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Simple games to build

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The students taking interactive media classes at RIT this quarter are just now beginning to work on their games, one of about 3 projects assigned during the 10-week quarter. The development environment is Flash, and the students are looking for examples to get ideas for what they might be able to build within a 2-week time frame. While the criteria for the games are rather explicit, overall they must be simple in design, yet fun to play. Here are just a few examples that I came up with...

DR3IWhile it may look like there is a lot going on here, this game consists of only a few nested movie clips and a bunch of hit test operations per frame. Move the red dot cursor with the mouse, touch all the the black dots, marked with a plus or minus sign, without touching anything else. DR3I is an excellent game, loads of fun, and surprisingly simple to pull off. Click.

Squares2Offering similar gameplay to that of DR3I, this game is also very addictive, is very simple in design, and could be built rather quickly. Move the mouse the collect all the black squares while avoiding all the red ones. Each square collected increases the size of the cursor slightly. Excellent features of this game include: player score prominently displayed on the stage, power-ups that add spice and variety to the game, engaging soundtrack. Click.

BubblesSimilar gameplay as the previous two, yet Bubbles makes use of the keyboard for control instead of the mouse. Subtle bouncy animation give life to the bubbles, power-ups change-up the pace, and the soundtrack is integral to the enjoyment. In other words, don't forget the sound! Click.

ReverseReverse is a simple maze game with a twist: all mouse movements behave in reverse. Of course, a player could simply turn the mouse upside-down and lose all purpose of playing. Still, the concept shows that there exist many ideas for games if we can just step outside the box and switch our paradigm. Click.

Hamure-suHamster Race in Japanese, the object of the game is to keep the hamster on the track simply by clicking the mouse. For the duration that the mouse is clicked, the hamster turns to the left. When a hit test returns true between the hamster and any of the inside or outside edges of the track, the game is over. This extremely simple game may be just a bit too simple for the requirements of the project, yet I am including it here as an example to show that a game does not need to be complicated to be fun to play. Click.

Kill the Pacman
Kill the PacmanAn infectiously addictive game, Kill the Pacman can be reduced to lots of dynamically created movie clips and hit tests. Use the arrow keys for movement left and right, press the space bar to jump. Land on the pacmen to keep the bounce going. Simple and very well executed. It even has an intro cut scene. Click.

Duck Hunt
Duck HuntA classic game with very simple gameplay to reproduce: just click on the ducks as they try to fly away. An RIT student, from a previous quarter's class, created a clone of this game using his own character designs. Not difficult to do. Click.

Japanese Counting game
Japanese Counting gameYes, it's an odd idea for a game, yet don't knock it until you try it. Based on a very simple concept: click on the numbered circles, in order, as quickly as you can. The game is a race against the clock with more and more numbers to click with each advancing level. Just be sure to instantiate the movie clips in reverse order, or with depths that decrement, to be sure all clips are clickable when their number is up. Click.

BubbleThose Japanese really have a way with games, as you may have noticed. Bubble is another one of those well-executed yet very simple ideas. Use the arrow keys to guide the marshmallow around and collect the bubbles. It is not as easy as it seems in later levels. Very simple to pull off, and fun to play. Click.

Warthog Launch
Warthog LaunchMaybe a bit more ambitious than the others, yet still can be done if you're motivated. This is a game of projectiles: set the angle and the power, and then blast the vehicle into the sky. To bounce off the walls requires just a bit number crunching than a simple hit test, though not bad at all. Again, the sound effects make this game something special. Click.

TetrisThis was my IDM project when I took the course a year ago, so I know it can be done. Manipulating the blocks will require more maths than simple shooters or the earlier games listed above, yet Tetris is a classic game with very simple gameplay to reproduce. This version was coded in Director before the course switched to Flash, yet the principles remain the same. Game was removed by request of the Tetris Company

BreakoutAnd don't forget the old stand-by favorite, Breakout. Still a fun game to play and to build, and so much can be done with this to extend the gameplay as far as you want to take it. Click.

I hope these games helped get the creative juices flowing, though if you still need more ideas, come talk to me. There are lots of great gameplay mechanics that can be made into a game of your own original design, and there is so much you can do with just a little effort. Also, if you are unsure about an idea, run it by your instructor or any one of the tutors or TAs. We can give you an idea of what you might run up against while bringing your concept to fruition. Remember, a game does not have to be complex to be fun to play! =)

1 Comment

I made a Bejeweled clone in less than two weeks including a couple varieties such as "clear straight rows of the same color" and "clear large sections of the same color". It was complicated, but I got it done.

Whack-a-mole is fairly simple too, along with Kick-ups (a popular web game).


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