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Stranded

Loradon Screenshot

Introduction

Stranded was a two month project with four programmers during the middle of my time at Full Sail University. Five programmers are in the credits because for two weeks one of our programmers was swapped with another team’s. The game evolved from a tower defense style game into a mixture of an RTS and shooter. Many important points were learned on this project such as the importance of well designed user interface, coding as a team, and time constraints.

The objective of the game is to build a base and prepare during the day and fend off the zombies at night. To ultimately claim victory, the player must construct three things within various buildings but the waves of enemies will constantly become stronger.

What I Did

My primary role on the team was to create the AI for the zombies and the genetic algorithm that made them adaptive. Steering behavior was implemented to help enemies steer around obstacles and target the player and his base. Due to the rapid implementation required it had quirks in it that were not ironed out and enemies sometimes get stuck or simply act weird.

Beyond AI, I implemented the lighting for the day and night cycle, utilizing a light texture and blend modes to place lights in the scene and darken the environment. These lights also had the benefit of damaging zombies when they were within the light’s radius.

As some premade code and based off my earlier GUICrafter and precursor to my DarkForge UI, I setup some simple functions to make user interface smoother to add and be a testing ground for my future projects.

Another task that absorbed much of my time was the art. Though I would not claim to be a skilled artist, I do have a limited ability to draw pixel art that can be seen throughout the game. I created the tile map for the environment, the enemy and ally sprites, and all of the structures.

What Went Wrong

Due to poor planning of user interface, much of the code is well hidden such as the resource system and using the resources to modify weaponry. Using a triangle you could say what ratio of the three resources (aluminum, iron, obsidian) were used to restock ammo, build towers, and create weapons. Based on the ratios guns would fire faster, shoot further, or hit harder. However, lack of information led to this feature being mostly unused and unknown within the game.

Time constraints severely limited the scope the AI was going to take and it was constantly being scaled back for deadlines. In the end it was not as sophisticated as hoped nor was it free of bugs, but still very playable.

Credits

-Programmers-

Aaron McDonald - UI and Gameplay Programmer

Xiaodong Weng - Gameplay Programmer

Patrick Witte - Programmer and Map Maker

Michael Schoell - Enemy and Ally AI Programmer and Artist

Pablo Leon - Helped implement the minimap and structure construction.

-Other-

Joseph Schoell - Helped with algorithm to determine the ratio a point within a triangle was towards the corners.

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Visual Studio 2008

Screenshots

Site Development and Design by <CS>

Graphic Design by Nathan Schoell