Platform progress

Wow this weekend has been a scorcher! I’ve still managed to make good progress at least.

There were a few plans I had this weekend, to start writing the Kickstarter pitch and to get some of the other platform builds up and running. The OUYA was a bit of a failure, though everything is building it seems like a monumental hassle to get it put on the device itself so I may leave that platform until after the campaign has begun.

The Android build is looking good however, I borrowed a Samsung Nexus and fixed the resolution issues to get that running at the full resolution of the device… which is insanely high! I think for the final game there will need to be some up-scaling being done. Tiny Will!

Nexus Build

The game running at the insane resolution of the Android Nexus Tab.

I also booted into my Hackintosh to try and build the Mac OSX and iOS versions of the Game. The Mac OSX version worked quite well as can be seen bellow however there is an issue with the render targets that I need to look into. The iOS versions worked too but the developer portal was down meaning no device deployment for now. The iOS versions had some issues with resolution which I need to look into but this is all to be expected for a first time build.

Mac OSX Build

The OSX build running on a Hackintosh.

And finally the Linux build, this did not go well at all because the Linux OS failed to boot up properly. All being well some time this week I’m going to look into formatting my laptop and trying Linux on there, I think it dislikes the graphics card installed on my main rig.

All in all, not a bad weekend!

Quick Update, Plus Art

Quick update time. Everything is going well so far, I’m getting a lot done in preparation for the Kickstarter. Mainly in terms of artwork, which I am about to show, but also lots of other little behind the scenes details.

First up is the main Kickstarter project image. This is slightly higher detail than the one used for the actual Kickstarter artwork because I felt it was worth showing off. I tried to give as much of a representation of the games subject matter and theme from just one image. Did it work?

Kickstarter Art

Art for the Kickstarter main project image.

The second is a spot of concept art which I’m going to use in the video to try and show that there will be various types of aliens to battle, they will come in all different shapes and sizes to keep you on your toes.

Alien Concept Art

Concept art for some of the invader types.

Tomorrow I’ll be attempting to build the iOS, OUYA and Mac OSX builds which is also rather exciting.

Phew, it’s been a busy few days!

Become a watcher!

The game is now up on the great IndieDB and SlideDB sites meaning if you are a member you can keep a watchful eye on the game for updates and news.

Will To Survive
Will To Survive

If you can help spread the word and increase the popularity a little that would be awesome!

Pretty handy sites those, Giles would be proud.

Début game-play video is here at last!

Phew! What a week it’s been, but it’s finally here… the long awaited prototype game-play video. It also features a commentary seeing as the game at present has no sound.

The video is available on both Vimeo and YouTube and can be seen below.

Hopefully all that made sense, it’s worth noting that although the video is of the PC build the mobile version is almost identical. I’ve tried to strike a balance between a game that will operate well on PC with actual peripheral controls and a game which will operate just as well on touch screen controls for mobile and tablet devices.

Exciting times, I now have the last home stretch before the Kickstarter begins to do some concept art, pitch writing and pitch video recording.

Have it it!

This Is The Droid You Are Looking For

Today has been a very busy day of finding gaming news sites and writing press kits ready to send in the hope someone will shed some light on my creation. Writing tends to hurt my head a little so I wanted to do something I was excited about.

So I finally registered for the Xamarin free trial and attempted what I thought would be a quick job of getting the Android build working…. hours later, I can go to bed with a smile on my face.

Android Prototype Build Working

It’s not perfect but it builds and if you build it they will come!

There are some issues like the resolution being incorrect, it has insane load times, frame drops when walking on the big map, press hold gestures don’t seem to work and lots of slight drawing issues… but I can live with that for now, it is a prototype after all!

Night All!

That Long Information Blog Post

I wanted to give a bit more of a thorough and informative post about the project and the ideas behind the game, it’s going to be long so brace yourselves!

I’ll start with a slight bit of background story. My name is Alex Dawson and I am presently a freelance artist. I previously worked for a games company named Zoë Mode which I left in 2011 in order to follow my own path. In between contract work for the past year or so I’ve been developing the project from it’s early conception to what it is now, it’s been a labour of love and something I had been wanting to pursue for quite a while. It’s something I was really excited about and something that I felt hadn’t been done quite just yet.

The project so far has been developed from scratch using the XNA Framework. Originally I wanted to look into supporting as many platforms as possible and researching into all the avenues led me down a path of using MonoGame as it seemed like the route which had most platforms covered in some way. MonoGame is a write once, play everywhere open source implementation of the XNA which adds support for Andoid, iOS, Mac OSX, Windows 8 Phone, Windows 8 App Store, Linux, OUYA and Playstation Mobile. Couple that with the existing support for Windows 7 Phone, Xbox 360 and Windows PC it seemed like the best choice.

So far I’ve created various handy libraries to create the game including a tile map rendering library, an input handler, an event driven graphical user interface library, a sprite management system and a panel based cinematic system. All of these work in conjunction with XNA and MonoGame and the aim is to release these as free open source libraries for indie developers once the project is over and I have the ability to clean up all the code.

Now to the interesting part, the game info.

Protoype World Screen

Protoype World Screen

As you can see the game is isometric when you are wandering about the world. The artwork is still in the early stages of development and isn’t exactly how the final thing will look. With the art I’ve tried as best as I can to get as close as possible to the final look so that I can get a  better understanding of how long all the content will take to create and to also to build up a process and method for creating it all.

The game uses mouse control to walk about in the desktop builds at present as this was an early way of porting the tap controls from the mobile side of things which was created first. The controls are certainly not final and nowhere near polished but it’s been a fundamental step to get something working and learn about whether that felt right or not. The final game will also have gamepad support.

A lot of the core mechanics are there in some way with objects that you can interact with, maps that you can transfer between and aliens who you can trigger to fight, the aliens will eventually patrol and do all kinds of interesting stuff but for now they sit there and block your path gunning for a show down.

Prototype Fight Screen

Prototype Fight Screen

Speaking of show downs the fight screen is something that I haven’t shown of much of yet due to the fact it has only recently started to come together. The fight screens are inspired by the type of screens you get in classic RPG games, the ones that seemingly whisk you off into an abstract landscape. The look I was going for was of a camera peering through a whole in a war torn building. As the game is real time and aimed at working on mobiles as well as desktops I took a lot of inspiration from other mobile games including Infinity Blade and wanted to create an experience that could work well with the simplicity of touch screens but which could also be opened out into a slightly more complex variation on PC.

The aim is to have the cover present options for fooling the enemy if you switch at the right time. I also want lots of actions that can be learnt and used in a way similar to the power wheel in Mass Effect pausing time for a few seconds before you attack. There’s still a lot of testing and prototyping to do in this area but it’s already proving to be quite interesting.

Prototype Fight Cinematic

Prototype Fight Cinematic

Prototype Fight Cinematic

Prototype Fight Cinematic

Cinematics are incredibly new to the game, the aim with them is to create a simple and effective story telling device but also to add extra dynamics to the fight screens without resorting to 3D models which would increase the amount of work required. They are more impressive in motion clearly so I’m looking forward to getting a game-play video up soon to show them off.

Prototype Inventory Screen

Prototype Inventory Screen

So far the game has a pretty in depth inventory system with the ability to store items in your safe house. There’s quite a few variations of items including drinks, food, ammo, grenades, guns, medical products, traps, barricades and turrets. There is still more to be done in this area but the core purposes are there. The aim is also to be able to combine items in order to build and modify weapons much like in other survival games and to be able to find templates or recipes to help.

Later down the line the hope is to also have documents, keys and other items which can be found to unlock doors, solve puzzles and provide story.

Prototype Status Screen

Prototype Status Screen

I guess the final thing to talk about is the survival aspect of the game. Unlike a lot off games where water and food is just a way of replenishing health Will to Survive treats water and food very differently. I’ve read survival books and garnered information to give food and water a strong purpose in all this. the bars in this screen literally represent what is in Will’s body at present and these levels go down as they would in a normal person, if you move or do a high activity these levels drain faster. When you return after exiting the game it will simulate how much water and energy has been lost and Will tops up the levels by eating should he be running low. If you run out of either you die.

Something interesting that I want to do further down the line is to have the idea of thirst and hunger, if you go too low on any of these levels then things like accuracy, speed and wits will be significantly lowered as happens in real life.

There’s lots more planned for the game and lots more going on already which I’ve not mentioned but hopefully this rather long post should give you a bit more insight until I can fix a few bugs and film a game-play video.

Phew! That was long and it’s a hot day… I need to top up my own fluid levels!

It’s Nearly Here

It’s very nearly time to announce what I’ve been up to and what all this has been in aid of. The past few weeks have been a hectic bunch adding all the new artwork, polishing the cinematic system into something more along the lines of what it was intended for and sorting as many bugs as possible.

The prototype is in a good state. For once all the core systems and mechanics are there and nothing has been broken in order to add new features or awaiting to be fixed except for the bugs which remain in the “to do” pile.

It’s been hard, developing a game completely by yourself isn’t the easiest of tasks by any means but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I’ll be glad to finally share it.

It’s all rather exciting and it’s happening very very soon!

In Game Screens

I’m a day late on this but as promised here are some images displaying the new tiling world art and objects as well as a glimpse of the player and alien sprites used in the world. These are actual screen grabs taken from the prototype running in 720p on the PC.

It’s all starting to come together which is great and I’m hard at work knocking off the tasks on my check list and glueing all the cracks together to form one cohesive whole, I’ve also registered for development on the Playstation Vita/Mobile. It’s getting rather exciting!… Anyway, have some pretties!

Prototype Screen: World

A screen grab of the prototype world as it currently looks.

Prototype Screen: Inventory

An in game grab of how the inventory looks with some new item art and overlaid onto the world.

Prototype Screen: Safe House

A screen of how the safe house currently looks in the prototype.

Extraterrestrial Art Time

The past two and a bit weeks have been a busy few hence the lack of updates. I’ve been busy creating all the world artwork for the prototype as well as creating sprites to be used for the world versions of the player character and alien enemy. I’ll hopefully look at uploading some previews of the new sprites and world artwork tomorrow but for now here’s what I’ve been working on today.

Alien Cinematic Art

Alien art used in cinematic cut scene events.

Most of the artwork for the prototype is now done meaning I can concentrate on finishing the programming side of things, all being well the aim is do have the prototype finished by the end of the month ready for a proper reveal in July… exciting times!