My name is Kenneth Rougeau & I'm an independent artist and video game developer, among other things. I currently live in Portland, Oregon in a crappy basement apartment (like so many other indie artists and game devs). My latest projects include an arcade game based on Plan 9 From Outer Space and a point-and-click adventure game based on Night of the Living Dead. I have a ton of other game ideas in mind as well, and not all of them are based on old b-movies :) For more information, please visit my website (or just ask!).
The Floor is Lava is a classic children's game in which the players imagine that the floor or ground is made of lava and must avoid contact with it by standing on furniture or other elevated objects. Players aren't allowed to remain still for any lengthy period of time and must continually hop from one article of furniture to the next, without touching the floor, until they reach the goal point. According to KnowYourMeme.com, the earliest known variation of the game can be found in the 1948 short story 'The Wish' by Roald Dahl, which features a child who imagines the carpet as red hot coals and dangerous snakes.
"'Oh, the floor's lava!' That's the lava game, when you pretend that the floor is lava and you climb up on all the furniture. I see some of you don't get that. I don't care, that's OK. You might have called it something else, but it meant the same thing; you were poor. I'd tell my mom, 'I want a Nintendo!' and she'd say, 'Oh, the floor is lava!' ...'Oh my God! Whats wrong with our house? Why can't we afford better carpeting?'" - Daniel Tosh
The Video Game: In my upcoming video game version of "The Floor is Lava!", you'll take on the role of a young boy stuck at home on a rainy day with nothing but his imagination to occupy him. The game begins when you hop up onto the first piece of furniture and yell "the floor is lava", after which an imaginary lavaflow will rise up out of the carpet. To avoid a fiery death, you'll have to jump from one item to another, each of which will begin to sink into the lava when you touch it.
At the moment, the game is a simple prototype and is still very much in it's infancy, though a demo level is currently available for play on the QuixoteSoft website (see the link below). The current artwork and animations are also prototypes and will be evolving further as the game comes together. The current demo level is intentionally simple, short and not particullarly challenging, as it is just meant to show off the general game concept. I will be updating it regularly as new elements are added to the game.
Try the current prototype demo here:
In the near future, the furniture obstacles will "float" on the surface of the lava, swaying as if on waves. Larger objects (couches, tables, etc) will not only sink, but tilt one way or the other depending on where the player is standing. Additional game mechanics will also be included, such as swinging, crouching, and sliding. I will also be adding obstacles that must be avoided (lamps, photos, vases, etc.) lest you break them and incur the "wrath of Mom!"
Future levels of the game, each with it's own unique challenges, are also in the planning stages including The Playground, Grandma's House, The Laundry Room, and several more.
When completed, The Floor Is Lava! will be made freely available for play on both Windows and Mac, as well as online at the QuixoteSoft website. I will also be adding it to other game sites such as IndieDB.com and cNet's Download.com website. I expect to have a full working game ready before Christmas of this year.
Special Thanks To These Great People:
In an effort to re-kickstart the existing Kickstarter campaign for Plan 9 From Outer Space: The Game, I have retooled the existing demo level, adding more of what we all love; shiny stuff and things that go kaboom!
NEW: In addition to the obvious enhancements, some of which are aesthetic (special effects, etc) & most of which were programmatic (extending the system to handle more than the current outer space level), I've also extended the game demo ending a bit to make it more interesting and have been working on the preliminary stages of the "Destroy Hollywood!" level to follow I'll have screenshots for you all as it comes together.
ISSUES: Unfortunately, some of the new changes have led to new bugs, which I'm sure I'll have sorted out in short order. For now, however, you may experience problems in the game demo when you play through the game & then try to start over, or if you return to the main menu from the pause screen & then try to start a new round. For the moment, the only workaround I have to offer is to restart the game executable if you're playing in stand-alone mode, or to refresh the page if you're playing online. I'll be working on fixing the glitch tonight and tomorrow, and I'll have a fresh copy of the game up just as soon as I have it working properly again. Thanks for your patience!
To show off the new additions, I've created a new Kickstarter campaign video (above) and have put together some new gameplay footage (see below), as well as some new screenshots (see even further below).
Want to help make this a great game? Help spread the word about the Plan 9 From Outer Space game & look up our Kickstarter campaign, currently underway!
Thanks for your support!
Alright, so rather than drive myself any crazier worrying about whether or not the Kickstarter campaign for Plan 9 is going to fly (among other normal worries like, "oh crap, rent's due tomorrow!" and "did I remember to eat today?"), I've decided to just work on the game itself and get things a little shinier.
I fixed a few minor things in the demo binaries earlier today and played through it myself on various difficulty levels about 1/2 a dozen times... I'm going to poke around and improve at least a few things that are bugging me...
I've never been thrilled with the "Pez" looking laser the player fires (although I do dig the little fire trail particle effect) and have been meaning to improve it... I also think the level phases (planet changes) switch a little too slowly, especially at the beginning... so... I'm going to try to speed up the transitions a bit.
There is also a major problem with the player respawn setup... I'd wanted to implement a "temporary invulnerability" for the player, giving them 2 or so seconds after they croak before they can be hit again, but the current implementation isn't working correctly... Even worse, I've realized that you can still move and shoot even though you're respawning... Let's face it, that's just not right...
All in all, it's a pretty simple list of fixes to take care of. The hardest part will probably be getting the screwy laser to look the way I want it to, and that mostly because there's so little useful information on the new Shuriken particle system in Unity 3D... I'm (once again) left to trial and error. That's cool. I'm used that that :)
I'm steadily envisioning the next level of play... I've got the transition from the end of the demo down to Earth itself figured out and just have to put it together... I've got this great cloud system and airplanes that look pretty much like the one(s) from the movie... I've been working on the parody versions of film studio names and have a pretty fair concept of how I want things to look/work in the "Destroy Hollywood" level... I'm planning on making it so that you can raise zombies from the graveyard, but you'll have a chance of raising a "special" zombie... Vampira! Bela*!, and of course TOR!!!! I'll keep you posted as I work on it over the next couple of days :)
* - with Bela, I think you should get a 50/50 chance of getting the good, useful Bela or the crappy cloak-over-face dentist Bela -- thoughts?
If you have any suggestions for game play, I'd love to hear them! If not, nuke yourself a bunch of popcorn and watch Ed Wood's much loved/loathed Plan 9 From Outer Space. If you've got a few bucks in your pocket, you might even check out the RiffTrax version (you'd know them & love them from MST3k fame), which you can stream directly from their site. It's absolutely hysterical and definitely the most fun you'll ever have watching a bad movie. It's the best "not quite but almost" four bucks you'll ever spend.
- Ken Rougeau