home // text // multi-media // misc // info

[ video-games game-design ]

Manster Mash

Late last year, I celebrated Manmas—a manly celebration of Christmas—in manly style with manly friends, creating Skrud or Pizza (manlyly?) for the occasion.

This past weekend, we once again desecrated a major religious holiday with meat and scotch.

Bacon log

Courtesy of Alex McNamara, Science bless him.

With two weeks to go before the event, it occurred to me that I might as well make another rapid and silly and topical game. Given the fratboy nature of the holy-day—that is, a frat like Epsilon Rho Rho where they play Settlers of Catan and watch Birdemic—I drew up an informal Game Design Document / Elevator Pitch / Hammurabi’s Code:


With my moral compass set, my journey began. Two weeks later, my journey ended. In between, there was some coding, as one might expect I suppose.


Manster Mash 1

Manster Mash 2

Manster Mash 3

So many of colours!

The Good

Honestly, this thing came together a lot more quickly than I’d anticipated. It’s not as fully-featured as I’d first imagined, but I kinda like the way it turned out. I was shooting for something between Super Smash Bros., Super Crate Box, and, I dunno, Cross Country Canada, and I think I managed something like it. I mean, it’s not nearly as deep as those others (Wheat? To Quebec City? In a blizzard? Oh Dispatch, you’re a card!), but it’s close enough to my original idea—and delivered on time. So I consider that a success.

And I got to learn more about Orx in the process! I’m really digging this engine for 2D games: it’s data-driven, so rapid prototyping and tuning is a snap; and it’s got a rather fully-featured API, which I’ve hooked into Lua for maximum firepower. Super keen!

The Bad

I didn’t playtest this damn thing. In the slightest. Oh, I tested to make sure high fives would connect, that players moved properly, and so on. But it’s all rather moot without multiplayer testing. Balance may be way off, for all I know. The proof of the bacon is in the frying, as they say.

In fact, I was an hour away from the Manster celebrations and I was still finalising things. Originally, hitting a player while they carried bacon would knock the meat away for anyone else to grab. High fives… well, those were the biggest thorn in my side, as for the life of me, from the start of the project I couldn’t figure out what to do with them. But—as will often happen—with last-minute time constraints, I simplified the rules: your bacon simply disappears when you are hit; while a high five toggles everyone’s bacon-osity (you lose it if you have it, you gain it if you don’t). My military-grade simulations (that is, picturing it in my head) suggest this should make for frequent BaconToggles and BaconHilarity. Time will tell. I was hoping to keep gameplay as simple as possible by pruning out unnecessary rules, and (fingers crossed) I hope it worked. Also, it’s less work if I don’t have to keep track of all the independently-mobile bacon, for real.

The Ugly

Due to the whole no-playtesting thing, it’s probably full of bugs. Do feel free to report them in the comments down below.

The Beautiful

THAT SINGING VOICE. Seriously though, I’m considering realeasing the Manster Mash EP sometime in the near future. That madness is platinum-worthy.

And there you have it! Go play and let me know what you think, if it doesn’t crash completely! Programming computer code!