Artery Rethinking

About time I posted a new entry I think.

I spent most of the weekend in bed, Had the flu ( Though I did manage to crawl out of bed and see an excellent performance by Manchester Band, “The Whip” ( Including an awesome remix of the already awesome track “Anyway you Choose to Give it” by The Black Ghosts ( Who are amazing might I add … And should really be getting more publicity than they are ).  Though I would have enjoyed it more, had I not been confined to the back row doing the uncomfortable guy shuffle, Unfortunately my headache prevented me from doing much else.

However I’m feeling a little more up to doing work now.  So tonight I sat down and attempted to get some proper work done on the Artery Adventure game.

To do a quick little update on my current progress, I was working on different options for particle generation and collision detection. I thought of a sort of ‘snake’ solution.  I say snake, because essentially it works in the same way the computer game ‘snake‘ worked.  The liquid follows a sort of ‘trail’.  I’m still yet to test this solution though, so i’m unsure if it will work, and if it will be adequate.  I think I’ll have to use a combination of the snake approach, and basic collision detection and “fluid” simulation In order to arrange the particles on top of eachother and ‘fill’ a space.

Tonight I sat down, and was going to get started on some decent programming – however I realised that I am really not ready for that yet.  There were still so many unanswered questions about the game, and how the game works.  Furthermore, it was such a simple game idea, and there was very little challenge in it whatsoever.  So I thought of ways to increase the skill required to play it and the interest in playing it, while keeping the complexity still at a very basic level.

So I started thinking of how the liquid would move through levels, how the levels would flow through eachother, how they connect and how they relate.  Should the levels be top-down? Or should the levels be viewed from the side ? Either would drastically change the way the particles and fluids would react.  The other thing I realised, is that blood doesn’t drip inside the body.  It pumps.  So I’ve got some of the core mechanics all wrong to begin.

From there, I decided to think about ways of extending the gameplay and gameplay elements.  I considered the idea of enemies.  These enemies could be one of three categories :

– Body Defences
– Diseases / Infections / Bacteria
– Viruses

Each would attack the players particles in a different way.

I then decided it would be a good idea to think about the Player’s particle itself – you can see some of the brainstorming in the previous scan.  The long and short of it – I think a pretty good game is starting to form.

The Player controls a blob of Cholesterol.  That Blob can be broken into smaller groups, or bunched together to form a larger group.  The Group is malleable, and can form simple items – Flat Surfaces, Balls, Sharp Pointy Objects.  However it is essentially still a ball of cholesterol – and therefore is soft.

The Particles of Chol. can ‘ride’ on flows of blood, float on rivers/puddles of fluid, and generally move about pretty easially.  The Type of Fluid depends on the types of movement allowed, and wehter the particles will sink, or float.

The Particles will meet two main types of particles within the body.  Body Defences ( Bad ), and Infections/Diseases/Viruses ( Good ) – I mean, we’re all trying to kill the body here, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Bacteria and Diseases give temporary qualities.  eg :
– Elasticity
– Stickyness
– Goopyness
– Hardness
– Infectectiosness ( I think I invented a word ) – Can be used to affect the body : Harden walls, change stubstances, close / open Valves

Viruses Allow the Cholesterol to Multiply and Mutate giving it perminant new abilities, and increasing the cholesterol ‘population’.

The Body defences will try and stop you modifying / affecting the body in any way it can.  It will modify viruses to use them itself, and will attempt to heal the body as much as possible ( that usually means trying to change the state of the cholesterol to sloppy, so it gets swept away I’m afraid ).

As for movement, the cholesterol can now move in variety of different ways.  The most basic is following currents, however the user can drag the choleserol through certain walls, ie ‘absorbtion’ through the cells.  And not all walls are able to be stuck onto, however the user will be able to use bacteria to solidfy walls and allow the bacteria to stick to it , and alter bloodflow.

Finally, I thought it would be awesome if the user could plot their own journey through the body. by having some sort of ‘Body Map’.  The user can follow the flow of blood and take the easy road, or they can fight the current, have little opposition from the body’s defences ( they’ll most likely fly right by ), however the route would be more difficult.

Essentially the goal of the game remains the same – Get from Stomach, to Heart, and Stop it from beating.  However I’ve just made the journey a little more interesting and challenging I hope.

Feedback on all of these ideas would be very much appreciated.  I’ll be replying to any comments that are left here, so please – your thoughts ?

– aA

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About aA

I'm a 28 year old Designer from Brisbane, Australia. I've got a keen interest in Motion Graphics, Illustration, and Game Design. View all posts by aA

3 responses to “Artery Rethinking

  • wonko

    this sounds fascinating, I am struggling to envisage how the user actually plays, is it guiding and manipulating the chol around – if so, what is the aim, why do they do this?

    Some funky fluidics here, am excited by the prospects

  • a|A

    Thanks for the comment Jason!
    Yeah, it hinges on the particle system doesn’t it ? Times like this, I really wish I remembered my old C++ days. I do have a few game design textbooks at my parents house, might pop home and grab them on the weekend perhaps ? We’ll see.

    I’m hoping to sort of trick it, use particles as little as possible and switch between differernt display methods. Different liquids react in different ways. So a falling liquid will need collision detection, etc. But a large body of non-moving water can be a solid mass with collision detecting on the edges only.

    Hopefully should drastically reduce the number of calculations required.

  • Jason

    Ah man, that sounds so awesome! You’ve really thought this out a lot, and because of that – I think it’s going to turn out brilliant.

    “Essentially the goal of the game remains the same – Get from Stomach, to Heart, and Stop it from beating.”
    That, right there, sounds like the best possible goal for a game ever, hahaha.

    I really hope you’re able to pull off a nice particle system too, because the idea behind this truly intrigues me to no end :)
    If you ever need to brainstorm design/character ideas, you know who to come to chief.

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