Ascendancy & Anarchy is a networked two-player competitive game in which one player defends a city against the rampages of the other. Pitching an RTS against an action-RPG, it’s an exercise in asymmetric gameplay inspired by the theme of “order vs. chaos.” Chaos wins if it destroys the city’s central tower, but Order wins if it kills Chaos first.
The Order player plays a streamlined RTS, attempting to defend the central tower and spawn soldiers to attack and kill the Chaos creature before it grows too powerful to defeat.
The Chaos player absorbs energy from both the city’s buildings and soldiers, earning experience which makes the creature more powerful and unlocks special abilities.
What was I told to make?
For this assignment, we were given two “themes” to inspire our gameplay, and had to choose one of them. The theme we chose was “order vs. chaos.” (Game Development I, final project.)
When did I make it?
The fall semester of my junior year.
How long did it take to make?
Three weeks from assignment to completion.
What parts did I make?
I did all the gameplay programming for the Chaos creature, as well its visual effects, which included glowing eyes, flying orbs, and changing the color of its targets as they took damage. I implemented both user interfaces and all of the sound effects and music. I also did extensive playtesting and tweaks to balance the game as much as we could within our timeframe.
Who else helped make it?
Myself and four teammates: one other programmer, two artists, and a level designer/music and sound guy/jack-of-all-trades.
When we pitched our idea for this game to the class, our professors used the word “ambitious” four times during their feedback and gave us very worried looks. I was already pretty worried about the scope of the project, so that didn’t exactly help. However, we pulled it off! My one regret is that we didn’t have one or two more days to playtest and really make sure we had it decently balanced. We also could have added a bit more visual polish to it if we had that time. As it was, though, the gameplay was quite solid and I’m very proud of how this came out.
This game was three big “first”s for me: networked gaming, serious GUI implementation, and the programming side of visual effects. While I view networking as a necessary obstacle, I fell in love with the other two types of work and have never looked back.