GIMME INDIE GAME: BENZIDO/RYAN CHISHOLM’S EVACUATION


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1.6.2009

Brandon Boyer

4 Replies

Officially today’s most dangerous time-waster is Benzido/Ryan Chisholm’s deceptively difficult airlock puzzle, Evacuation. Procedurally generated (and therefore somewhat uneven from level to level — particularly when it inexplicably crowds all crew into the cockpit) and spanning some 200 levels, your goal is simply to open color-coded locks to eject invaders off your ship, while not exposing crew to either the aliens or the vacuum.

Evacuation [via TIGSource]

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COMMENTS



  1. Actually I think the procedural level design is something a bit more complex than that. The way that crew members enter and leave the ship and become indispensible over time makes the difficulty curve change based on how well the player is doing. If you save more crew members in early levels you have officers sooner and more ways to fail as a result. If you lose a few crew members in every level then nobody will stay around long enough to become an officer and you’ll only really have to save the captain. Basically it’s an adaptive difficulty scheme, and not one the player can game very effectively since there’s no way to identify expendable crew members from each other.

    This also causes an interesting tension where it’s more difficult to tell whether it’s possible to win a level without making sacrifices. Since there’s no intention behind the design it’s no use trying to get inside the level designer’s head, often an easy shortcut to solving a puzzle without really analyzing it.

    Identifying unwinnable scenarios fits pretty well with the theme of alien invaders on a space ship as they are a staple of space travel in reality and fiction, from Kobayashi Maru to Apollo 13. So I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that that was exactly the idea behind the game.

    Also, the level generator adds replayability by ensuring that no scenario will ever appear twice. This is common in puzzle solving games and what typically makes so many of them the addictive time-wasters that they are.


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