Firewall is a game I made for the Washington State Future Business Leaders of America “Computer Game Simulation and Programming” event, where it got 5th in state and qualified me to go to the national competition in Chicago even though I chose to go in another event. (If you ask me, I got 5th because I didn’t realize the game had to be educational. My mistake, and it is what it is.)

Main menu screen
Title screen of the game

The game starts off with a little back story to explain why you’ll be shooting red “V”s in a few short seconds. Your computer has been almost totally infected, but as a last resort to save it you install a “firewall” (Technical terms aside.) After that you arrive in a “hub” location that guides you to each of the game’s 6 levels, each with its own unique layout, enemies and boss. The last level, “BIOS”, is only accessible after you’ve beaten the other 5 levels. You can move by “thrusting” either forwards or backwards, and rotating side to side. You can shoot “antivirus disks” to kill the virus enemies and bosses.

Hub screen
Hub screen

Per the FBLA event’s rules, the levels had to each represent a different component of a personal computer. They weren’t exactly specific on software or hardware components, so I have 5 different physical computer components and the BIOS as levels.

Encountering an enemy in the "Sound Card" level
Encountering an enemy in the “Sound Card” level

The single song that remains throughout the game was made by me with a chiptune VST in FL Studio Demo version; One of the few regrets I have about making this game too close to deadline was that I couldn’t take time to really work out a soundtrack because the current one gets annoyingly repetitive when you have to test enemy AI by opening the same executable 100 times. Speaking of which, there are 5 different enemy types all of which will approach/attack you in a different way. Their AI was one of the most fun things to code because it adds another level of complexity to the level design, and you can create some interesting pathways for the player based on which enemy you use and where.

One of the game's 6 bosses shooting at the player
One of the game’s 6 bosses shooting at the player

Boss AI was a whole different story, but I’m glad I added bosses because they also give each level a unique feel and force the player to approach each one in a new way, prompting some of my friends to find interesting ways to beat each boss. Did I mention you can lay land mines?

A blue mine is laid
A blue mine is laid

The vast majority of the game was made over a two week period between studying and tennis, and if I were to do something like this again I would plan out a longer development schedule with more room for “surprises”, game or non-game related. Even though the development cycle wasn’t the healthiest thing, I’m glad I stuck to a deadline and completed it with a project like this because many of the problem solving skills I used during the programming process I’m sure to use very well into my future.


Give it a try! Download Firewall here.