Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Zombie Experiment – Social Game Development

In a fairly unique concept of game making, The Zombie Experiment has gone social with it’s latest development project and will build the zombie game that you want to see! Anybody with a dollar can get involved and earn a vote towards the direction an experienced team of game developers will take the game.

What’s it all about?
Welcome to G.A. Romero Comprehensive, a typical suburban school that covers grades 6-12. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the students and faculty, something far more sinister than mere teen hormones lurks beneath the unassuming structure.  Deep underground lies a secret research lab.  Crazed but brilliant scientist Dr. Alexander Boyle performs twisted research experiments here, using sewer rats, stray cats and dogs, and even lost bums as his test subjects.  Matters come to a head when Boyle perfects a technique for sustaining life past total brain death—and creates zombies as a result!  When his newest test subjects demonstrate that the alteration can be transmitted through blood or saliva, Boyle realizes he has gone too far. But is it too late? He struggles to create a cure as the zombies break free of his control and go on a rampage, working their way up to through the sewers and toward the unsuspecting school above.

Fortunately, four figures stand in the zombies’ way:
  • Jimmy Murphy is a brainiac, a bit of a geek who loves to explore on his own and to create wild inventions.
  • Barb O’Dea is a Goth who just wants to be left alone—and is more than happy to vent her rage on anyone who invades her privacy.
  • Mr. Savini works in the school cafeteria—but is that really who he is? He seems to know an awful lot about weapons, tactics, and combat for someone whose job is dishing up meat loaf!
  • Ms. Burns is the sixth-grade Civics teacher, a bombshell all the boys have crushes on and a former political activist who still enjoys getting up in arms when she feels strongly about a cause.
These four each discover the zombies below, and fall into the role of humanity’s defenders, blocking the zombie invasion and searching for its cause—and a possible solution.

At it’s heart the Zombie Experiment is a community developed game with the lofty aim of also helping charity; in this instance Team Fox’s Parkinson’s research (Team Fox is Michael J. Fox’s charity and, as you may know, he has Parkinson’s).

Basically by agreeing to fund the game you, the user, gets to help decide what goes into the game; so if it’s rubbish you’ve only got yourself to blame! Sounds like a brilliant concept to ZC.

What sort of game is it? I wanted a FPS!
One decision the community won’t be able to make is what kind of game it’s going to be. The decision to make an isometric/top-down shooter instead of a FPS or RPG came down to expectation management and the fact you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Without millions of dollars to create a the assets required in a FPS or the strong story and huge world of a RPG then users would likely be disappointed with the results. An isometric/top-down game with gameplay reminiscent of Smash TV or Crimsonland and cartoony graphics ensure a game that is good to look at, doesn’t require a top-end PC to play and is satisfyingly fun.

Why should I get involved?
Because if you don’t then you can’t complain when horribly bland zombie shooters come out.

How do I get involved? Can I add stuff that I like?
There are several ways to get involved and I recommend you dive right into the
forums to get a feel of how the decisions are made. The main way of getting involved is bringing ideas to the developers.  You need to make a donation to be entitled to vote, but a mere $10 guarantees that you’ll get a copy of the finished game when it’s released. You can continue to contribute after the initial donation and if you reach larger pre-arranged amounts you can get more perks such as being able to name bosses or items.  If you are a development professional you can offer your services by completing this simple form or even if you’re not you can help spread the word using Twitter, Facebook, Digg and more!

Okay I’m in! Where can I find out more?
Head on over to the
Zombie Experiment site to donate, create or otherwise get involved.

Reposted with permission from original source Zombie Command.  Follow @zombiecommand on Twitter!

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