Water is disappearing from the land of Dearth, and no one has the answers why. The only clue is the sightings of strange creatures, roaming through the stricken fields and forests. In desperation the people turn to Dearth's two greatest shamans, who must jointly confront the beasts and solve the crisis of the land.
What? Can't find a friend? Play with the AI sidekick!
Dearth is an action-puzzle game designed for two players. But you're not out of luck if you can't find someone to play with you. There is the single player mode, where the second player is replaced by an experimental AI developed by our product owners, Tomas Lozano-Perez, Leslie P. Kaelbling and Lee Wee Sun. Or if you prefer a challenge, you can attempt to play Two-As-One and control both players at once in two player mode (Current High score: Alec Thomson, Level s 1 through 20, 12 minutes 30 seconds).
The Development of Dearth
All things considered, Dearth was technically challenging to develop. We found that using in-house libraries isn't always the best solution. Pixel Perfect collision detection is not always perfect for the job. There was also the issue with AI files being huge (many megabytes) but that was resolved (they are now each less than a megabyte).
'Bad AI, BAD!'
The greatest hurdle to make the game address our research was getting the AI, which was made for a turn based game, to operate in a real time environment. At the beginning of the game, the AI would run into walls, get the human player or, worse, not move at all.
Which is why we were stunned to find that we were no longer able to get the AI killed at the end of the project, even while intentionally trying, on some levels.
The Design of Dearth
We had to make sure Dearth was a simple enough game to learn to play, yet complex enough to hold their attention after they had figured out our mechanics. Our levels individually aren't long and we wanted to give replay value to our players through smash combos and achievements.
Here is a picture of our self motivated and inspired team.
Back left: Andrew (GAMBIT embedded staff), Tomas and Wee Sun (product owners), Victoria (artist), Mushfique (programmer), Nick (designer).
Middle row from left: Alec (lead programmer), Pin Xun (producer), Leslie (product owner), Jeffrey (the one who breaks all things).
Front row: Benjamin Chua (programmer), Benjamin Chee (artist), Aaron Chong (audio).
King of Soda, Alec (Lead Programmer)
King of Pop (tribute), Nick (Designer)