Game Design (Mobile J2ME)
Cellular is a seemingly simple game on the surface of it, yet it is quite a deep game design. You control a little worm-like character made up of a few cells. As you move and eat you will grow and evolve - as you evolve you can explore the cellular world - eventually, evolve enough and you will win. The abstract graphical world is made up of a hexagonal array of coloured levels with varrying enemies and challenges. The further you move away from the white "home" level at the center of the world the faster everything becomes - including your own rate of cellular decay and the speed of your enemies. The density of enemies increases and the available food decreases the further away you travel from the middle of the world. This mechanic essentially represents a player-controlled difficulty curve mapped to the X and Y axes of the world. Easy to learn - difficult to master!
A simple, yet powerful set of game mechanics drive the core gameplay:
- Eat or die - your body cells decay over time.
- Circles help you grow - squares hurt you.
- You are what you eat - your food becomes your body.
- Challenge increases the further you move away from the middle of the world
- Eat to explore - explore to evolve - evolve to win.
The proof of concept for Cellular was created in just 15 days by a small team using Agile methodology (Scrum) in time for presentation at GDC 2007. This was a very exciting time and a real joy to see the game quickly come to life. Right from the first playable builds the team could see there was something deeply engaging about the control system combined with the movement of the player avatar - as this was the foundation of the game we all knew we were onto something.The game features:
- Casual one-button control system / fluid creature movement
- Code-generated art style based on a numerical framework
- Open-world game design
- Non-scripted enemy encounters
- Player-controlled difficulty curve
- Scaling game canvas / camera zooming (minimal SKU's)
- Minimal use of text to make localisation easier
- Social community features & bluetooth multi-player
- The game represents just 57KB of data.
This screen show a 100% complete world map.
Special pickup and upgrades allow the player to multiply temporarily.
The sound toggle item also accessed as a in-world icon.
This example shows a three-legged body evolution style.
Notice the solid body cells - each of these lasts twice as long as normal cells.
Player under attack by two enemies in the outer regions.
Small cellular construction present risk versus reward challenges.
A player doing very well and growing longer.