Espèces de Z ! (2013)
School Project | Supinfogame | PC | Flash
“Espèces de Z!” is a creature simulaion game. This is the second project for Editions Dupuis that I participated in. The objective was to make a game in two weeks that could be ported to a tablet running iOS or Android. Our target audience were children who were avid followers of a comics magazine edited by the publisher and, as such, it needed to be funny and over-the-top. Our PC prototype was developed using Flashpunk.
The objective of the game is to lead creatures with one’s finger into a cage to progress in the level. However, in order to advance, he has to make creatures breed between them to get the one that fits the required criteria. Each creature has an attribute that allows them to clear paths and activate switches: electricity, wings, horns and so on. There are three types of creatures: land, earth and amphibious. These creatures can also eat each other: carnivore creatures eat herbivores, herbivores eat vegetal creatures which in turn eat carnivores. In order to breed, they need to be compatible, meaning they can’t eat each other. When the a new creature is born, it has a 50% chance of inheriting one of the attributes from their parents. By breeding new creatures and exploiting their attributes, the player can reach new areas and explore new parts of the level.
The story is set in a laboratory where there has been an accident. The breeding of the creatures reached uncontainable levels, and there were so many that it couldn’t contain them. Eventually, the laboratory exploded. The player’s goal is to help the mad scientist in charge of the lab restore it to its former glory. To do so, he has to put the specific creatures in cages to produce “Z energy”. This energy will be able to provide cheap electricity and restore power. By finishing the game, the scientist could then proceed to announce its grand discovery of the world: inexpensive electricity powered by immortal, mutant creatures.
We were a team of ten, comprised of second, third and fourth year students. We were five game designers and five game artists. I worked directly with the game design and the programming teams, all while assisting the project manager with managing tasks. I was also the only team member in charge of story and dialogues.
At first, we were heading in the wrong direction. The first day, we started working on a very simple project that didn’t please our teachers. Having to start from scratch, I produced a game concept which was aproved by the project manager, and we started working on it right away. As game designer, I was in charge of writing the final version of the game concept and the game design document, making the behaviour documents, balancing, building a level using the Tiled software, ergonomics and asset integration. Balancing was a difficult process since we had to come up with a system for the creatures that made sense and wasn’t very complicated for children. This allowed us to come up with the ecosystem of the game and the gameplay loop. I also helped in programming by integrating the graphic assets made by the game artists into the level. On the subject of level design, the level I made wasn’t integrated into the project due to lack of time. Also missing from the game are the menus by adding a journal, a pause menu and a bestiary that I made which allowed me to work on ergonomics.
What I learned
What I would have improved
A considerable part of the work we did didn’t make it into the game. I would have liked to know more about programming in order to assist feature integration and make the game feel more polished and complete.
You can download the game by clicking here.