Super Antlion is a revised game design of the original flash Antlion game. The goal of this project was not to write a different game, but to reconsider the mechanics and presentation of the given game to fix its problems. We tried to stick close to the original game idea, and mostly changed the system of the broken mechanics, and the entire graphic design of the game.
Since classes started in September, we have gained insight of the MDA Framework, game mechanics, design tools, and the use of uncertainty in game design. We disected the old existing Antlion game, identified its issues and areas of improvement, and built the newly improved Super Antlion as a new Unity 3D project.
Above is a demonstration of the redesigned game named Super Antlion.
Below is a sample video of the existing Antlion game that we had to improve.
The main issues of the existing Antlion game include the high amount of uncertainty. It only creates frustration and leaves players feel disconnected and unengaged as the game offers little room for players to take control on minimize uncertainty. It doesn’t inspire continuation of the game or trying out the other difficulty levels as players have to rely on luck to traverse the game board and are unable to strategize or develop a systematic method to reach the goal safely.
The process of the old game is simple yet tedious because of the notifications that slowly pop up after each time players complete their move. Furthermore, during this time, the ant flashes to indicate that it has moved to a new spot and hasn’t quite “decided” whether it is a spot for a landslide yet. This makes the dynamics of the game slow because the game code has to process each state individually and figure out whether the player hit a trigger for a landslide. There are also no perceivable consequences for players because they have no idea whether the move that they make will result in a landslide or not, due to the uncertainty of the game. There is little to no form of narrative between the user and the game because player actions do not appear to be controlling or adding to the game at all. Due to completely uncontrolled dynamics, this game will result in a frustrating experience for players and players will not feel compelled to finish the game.
Our goal for the new version of Antlion is to implement the aesthetics of challenge, discovery, and submission into the game by altering the core mechanics of the game, adding satellite mechanics to the game, and changing the overall dynamics of how the game works. The narrative of the game will consist of how the player chooses to move the player ant upwards with power-ups or hindrances, while avoiding the natural disasters of landslides and the enemy ant lion trying to eat the player ant.
Game Features & Mechanics
Movement of the ant is limited to one axis (x-axis), but the player
is able to freely move left and right. Its y-position is at a constant
unless the ant collides with a rock or obtains a boost.
The antlion is bounded to the bottom of the screen. In terms of its
movement, the antlion shifts left and right to follow the ant’s movement.
As soon as the ant is low enough to collide with the antlion, the game is over.
Rocks act as obstacles in the game that the player must dodge. They come in
three sizes (small, medium, large) with varying speeds (slow, medium, fast). If
the player collides with a rock, the player is pushed downwards towards the antlion.
Therefore, the player must avoid collision with the rocks if they want to survive.
Boosts are a special power-up and appears randomly as the player progresses
through the game. The player immediately obtains a boost by successfully colliding
into it. Its main purpose is to allow the player to change its y-position of the map.
Core Mechanics
 The ability for the player to move left or right to dodge the rock obstacles. This is a
core mechanic since it is the purposeful interaction that occurs the most frequently.
The player relies on moving in order to avoid collision with the rocks and does this
continually throughout the process of the game.
Secondary Mechanics
The secondary mechanics is collecting boosts.  This is considered a secondary
mechanic since it happens less frequently than the core mechanic of moving left or
right. It is not a primary goal of the player, but an additional step towards avoiding
a game over.
The time constraint further limited me and my team to not being able to implement some of the mechanics we would have liked to, for example having the ant lion more aggressive or having different satellite mechanics that can make the game more interesting. If we were to do this project again, we would like to be able to implement more mechanics to the game and do more sessions of user testing so that we can get an optimal balance in the game in terms of mechanics, difficulty, challenge, and aesthetics. Currently, we are working on a universal high score page where players are able to record their high scores.
Play the game here.