The Super Awesome Snake Game

Snake

The Super Awesome Snake Game is an adaption of the classic snake game. C++ and the Win32 API were used to develop the game during a game architecture course at Champlain College. Snake uses several systems that are commonly used in the architecture of games, which include input, graphics, animations, events, messages, assets, interface, entities, physics, state, and time.

Given that the project was developed in a short period of time, the systems used could only be developed to a primitive state. While the initial systems were primitive, this has sparked an interest in researching and expanding upon these systems. In a later project, Light, I furthered the development of these systems and introduce new functionality.

    Gameplay

    The goal of the game is to grow a snake by collecting food. Once the necessary amount of food has been collected, the player will proceed to the next level. The player has a limited number of retries before there health runs and the game is reset. To increase the difficulty, the number of enemies spawned increases in each level.

    Level

    If the player is in dire need of health, the screen will transition into an alert state. The screen will become red, warning the player that any mistakes could end the snake growing journey.

    Alert

    If at any point the player runs out of lives or time, the player will be presented with a game over screen listing the current score, the high score, and the final level played.

    Game Over

    Storing and Moving the Snake

    The snake can be stored in a linked list. The list would consist of a head node that references the head of the snake and linked nodes which reference the body of the snake x-x-x-x-x-o. The snake data consists of position, and a sprite (ASCII character) or a sprite animation (multiple ASCII characters).

    for node in snake list (starting from end of list):
        if node does not equal head:
            change snake position to node + 1 (moving closer to head)
    set head to new position
    
    o-x-x-x-x         to     x-x-x-x-x
            |       ------>  |       |
            x-x-x-x          o       x-x-x
    

    Asset Management

    Assets consist of text files that define the ASCII characters to use for each object in the game. The game pulls in data for the snake (head and body), health, frame, enemies, and collectibles. Enemies contained a simple two frame animation (easily extendible for longer animations). Each frame of the animation would be stored in a text file with the specified ASCII characters to use. For such a small project, an std map was sufficient for storing assets; however, in a more intensive game where processing speed and memory management really count, it would be ideal to augment a data structure to fit the needs of the project.

    Saving

    For this game, the only critical piece of information that needed persistence between sessions is the high score. The high score was tracked and stored to file on every session. In future projects, saving and serializing data is essential to the game experience.

    Future

    While I have no immediate plans to improve or change the project, it might be interesting to create a level system that loads unique levels from text files. A level system could introduce barriers, obstacles, doorways, and a number of other objects that are more stimulating than the repetitive spawning of enemies.

    o       = Snake Head
    x       = Snake Body
    *       = Barriers
    ] and [ = Door
    F       = Food
    E       = Enemy
    
    +--------------+    +--------------+
    |* * * * *     |    |             *|
    |* * * * *     |    |  E  o F  * * |
    |* *        E  |    |     |   * * *|
    |    o-x-x     ]----[ x-x-x  * * * |
    |        |     |    |       * * * *|
    |* * F   x  * *|    |  * * * * * * |
    |* *        * *|    | * * * * * * *|
    +--------------+    +--------------+
    

    March 12, 2011 | project

    Hi, I am Chris Brough. I am a twenty-one year old senior studying Game Programming at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.

    I've had an immense interest in technology and video games for as long as I can remember. When I'm not developing my knowledge in programming, I enjoy drawing and playing video games.

    Among the many interests I have in programming, I'm currently focused on data-oriented design, networking, and 3D graphics.

    Contact info: chris@chrisbrough.com