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Jul 9, 2010 | 2:39 PM EDT
  • Daily Feature July 10, 2010

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Author Comments

This game was made possible by a grant from the Digital Media & Learning Competition. The goal was to make a truly educational game that was also genuinely fun to play. We hope students, teachers, and gamers will all enjoy the game, and encourage you to visit www.cellcraftgame.com, which will soon have an open forum and eventually downloadable teacher materials.

The game was designed by Anthony Pecorella. The lead programmer was larsiusprime of Super Energy Apocalypse fame, and the art was by LILg, who created the Reincarnation series. A custom soundtrack was created by Hibiki Haruto.

Also thanks to Dr. Jed Macosko at Wake Forest University and Dr. David Dewitt at Liberty University for providing lots of support and biological guidance.

Thanks so much for the support and kind words - this has already exceeded my hopes in terms of a response for the game! :-D

This game can be processor intensive. There are some options in the menu for reducing the graphics that may help.

***Fixes in v1.0.1***
- Fixed issue in final level with some buttons suddenly no longer functioning.
- Fixed membrane explosion when recycling membrane quickly.
- Possibly fixed fatty acid glitch in Level 3
- Fixed two typos

There is still an issue with getting stuck too far outside of the colored area. Solution - don't go out there. :) It's a somewhat complicated fix, so I'm not sure if we'll get it in or not, but it's the easiest to avoid too.

Reviews


KMMRKMMR

Rated 4 / 5 stars

Fun and Educational..............but

Some of the conditions such as those in level six (actually I never past it) are quiet difficult. And the mitochondrion isn't producing enough ATP which will make it a whole lot more difficult. Plus the waves of viruses and diseases are just too many (may I suggest cutting them down by 25%) for beginners. But despite all this, it's still a pretty good game, but it still needs a bit more tweaking and shining. Yet still
I'm giving it a 8/10 and a vote of four. (But I still like it. It is incredibly unique and something you'll never see a lifetime)


People find this review helpful!

DemonesqueDemonesque

Rated 5 / 5 stars

Terrific Game.

This is a literally awesome game, with legitimately good gameplay, in addition to being educational without pushing too hard.

I got showstopped on the level indigestion when the Golgi Body stopped producing toxins at 98% despite an abundance of all resources. This may have been due to my frantic queuing of Toxins as I tried to outlast the viruses by closing the gap.

Instead of acquiring organelles, why not have the nucleus build them, so that the bug could be creatively solved (allowing a player to replace a locked up organelle and recycle the old one just as if it had been damaged, rather than being a bug). Of course, that would leave the possibility of a nucleus locking up, and without an ability to divide it, unless the option to divide was located elsewhere.

Anyway, wonderful work on this game.



Skrulz-The-YoungSkrulz-The-Young

Rated 4 / 5 stars

Amazing game!

Wonderful game. When it works, it's nearly flawless gameplay. Building a cell from a defenselessness to a biological tank is thrilling in a unique way! And learning about how every step in making your cell capable of surviving is intriguing as well.

One tiny problem with the gameplay is with the Peroxisomes. In several levels you start with only a few, which isn't a problem, except that a lot of times I don't think to produce more immediately, or I forget to check the Auto-Build Peroxisomes button. After a while I'd go back and look through my cell only to find that many of my organelles were in various states of disrepair, and even my Nucleus was almost destroyed. I suggest you set the game so that by default, you start with a minimum of two Peroxisomes, and have the Auto-Build button checked off by default. That would save a lot of frustration on the player's part.
Another problem when the game is in working shape is the lack of hints. On the level (I can't remember exactly what number offhand) where Jeeves sends the large barrage of viruses against you, it took me many tries to find the proper combination of organelles to effectively fend them off. It felt like at that point I hadn't really learned enough about the cell's structure to mount an effective defense.

I have to say though, the glitches are a severe hamper on the enjoyment. It seems like after you've gotten a certain amount of resources stockpiled, your organelles stop taking orders. I'm on level eight right now, and it seems like every time I think I'm ready to produce toxins, I find I'm unable. Worse, I'm unable to produce Lysosomes, Peroxisomes, DNA Repairs, or even Defensins. Interestingly, I can still buy and sell membrane at will, as well as buy and sell Slicers.

As a side note, while I was typing out this review, I left the game running, after having suffered the glitches, and given about ten minutes, I found that everything was working fine once again.

So, I'll bring this to a conclusion.

Overall, I loved this game! I can promise I'll be coming back, as well as going to your site to see more about it. 4/5, 8/10. Keep up the GREAT work!


People find this review helpful!
CellCraft responds:

Thanks for all of the kind words and the detailed review! The glitches are indeed a problem - perhaps next time we'll do a larger alpha test to try to catch more of them before the release, but on the plus side I think most of them have been fixed.

For the Peroxisomes, I think I'd counter that finding yourself low on them and forgetting to think about them is a way to help reinforce why they're important. My guess is that you've forgotten what ribosomes or centrosomes do since they were much more set-and-forget in the game (and were hard to set up otherwise). By making you build Peroxisomes occasionally it helped make sure you were thinking about them and what they do. But I can see how it was annoying the first time the free radicals started to eat your cell. :)

Balancing hints with strategic thinking on the player is tough. We don't want to give too much away, but we also don't want to leave you hanging. I'm sorry that Level 6 was tough, but hopefully it was more of a "I wonder how I can beat this" than a "Man, this sucks, I have no idea what to do". In any case, I'm glad you got through it!


AardwolfAardwolf

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

The game was good, except a bug

First of all, the game itself is great, a bit long explanations in the beginning, but that's ok, after all it's educational. Some great gameplay after that.

I could play it until the last level. The last level I couldn't finish, due to something I think is a bug? I had more than enough of all resources. But when the toxins were at 58%, it just ignored further presses on the "Toxin" button. It didn't give any message or anything, just didn't make any toxins anymore, and didn't subtract the resources. And then a bit later this started happening to the green things that should pick up radicals too! So I couldn't continue playing there unfortunately :(



BLERGHtrueBLERGHtrue

Rated 5 / 5 stars

fun!

not to mention, it would have come in handy for my biology quiz a few weeks ago.
fun game, appropriate graphics (which helps us understand the functions of the cell etc. very clearly) and very nice, calming background music :)