Michelle – Progeny (Needs Advice)

My game is still a work in progress.

It’s a one player game where you use the arrow keys to move a Daphnia through the circular space. The goal is to keep propagating your genetic code in this environment by eating small algae to maintain energy  and produce offspring. Your offspring will also try to follow you and eat the particles around you to grow larger. If you lose too much energy, you shrink and become slower until you finally die. Then your oldest offspring becomes the new player.

There is one predator in the system–an unrealistically large bacteria that preys upon the closest daphnia and grows a body part when it eats something.

Right now I’m struggling with making the game more engaging, so any advice is welcome. I added a download link below, but its a zip file containing the web player…

Things I might add:
1. Some actor that can break the bacteria chain
2. A better following behavior for the children

Questions that need answers:
1. How can I motivate the player to produce as many offspring as possible?
2. Are the velocity and size change mechanics clear?
3. Does it matter if the algae and bacteria don’t screen wrap?
4. What sounds or animations could make it nicer?
5. Why are the graphics such poor quality when I build the game?

Box Download – Web Player

Sophomore in BCSA. Ayyyyy.
  1. Answers:
    1. That’s a little hard to determine since you don’t intend to have a scoring system. Maybe if you could find a way to strengthen the bond between the player and the babies, they’ll have a greater incentive to keep all their cute babies. Maybe the children can try to help the mom in some way? Like ‘attempting’ to fight off the bacteria / gathering food.
    2. The movements are pretty slippery so it can be pretty awkward to control. You don’t need to tone it down that much though.
    3. I think they’re fine the way they are right now.
    4. Watery sounds, cute Daphnia baby sounds, scary bacteria monster sounds that play when they’re close, etc. Not sure about the animations, I quite like how minimal it looks right now.
    5. Uh…not sure what you mean by that. Could you post a screenshot / show me?

  2. I don’t think it’s really fair how a little spore adds the same size link to the enemy as does a huge spore. Definitely makes me not want to spawn spore and for this reason, I feel like the game lacks purpose at the moment. Since if my goal is to stay alive, then I would want to not eat anything so I don’t create spawn and just avoid the enemy. I don’t think the slow shrinking of the player is enough to motive the player to want to eat and the incentive it gives is subtle.

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