Algo-Bot: code smarter not harder (Canceled)
Award winning 3D game in which you achieve your missions using Code Logic. No developers were harmed during the making of this game.
Pledge and help schools get an EDU License for FREE
"I've played through several levels, and so far I can tell that Fishing Cactus has a good thing going (...) I'd highly recommend pledging to this cause, as Algo-Bot has found my favor" - Steve Cathy, examiner.com
“coding can be fun and learning how to program must remain a period of time in your life that is magical and full of surprises. With your support we could afford to give free EDU licenses of the game to all schools all around the world " said Laurent Grumiaux, Project Manager.
Fishing Cactus is proud to present its brand new mind-tingling 3D puzzle game for PC.
Algo-Bot is born from a collaboration between our studio and a training center, Technobel. The goal of the project is to create a game that will help people grasp the essential skills of logic that the programming craft requires. You are not just learning to code, you play with its concepts. In addition to learning mathematical and computational ideas (such as variables and conditions), you are also learning the strategies for solving logical problems. These skills are not just useful for computer scientists but for everyone, regardless of age, background, interests, or occupation.
The real challenge was to create a game with an educational base without being dull or boring. We needed a game that people would love to play again and again, with the possibility to challenge yourself but also challenge your knowledge. After hours of thoughts, we found the solution: a unicorn! Did I say unicorn? Oh sorry, I meant ROBOT. A robot was the key.
And that is how our artists started working on that little blue cylindrical dude to give it a soul. We had our hero and it took no longer for our game and level designers to imagine Algo-Bot’s world. The levels had to be really brain-teasing, so, the mad mind behind the Shift series levels, designed them. The rest of the process was to organize those ideas into a clear and concise code and let the magic happen.
Algo-Bot world is one of leaking toxic containers, industrial crates and stubborn little robots. It takes place inside an unspecified power plant, in an unspecified future, with an unspecified number of hazardous things waiting for you. Fortunately, there is one thing that is specified: the gameplay!
We know how hard it can sometimes be to wrap one’s head around some of the concepts of programming (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt), so we made sure that you were appropriately supervised.
There are two characters in Algo-Bot that will help you throughout the game: Tina, and the Director. Tina is the mechanical engineer of the power plant. She’s not afraid of getting her hands dirty, works hard, and likes to crack a good joke every once in a while. She’s there to help you learn the basics of the game and give you some tips when you get overwhelmed.
The director, as his name suggests, is the big boss of the power plant. He’s not funny. He’s stubborn and only concerned about one thing: efficiency in programming. He will remind you of that fact whenever an opportunity for optimization presents itself.
In Algo-Bot, you’re given control of a little robot dude. You don’t control him directly, you don’t make him jump on mushrooms by pressing a single button either. Instead, you set up a sequence of commands for him: go straight, turn left, go straight again, turn right, etc… When you’re done creating your little sequence, you pass it onto the robot: it will go around the power plant, following your commands. In a nutshell, the player manipulates sequential commands to order Algo-Bot around in an attempt to reach the given goal of the level.
Of course, your little robot can’t just roam freely, it has a job to perform. It must carry around toxic containers, sort them out, re-arrange them and call on smaller robots to help him when he has too much on his hands, you have to provide him with commands for every step that he takes.
After nearly a year of production, the game is at alpha stage with working mechanics, a level editor, a lot of assets produced and a very clear idea of where we are going. The game has been play-tested in a training center for months with coding students and, yay people liked it! So yes, an alpha is already available.
First of all we showcased the game at Indie Prize and received positive feeback from other indies and professionals. They found it enjoyable and interesting. After that, we had to be sure that Algo-Bot was a good product, educationally speaking. So, we submitted it to the Serious Game Expo 2013. Competition was high but we won. What a pleasure to bring back that trophy to the studio :)
- Top 5 Indie Prize Showcase at Casual Connect 2013
- Best Serious Game HR - Training at Serious Game Expo 2013
In our initial vision, we wanted the game to support several more features, for example provide the ability for players to create their own levels. We developed a small editor based on the open-source software called Tiled but we would like to make it user-friendlier. While we want the game to be easy to get into, we also want the player to actually code something (blocks) in later stages of the game.
Unfortunately we haven’t had the budget to develop those features yet and we would like to take advantage of the Kickstarter funding to develop them.
In an ideal world we would like to support several programming languages (from C++ to Java) but starting with Lua would be a great starting point.
- Level Editor
We want to deliver our backers with an early access to a level editor that we are currently using internally to build levels (based on Tiled). You will use it to send us your levels that will be included inside the final build of the game! YEAH
With the release of the game, this level editor will be bundled so all players can take advantage of creating their own levels, submit them to the community and extend the whole game experience.
- Lua coding
The initial steps of the game are about learning the logic behind the code: use loops and functions, juggle with variables and ultimately sync several entities together (yes advanced parts of the game allow you to control more than one robot at the same time). However we feel that once you have played enough with all those mechanics, it would ultimately be good to take a peek behind the scene and view the Lua code of every single gameplay block. We also want you to be able to manipulate high level Lua code and create new gameplay blocks to be used in the game (allowing to some extent, modding).
While the gameplay is in an OK state and rather well defined now (still requires a last layer of polish), the overall aspects of the game require more polish. We want to improve the sounds, UI (playtests showed that there is a lot that could be done there), integrate a better lighting system, add more life with some particle FX, increase the reactivity of the game and finally extend the story and plot of the game to make it more interesting for the long run. We want the game to look like the screenshots we’ve posted on this page, gorgeous! The good thing is: we are capable of delivering.
The game runs on PC, we need to extent it to Mac and Linux and if the stretch goals are met, extent it to the other platforms we need to support. From a technology point of view, our C++ engine, called Mojito is capable to target both desktop, mobile and console systems.
From an educational side, the alpha was a success. However to be as successful as a standalone game, it still needs a bit of graphic design, UI tweaks, animations, testing, sound design and several key features.
Actually we would like to have your support to fully embrace the game as we imagined it in the first place. Not dumb it down like those “OkIlearnedsomethingandsowhat?” games you may have already seen. The game has to make you feel like you are playing a real experience in a world where logic and code are your only weapons.
Also one of the very specific stretch goal we are setting for this project is the free school license. Yes, we would like to offer a free license of the game to all schools, colleges and universities if we reach that goal. All around the world, for free! It might sound crazy but we feel code is something that impacts everyone now, young and old and thanks to you we'll make the learning process easier.
We need help and support from passionate people like you to get us to the finish line.
Our base contribution goal is $60,000. At that funding level, we will launch Algo-Bot as a live, stable, and fully functional game. The free school license is set at $300,000. Give more and we’ll do more!
It’s important for us to remain independent but we can’t do it by ourselves. So, we’re coming to you to invest in an experience you are going to love, to share, to contribute to and provide for free for hundreds of thousands of kids and young adults isn't it cool?
Have a look at ModifyWatches website :) The watches are awesome!
You liked our project and really want to help to fund it? The best way we know to do it, is to make sure this project gets in front of as many people as possible. So, share this page on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media channels. We can't do this without your help.
Risks and challenges
Building a game about coding is not a simple task, from noobies to experts, we need to satisfy everyone around the table. Provide logic puzzles that will prove experts they can still learn things or optimize the way they think. On the other hand we need to make the game simple enough so people who don’t know anything about programming can get into the game.
We’ve been working on the game for more than a year now and the it has been playtested several times in real conditions with great success. Core game mechanics have already been developed and the level editor is powerful enough to create hundreds of levels (the game currently features 60 of them).
Has you may have spotted in the video, Fishing Cactus is not a single person studio, we have resources and people to make this game. Taking its root from AAA, our team has worked on some really big games in the past decade. As Fishing Cactus we’ve been working the Creatures franchise but also Shift (remember mind twisting black and white action platformer?) and SEGA After Burner Climax (mobile version).
We’ve built Algo-Bot with our own multi-platform C++ engine called Mojito so for us, there is no need for extra licenses or a black box middleware to make the game available on tablets, Mac or even Linux! Yes we have an engine running on Linux and if we can get to the stretch goal we will make Mr Torvalds proud.
Right now there are more challenges than risks and the team is eager to put the last layer of polish to finish this game. Once completed, we have plans for übercool extra content that will make every backer happy.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)