The problem with Squares and Laserz

At Sardine Corporation we are at full speed working at our main project: SquaserZ.

We tried to be as inclusive as possible, in order to prevent hurting any of our fish friends feelings, and as such it was decided that we should go into abstract mode and design a game about Squares and Laserz, hence SquaserZ (we are pretty happy about our naming convention, in fact Sard Sardine had a raise last month), where the main character is a tiny blue square.

This project is directed towards PC and mobile gaming, and our objective is to protect our main character from the perils of everything red, including lasers, rockets and even an evil twin brother of our protagonist.

Here we show two simple moving images (often called GIFs) that represent the movement and effects on our game:

  • First, a moving image of how the movement is done: The player can only control where the protagonist is facing with just a touch of a fin on the screen. The rest is handled by the game: the speed and thrills that releasing our fins cause on the game, the exhilarating speed and the fated death of our protagonist. This one-touch-control measure was implemented in order to include all of the fish, even the finless ones (for a fish can always play with its mouth).
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  • Secondly, our department of Graphics Interaction in Line Lure (GILL) developed a system in which each explosion will produce a fountain of pleasant colours to distract the player from the main objective: staying alive. The same trick was used in the old Fish Arcade Machines, where every trick in the book was used in order to suck up all the juicy coins.
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Sadly, due to the restraints that our departments now have, we have decided to cut on some futures that were schedule to be included in this project.

  • Up until now, the game had a boss in the 10th level. Why is that? Because some fish thought they were too big for their tank and we decided to cut their fins short. However, upon further inspection, the boss levels do not fit well with our game:
    • It cuts the pacing from the levels, to the point where one cod fish tester said that he was afraid (afraid!) to loose in the boss level since it would mean repeating all the first 10 levels again.
    • The boss levels sometimes may rely on the player’s luck, since he does not have perfect control of the main character.
  • Each time the player died, a blob was placed to represent the places where the player died (we all know some fish have unreliable memory, we had to make sure they knew they sucked at the game), however, the majority of testers from all species seemed puzzled at what this could be and some of them thought it was an enemy. The good thing is that this seemed to improve the performance on the game (funny thing eh?).
  • And finally, there was a penalty for the player staying on the same place for a long amount of time, where the screen started shaking and the player flew in the pointed direction, many times to its unfortunate death. Again, this caused plenty of confusion, and would require an additional tutorial to explain this mechanic. Due to this, it was decided to be removed entirely from the game.

Now, for the good part. After some investigation and time pondering in our exclusive pond, a final plan for the game was outlined, explained here:

  • Improve the level progression system. In the current build the player proceeds to the next level if he survives a laser. This seems to be counter intuitive in the current state of the game, so now a level will be advanced for each obstacle the player survives, be it the lasers, the evil twin brother, the missiles or even a stealthy hook wanting to kill the player.
  • A cardinal fish pointed something very interesting: having some “hand-made” levels, with the inclusion of a progressive creation of the lasers, instead of them being all deployed at the same time. He also added that it would be nice to have the game sync the obstacles with the music, but I fear that this might be too much for our fish-brains.
  • The most ambitious however, is the possible inclusion of a 2 player mode, where all the fish eggs fiasco may be resolved once and for all, either through cooperation, or by hooking the other player (another raise for Sard Sardine for the mighty pun).
  • Lastly, we wanted to include new skins both for the player and for the levels, awarded for collecting a set amount of shiny yellow squares. Why? Because we all love shiny things and tending our scales.

And thus, this message from the Sardine Corp ends, in a high note, by remembering the words of a wise prophet:

It is best to fie as a Saint Sardine in the “Day of all the Saints”, than to be a Canned Sardine and forever be put to shame.

Let us all strive to be the best Saint Sardine that we can be.

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Let there be Sardines

This post marks the new corporation based in Portugal, where Sardines are the new corporate leaders that we have selected to advance in tourism and video games.

We will use this platform to log the development of different projects of Sardine Corps, highlighting both the high and lows of this institution.