Elenin is an entry to the Experimental Gameplay Project. If you don’t know what the Experimental Game play Project is, it is a monthly event that requires individual developers to make games( no team mates allowed) within a span of seven days. The game doesn’t have to be great, as long as the developer manages to transform his idea into something playable. I liked the idea because something that I found out about myself is that I work better and think faster under time pressure.
For Elenin, I got my idea after reading an article about the comet Elenin, which recently died. Elenin was called the “harbinger of doom” and you can read more about it here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45050612/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/comet-elenin-dead-along-doomsday-predictions/ . Right about that time I was looking into news games at Georgia Tech, which are are a mix of journalism and games( Think editorial cartoons but you can play them). So I decided to make a ‘news game’ and came up with Elenin.
Elenin is not really a news game per se since I don ‘t have anything really intelligent to say when I decided to make it. The theme for the month was Upgrade so I already had a theme. The mechanic quickly came to me as I researched about comets and how they gathered dust so I made that the main mechanic. Elenin would start out as a small particle only able to consume smaller dust particles, and as it grew bigger would be able to consume larger particles.
Then I thought about the goal of the game. I know in some games the main objective is to gather as much points or stay in the game as long as possible. This was a problem for Elenin because Elenin(the player) would grow bigger and bigger until it was large enough to consume the screen and there would be no way to end the game so I decided to give the game another objective.
With all the doomsday prophesies around, I made Earth Elenin’s main objective and it also served as a sort of countdown timer. The game ends when Elenin hits Earth, and the player will win or lose depending on how much mass it acquires.
The game has no music since right about that time I was just learning about the creative commons license and although I used to play the piano I don’t have the skills to compose for a game.
Improvements: improve the controls since players said it was too loose. This was actually my choice albeit a wrong one. I thought that loosening controls would make the game more ‘realistic’ due to acceleration. Another improvement is to make the game start slower and gradually increase in speed(for the learning curve). I would like to improve the graphics in all of my games and perhaps in the future if I gain some measure of artistic skill I would give them all a make over.