Deep Earth Explorer


The Earth's Structure

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel to the center of the Earth? Since it seems unlikely that I would ever get to make that trip in person, I decided to imagine the experience by making a game in Gamestar Mechanic. But before I could start, I needed to learn a bit more about the different layers of the earth’s interior and what might be encountered there.

After a bit of research, I arrived at a rough itinerary for my trip. The first and shortest segment of the journey would involve going through the Earth’s crust, which forms the outermost solid shell of the planet. The next layer is the asthenosphere, where I’ll have to watch out for the crazy convection currents caused by the heat from the Earth’s mantle and core. Following that comes a very long journey through the mantle, taking me almost halfway to the center of the Earth. The trip will end in the core, the hottest and densest part of the planet. I hear the core is as hot as the surface of the sun. How exciting!

I turned to Gamestar Mechanic to make this fantastic journey a reality. I set up a tall, vertical scrolling space where the player would start at the top (surface) and move to the bottom (core). Through a combination of enemy sprites and the core mechanic of collecting points, I created layers that each had their own difficulties and moments of satisfaction. In the asthenosphere, I created cyclical enemy movement patterns to show convection currents that the player had to get around. I played with different types of block sprites and their spacing to show whether a layer was hard or soft.

To win, the player would have to not only reach the core, but also come back to the surface in one piece. Unlike in real life, I gave the player three lives, since this journey is a very difficult and risky undertaking. When I finished making my game, I realized it could have also been a game with many levels—each level representing one of the Earth’s layers. Maybe this could be my next challenge, to create an even deeper experience of the journey to the core!