Frequently Asked Questions
Germ Crazy is a real time multi-level strategy game.
There are strategic decisions to make in the Hospital (outside world), bedside care and internal body map and structure. Tactical control of armies and agents occurs in the low-level arenas that use a hex grid combat system. These arenas are the bodies organs and limbs. The battle continues in the blood, nerve and lymph systems.
We chose Unreal Engine because of its extensive libraries, facilities and flexibility.
It supports both hard core C++ programmers like Ian as well as overall concept and detailed blueprint prototyping by other members of our team. Many of our team members have been using the system for their own projects for several years and of course Jordan is a qualified trainer.
Coming to the product from many different directions we believe it is an unequalled creative tool and ideal for this project and the others we are planning in the future.
The original game was programmed 'old school' partially in machine code and partially in a compliable structured language called GFA. All the graphics routines were programmed byte by byte to fit in the very limited memory that was available in Atari STs and Amigas (64K!).
The artificial intelligence was developed as a language within a language. We intend to fully utilise Unreal to develop this concept into a module that is available to the community.
We are using a wide range of components to realise the game, both assets we have used from the community for the prototyping to our own assets and system we have created ourselves. The prototype uses the following tools:
- Blueprints they are a fast and easy way to get bulk C++ game code working
- The in game UI builder, which is one of the best we have seen in a game engine
- Volumetric lightmaps and light mass global illuminations
In the game itself we envisage using new unreal engine 5 technologies like: -
- Nanite for granular geometry will allow us to replace the current graphics with high detail internal body graphics designed by Jordan
- Meta sounds for perfect environmental sound environments and better management of audio
- Lumen the new upgraded lighting engine setup
The original game was released in 1991 for the Amiga and Atari ST worldwide. It was well reviewed at the time in many of the popular computing magazines.
This was BEFORE the internet and pretty much before the PC and the only windows around where those Andrew didn’t have in his basement student room!
Once funding is in place, we anticipate that the beta will be released in about a year and hope to have a full release depending on funding after two years.
We will however release a version of the original game that will run on a PC (or Atari ST) within a few months of main project go as part of a Kickstarter offering.
We have built a reasonable prototype in Unreal Engine showing proof of concept of the core game mechanics for the low-level arenas and the top-level hospital level. The original trial and test phase of the development is about concluded, and we are moving to more structured design and project management methodology.
The game has several levels based on the original game but significantly updated to take advantage of what can be done with Unreal Engine.
- Hospital: At the top level is a first person walk around of a hospital where the player either starts off as a med student or an initial plague mutation.
This hospital will become better and better equipped as the game progresses and there will be new rooms and areas added by DLCs and game updates.
- Bedside: The next level is called ‘Bedside Care’ and the player will deal with the outer body care, administering drugs, feeding the patient and using equipment, such as life support.
There will be different levels of care from private to government supplied health services and the player will be able to support one or more patients. DLCs will include animals (pets) different patients with different challenges and even aliens! The plague agent will have different challenges in gaining access to the bodies.
- Internal: The next level is the internal system of the body that can be managed and accessed by various increasingly sophisticated tools and treatments as well as taking direct control of the patients own immune system.
Internal systems include the blood supply, nerve network, lymph system, organs and areas of the body.
The plague will have its own map with fog of war features. Note if nerves are destroyed the body systems will also have difficulty seeing into areas.
- Arenas: These are the tactical level or the front line for both the plague and the body, there will be many tactical areas, all the major organs and other areas of the body and all of them will update in real time.
In additional to the main arenas there are plans to create mini games in the blood supply, lymph and nerve systems.
There are several plans to make the game multiplayer, and this is being built in from the start. It will be possible to team up as plague agents and body agents and go free for all or allocate responsibility to particular team members, the dynamic nature of the map will allow several interaction points simultaneously.
A great challenge will be designing your own levels (bodies) and armies and agents and upload them to the community or challenge others to play on them live.
There will be several areas that a player can customise the game to challenge themselves and others including: -
- Body design, it will be possible to create new people and creatures, modifying templates or starting from fresh, a person with two hearts? Yes! Move over Dr who!
- Arena design, individual arenas can be designed using a level builder that will allow individual placement of cells, nerves, blood vessels and all the other agents. Create a brain on the edge of failure or a fortified lung that is virtually impossible to attack!
- Army design, a unique customisation system will allow players to set up armies, including their contents, strategies and tactics using what we believe is a unique AI language concept.
- Agent design, all stats of an agent and its actions will be customisable, allowing players to design their own agents and even upload the graphics for them.
The roadmap is under constant review and we will have a final version by the start of full speed development but the general stages that we are working towards are: -
- Release the new version of the old game – Germ Crazy Resurrected.
- Release an Alpha version for selected testing, single player but all initial elements and a starter set of agents and armies.
- Release a single player Beta version for release to community play testers, complete elements and most of the initial elements in the first release.
- Launched the community hub and level and army customisation tools.
- Release a multiplayer beta, with peer to peer and sever- client technology for 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 type games.
- Release the main game and optional DLCs:-
- Human body and health variation packs.
- Animals and pets.
- DLCs Batch one
- Aliens and Area 51.
- Advanced Treatment Solutions.
- Deadly Plague Pack 1.
- DLC batch two
- Body Designer
- Zombie Infection (Hospital level mini game and different disease and treatment mechanics)
- Deadly Plague Pack 2
We have another retro game that was never published called SPARC that would be ideal on a mobile platform as well as other platforms. This is a fully working and player designable puzzle game.
We also have many other concepts and games including fully designed and never published board games that can be converted and an idea based on HP Lovecraft’s worlds as a moon based cosmic horror survival game.
Alex found a copy of the original game on the internet and after getting it working using an emulator we then looked in the loft and found all the design notes and most of the source code. This material had been there for 30 years on 3.5 inch FDDs and fading lever arch files. Several weeks of trawling through ebay for the tech to read and convert the ancient data and we had a working version.
There then followed several conversations with Alex’s friends at Fallout London and others and we decided to look at the feasibility of this project.
We have had a challenging time over the pandemic, as many have, and this is a slightly ironic fresh start that we are very enthusiastic about.
We will continue to develop this project in any spare time we can make and are applying for an Epic Games Mega grants to officially give up our day jobs and launch the company.
We also intend to launch a Kickstarter