Space Lobster Escape

Space Lobster Escape was programmed over a weekend for a 48 hour Game Jam back in January 2011. For those not familiar with a Game Jam, it’s a neat event where programmers, designers, artists, musicians and whoever else wants gets together to form a team. At a certain time, a theme will be selected and from that point, you have 48 hours to make a game from scratch that has something to do with that theme.

This was an interesting little project for me. As lead programmer, I was tasked with working in a game engine, DirectX 9, that I had never used before, programming in a language, C++, that I had never made a game with before. In fact, previous to this, I only had experience using pygame, written in Python. Those who know the languages know that Python is a very forgiving language while C++ is more like a “no hand holding, you screw up and everything dies” sort of language. In addition to the stark contrast in the programming languages, I had to learn the DirectX API as quick as possible.

All in all, it went pretty well and we ended up with Space Lobster Escape. It may not look great or even be that great but at least it is a “game”. Some teams didn’t even make it that far!

The Team

Programmers

Nathan Cox – Lead Programmer

Daniel Lyons – DirectX Engine Setup and Additional Programming

Patrick Barry – Additional Programming

Art

Brian Crawford – Lobster Graphic

Derek Lyons – Everything Else

The Game

Space Lobster Escape is an extremely minimal, slightly buggy “endless runner” type of game. You, the player, takes control of the brave Space Lobster on his quest to not get devoured by the spiraling death wheel of space. Using your powers of: moving left, moving right and jumping, you must avoid the incoming Space Blocks sending them into the spiraling void, pushing it back ever so slightly. Run far, Space Lobster! The high score depends on you!

The block patterns are randomly pulled from a relatively short list of block patterns. Some are really hard while others are easy; it’s just the luck of the draw which one you get. Each block that hits the black hole pushes it back slightly, giving you 1 point. Once the Space Lobster hits the midpoint of the black hole, it’s “You Losed”! It’s a simplistic game but I am still proud of it.

There is a bug I never bothered to fix where pushing against a block will scroll the screen slowly in the opposite direction. It made the game much harder as pushing against a block actually makes you closer to the black hole. To bypass this and ignore it, I made it so after every round, it resets the Space Lobster’s position. Whatev’s, right?

The Download (or lack thereof)

I have no idea whether this will run correctly on a machine that doesn’t have Visual Studio installed. Until I work that out (if I ever bother to), I will not be posting a link to the game. Don’t worry though, you can live vicariously through the YouTube video.

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