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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Favorite Song

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  • Stephen Miller Student at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, Daft Punk: "Technologic"

    Work sucks, especially when your boss is a sadistic robot looking to turn you into scrap metal. Uniforge is a competitive puzzle game where you must fight to keep your job--and stay alive. You play as the Assembler, a robot laborer who's worked his entire career combining parts into bizarre contraptions. Despite your years of tireless service, your boss seems all too eager to introduce you to your replacement, a next-gen assembler. With a diabolical twinkle in his eye, your boss explains that he's going to have a contest to determine who says onboard. Whoever can destroy the other with his construction skills can keep his CPU and his paycheck. Are you up for the challenge, or are you obsolete?

    Uniforge takes place in a gritty sci-fi factory, viewed from the top-down perspective. You can maneuver your robot between conveyor belts at the top of the screen, with your opponent in a similar setup at the bottom. One conveyor belt flows left, the other right. Both carry a steady stream of random parts between you from an enclosure on the left-hand side called the universal constructor.

    An overview of the factory floor. Arrows indicate flow of parts across the conveyor belts.

    You can turn and grab the parts as they pass by and use them instantly for a minor effect (such as zapping your opponent with a weak laser or powering up a personal force field) or combine them with other passing parts for more exotic effects (such as magnetizing your opponent in place or short-circuiting him with bolts of electricity). The round ends once one of you has been blasted into a heap of spare parts.

    There are many possible strategies in Uniforge but all involve the constant, frantic combination of parts. Much like the relentless beat of technical commands in "Technologic", you must not break your stride or risk being outpaced by your opponent. You can focus on attack by combining warm-colored parts, defense by combining cool-colored parts, but combining both in the same use cancels out. This discourages you from randomly grabbing unrelated parts. Successfully grabbing a larger number of related parts before using them will yield the strongest result. You will also be tempted to deny your opponent powerful parts by grabbing them before they can loop around the conveyor belt to his side of the factory. You'll have to ask yourself if it's worth breaking your flow of combos to snatch that part and use it quick.

    Throughout the duel, your boss will watch from a dais and provide condescending commentary, turning to single you out for humiliation after powerful attacks land home.

    Your boss. How have you managed to put up with it for all these years?

    Based on the creepy robot from the "Technologic" music video, your boss will speak in an inhuman, synthesized voice. After you defeat your first opponent, your boss will introduce the next in a series of upgraded assembler bots, each with its own unique advantage. Some of your would-be replacements are bulky industrial robots resistant to certain damage types, or sleek hyper-advanced robots who can gracefully zip along their conveyor belt at increased speed. Finally, in an act of frustration, your boss will step down from the dais to duel you himself. If you can survive his denigrating insults, you might just beat him and wind up as the factory's new owner!


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