Just over a week ago we launched our first Casual Collective Mini Game, Attack of the Buggles! A simple single-player game where your only goal is to move around the screen avoiding the red Buggles and collecting blue boxes. There are plenty of games that have similar mechanics (like this one, and this one, and this one, to name a few) so when making a game based on a popular mechanic it is always good to bring something new to the table and innovate as much as you imitate.
AotB’s average game time (that’s only counting the time you are in control of the Buggle, not the loading screen, countdown or game over screen) is 30.6 seconds, which is very short, even by casual game standards! However the average number of game plays per person is just over 66 which makes a more impressive average play time of 33.7 minutes, so it must be doing something right.
A few examples of how we made AotB stand out from the crowd can be found after the jump…
We added time pressure by making the points you get for touching a blue box count down, the rate at which they count down slows as the game progresses to make the late-game boxes worth as much as the early-game boxes. We also made your Buggle grow between collecting boxes which makes it harder to avoid others if you don’t rush.
We helped people get out of tight spots by adding bullet time which lets you slow the speed of the game down for a few seconds which gives you more time to think and move. We also gave the player a special “ROAR” ability which turns the tables, the hunted becomes the hunter as you eat your way through as many red Buggles as you can before returning to your vulnerable state. This can greatly extend the game time for an experienced player and is a fun thing to do for the more casual player.
We made it more fair for all players by removing any randomness in the speed the Buggles move and increasing the speed as the game progresses. Given the high replay rate we did not go as far as having the locations, and directions of travel the same each game. We also locked the distance the Buggles move every frame to the frame rate the game runs at, so those on slower PC’s running at a low FPS will not have an advantage over those running it on a faster PC.
A big thanks to Jay is Games for a great review of AotB and all the members of the CC who helped beta test the game before it launched. We are now working on improving the widget (the wrapper the game loads in) as well as producing more games, we also have a few small tweaks to make to AotB over the next few weeks… now go play AotB and spend a few 30 seconds avoiding work and touching those magical blue boxes!