Infinite Monkeys Bending Reality
Bend reality itself in this strange and innovative platformer that asks “What if monkeys could bend reality with their minds?”. Find out for yourself by playing Infinite Monkeys Bending Reality.
I started work on this game shortly after Flash 8 was released, something like 4 years ago! It was written in AS1, and started out as a test of the new DisplacementMapFilter that had just been introduced. I built a dead simple early test where you could bend the level and jump around on it, and it worked better than expected. It was fun just trying to see if you could get to all the places on the screen. Sometime around then, I quit my full time job and became freelance, and Infinite Monkeys got pushed aside for more critical jobs.
Over the next couple of years, I’d occasionally find myself with a bit of time to work on the Monkeys. So I’d go back to it, add a few levels, do some graphical work, add a new feature or whatever. Then something more important would come up again, and Monkeys would get forgotten again.
This super-long gestation period seems to have led to a pretty big game with lots of features plenty to like about it. Unfortunately it’s also led to confused and somewhat buggy code, multiple art styles and rather random storylines! There are missing features too. A few people have complained that it doesn’t save your progress. This is true, but it turned out to be a very hard feature to implement due to the disjointed way the whole game was built.
The public reception to Infinite Monkeys on the whole is rather better than I’d expected. You always get some people hating on games they don’t like for whatever reason, and you tend to get hate for anything that doesn’t work perfectly in a game too. I’d always expected it to be a Marmite game, splitting opinion neatly into “It’s bonkers and I love it” and “It’s hard and buggy and I hate it”. That happened, but it seems to have gone much more towards the first than the last; a pleasant surprise!
Most people seem to enjoy the intro. They like my silly voice and the weirdness of it. A few people seem to read deeper meanings than were intended here, like references to The Hitchiker’s Guide, pro/anti-evolution themes and all sorts. The only vague meaning beyond amusement, was that the game really has been bashed out by a sort of monkey at a typewriter: Me!
This game features four separate endings. Two are pretty easy to find – you run to the end and there’s a junction where you have to make a choice. The other two are much harder to discover. You have to do a tricky move to get past an obstacle that doesn’t look passable, then nip down the drain beneath (where there’s another junction). A surprising number of people have done this, and in fact one of these endings is the second highest achieved, according to the stats.
Graphically the game is a bit of a mix. I did most of the levels etc myself, just by trimming bitmapped textures with Flash’s built in tools. The game was originally intended to run over hand-drawn levels, but it turned out far too hard to get the hand drawn bits to match up with gameplay constraints. Plus there was an awful lot of levels in the end (over 50) and it would have taken forever to make them all. Some of them are animated too, like giant machines you have to crawl through.
The very best bit of graphical work in the entire game was the protagonist monkey itself, illustrated and animated by the super talanted Nick Hilditch. The monkey character is well received by the public, and helps give the game sufficient charm to make people play in the first place. Awesome!
1. It doesn’t pay to leave something on the back-burner too long. The world moves on, and you forget how the code works!
2. Have a bit of fun with hiding objects, easter eggs and the like around the game. People enjoy them, it seems.
3. Multiple endings are popular!
4. Buggy code will produce angry players! Doesn’t matter if you’re doing something difficult, they don’t care.
5. Intros can be worth it. Keep ‘em short and punch though.
6. Make something a little weird and mystereous, and some people will add their own meaning.
7. Everyone loves monkeys!