(Wild Vines - 2008)

Official website: http://www.idyllon.com

        Wild Vines is a complete casual title now available for free at the Idyllon website (direct link: here), and I was responsible for the entirety of its code-side development. Its gameplay is deceptively simple: pick an object off the flower, put that object with others that match either its color or type (tools with tools, reds with reds, etc), and make a group of objects all matching that trait to remove them from play - without letting other growing objects mature and fall off the screen. Where it gets complicated is when the game gets faster, we start throwing in more object types, we leverage the physics engine, etc. I had little control over the design, but I did try to inject some additional fun in how the physics allowed you to interact with the pieces and the stage.

        While Wild Vines is a simple casual matching game, it was designed to a higher standard than is usual for the market. It uses the same engine and resources as those I constructed for Idyllon (that is, eEntity and its pipeline), which we further extended to allow scaling all the way down to cards supporting pixel shader 1.1 - but of course, it can still scale the graphics up to the point where anything less than an 8800GTX chugs along at 3fps. We leverage the physics engine to allow dynamic, real stacking and movement of objects, and in fact force the player to do stacking challenges on a number of levels. The resulting consistency of simulation gives the player a sense of feedback and physicality that other casual games simply can't match - for instance, there's nothing preventing the player from "cheating" by simply dropping objects on the table... unless the table should happen to disappear, of course.

        The renderer is the same as in Idyllon, with high-end utilizing the deferred shading scheme and AO crease shading, and the low end using a more traditional forward shader. The difference is that we scale further with Wild Vines, allowing even extremely old PS1.1 hardware to run it with excellent framerates. The shadowing is applied via shadow mapping in all cases (we just vary the resolution of the map or disable shadows altogether), all modes but the lowest support HDR, etc. eEntity recieved similar compatiability and polish upgrades, all the usual sorts of things you'd need when making a proper game vs a prototype.