Chris Ebbinger - Portfolio

Tree Defense

Mar. 20, 2017 - Android, Unity

Punch filthy squirrels off your favourite tree in this fast-paced Android game. 

This Android game was created by my brother and me within a few weeks. We started many projects before, but rarely finished them before being excited with another project idea. This time, the goal was to design, develop and publish a game in the semester holidays. 

First, we established a plan, covering most details of the game we would want to create. It should be small, so we could prevent different visions for the final game to discuss in the development phase. We agreed upon an art style, the user interface and gameplay features. Both of us had more details in mind, but we kept the plan minimal, yet sufficient, so the development could stay short and simple.

We started planning during a late morning walk, and finished in the afternoon. The resulting task was to create a static view of a tree (in portrait mode) with squirrels appearing between the leaves, which have to be punched before they hide again five seconds later. After punching a squirrel, it would fall to the ground and run up again, to reappear in the tree a few seconds later. During the game, more and more squirrels would come to the tree, to increase the difficulty and prevent an infinite game. When missing 3 squirrels, the game would end. Your score would be the amount of squirrels you punched. 

The next day, I created the static artwork: the tree, bushes and background. This was a fairly easy task, considering the sprite of the leaves was reused as bushes, grass and sky, after tinting slightly. 

Drawing the squirrels required some more time. I researched the anatomy and watched a few slow motion videos of running squirrels, so I could create a fluid and convincing animation. It took me some days of repetitive drawing and starting over, until the sprites were done, including running and falling animations, and the face of a squirrel in the tree. 

The gameplay programming was done quickly in Unity. Finding and fixing all bugs and inconsistencies however took a while, as well as spawning squirrels randomly inside an arbitrary convex shape. 

The last part of development was integrating the highscore and sound into the user interface. In order to not get stuck in this phase of polishing and optimizing, we agreed on a deadline a few days in the future, which worked well.

After that, we published our first game on the Google Play Store. This task was not easy and we were slightly overwhelmed with the possibilities and options, but it was done and published within two days. 

The game was not downloaded often, but the personal project was a success and provided us with some experience in getting things done and uploading to Google Play. 


Some features we considered, but did not implement, were:

  • Preventing spawned squirrels from overlaying other squirrels
  • Multiple background artworks to unlock
  • Your cat, that may not be punched when appearing in the tree
  • Multiple squirrels for variety

If you're interested to try the game, please download it on Google Play.

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