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[Populate] Ep. 0: A simple mobile game

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I’ve been wanting to develop a mobile game for a while, but the problem is I am sadly not a gifted artist and I do not have as much free time as I would like (when I say free time, I mean quiet time at home – hanging out with friends doesn’t count as it’s time I can’t use to work on my personal projects).

But then I thought about it and I realized I needed to stop having unrealistic goals (such as creating a beautiful, complex game) because it would just stop me from moving forward, and I set my mind on developing a simple mobile game. Simple graphics, simple gameplay.

Let me introduce Populate – a mobile game in which you need to feed organisms so that they don’t die and can reproduce (not the best pitch I could think of, but I don’t want to set your expectations too high):

The graphics will be in 2D and very basic – mainly colored circles. The goal is to get as much points as possible by keeping the circles (organisms) alive. The organisms reproduce and the more you have, the more difficult it becomes to feed them and the more points you get. The circles change colors, turning from dark blue to light blue when they’re hungry, and if you let them starve, they die and you lose. Random little red circles (food) pop up regularly and you can drag an organism onto food to get it to turn dark blue again. When you’re not dragging circles with your finger, they move randomly. If two organisms that are well-fed collide, they reproduce and bring to life a new one that is quite hungry.

I might add bonuses (more food, slower movements, lives) but I haven’t decided exactly what yet.

To develop this game, I’ll be using Unity since it’s fairly easy to create multi-platform games with this editor. Here’s the plan I’m going to follow:

  1. Getting circles to be moved by touch : I’ve never developed a mobile game with Unity before so I’ll have to learn how to use touch to drag objects.
  2. Getting organisms to go hungry : their state will be represented by a color, from dark blue to light blue. The hungrier they get, the lighter they get.
  3. Getting food to pop up
  4. Getting circles to move randomly
  5. Getting organisms to reproduce
  6. Creating points system
  7. Developing UI
  8. Creating menu
  9. Adding bonuses

Each step may prove more difficult than it seems, and I’m sure I’ll have to do a lot more than what I’ve stated here, but this gives me an idea of where to start and what to do. After all of this is implemented, I’ll have a lot of testing to do to find just the right values to make the game pleasant: how much time before an organism goes starving, how much food, where the food appears, how much collisions between circles… This will have a direct impact on the difficulty of the game, and I think it’s what matters most for the gaming experience to be enjoyable. If a game is too easy, it’s boring, if it’s too difficult right from the beginning, it’s discouraging.

Well, let’s get to it then!

Stay tuned,

A girl in tech.


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