JavaScript Video Game: Infiltration at Dusk

updated:
2010.07.16
published:
2010.07.08
topics:
games
javascript

UPDATE: My video game won 2nd place in the Boing Boing Games Inspired by Music contest! It is apparently now an "instant old-school classic." heh. I couldn't have done it without the support of everybody who voted. I really appreciate it. ALSO: Check out the very nice write-up I got in MinnPost from Phil Wilson!

Why hello there reader, I'd like to announce a video game I created called "Infiltration at Dusk". It is the near future, and the Artificial Intelligence is trying to rid Earth of all humans. The remaining villages have installed batteries of gun turrets as their only defense against the hordes of biomechanical abominations sent on raids by the AI. You, gunner, are the last hope remaining!

Screenshot of Infiltration at Dusk. Boing Boing Arcade - Play and Vote.

Play my game online now in your browser with Firefox 3.5+, Chrome, or Safari. It is an old school arcade/action shoot 'em up game with a couple twists. I created this game for Boing Boing's "Games Inspired by Music" competition where the idea was to make a video game inspired by a chiptunes song. (Vote for "Infiltration" in the poll at the bottom of the competition page!)

I chose the song "Infiltration at Dusk" by the very talented Tettix, off of his Technology Crisis II album. The album inspired me to create biomechanical monsters that you have to shoot, and the song inspired me to create a game that starts at dusk and gets darker as you play. The bullets from your gun and the exploding enemies light up the dark scene — that's one of the twists of my game.

I set out to enter this competition with two major goals in mind. My first goal was to raise the technical bar for games written in JavaScript rather than Flash. I wrote the game engine in JavaScript using the canvas tag for graphics and HTML5 audio tag to play the music. I wanted to show realtime lighting effects and have fast paced action with lots of sprites on the screen at once to help demonstrate the massive improvements in JavaScript performance. Rob Beschizza of Boing Boing and Offworld says:

Zachary's Infiltration was built with JavaScript and HTML5's canvas tag, but contains powerful lighting and blending effects normally the province of Flash — a perfect showcase for plugin-free browser gaming.

Keyboard control instructions for game.

The other big goal I had for this game was to introduce a new input style for desktop gaming (my second twist). In Infiltration, you control where your turret shoots bullets by mashing on the keyboard. The entire keyboard becomes almost a touch input surface roughly mapped to the game screen.

Typically with action games on the desktop you target your bullets with the keyboard using WASD or the arrow keys, or you use your mouse to point in a particular direction. This always felt a bit too controlled to me when playing manic "bullet hell" style action shooter games. I would play my way up to dozens of enemies on the screen at once and end up dying in a keyboard crushing or mouse tossing fit. That's when it kind of dawned on me that it might be a bit more fun to mash on your keyboard in the general vicinity of the oncoming horde of enemies. I think it turned out pretty well!

If you haven't already, why don't you go play my video game and then be sure to vote for "Infiltration" at the bottom of the contest page.

Update: Check out this gameplay footage video and controls tutorial: