Formation

  • Platform: Flash
  • Released: February 22, 2006
  • Role: Design and Development
  • Award: 1st place in World’s Most Addictive AddictingGame contest

Formation came into being after I played an evasion-based game on Newgrounds that inspired me to try and come up with a new take on the evasive style of game. Just about every evasive game at that point had a single entity evading a lot of other enemies. It occurred to me that it might be more challenging and change how the game played quite a bit if you weren’t allowed to focus on a single object and had to keep a whole group out of trouble instead.

From early on, I wanted this to be a top down game where you were controlling a squad in the military, and could order your troops to change formations to avoid different objects. For a long time this was the theme, but I was not working with any artist, so during development I used colored circles instead. The same colored circles you see today.

Later in development I determined I didn’t want people to have to worry about other things, so I took out the ability to control when and what formation you could choose (I figured people would mostly not use it if they didn’t have to and I couldn’t think of a good interface for it anyway), and made the formation changes automatic, and decided to only let the enemy dots to come from one direction so the player didn’t have to look absolutely everywhere at all times.

The ability to shrink your formation most likely came about thanks to a game I was obsessed in around that time called Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders, an action game on the Xbox that had buttons for shrinking and expanding the formation to react to different situations. I realized that moving around the dots could be very difficult at times, and wanted the user to be able to do something to make it easier. I also decided it was better to allow people to be in a smaller formation indefinitely if they needed to, but to give them an incentive not to stay in it by having the points drop while in the smaller formation.

While I thought the game was fun and addicting, I wasn’t confident that a game with only circles for graphics could win a contest by itself, so I worked on another prototype I thought had more promise for the AddictingGames.com contest. However, the artist I was going to work with ended up quitting, and I was running out of time, so instead I decided to take a chance and submit this game anyway. Turns out they liked it, and it won 1st place in the contest. JayisGames has since written up a review for it, and it’s still one of my most popular games.