The Game-Off required entries to be based around one or more of five basic themes: forking, branching, cloning, pushing, and pulling.
After an afternoon of brainstorming, my friend and I narrowed in on the idea of a virus cloning itself to overtake its host.
While I put together a basic proof-of-concept FlashPunk project, my friend sketched out the graphical assets required for the gameplay ideas we had in mind.
Aside from adding gratuitous particle effects, I ended up spending most of my time fiddling with the controls and tweaking the difficulty progression.
It took a surprising amount of work to make the player movements feel natural, particularly with a variable timestep. Improving performance via object recycling helped, but the controls still have a slightly unpredictable feel.
I ended up making enemies spawn in waves, with a fixed spawn rate per level. Enemies simply move in the direction of the player, but ammo is limited enough that it can be difficult to maintain enough room to reach the clone hosts and progress through the game.
The performance needs some work, particularly on slower graphics hardware (there's a noticeable degradation when using integrated graphics on my MBP, for example). I'd also like to come up with a decent set of sound effects, and possibly make an EaselJS port.