Home > Zombie Outhouse > Zombie Outhouse Development Part 1

Zombie Outhouse Development Part 1

Zombie Outhouse Development Part 1: Overview, design and development (Xbox360 & Windows)

This is the first part of a multi-part series which will document the development of Zombie Outhouse for Windows, Xbox 360, Zune HD and iPhone platforms.  I’ll be talking about the various issues and decisions that came up during the development process including details on porting the game from XNA/C# to C++.

Check out the video of the Xbox 360 version below to get an idea of what the game is like and make sure to have your audio on to get the full experience.

Zombie Outhouse is a simple shooter set in a humorous but horrifying setting.  I wanted to do a simple 2D shooter with sprites moving towards the player and this seemed to be the perfect project to test out that mechanic.  Since the player view is locked, I decided to place the player in an outhouse.  As a child, I remember using the outhouse at my grandparent’s home and it was never very pleasant.  But at least I didn’t have to worry about Zombies!

The initial prototype used blocky rectangle characters.  Originally, the vision was to have very realistic and scary looking zombies but that would be beyond my artistic capabilities so I decided to try a goofier and simpler art style.  After drawing the first zombie and putting it in game, it was quite funny and I knew that the audio had to match the visuals.  Since you were stuck in an outhouse during a zombie apocalypse, wild animals would be running loose which gave me the idea to put in a bunch of animal sounds that play randomly.  I then used Reason to compose the scary music loop for the game.

Other notes:

I initially planned on having a background image in the main game, but the zombies coming out of the pitch black darkness looked really good and added to the mood.

While 95% of the development is done in Windows, it is identical to the Xbox 360 version.

Zombie Outhouse used most of the engine code that was originally developed for Cyborg Mice Arena with some modifications such as a simplified menu system.

Additional software used to create the game assets:

Adobe Illustrator CS4 – game graphics and font design

Adobe Fireworks CS4 – conversion, cleanup and editing.  Also used for creating button graphics for ZuneHD/iPhone versions.

FontLab TypeTool – to create the Zombie Outhouse font (more on this in a future article)

Propellerhead Reason 4.0 – for the music

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