All the Happy Animals

Posted June 19, 2017, 9:59 p.m.

I've been feeling frustrated and creatively stagnated lately. I feel like the most exciting thing I've worked on lately was 4000 B.C., which was an electric technicolor blur of alien-blasting blasphemy. Since I've been learning Phaser to explore different game making tools, I decided to work on a little game to apply some of the stuff I've learned and funnel some of my frustration into something quasi-productive. The idea for it came from a similar place as 4000 B.C. - frustration with religious dogma - but this one is made to focus on religious extremism. Flipping through the free Kenney art packs available, I saw one with a bunch of animal faces and thought "okay, I've gotta use these for something." That something apparently involves throwing them into a fire. In All the Happy Animals (working title) you play as either God or some sort of priest. Your job is to sort animals into whether they're going to heaven or hell. You set your own doctrines, though, so you can be as selective or generous as you like!

The more generous you are with your tickets to heaven, the more followers you'll have. More followers can mean more tithing money, but the amount they give is proportional to how many animals you exclude - if everyone gets in, what's there to be excited about? So you have to find the sweet spot where you have enough followers to actually pay you, but few enough that they feel exclusive and open up those wallets! I'm drawing a bit on Papers Please as inspiration, so some of the animals may try to bribe you to sort them incorrectly.

One of the reasons I decided to make this game in Phaser is because it has a pretty simple interphase. You just drag around cards and animals. The idea is to get some experience publishing on mobile, so once it's done I'll post app store links. Phaser is a Javascript framework, so it's been fun brushing back up on it - my life has mostly been C# for the last few years.

I've also been noodling around with a site called Codingame, and am really loving it. It's revived my interest in Python since there are little code battles on there that require you to solve a problem as fast as you can, and is generally a problem-of-the-week sort of site with really high production value. Once I learn a little more Haskell I plan to go back and re-solve some of the problems with it just to see how many pretzels I can bend my brain into.