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January Game

My plan is to do fewer games this year for One Game A Month, but these games will be bigger and better than anything made last year. At present I’m planning two games – the first is a top-down shooter and the second is a point and click adventure. My plans may change, and I may do some small games each month depending on the optional themes at #1GAM.

The top-down shooter is a project I’m working on with my Game Development students. They’re making maze games and some are adding features such as roaming baddies, shooting, combat and object collection. The game I submitted for January’s #1GAM grew out of the college project, as some students wanted to learn how to make a top-down shooter game. The working title is ‘Spawn of the Dead’, and the object of the game is to survive as long as you can against endlessly respawning zombies. My plan for the game is to add more levels, features, better graphics, sounds and a storyline, completing the game around May or June. You can play the current game (Flash required).

Spawn of the Dead game

The player movement was simple to implement, with the rotational movement and shooting the trickiest part so far. This is all working adequately, so my next task is to work on the zombie AI. At present the zombies simply run towards the player. This presents a small problem as sometimes the zombies overlap each other and get stuck behind walls. I’m trying to figure out a way to get them to behave more intelligently, perhaps moving in different directions if they collide, and trying to find ways around obstacles if they become stuck. I’m not sure how to implement this – perhaps they will have different ‘states’ – seeking the player, avoiding other zombies and seeking a new route. AI is not something I’ve used much, so this will be a bit of a learning process for me. I’m planning to do a few test games to try out different methods of implementing the AI.

Sketch of game

Original game concept sketch

Addendum: testing of the game has identified a fundamental flaw, in that the player can stand in a spot where the zombies cannot get them. This means that the timer can keep counting continuously and astronomical scores can be achieved! This will be fixed by changing the timer to a ‘number of kills’ score.

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