Zombie Boy by Norse Code

What is Zombie Boy?

Zombie Boy is a 2D platformer where you drag and drop objects to help traverse a level to collect keys and get to the end.

The team was made up of 5 programmers and the development time was 3 months. We made this game in the freshman year of DigiPen with a custom engine in C.

What Did I work on for Zombie Boy?

Programmer Responsibilities:

  • wrapper around alpha engine for graphics
  • health system for the player
  • damage system for player
  • collectibles
  • AI programming

Designer Responsibilities:

  • Conducting playtests and recording data
  • combining teams ideas into one formalized idea for the game
  • Creative Director, keeping the scope/vision for the game

What Did I Learn From Zombie Boy?

Zombie Boy was the first real game I helped develop. I did not know much about programming and the same can be said for the rest of my teammates to an extent. We just dove in head first and tried to come up with a finished product.

  1. Being the best programmer is not as important as working together as a team, a worse product made by a team is more satisfactory than making a good product where one programmer does all the work
  2. Team bonding is important in making a game because trust happens to be one of the more important factors in making a game
  3. Take every mistake you make as a learning opportunity for the future
  4. The end of a deadline is where most work and gain seems to happen
  5. Time management is the only thing keeping you alive at making video games at DigiPen
  6. Passion for making video games can only take you a long way, the rest is work ethic, passion will get you in the door, work ethic will keep you in the industry

What Mistakes Did I Make While Working On Zombie Boy (Programming Related)?

One of the big eye opener mistakes I made was when I was writing the health system. I did not understand the concept of a system in programming. I knew systems talked to each other via code, but I did not really grasp this idea of how systems communicated when writing the actual code. So I wrote this health system and it only worked for my sandbox. Not the best of outcomes but I learned and was able to make a functioning health system by the end of it.

During the start of the project, one of my assigned tasks was to create the health/damage systems. So never working on an actual game, In my sandbox, I showed off taking damage from falling. The inherent problem can’t be seen without context. The context was that I made a level with a a few blocks and you had to manually in code give each of the blocks a damage amount that deals damage to the player. Already this was an awful design for taking damage, but what did I know, It was my first time making a game. I showed it off to my team and they were like great job keep on working on it. Then I showed my tech director, and he just went bonkers rightfully so. So I learned from that mistake and changed up how to write the system in a more manageable way.