Project description for a game programming project : browser-based multi-player ant game.
This is a browser based interactive game for up to 30 participants. Each participant is represented by an ant which is the participant’s cursor that can be dragged across the screen. The ant interacts with a central colony entity that moves slowly according to the combined vector and intensity of all participants’ cursors.
The marker ant always has its back to the colony and its head towards the corresponding edge of the screen, trying to persuade the whole colony to move into that direction. There are 4 different sizes depending on how far the ant is from the colony; 100% when overlapping the edge of the colony or within 100 pixels, 80% at 101-200 pixels, 60% at 201-300 pixels and 40% at 301+ pixels all the way to the edge of the screen. The scout ant’s pulling strength declines with distance from the colony or is zero if it is completely within the boundary of the colony, at which point it will not be visible, so there is a binary shift in pulling power from 0 to 1 pixels field protrusion. Pulling strength corresponds to sprite size.
The edge of the screen acts as an important decision area. Depending on setting, there should be either 4 or 8 directions (N, E, S, W or N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW) to which the colony can exit the screen based on pulling of scouts, resulting in a distinct “new level” (this could be either geographical or in terms of decision making / new task / new quest).
After the colony reaches the edge of the canvas the game should reset and the result (i.e. exit to which side of the screen) stored. It should be possible to have stages of the game where the pulling mechanism will be inactive. There should also be a chat area outside the main game canvas but this could be in the form of a third party or open source app/widget. The chat area is ideally on the right of the main canvas.
What I am looking for primarily is sound game mechanics. Ant movement and vector calculation (which drives colony movement) should be smooth and feel natural. It is important to work with any amount of players from 1 to 30. Players losing connection or crashing out should be kept to an absolute minimum with easy re-login. I see the design of the graphics as a separate project and plan to hire a designer for the sprites and graphics assets. Or I can consider a designer recommended by you. In the meantime, I will provide dummy graphics assets.
Apart from the initial project (browser based interface and game canvas, player login, game mechanics and graphics) I envisage a long term cooperation with the further progression of the game project. However, I expect the code to be well documented and of high quality to allow insourcing or cooperation with other programmers later.
I will provide much more details about the game logic and expected future/add-on functionality upon commencement / signing of NDA. One thing to point out is that many ants can be in one place, and likely will be, so this should be handled and displayed elegantly.
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