December 13th, 2011
Create Plants vs Zombies Clone: Week 1
So, I decided to clone Plants vs Zombies. In my defense, I quote Picasso, ”Bad artists copy. Good artists steal,” but I’m not here to justify myself.
It all starts with my girlfriend – which is an important note to make, in case someone some day decides to take legal action against me, I want to record to show it was all her fault!
It happens quite often that in order to stop her bothering me while working, I throw the iPad on the table and let her enjoy some “random game” time.
Unfortunately, there is one random game which does not always get picked randomly: Plants vs Zombies. She easily gets addicted to it, despite having finished it several times. Now she asks me to provide her with new games, but seems that the hole left by PvZ is cannot be filled; not by red flying birds, nor by chandeliers that fall on a malformed frog (isn’t it?).
In 4 words: I am f**ed up!
Chaining myself in front of the Popcom/EA head quarters begging for a sequel led to nothing but a waste of time. It’s at this point I get the idea: Do it yourself.
I’ll also spice up the project by throwing in some constraints and presenting it as a social psychology experiment. Let’s call this Socially Driven Game Development (dev note – TDD is old fashioned, right?!)
There are two lessons to be drawn from Notch’s Minecraft hype; First, you must keep feeding and getting feedback from the community around your game, and in case you don’t have one, you must do your best to get people involved and feel they are part of the project. The second lesson is that mining seems to be the only thing people want to do from dawn ’till dusk, but for this project, that lesson can be ignored.
So I decided to clone Plans vs Zombies, and share the progress in a daily, on-line diary, letting people inspire design decisions; from gameplay to graphics, from music to additional content.
In addition I’ll add one or more constraints, such as:
- Limit the time I work on project – No more than two hours per day or ten hours per week (this forces me consider this as a side project)
- Recap the day’s work every week – sharing any progress and development, as well taking in feedback regularly
- End every post with a question – sometimes a Yes/No question, sometimes a poll, and sometimes a so-called “open-question”
In the spirit of the last rule, I give you the project’s first question:
What is lacking from Plants vs Zombies?
Scroll straight down to the comments section and write your ideas. After that, scroll back up here and keep reading my thoughts on the matter (mostly superficial views)
- Not homogeneous across platforms (I found out that iPad version has features that iPhone doesn’t, and vice versa, like Zen Garden)
- Not available on a few platforms – Not a big issue, but I bet the Blackberry and Nokia markets are potentially fertile markets that aren’t explored enough.
- Not a real growing path – Except gaining all the plant types, there’s really no other motivator to keep playing. Suns are not permanent through matches, money is not useful after you bought all the items from the shops.
- Longevity is miserable in less than 5 hours.
- It lacks an “entrepreneurial view” – Come on, I don’t want to be stuck in my backyard all my life. I want to conquer the world with my plant army!
Your turn now, see ya tomorrow
3 Responses to Create Plants vs Zombies Clone: Week 1
Would love to be a part in your project whenever I have the time. Graphics, Music and more. I am no game designer, but I know some stuff that could help you make faster results. What I would like to see is more variation of “plants” and levels. Bonusmaterial is nice altso, “endless stages” and puzzles. Perhaps have better cheats then making “zombies” have glasses…
plant vs zombie should have the full version free
Have you finished your game yet? Or did you quit?