A Game a Week #2: Symbiosis

Click here to download

Apologies for the delayed post. I spent too much time on game #3 last week.

Around two weeks ago, I wrote about my current quest to create a game a week and about the first game I ever made. If you would like to learn more about this challenge and my previous game, please click here. My second game, Symbiosis (click here to download), is a game about the parasitic relationship between Wallace and a green alien blob:

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS – do not watch the video below unless you cannot play Symbiosis for yourself (or don’t want to, which is also fine).

Game Summary

It is up to the player to find a way to create a cure for Wallace’s illness. In order to do so, the player must solve a simple puzzle by switching control between Wallace and the alien. Each character has their own abilities: Wallace can move around the game space and interact with objects, whereas the alien can use its supernatural vision to search the area for clues. Symbiosis has two different endings so be sure to play it at least twice to achieve both outcomes! The game has a couple of bugs but if you enter full screen mode and keep the cursor within the window, you should be able to avoid these.

Design Process

The task for the second game was to find piece of art, film or music that inspires you. Then, we were asked to produce a game based on that media source where the mechanics are implied by the theme of the game. I was inspired by this digital painting of Ventus and Vanitas from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep by thylings on DeviantArt. In particular, I was inspired the image’s depiction of a ‘light’ and a ‘dark’ form. I wanted to implement this dual-form concept in my game through creating a player-character that would have two sets of abilities, which the player would have to shift between so that they may progress. However, I felt the ‘light and dark’ theme is something that is very much overdone in gaming. Thus, I opted for an alien parasite theme instead. The mechanics were implied in Symbiosis in the way the two characters have different abilities that relate to who/what they are. I also wanted the player to feel like were playing as two different characters through the controls so I decided that Wallace would be manipulated using the keyboard and the alien using the mouse, emphasising them as separate beings.

Lessons for the Future

The general feedback for my game was that it was a nice way of telling a story and that it would make a good introduction to a RPG. Symbiosis is certainly very simple but I feel that this is mostly to do with time restraints, rather than my capabilities were restricting me. After this week, I am feeling far more confident with the programming software (Clickteam Fusion) and I have learnt how to do a lot of new things with it. I was particularly proud of working out how to make an information bubble appear when Wallace is close to an object of interest. I’ll definitely be using this mechanic again. It is also worth noting that a couple of my playtesters did not notice the instructions along the bottom of the screen so didn’t know how to use the alien vision ability. I will have to make sure that the instructions are much clearer in my next game and do not disappear before the player has had a chance to read them.

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