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ClaSs 2018: Surv’Evol

ClaSs 2018: Surv’Evol

By In SummerSchool On July 24, 2018


SURV’EVOL is a strategy game for 2 players, 1vs1,  which is trying to help you learn about evolution while having fun!

As a player your goal is to control 3 of the 5 key environments placed on the hexagonal grid  board at the start – theses have very harsh living conditions and only perfectly adapted creatures can survivre there…

To do that, each player is given a starting mother population which can migrates, and cards, for environments creation, climate modifications, forced mutations…

You will have to understand basic mechanics of natural selection to guide the evolution of your populations in the right way…but keep in mind that your creatures can die and that sabotaging the other player could happen too…

Video

TEAM

Unity C# Coding
Concept art and Graphic Design
Game Design
Sound Design
Support & Playtest

Problematic

This project started with the need to help learning in high school. Actually, Evolution is part of the education program, and is a very complex concept to learn.

At the same time, games about evolution already exists, but they are mostly around the “build your creature” mechanism and fight, which is quite different from reality. The other type of theses games are serious ones…but with nearly no fun at all…

We chose to try to create something in between, where fun is present, and which can teach you simple but important things included in the school program, namely natural selection.

Solution

The solution came from a mix between a very complex and realistic “evolution code” created by Emma Barme at CRI, and some game design ideas and references (Faeria).

The choice of a strategy game was made to keep the fun side, because we didn’t want to create an evolution simulator, but something more interesting for high schoolers and people who don’t wanna learn the classic way. The strong point of this type of games, is that players must and want to learn things to improve their strategies, and even more so when competing with other players!

To avoid the creation of some very complex UI with a lot of informations, we opted for a card + board game (see Faeria), because cards tends to be accessible and appealing for most of people. We even wrap all this in a sci fi background, which could explain the acceleration and simplification of the Evolution mechanisms…so…who wanna be the best Surv’Evolist?

Challenges

From start, we tried to create a game on top of the code that was already existing, it was interesting in terms of realism, but it revealed really too complex in the end, so we choose to just code from scratch some simple behaviors.

We had to make graphic choices and sacrifices too, given the short amout of time for the project, and knowing we wanted to do a modular system for the creatures parts.  The sci fi background of the game was hard to figure too.

The other challenge was to avoid giving too much control to the player, as Evolution is kinda wild, but at the same time, strategy games tends to give the player this control, to be able to understand in advance what is gonna happen. The balancing was very hard, and still is 😉

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