Mundungo

 

Ah Mundungo. Four months of development, 13,000 words of writing, hundreds of lines of code, and a 2:2 BSc in Games Development & AI. and way too many shitty puns.

Totally worth it.

Mundungo was my dissertation piece, a team effort with myself and two artists working wholly independently from the rest of our classes.

As the only programmer, I worked very closely with the artists to ensure I was producing their vision of the game. in some cases being responsible for adding new features or vetoing ones which were too hard. we had an exceptionally short production pipeline with in some cases entire new characters being thought up and added in on the fly.

The game itself revolves around the collection of piles of dung from across a large rocky desert plateau. The player is an anthropomorphic Dung Beetle called Mundungus.

the most important mechanic in the game is that you collect the dung by rolling a ball of it around. this ball increases in size as you collect more, becoming more unwieldy and harder to manoeuvre (and stop from rolling downhill) but will give you more and more points when you finally bank it at the Bunghole (a hole in the ground near the middle of the map)

Gameplay:

Collect Dung; bring it back to the Bung-hole.

Avoid NPCs. they don't want you near them and will attack your dung-ball in various ways to force you out.

Timer: There is a timer in this game, starting off with about three minutes, it goes up about 20 seconds each time you dump your dung, however large or small the ball is. This gave rise to a tactic among some of our playtesters where you could collect single balls of dung and dump them quickly, thereby increasing your time limit to large sizes and allowing you to roam further afield for richer rewards.

 

AI characters: We originally were planning to have a few desert-themed critters around, usually with parody concepts like Rhino Beetles. Which are giant beetles with rhino like behaviour. (a tendency to charge at things they don't like, but otherwise fairly peaceful)

We also had a concept for a Sheriff-style character, he would act kind of like a goalkeeper for the Bunghole. Intercepting dungballs before they could be dumped and batting them clear.

While developing the Sheriff, I built a simple version of the AI incorporating area-guarding algorithms, its behaviour was a half-way between the rhino and sheriff, and the artists loved it. so we kept it. These characters populate the level and we have several dozen of them active in the final game.

 

The game was very well received at demonstrations for its coherent style, cartoonish theme and straightforward gameplay mechanics. Playtesters universally said it was fun and even addictive at times.

 

Given more time, we would like to add an inbuilt scoreboard. As the main reason to play is to compete with friends to see who can get the largest score.

For the record, our standing unbeaten score is held by Ben Hayward at over 4000. He designed the levels and laid out the dung though, so he has an advantage.

The Game:

Play Mundungo: online playable game (apologies, some difficulty persuading the webplayer to play nice with the uploads)

Download link : Windows : Mac

 

Back