty flames in one spot leads to fifty death scenes due to fifty collisions, but it's odd because the first one should destroy the enemy, preventing further collision events from firing.

It probably wouldn't take all that long to fix, but no, it's definitely a glitch. :P

zatyka says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 11:29pm

That was a lot of fun. A lot of LD games forget that the player thrive on little rewards. Even as simple as a massive particle bloodbath can make all the difference.

I would have enjoyed it even more if there were some more guidance in the game. But overall, very nice for 48 hours.

P.S. Ironically my game is also a platformer with a flamethrower (but the similarities end there). Cheers

Aug 31, 2012 @ 12:10am

SO fun!!! i played it like 3 times xD good job :D

DaveDobson says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 3:43am

The graphics are very sharp here. I found the game a little hard to play - lots of stuff shooting at me from offscreen, and I was apparently unable to shoot back at it effectively until it was onscreen, at which point it was hard to dodge all the bullets. I got the first gun and went around shooting stuff, but I kept dying (tried probably 10-11 lives) before finding anything else interesting. I like what you've described doing with the theme and the base pairs, although it's a little bit behind-the-scenes. Nice art, nice graphics (the lighting/glowing effects are cool, and the particle stuff, even for bullets, is really great). Good work.

mdkess says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 3:54am

On Ubuntu, you'll need to install libalure-dev via apt-get to make this run. Developer guy, you might want to package this with the zip.

Really cool idea, this plays into the theme very well and in a deeply technical way. Platforming is fun too, although I think that the few is a bit too zoomed in for my tastes. Anyway, I really like the idea of having self adjusting enemies, very nifty. I've got your source in my "to explore" list, I feel like I have a thing or two to learn.

I enjoy the murder rainbows from the flamethrower.

Aug 31, 2012 @ 5:39am

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Thanks for the heads up. I thought the ALURE library shipped with Linux. I'd have linked it statically if I knew it would be a dependency. I'm not sure what exactly I would include in the zip, save for, but it's my understanding Linux doesn't check the working directory for shared libraries...

fruitfly says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 6:24am

you must have been working until the last minute; no time left to make the character turn right? :-)

cobrajs says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 8:57am

I really liked this one. The platforming is good, and the weapons all felt pretty nice (but the flamethrower was the best). The particle effects are very cool (leave the blood bath!).

Aug 31, 2012 @ 2:20pm

@Fruitifly Not sure what you mean; the character faces the mouse.

kratorspore says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 12:28am

You've pulled of a really ambitious, large game here congrats. Theres plenty to see and do. I've always loved the mouse aiming mechanic.

imef says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 12:37am

It could be super scary as a fps. Imagine the bugs poping right in front of you!

drakfyre says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 9:36pm

I very much enjoyed this game, played it to completion. Great entry!

harusame says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 9:41pm

Fun game but a bit hard to play ^^

Good entry.

MurrayL says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 9:54pm

I really enjoyed this. I'm not sure what I was meant to do once I had all three weapons, though - I died before I found an exit.

Very satisfying to use the flamethrower, and to smash glass blocks :)

SusanTheCat says ...
Sep 2, 2012 @ 4:32pm

I didn't realize that I had to use the mouse to shoot.

mohammad says ...
Sep 7, 2012 @ 3:03am

Liked the gameplay, Graphics, ect.
Couldn't get past the fire. :(

Sep 7, 2012 @ 4:51am

I found 3 weapons and beat the game.

The particle effects and character animation were pretty cool (given the time limit), but the game design could use some work.

- The level was large and confusing, with no real purpose. It just seemed sort of random.
- Combat wasn't too fun (except seeing the crazy particles from the flamethrower). The enemies were too annoying to bother killing, and I mostly just ran past them.
- The complex evolution thing you described seems like a waste, because I totally didn't notice it when I was playing. (Probably because I wasn't killing the enemies.) I bet it was fun to code, but I don't think it worked very well in terms of gameplay.

Still, good work!

Pierrec says ...
Sep 7, 2012 @ 10:41am

The flame-thrower blood effects are INSANE!
This is not my kind of game but I finished it anyway, I suppose it means it is quite good! Like defiantburrito said, I didn't even tried to kill the enemies, maybe that's a problem

Sep 7, 2012 @ 2:44pm

Hm. It is possible that they randomly evolve a really good strain right up front; I get very mixed reviews about how easy the enemies are. I suppose that if there is ever a next time I attempt to use a genetic algorithm in the game, I will have to put less weight on attack codes in the RNG. :P

Anyway, I'm glad you both beat it; sorry to hear that you did not, mohammad.

Sestren says ...
Sep 7, 2012 @ 3:23pm

A lot of fun to play, even if the evolution aspect isn't very noticeable. The fire and ice weapons worked as expected, and it was very pleasing to see that even the platforms would "heat up" and change color if you applied some fire to them.

pythong says ...
Sep 7, 2012 @ 5:09pm

too many particles are also not good. i died, and the particles made the game suuuuuuuuuuuper slow

raarlac says ...
Sep 7, 2012 @ 8:50pm

Great game! The graphics, hand pointing to cursor, particles, flamethrower are superb :)

kibertoad says ...
Sep 7, 2012 @ 10:44pm

Pretty solid platformer.

entrusC says ...
Sep 8, 2012 @ 6:52pm

really nice game. Especially the flame thrower is great altough I think there are a little bit too many blood paricles sometimes ;) At least my state of the art machine is laggig a bit if I kill more than three bugs with the flame thrower ...

goffmog says ...
Sep 9, 2012 @ 8:12pm

A great deal of fun. Satisfying to play and destroy things :)

Cake&Code says ...
Sep 9, 2012 @ 9:31pm

Reading about the enemy evolution makes them sound pretty cool! During the game however, I totally didn't notice. Maybe I just didn't kill the same enemy often enough?

In any case, it was still a fun game to play though the sound effects got more and more annoying until I eventually just muted the game xD

infernet89 says ...
Sep 10, 2012 @ 11:08am

Nice game, too bad you can't see the evolution you implemented by just playing it.

Cyboot says ...
Sep 10, 2012 @ 8:38pm

nice game. Good gameplay, nice graphics and effects, and fun to play.

Good job!

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