10,000 Ninjas: Pirate Edition – Post-mortem

Posted by aBethke on Thursday Mar 31, 2011 Under Game Development

Reposted from: www.goldengeargames.com

10,000 ninjas was my 2nd entry for the CASUAL ADDICTION game development competition hosted by the Experimental Gameplay Project. By the end of the project I was pretty happy with what I had put together taking into account that once again I ran out of time. (Lesson to Learn: Scope projects better for EGP competitions)
With this design I spent more effort trying to design features that would be casually addictive, as opposed to Cells. Ultimately I think this game ended up being a bit better received by the public than Cells was even though I think Cells is the better game between the two.

Core Mechanic: When I started I wanted to make something that would be very easy to pick up so I decided to go with the basic concept of point/click to kill. I will definitely admit the fact that I had just picked up a touch screen computer influenced aspects of the design. At the time we had thought we were going to be using the touch screen a lot more to exhibit games over the summer, which didnt end up happening, but it was still interesting to design a game more for a touch screen interface than mouse. Beyond that the game was really just supposed to be a small project that was easy for users to play and allowed them to rain mayhem and destruction upon ninjas dressed as pirates.

Session vs Persistent Kill Counts: One of the decisions that I had made was to add separate counters for a users total kill count vs their session kill count. The idea here was that the game would inherently coax them into playing more by creating a competition using the two different kill counts. This in relation with the UI I chose to display the kill counts was supposed to, in a playful manner utilizing the levels on the bar, increase the replayability.

Unlocking Powers: Another feature I added to try to increase the replay factor was that powers can be permanently unlocked depending on a users persistent kill count. Each time the user played they would have to get a certain number of kills before they could start using the cut scene attacks. Over multiple play session their persistent kill count would build up and unlock the powers so they had them right at the beginning of the game. The permanent power unlock feature was supposed to serve two purposes: 1) Entice the user to play the game multiple times; 2) Give them a goal to work towards while replaying the game.

Visual Style: When I was doing the initial character and power designs for this game I wanted to pick a style that I actually had the ability to draw as well as have something that had some weirdness to it in hopes of catching the user’s attention. To this end I went with the block style characters, made the enemies ninjas dressed as pirates fighting a ninja, and finally added the cut scene super attacks to really take some aspects of the game over the top.

Conclusions: Two things that I think ultimately worked against the final product was the cluster kill combos and the game balance. To put it bluntly the game balance was off; I should have spent more time focused on tweaking when/how the enemies spawn and this definitely detracted from the game. The cluster kill combo was one of those ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ features. The concept was that as you kill stuff your rage bar fills up. Hit max rage and anything that gets near you when you attack will also get attacked as you leap from enemy to enemy. Unfortunately this really broke up the flow of the game in a bad way, rage almost never runs out which just made it worse and if you were fighting bombers it basically ensured you were going to die.

Play it now: 10,000 Ninjas: Pirate Edition

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This is a trick I picked up recently when I was preparing some games (Mashin’ Meeces and Star Fall) for release on portal sites and saw that it would be a bit easier (and required by some) to figure out how to change my multi-SWF application into a single SWF app.

Mashin’ Meeces was originally broken into three SWFs: game code, art assets and sounds. I did this so that I could work on the game independently from the sound or art since those were being taken care of by other people. Through my previous experience developing games I had never run into a problem with having games broken into multiple SWFs before but those projects have all been for private sites and game portals like Newgrounds and Kongregate are a new experience for me. After talking with my colleagues, doing some research and poking at the code for a bit I finally got the solution of embedding the SWFs into my main application and then load them using loadBytes.

Here is the code I used to embed the two SWFs (art and sounds) into the main class of my ActionScript project.

[cc lang=”actionscript3″ line_numbers=”true” no_links=”true” width=”100%”]
[SWF(width=’800′, height=’600′, backgroundColor=’0xffffff’, frameRate=’30’)]
public class MashinMeeces extends Sprite
[Embed(source=”MashinMeecesAssets.swf”, mimeType=”application/octet-stream”)]
private var swfAssets:Class;
[Embed(source=”MashinMeecesSounds.swf”, mimeType=”application/octet-stream”)]
private var swfSounds:Class;

public function MashinMeeces()
// Rawr! I am the constructor…

For the loading I had just been using a standard Loader implementation and to convert the pre-existing code all I had to do was drop the URLRequest() and change load() to loadBytes().

[cc lang=”actionscript3″ line_numbers=”true” no_links=”true” width=”100%”]
protected function addedToStage(in_event:Event):void
var loaderContext:LoaderContext = new LoaderContext(false, ApplicationDomain.currentDomain);

var assetLoader:Loader = new Loader();
assetLoader.visible = false;
assetLoader.contentLoaderInfo.addEventListener(Event.COMPLETE, assetsLoaded, false, 0, true);
assetLoader.loadBytes(new swfAssets(), loaderContext);

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Star Fall – Released!

Posted by aBethke on Saturday Jun 12, 2010 Under Releases

An extremely fast paced game in which the user plays as a falling star that is burning out. Soar over the abstracted cityscape and collect the dreams as they float up but avoid the nightmares because they drain star power.

Play it, rate it, favourite it! at the following sites…

Game Jolt

Read More

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Mashin’ Meeces – Released!

Posted by aBethke on Saturday Jun 12, 2010 Under Mashin Meeces, Releases

This is a quirky but fun action game in which the player revisits the comical dynamic of mice terrorizing elephants. Users have two modes of play to choose from to better customize their experience. Free Play Mode is a more relaxed style of progression allowing the users to casually sit back and mash some mice at their leisure. Challenge Mode is for users who like something with a bit more substance. Battle your way through 10 levels of game play including the Twin Terrors and finally confront the Mama Mouse.

Play it, rate it, favourite it! at the following sites…

Game Jolt

Mashin Meeces - Screenshot

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