IsoBots & IsoSpace

Category: Game Design, Graphic Design

IsoBots & IsoSpace was the first digital game I designed (and programmed). I finished it in 2003 as my master’s thesis in visual arts. The concept behind it was a non-lineair, procedural retro game, that takes place in the IsoSpace. In isometric world consisting out of procedurally isometric rooms, that would shift relative positions to each other over time. Inside these rooms lived the IsoBots, procedurally generated 8 x 8 3D pixel characters.

I have to admit here that I more or less designed a game world in which a lot of games could take place than a specific game. My master’s thesis consisted out of both a prototype for the world, as well as two smaller, fully playable games and a design document for a game of a larger scale:

  • IsoBattle was basically a one on one bomberman type of battle game. The game had a lot of special moves that could be assigned to each of the battling IsoBots. A unique feature of the game, was that the walkable tiles in the battle room corresponded with the combined pattern of both IsoBots. Keeping in mind that hurting your opponent caused him to lose parts of his body (or 8 x 8 pattern for that matter), players needed to make sure that the floor beneath them would not collapse as they would pummel each other.
  • IsoPuzzle was a one player maze game of which the point was to find the exit room. Every room was given a color that indicated its relative position in the IsoSpace, with the primary colors being on the corners of the IsoSpace. As a result, players needed to navigate themselves using their knowledge of color theory. This might not seem to hard to do, but roomless spaces in the IsoSpace along with moving rooms added a layer of complexity that made this idea into a challenging game.
  • IsoVirus was the one game I did not complete for the master’s thesis as it was simply too big for me to program in the three months that I had to work on this project. The game combined elements from both IsoBattle and IsoPuzzle and it mixed everything into a three to eight player online game. In this game, the IsoSpace was being corrupted by a virus, which was controlled by one of the eight players. The virus had to destroy the IsoSpace while not getting caught by the other seven players. One of the neat features I was trying to implement in this idea as well, was to fill the IsoSpace with imagery and text that was found on the computer system the game was played on. In doing so, I was attempting to have players perceive the game world as something familiar, even their own computer, that was being attacked.

I still have my all my files to this project, but I do not have a working Mac OS X system with Adobe Director on it. I guess the few pictures below will have to do for now, until I find the time to visit someone who has the necessary hardware to port the project and make it playable here.