They're Quite a Pair!



Stages of mitosis
A few days ago, I was talking to an old friend about some work she has been doing in her lab. For years now, she’s worked as a cellular biologist specializing in cell division. Her work involves studying the mitotic stage of cell division—that’s where a cell separates its chromosomes into two sets and then divides itself into two new cells. These new cells are not only perfectly identical to each other, but also to their original parent cell.

As I was talking to my friend about her work in the lab, I couldn’t help but think that the process of mitosis might be an interesting concept to build a game around. For example, imagine if a game started with a group of enemies who then divided into duplicates with the same genetic structure, so there were twice as many enemies. If they kept dividing, I could build a real challenge for my players.

It wasn’t until I was in Game Alley today that I realized that the spawning parameter of Enemy sprites allows mechanics to do exactly that. I’m not sure why I didn’t make the connection, but I immediately started making a game based on the concept of cell division. I started by trying to create a game specifically using the mitotic cycle, but it was a challenge to set the spawning so that each enemy only spawned once within the span of the game. I was able to do this after a lot of playtesting, but I decided that it might be a better use of time to work with a range of the spawning parameters for the rest of the experiments. I can’t wait to tell my friend about the games she inspired and find out what other possibilities there are in the world of biology.