What do you get, when you combine clouds and color red? A bleeding cloud from Rejected by Don Hertzfeld was the first thing that came to my mind when the theme for GetOnline2012 Game Development compo – or 48h game jam was announced. But for now, I’m not going to talk about red and cloud, which was the theme, but instead I’m going to introduce you to my quick and dirty production, where I was the sole coder, producer, designer and audio nerd. This project is called the Rat Zapper.

Rat Zapper is a simple point and click game where you play as a fluffy but angry storm cloud and try to stop the invasion of jumping rats. A little bit of background, back in early 2000s I was drawing short cartoon strips about a cloud that zapped various things with lightnings – one of them being hyppyrotta or jumping rat in english. The rat was a tough enemy that caused the cloud to zap himself. Coming back to this day, I decided to revive the old story about the cloud and rat. The tough rat is now red to distinguish it from it’s weaker relatives (and to fit the theme) and you get to control the lightning!

But there’s a catch. Of course you must try to electrocute as many rats as possible, but you take damage if the get through. If you zap the red rats, you get damage but also more score – and there’s a chance for a health pack to drop, which heals you for a fair amount. Oh yeah, one dead red one means there will spawn a lot more rats, so you’ll end up clicking around the screen a lot, sending those lightnings flying. If you do well enough, you might even see your name on the global leaderboard and get the bragging rights.

A little about the technology behind the game. I made this game with Unity3D game engine and a partial reason for this project was a chance to refresh my memory about game development with Unity. I reused my old code heavily, but implemented some new tricks that I had set as a challenging targets for myself. Those targets were critters and powerups reacting to music, global scoreboard shared between platforms, seamless music transitions between menus and the game itself and consistent soundscape. In the end, I managed to implement all of the above. The critters base the time between jumps to the bass frequencies of the background music and the health packs flash red to the beat. A global scoreboard is present and can receive scores from stand-alone clients and web player. The menu music and in-game music fade between each other pretty nicely and every sound effect fits the overall sonic style of the game – in addition to the background music setting a nice pace to the game.

All in all, I spent around 30 hours in the making of this game, since I actually managed to do a full 8-hour working day during the jam and slept for about 8 hours. There’s still some jamming minutes left before all the teams present their games and vote for the winner. Then they are put available for the GetOnLine Lan crowd to try out and vote for the crowd’s favourite. I urge you to try out the game and compete for the spot of number one Rat Zapper!

Download stand-alone client (Windows)

Play the game on Unity Web Player