In our first three posts, I’ve reflected a lot on the game making process as seen by first time indie game makers. However, for this post I would like to switch tack and start talking a little bit more about the actual game, lest anyone begin to suspect that it is… errrmm…not real. Have no fear loyal reader – this game is no mystical unicorn (yes, I know all unicorns are mystical). It is very real, and we’ve made some great progress in the last few weeks!
Our game, Armour on the Wastes, is a 2D vehicular combat game with strong RPG elements. The story takes place in the vast reaches of outer space, in a galaxy recovering from an apocalyptic war. As the player, you will have a customizable, multi-component tank at your disposal that you will use to battle your way through a diverse range of planet types and foes.
While we owe a debt of gratitude towards pure action games, we are striving to make our game more than just an interstellar shoot’em up. To that end, our writer Austin is putting heroic amounts of time into story development, to make sure we have a rich universe and fully built out codex to back up the main plot. AOTW will also feature a branching storyline in which the player must make morally difficult choices between imperfect options with imperfect information (because you don’t get to do enough of that in real life already).
We have a few over-arching goals for this game in terms of player experience. First, the game has to be fun. I suppose this goes without saying, but I think it’s important to keep that objective fixed firmly in mind as an end in and of itself. Furthermore, we want the game to be so fun that it’s actually addictive. We want fans to go back and re-play the game, to try out various combinations of tank parts, to build different characters, and to make different decisions in the branching storyline. Last but certainly not least, player agency is a huge driving force behind the vision for this game. We want players to be able to make choices that legitimately influence gameplay, and we want to set the game up in such a way that there is no truly wrong way to use your wide array of customizable tank options.
If you’re an avid gamer yourself, I hope these goals have reminded you of various games that you have viewed as fun and influential. Our vision for the game has certainly been molded by a lot of amazing work in the gaming and sci-fi arenas, both independent and mainstream. To truly talk about these guiding lights in a meaningful way would probably require a separate blog entirely. However, if I were to name a few of our biggest influences in terms of plot, atmosphere, and player agency, I would start with the games I Miss the Sunrise, Mass Effect, Homeworld and the perennial classic, Deus Ex.
I’m confident that players will feel these influences, as well as our own unique style, once they have the game in hand. But since the game is not ready yet, I want to give you something tangible to get a better feel for the vibe of the game. As you may or may not recall, Rich, in addition to being our developer, is also a musician and is creating the entire soundtrack for AOTW. He has several full songs already completed. The sample below will likely be one of the feature tracks in the game, and is I think very representative of the overall feel of the AOTW universe. So, hit play, sit back, and immerse yourself for the first time in the AOTW universe with “Blood and Iron.”
In exciting news on the development front, Rich and Austin finished a tech-demo level this week. I played it a couple days ago, and it’s really exciting to have a playable level running for the first time. As I moved through the game, taking damage left and right, I thought to myself “damn, this is real!” Right now, the tech demo features placeholder art, customized in MS Paint by yours truly. However, we are on the warpath to find a real artist, because if I were to illustrate everything in the game, your typical battle scene would look something like this:
However, rest assured, we will find an outstanding artist (by the way, if you are a super awesome artist, you should definitely email us for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org).
In fact, while it adds a lot of pressure right now, the need to bring on a new team member is actually a bit of a blessing in disguise. It forces us to clarify our goals and vision for the game so that we can communicate this to potential artists and to all of you readers. Above all, no matter what we achieve with these goals, we sincerely hope that you will enjoy playing this game once it is released.