Plantman: Episode 1 - Last Day at the Plant Plant

The project I worked on as lead programmer during my second year of university, with director Dennis Nielsen, and many nice people I stayed friends with.

Plantman: Episode 1 - Last Day at the Plant Plant

Here’s the website if you want more content, including a trailer video, download links, concept art, etc etc:

It is too long ago, the website does not exist anymore. Instead, there is a facebook page!

Facebook logo
Plantman on Facebook contains surprisingly many nice posts and historical stuff!


Some highlights from this experience follow.


I learned how to do game tweaking from Dennis, the director. Our process was great - I used to develop some functionality based on what he had in mind, and I would make controls that would be tweakable to have different feel. Some animations should be faster, some timings needed to be a certain way, more or fewer particles, and those things would be hard to know without testing. I made tools that allowed us to tweak those things on mobile, and Dennis would play the game at home during development, change the game feel using my tools, and return with values he liked, which I implemented in the game.

This tweaking process ended up guiding the way I develop games for years to come, as it is a very efficient way to find out what works and what doesn't in a quick and fun way.


I invented, together with Alexander Birke, a utility AI technique for Plantman which can be considered an advanced state machine with auto-transitions between states. It was used for all the characters in the game except the player character, and it allowed us to drop characters in a level and them knowing how to do things naturally based on their surroundings. The bugs would walk around, get cornered, attack, and eat fruit. The enemies would chase the player, patrol, and so on. It allowed the game designer and anyone in the team to work on levels by moving simple elements around like lego bricks, and offered us a very good iterative process. I ended up using this AI method (or at least its principles) for many years.


After the game was released, we had a small number of players among our friends and some random people, as expected and shown by the facebook page likes. It was a nice feeling and it was a project we showed to anyone with pride. But the highlight was to see that our game picked up in China soon after with 200.000 players out of nowhere! We speculated that the chinese audience identified with the dystopian pollution theme in the game, and since it was a free game it ended up spreading around.

The Danish Filmschool controlled the game tho, and ended up taking it down from the app stores, so unfortunately the game can no longer be found as of ~2020. Maybe someday it will return...

Here is an interview with Dennis, the game director, about Plantman


Here is a intro + gameplay video

Here is another gameplay video with a bit more of the story.

Plantman won a Danish award! Here's Game Director Dennis Nielsen receiving the award for Best Showcase at SpilPrisen 2015.


  • Dennis Nielsen - Director, Game Designer
  • Horatiu Roman - Lead Programmer (first half)
  • Sune Rasmussen - Lead Programmer (second half)
  • Sam Surplice - Lead Animator
  • Mark Bo Jensen - 3D
  • Alexander Birke - programming
  • The 4 programmers from Grenå - programming
  • ...????

// I should find the actual credits and put them here