Copyright © 2005 By Aere Greenway

All Rights Reserved

This game is the Java application version of her original “Insecter” game written for an Atari ST in the 1980’s.  This particular game was the one that her kids liked best. 

The object of the game is to drive your spider around the screen, eating as many flies as possible, while staying away from the ants and any other spiders. 

If one of the other spiders jumps on you (stealing all your points), all is not lost, since you can chase it down, eat it, and thereby regain your points! 

Table of Contents

The Title Screen.

The Game Parameters Screen.

The Game Screen.

The Game-Over Screen.

The Title Screen

You can re-size the window to whatever size you want. 

Click the “New Game” radio button to begin the process of playing the game.  When you do this, the Game parameters screen will appear, described below. 

The Game Parameters Screen

This screen lets you control how the game is set up, and gives you a lot of control on the type of game you want to play. 

First you specify how long you want the game to be (specified in minutes, as a decimal number).  If you wanted the game to last for two minutes and 15 seconds, you would specify 2.25 in the “Time of Play” edit field. 

You next specify how many computer-controlled spiders you want.  Those pesky computer spiders can really get on your nerves, but having at least one (and maybe more) makes the game much more challenging. 

You then specify how many flies you want on the screen.  You get points by eating (jumping on) flies.  If there are a lot of them, you simply graze-away like a contented cow.  If there are less of them, you scramble madly around the screen, trying to gobble up the few flies before they fly away.  The competition can be intense if there are computer-controlled spiders seeking those same few flies (and they also eat you)! 

You then specify the number of ants to put on the screen.  Ants are a real nuisance, but they make the game more challenging and interesting.  If you jump on an ant, it costs you three points.  If an ant jumps on (eats) you, it costs you three points, and your spider is placed on the screen at a random position (which could be right in front of another spider). 

If there are a lot of ants on the screen, the game turns into a sort of maze situation, where you try to figure out a path to a fly before it gets scared and flies away.  But those annoying ants blocking your way can also jump on you! 

There are two more fields you can use to control how much time goes by between ant, and fly moves, and between spider moves.  You can play with these values, but the ones suggested will probably work best, so you don’t have to worry about these fields. 

When you’re done entering parameters (or if the parameters are already the way you want them), click on the “OK” button to start playing the game.  If you click the “Cancel” button, the title-screen is re-displayed. 

When you click “OK”, the game screen appears, described below: 

The Game Screen

The moment this screen appears, the insects start to move. 

You move the mouse-controlled spider by pressing the left (primary) mouse button, and ‘dragging’ it the direction you want to go.  If the button is not pressed, your spider stays where it was, which can be helpful sometimes.  You can hold the mouse button down, continually dragging your spider in the direction you want it to go. 

The mouse-controlled spider moves toward the mouse pointer.  If your spider is on an edge, and the mouse pointer is toward the edge (relative to the center of your spider), it will ‘wrap’ around to the opposite edge of the game screen. 

You move the keyboard-controlled spider by pressing (and possibly holding) the numeric key-pad keys.  If you specified only one human-controlled spider, the keyboard-controlled spider will not appear. 

The numeric key-pad keys move the keyboard-controlled spider as follows: 

7 = up and left, 8 = up, 9= up and right

4 = left, 5 = stop, 6 = right

1 = down and left, 2 = down, 3 = down and right

All of the insects can move toward an edge, ‘wrapping’ to the opposite side of the game-screen. 

The flies and ants also move.  Ants and flies move in a forward direction (or slightly to either side), but don’t move sideways or backwards.  Spiders can move any direction they choose.  If a fly decides to move, but there is a bug where it wants to move, it flies away, and lands somewhere else. 

Knowing that ants only move in a forward or forward-turning direction, helps you position your spider so it won’t get jumped on by an ant.  It’s sometimes also useful to approach a fly from behind so it won’t get scared and fly away at the last moment! 

Remember that if a computer-controlled spider jumps on you, he gets all your points, and you get put somewhere else on the screen at random.  Unfortunately, you can’t trick him to jump on you if you have a negative (minus) score, so you’ll just have to chase him down and jump on him to get your points back! 

If you jump on the other human-controlled spider, you get that spider's points.  However, if that spider had a negative (below-zero) score, getting those points is not a good thing (and it even helps the other player)!  Regardless, eating your team-mate is not in the spirit of good sportsmanship! 

If you click the “Help” button (to figure out what to do), the game is automatically paused for you, and will resume when you close the browser window used for viewing the help information.  The same thing happens if some other window on the screen gets focus (comes to the foreground). 

If the game is paused from losing focus, you can resume it simply by clicking on the title-bar of the game screen to restore its focus.

Time that goes by while the game is paused does not deduct from the play-period time of the game. 

When the amount of time specified for the length of the game runs out, the word “DONE” appears in red at the top of the screen, as shown below:

The Game-Over Screen

The final scores are displayed near the top-right of the screen.  The background color of the “Winner” text-box indicates the color of the winning spider.  This lets you know which human-controlled spider had the highest score if the humans win. 

To play a new game, click on the “New Game” radio button. 

Good luck, and get busy slurping up those flies!

- Aere