Zombie Bash Released

Zombie Bash Is Released!

After months of casually poking around in XNA studio, Zombie Bash is finally “done” (more like beta 1.0)!

Installation Instructions

Note: Currently Zombie Bash is a Windows game only. I haven’t tried it on Win emulators in MacOS or Linux yet. If you do try and are able to get it to work, let me know!

  1. Download the ZombieBash.zip file. ZOMBIE BASH.ZIP
  2. Unzip the Zombie Bash directory.
  3. Run setup.exe. This will install the required XNA libraries if needed.
  4. Zombie Bash should start automatically. You may get a warning about enabling some feature of your video card – click ok.
  5. Zombie Bash should be accessible from the start menu. You can also uninstall from Control Panel -> Programs

About the Game

XNA is a software development kit (SDK) released by Microsoft for game development on PC, XBox 360 and Windows Phone. I initially got interested in XNA when I realized you could build a game and release it on the XBox Live Indie Game channel. No other console gives amateur game developer’s such an easy means of distribution.

It does cost $100 to obtain a “Creators Club” membership, which is required to release games on the Indie Chanel. I figured I’d better learn the ins and outs of XNA development and build a game before I forked over my 100 bucks. Zombie Bash is that game.

XNA comes with a few starter kits out of the box. One of them is the Platformer starter kit, which includes some code for collision, tile-based levels, and basic gravitational physics. Zombie Bash is heavily modified from Platfomer, extending the collision to cover ranged and melee weapons, and giving the enemies the ability to attack.

I also went through and replaced all the assets with my own (poorly drawn) art. Video Games are a lot more than programming, and on the artistic side I’m sorely lacking.

The game itself is a combination platform jumper / beat-em-up with single-screen level design. Each level contains a number of Zombies and Graves. The Graves spawn Zombies at a constant rate, so its important to take out the Graves before the Zombies. However, Graves are sometimes found in hard to reach locations, and require some creative problem-solving to destroy.

There are 20 total levels, which get progressively harder.

There are three modes of difficulty (Easy / Medium / Hard) and also sort of a “cheat code” which unlocks all the weapons from level 1.

Lastly, I photoshopped some haunted looking photographs I had lying around, downloaded some public domain sound effects of gunshots, and embedded Nine Inch Nails Ghosts 14, which was released under Creative Commons.

What’s Next

There are plenty of features that could potentially benefit Zombie Bash, but better art is top priority. There are multiple different “types” of art that go into the game:

Visual

  1. Sprite-based animations. These make up the player and the zombies.
  2. Backgrounds and tiles – the large background image and the platforms the player jumps on.
  3. Pickups and Effects – including both particle effects and animations
  4. HUD – the display and menu of the game, including the various icons in the top-left corner, and the text “Level Complete” text.

Audio

  1. Sound Effects
  2. Music

All of these “assets” must then be formatted and imported into the game so they can be displayed programmatically. Building Zombie Bash let me figure out the technical side, but talent isn’t learned 😉 The bottom line is I’m looking for some collaborators for the next version / game.

I’m also looking forward to writing some blogs about the game development process, specifically lessons learned while building Zombie Bash. I’ll probably do some write-ups on the collision detection and physics algorithms, importing art assets, and balance considerations.

So go ahead, download the game, and let me know in the comments what you think. Does it install on your computer? Can you beat the game? Too hard, too easy? Any bugs? Suggestions?

And if you are an artist interested in getting together to build some indie video games to release on XBox Live, send me a comment!

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