The best class projects are those that you think about constantly until they’re due, and then keep thinking about long after you turn them in. The final project for my Video Game Production Class was one of those! I took that class last spring, but this morning as I got ready for class, I suddenly found myself coming up with cool ideas for how I could improve my final project!

I should probably explain what the project was, shouldn’t I?

It was PopTop! A game designed from the ground up by yours truly!

Title Screen!

Essentially you play as the smiley face, which you may recognize as an old internet meme (and also happens to be the only piece of artwork I didn’t create from scratch for this game).

Pretend you clicked “HOW TO PLAY” and continue!

The combo system is the crux of the gameplay. It's all about getting a high score!

Imaginary-Click “NEXT”

The other key mechanic is the control meter at the bottom left. As you move without landing, it goes down, and if it runs out, you are out cf control and better get lucky! I worked hard to make a fine balance between maxing your combo and playing it safe.

I have several enemy types, which give the game some variety


This is your basic enemy. It bounces at a set height and speed as determined by my physics code and its size.


Splitters break in half when you hit them the first time, resulting in two smaller balls going in opposite directions.


Genies break the mold by bouncing off the ceiling! They each had a magic carpet float above their head, which they would levitate up towards and then sink back down. Like an inverse bounce.


These little guys can’t really see where they’re going, so they don’t venture around the screen. They simply bounce back and forth between two predetermined spots. Surprisingly, these are the toughest enemies in the game.


Zappers switch between their zappy state (pictured) and their dormant state on every bounce. Take a guess about when you’re allowed to attack them!


Admittedly, I would change the art for this guy now. Basically you couldn’t hit them on the top, like everyone else, you had to hit them from the bottom and knock them into the ceiling, which would destroy them. It was a gameplay twist people had a hard time figuring out.

Essentially the game was made up of levels which slowly introduced these enemy types, and then presented them in various quantities and combinations,  requiring strategy to defeat. Very few of my friends could finish all 15 levels.


At the end, you were greeted with either the win screen:

Talk about engrossing narrative!

or, more likely, the losing screen

And don't show your face in public until you do!

Either way, our hero is not discouraged!
Anyway, the game looks a lot better when it’s moving, I promise, and it’s actually a lot of fun. Every enemy is at least lightly animated, as is the ceiling and clouds in the background.

Most of my new ideas involve adding new enemy types like:

Rollers: They don’t bounce, they just roll back and forth really fast on the ground

High Rollers: They levitate, but still only go back and forth

And I also want to add a function where you can control your vertical acceleration instead of just horizontal, so you could attack more aggressively or dodge better.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back and actually program some of those things pretty soon!

Anyway, I mostly just wanted to brag a little haha. Hope you enjoyed it!



I'm I'm a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering (Electrical) at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, with a minor in Video Game Design & Management. ----- I am from Hartland, WI, which is a nice little town that is a lot different from Los Angeles! ----- Follow me on Twitter: @IAmWolfman ----- I am the chair of mentoring programs for the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering (, and I am the president of Colleges Against Cancer (, which is the club that plans USC's Relay For Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. That basically sums up how I spend most of my free time, haha. Other than that, I love to play video games (which counts as productivity now that I have the minor!) and I am specifically fond of Dance Dance Revolution and I always have a standing open dance battle with anyone, anytime. Fun and nerdy, that's my style.