Undeath and Taxis: Success

Dropping off a militia member to fortify a house
Dropping off a militia member to fortify a house

Drive militia members from headquarters to fortify farm houses around the countryside. Run over hordes of zombies on the way. Don’t slow down in reach of them! A damaged car can be replaced by looking for other abandoned vehicles, or repaired by following radio beacons to hidden supply bunkers.

2017 is my third 7DRL challenge. I have so much fun doing this! It’s turning into a highlight of my year. In many ways this is a continuation of the Goblin Gold 7DRL I did two years ago. I started from that code and several mechanics remain (the bunkers are a straightforward reskin, for instance). One big change is the switch from a wrapping hex grid to a non-wrapping square grid.

For a long time I have wanted to make a game based on Steve Jackson’s Triplanetary board game, which has you flying a spaceship around the solar system. It has an acceleration mechanic, where each turn you modify last turn’s move by up to one hex in any direction. Really it’s the same thing as the old graph-paper racetrack game.

Approaching an abandoned cabin surrounded by zombies
Approaching an abandoned cabin surrounded by zombies

After having trouble figuring out how to make space fun, I went with the car-driving angle. That took a fair amount of work to make usable; it still didn’t do great with my testers. Since I did not have time to make NPC drivers I reworked the enemies from the Goblin Gold game, which suggested a zombie theme. They collect into hordes but they avoid the path of the oncoming car, so you have to swerve to hit them. There are curving roads to support fast driving and different vehicles that handle on-road and off-road driving in various ways.

Author: James McNeill

I've been a game programmer at Sucker Punch Productions since 2004, Midway and Westwood before that.

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