During one warm sommer night an extraterrestrial creature, vaguely resembling an earthly slime mold appears in a peaceful city. It grows through the streets, having only one goal in mind: reaching the holiday home of the President to subdue Earth!
Night of the Man Eating Mucus, in short N.O.M.M., is a strategy game in which the player takes control of the slimy alien creature that wants to conquer Earth. The player has to decide which paths are the best to grow next, how to handle resources for growth and attack and how different abilities are best put to use. The game is designed for players who are looking for a different strategy experience on their tablets in a strange and playful setting, which pays homage to the B Movies of the 50s.
N.O.M.M. was the 5th and last project taking place in the 5th term. Each team, consisting of 3 students, had the liberty to choose one of five themes. Our team chose ‘Agents’ which not referred to ‘Secret Agents’ but agent-oriented programming. Our team consisted of two programmers and one artist. Together we created the basic game concept and goal.
While Julien created the behavior of NPC’s and the alien slime growth, I was responsible for the implementation of the game mechanics, resource system, interface and input. I also designed the level. Other responsiblilities I took came in form of documentation and project management.
Basic Game Concept
Since the project was estimated with 600 h we used the first four weeks to brainstorm and prototype. At the end, we had four digital prototypes and chose one of them. I got the idea for the game while researching animals and plants that form a collective and communicate information to each other like ants or mushrooms. Verena showed me the Slime Mold and I fell in love with its movement and ability to solve shortest path problems. I liked the idea of a game where growth is the form of movement so I created a prototype and we decided to use this approach. The agent-aspect of our game thus moved from the player to the enemies. Through growth the player has to reach a certain point in the level (the residence of the president). Growth needs resources which can be gathered by defeating enemies.
N.O.M.M. was the last of our student projects we had to do to fullfill our curriculum. I am satisfied that I close the projects with specifically this one. I like the basic concept and the mechanics we came up with as well as the setting and the overall feel of the game. During the project I learned a lot and had the chance to explore a new field for me, which was level design in every aspect.
We worked in a group of three and our views on parts of the game often differed but we had healthy and respectful discussions and always came up with a solution. The atmosphere of that alone was great.
If I had to pick a project which I had to develop further, it would be this one. I see the most potential and the best game idea in it, though in its current state I recognise the flaws it has.