SimAnt was a popular PC game released by Maxis in 1994. It was one of my personal favorites, and developed a cult following in the gaming world.
"The game is essentially a simulation of an ant colony. Wright was inspired by E.O. Wilson's study of ant colonies. The game consists of three modes: a Quick Game, a Full Game, and an Experimental Game.
In SimAnt, the player plays the role of an ant in a colony of black ants in the back yard of a suburban home. The ant colony must battle against enemy red ants. The ultimate goal is to spread throughout the garden, into the house, and finally to drive out the red ants and human owners.
In the Quick Game, the player establishes a black ant colony in a small patch of yard, shown in top-down perspective. The computer opponent establishes a competing red ant colony in the same patch. Underground ant colonies are depicted in a side view. The player has direct control of a single ant at a time, indicated by a yellow color, and may switch control to a different ant at any time by either double-clicking the desired ant or choosing Exchange from the Yellow Ant menu and clicking on it. A little known fact is that the spider in the game can also be controlled by using the Exchange method. The player's yellow ant may influence the behavior of other black ants by leaving pheromone trails to destinations such as food and enemy ant colonies and can control the other ants in a limited way (by ordering a certain number to follow it, for instance). The quick game is won or lost when either the red or black colony in said patch is defeated.
The player's yellow ant may pick up food and pebbles, engage in trophallaxis (by receiving regurgitated food from friendly ants), and attack enemy ants. Groups of ants (or yellow ant with his recruits) may attack and kill bigger enemies like spiders, caterpillars, and antlions. Natural hazards include human footsteps, electrical outlets, bugspray, spiders, antlions, lawnmowers, and rain, which washes away pheromone trails and can flood the bottom of ant nests.
In the Full Game, the player begins with an ant colony in an overhead view, much like the Quick Game. The region of this overhead view is a single square of a map containing a yard and house. The player spreads to other areas by producing young queens and drones to mate with each other. The full game is lost when the black colonies are eliminated and won when the red colonies are eliminated and the humans are driven out of the house.
The Experimental Game is similar to the Quick Game, except the player can also control red ants, spiders and has access to a set of experimental tools. These tools allow the player to place pheromone trails, maze walls, rocks, ants, pesticides and food."
Unfortunately the graphics are extremely out-dated and the game itself requires a DOS emulator to run properly. I wanted to bring SimAnt up to date, with all new sprites and graphics, while keeping the core functionality.
I have been working on this rebuild project for the past seven months, and here is what I have so far:
- All 2d sprites, backgrounds, and textures re-created.
- Animations have been added for walking ants, as well as moving antennae while idle.
- Code for Above-Ground Terrain Generation
- A.I. Developed for Ants, allowing them to forage, dig, or fight.
- Player-controlled underground digging functionality.
- Health, food and foraging system developed and functional.
- Pheremone-based trail functionality for both food and combat.
All of the above mentioned items have been compiled into a very basic executable prototype, with limited functionality.
My Funding Goal - $2,000
My funding goal of $2,000 will be used to finalize and launch the game. I have been financing this project with my personal savings, and with less than a month of work left, my funds are running dry. I don't want to see all this hard work get shelved and collect dust, so I would greatly appreciate the support of any SimAnt fans.
A portion of the funds will go towards creating high-quality boxes and game manuals, for those who donate over $50.
Depending upon it's popularity, I may also need to pay for the hosting and bandwidth required for digital distribution.
Level 2 Goal - $5,000 - New Playable Race - Termites
If we manage to raise $5,000 or more, then I will create and add a new playable race - Termites. They will function like the ants, but their nest will be located within a tree stump or log, with a wooden cross-section, rather than dirt. Unlike ants, termites will be able to use wood as a food source, and termite soldiers will have an additional short-range spray attack which does damage-over-time. A campaign against the more powerful termites will be unlocked after defeating the red ants.
Level 3 Goal - $7,500 - Multiplayer Gameplay
If we manage to raise $7,500, I will incorporate multiplayer functionality, along with a port to iPhone and Android smartphones. In my opinion, multiplayer game play was the only thing SimAnt was missing.
I always envisioned two types of multiplayer scenarios:
A quick game session, where players can compete against each other or the computer. These games would be relatively short and fast-paced.
A campaign session, where players can create and manage multiple colonies. This game would take much longer and involve more strategy.
What Do Contributors Get?
$20 - Free Copy of Game
A contribution of $20 or more entitles you to a free copy of the completed game, via digital download.
$50 - Collector's Edition Game Box
A contribution of $50 or more entitles you to a collectors' edition game box, including a high quality collectible manual.
$200 - New Content - Insects
If anyone contributes $200 or more, then I will add a new NPC insect enemy of their choosing to the game. The A.I. from an existing insect will be used. (The game currently has brown spiders, green caterpillars, grey pillbugs and antlions). I'd like to see crickets, ticks, and beetles added to the game.