Explode Mode is a top-down shooter with a unique control mechanic that was inspired by the “tank style” of movement from the Katamari Damacy games. You pilot a hover tank, with a control system that lets you control each side of the tank’s thrusters separately. The aim is to clear waves of enemies and rack up points, while managing your tank’s energy levels. Destroying enemies and clearing levels will fill up your energy, but it will drain over time and when you get hit.
My main focus for this project was to experiment with creating a player character which moves using physics forces, as opposed to the regular kinematic movement found in a standard character controller. The end result is a vehicle that is satisfying to control; and conveys a sense of weight and momentum to the player through its movement.
My secondary focus for the project was to create a visual look for the game using techniques I had used before in Cinema 4D several years ago. I created an abstract colourful title screen using elements that make up a traditional 3D motion graphics title sequence: extruded text meshes; materials with a fresnel glow effect (in this case, materials which interpolate a glowing fresnel effect over time); and ambient particles (in this case, a particle system of floating voronoi-fractured meshes). The effect was a menu system that had the feel of high production value; but was made with a modest amount of time and resources. For the game’s levels, I decided to draw upon and extend the style I had used in a previous jam game: Alien Cow Snatchers. The single toned flat-shaded landscape of the title screen I made for that game were well suited for this game, and let me quickly design levels and iterate upon them without having to worry about making the terrain and environment look coherent, as one would when using a more traditional presentation.
The game was made for the Idle Thumbs Wizard Jam 2016; a biannual online community game jam. In 2016, I was the primary organiser of the event. The jam took place over two weeks and accepted 48 entries from developers around the world.
Explode Mode was featured in Rock Paper Shotgun’s weekly freeware column, as well as on the front page of game storefront itch.io.
Explode Mode is top-down action game I made in two weeks for the Idle Thumbs Wizard Jam.
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