For the 2012-2013 DragonBox coding compo, I'm going to participate with an improved version of Microbes. In this thread I'll document the new stuff as I'm adding it. The version on the repo is 0.8, but the latest release before the compo was 1.0rc2, which is available here: http://boards.openpandora.org/index.php?/topic/9515-pandora-microbes/page__st__140#entry189906 Compared to the 0.8 repo version, the 1.0rc2 didn't have that much really new stuff, it had mainly some bugfixes and minor improvements like better level previews in the main menu. So what is new in the compo version? Highscores! (local ones, no global highscores because it's impossible to prevent cheating and I don't want to make the game need an internet connection and set up a server and all that). For each level, you can get 1 to 5 stars, depending on the difficulty setting (5 stars for insane, 1 star for easy, no stars for very easy and trivial). If you don't use the "show paths" and "build while paused" options, it's called "advanced mode" and you get golden stars. Otherwise it's called "simple mode" and you get silver stars. You only get the stars if you complete the level (duh), but even if you don't complete it, you can get a highscore based on how many epidemics (waves) you survived. The highscore also records how many lives and how much energy you have left at the end, so even if you already have the gold stars, you can still try to improve your highscore. There is a new screen (in the "Information" submenu) to view your highscores, and the silver/gold stars are also shown in the main menu (in the level previews). Cool down time between epidemics: Previously the epidemics (waves) would keep coming one after another, so it felt like one long wave. Now there is some time between waves, depending on the difficulty setting. In "insane" nothing changes (no break between waves), in the other difficulties there is a waiting time (the harder, the less time), and in "trivial" and "very easy", the next wave only starts when all microbes from the current wave are killed. This makes "trivial" and "very easy" much easier, so to compensate these difficulty settings are made slightly harder than before (in terms of microbe HP/damage/speed scaling factors) Help screens: This is still work in progress, but some improvements have already been made. The help screen used to be just a list of the enemy microbes with their stats, and a very compact representation of the units tech tree (without any info, just the icons). Now the help screen will consist of several panels: one for the microbes, one for your own units (a scrollable list, showing detailed stats), and one to explain the game controls (Christoph.Krn has offered to help me with that one). "Mutated" microbes: There are 3 new microbes, which are "mutated" versions of existing microbes. Besides having better stats (more hp/dmg/speed), they are also "smarter": instead of taking simply the shortest path to the destination, they take a path that tries to avoid taking damage from your units. So they might take a significant detour if that means they get no or less damage. They also avoid poisoned terrain if they can. The mutated microbes are implement, but it's currently work in progress to make some new levels in which they occur. Replays: This is still work in progress. The idea is that at the end of a game (whether you lose or win) you can save a recording of the game. You can then replay the recording, with fast-forward and pause. The replay files are small files, stored in appdata so you can relatively easily share them with others. That's it for now. Of course I'm open to further suggestions and feedback. Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions so far! Most of the stuff mentioned above was based on forum suggestions, I really appreciate that! Update January 3rd: New units: adaptive immune system cells (small lymphocytes, plasma cells): they automatically specialize to target the first microbe type they encounter (and kill). After that initial exposure, they can only do damage to those microbe types (e.g. berserker bacteria), but they become very effective at destroying those specific microbes: the more kills they get, the more damage they do. New units: Basophils: they cause allergic inflammation, which means they locally do quite a lot of damage, but also some damage to nearby friendly units. More strategy: existing units are being re-balanced to make the game more interesting. Neutrophils (which were a bit overpowered) now only target bacteria, and Lymphocytes (which were very overpowered) now only target viruses. Eosinophils now only target "big" microbes, so they're great for slow long-distance "artillery" attacks, but they can't even target the small microbes, let alone kill them. Update January 22nd: Quick-build shortcuts: If you press B and hold it, you can quickly build advanced units by pressing a dpad combination: e.g. hold B, press up, up, up, up, release B and you'll get a Basophil. Dpad repeat: If you hold a dpad direction for a while, it will auto-repeat. Quick level editing: In the level editor you can hold Y or X while moving the dpad or left nub to quickly "paint" or "erase" tiles. Update January 31st: Customizable keyboard shortcuts: If you press a letter key (a-z, except s,c,p which are already taken) while a unit is selected, that letter key becomes a shortcut to build that unit type. If you press that key again while an empty tile is selected, it will build the unit. To change a shortcut, press the existing shortcut key for the unit while the unit is selected (this will remove the existing shortcut), then press a new shortcut key (as explained before). The shortcuts are shown in the help screen, as well as in the unit description when a unit is selected. (Level editor) Epidemic source infection setting: A fixed algorithm was used in the past to determine which infection area the microbes are coming from. Now you can change this: the default is still to use that algorithm, but you tocan also explicitly assign an infection area to a wave (epidemic), use all infection areas in a predictable way (e.g. 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3), or use all infection areas in a random way (order will be different each time) Gradual unit unlocking: You now start the tutorial with a very limited set of units, and more and more units become available gradually during the tutorial and the 3 Microbes level packs. Briefings: These are additional information screens; they are shown when new microbes or new units are introduced. They can be consulted through the "Info" submenu. Final update, February 15th: New unit: Mitochondria, they produce energy at a constant rate, and give an extra energy bonus if a microbe is killed in its area New enemy: Cancer cells. They regenerate (so they grow) constantly, when they're big enough they multiply (split in two), and this process of exponential growth keeps on going, so you'll want to kill them fast. Also, they can change your boosting units (monocyte, macrophage) into self-damaging units (basophils) Quick high-scores: Press and hold the right shoulder button in the main menu (or most other menus) to quickly check your highscores.