John Mikula
Video Game Programmer

Hive Jump

Hive Jump is a 2D platformer shooter hybrid about the J.U.M.P Corp Jumpers and their struggle to defeat the alien swarms. Players will run and gun their way to the bottom of an alien hive network and nuke the alien Queen in order to protect the galaxy. Hive Jump features local and online multiplayer, dozens of guns, bombs and utilities, several different challenge modes, a unique permadeath system, procedurally generated levels, and 6 different boss fights. Hive Jump was released for PC, Mac, and Linux on January 18th, 2017. A Wii U version of the game is still in development.

In the early days of Hive Jump development I was the only programmer on the project. Because of this, I was responsible for developing a lot of the core functionality for the game. I created the random level generator which strings together pre-made level chunks to form a unique whole level. This included making a tile-based editor for our designers to create and decorate level chunks. I programmed the base state machine framework that is used to control most major entities in the game. I also made the first iteration of Hive Jumps AI system. AI wound up being one of Hive Jumps more advanced systems. We use a very light version of the Left 4 Dead AI director, which attempts to keep track of how well the players are doing and spawn enemies accordingly in order to create a more dynamic and exciting experience. I spent a lot of time trying to make large swarms of enemies more efficient and one of the ways I achieved this was with an AI leader system. This involves an invisible swarm leader who would do the pathing and control for an arbitrary number of follower enemies. If two leaders were tracking the same target they would merge together created one leader with a doubled-sized swarm of followers. There were many other systems I made over the course of Hive Jumps development including: player movement, shooting, the backpack respawn mechanic, relic rooms, daily/weekly challenges, and the Wii U port of the game.

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