began a few weeks ago when i found a job ad for XNA and C# game developers. I didn't knew XNA (or much about C#) at the time, but i called them anyway and decided to meet a week later. In the meanwhile i decided to learn XNA and started developing RGO. When i finally went to the people who placed the ad, the game looked like that
. Most of the content was reused from previous works of mine (all textures are examples for my 3D world editor
and some sounds are from my She Loves You
LD game, for example).
The job didn't work out due to a miscommunication between the company and the site where i found the ad (the ad didn't mention an important piece of information: they wanted freelancers who would work at their site for revenue share instead of employers). And finding other jobs is a bit difficult here in Greece, especially with my skill set. So i decided to try yet again the solo game dev route.
Since i already had RGO started, i decided to continue working on that. Even though it started as a learning game, i really like how the game progressed and especially how the robot navigated around the map. While the initial demo wasn't really much of a game, i decided to make it something i call "environmental puzzle platformer
" (a term i came up just a few minutes ago :-P). Basically your progression in the game depends on solving simple puzzles whose elements are found in the game's environment. I'm talking about switches, triggers, pushing things around, etc. I'm not sure if there is a term for that, to be honest, since all the games i can think that might be similar are usually called "adventure" or "action adventure". But RGO isn't an adventure game and doesn't have much action elements (there will be enemies, but you won't fight them directly). A game that is probably somewhat close to what i'm thinking (although it has been a while since i played it) is Abe's Exodus.Backstory
While i do like my story-driven games, i'm not a believer that all games should have a story. I prefer more to a thematic background where the game stands on (and progresses through) than a full blown story-driven experience.
In the game's world, a scientist had dedicated his life on building life-like artificial intelligence. His whole life was in his laboratory building and researching. While researching, he made several inventions to assist him in his goal. Outside of his inventions, he struggled in life - he wasn't born in a rich family or had any patrons or sponsors. His research would be interesting to the government or big corporations, but he was afraid of the implications of machines that were as intelligent as humans and controlled by them. He didn't want to see his intelligent machines be used as weapons. So he kept his major research secret and used his other smaller "side" inventions as a means for income by selling them to interested companies.
People do not live forever, however, and the scientist died without fully completing his project. Before his death, the scientist had managed to amass a large amount of debt. His nephew was the only close relative and to pay off his uncle's debt he sold all of his inventions - including his incomplete work on "intelligent AI". The buyer was one of the largest electronics companies -one of the best former clients of the scientist- specializing in robotics and other smart machines for consumer and military use.
The company quickly noticed how advanced the work was and how little they had seen over the years. They assigned a small team on deciphering the notes and reverse engineering the work of the passed scientist. At that point, they still hadn't realized what they were in front of.
You begin the game as Rob, one of the scientist's prototypes. Your memory is fuzzy and yet you have full conscience of your surroundings. You even feel better than ever, even if that made sense for the first time. Looking around you see unknown machines of unknown purposes, some working but most not. A voice in your head says "You must leave this place immediately".Status
From a gameplay perspective, at the moment there is little development over the original demo. I spent most of the time creating original textures and a new map to try them (and other game elements). I posted about them in a previous post in Feedback
. The game at that point looked like this
. Initially i went for this sketchy and 90s look blend, which was relatively easy to do. Unfortunately it was also a bit amateur and bad looking, so i decided to go for a more realistic approach that you can see in the shots above (this Minus folder contains highres versions
- the images are sorted from older to newer).
Realism isn't what i'm striving for, however. In a range between cartoony and realistic, i go towards realism but more about stylistic. I want colored and tech-like looking environments. Color-wise, i have Bioshock in my mind (which was quite colorful). Obviously i can't do AAA-style graphics nor match the level of detail that a game such as Bioshock has - it just serves as "lighthouse" i'm going for when it comes to how unrealistic i can be.
And besides, there has to be a point when i have to say "no" to putting more stuff on screen because the game won't be finished. This becomes even more important currently since i need the game to leave the pre-alpha stage ASAP so i can put it for alpha funding (hopefully in places like Desura and Indievania, but i haven't explored the options so far). My money reserves are depleted and there isn't anything in sight - if i wasn't living with my sister at my mother's house, i would be homeless right now. So, yeah. I need to put hard stops in the amount of time i spent brushing those textures and pushing those polygons around :-P.
I have just finished replacing all the environment textures from the previous sketchy style to the new "more realistic" one (i need to find another name for that, everytime i mention "realistic" people assume i want to match Gears of War's textures...). I like the look of the textures so far, but i need to work more on the environments.
I also need to work a bit on the editor. The features i need to add ASAP are calculating vertex lighting for meshes and placing areas (axis aligned boxes) for visibility, triggers, etc. Also i need to add support for placing decals on surfaces so i can break the repetitiveness.
Finally, as far as the C#/XNA engine goes, i need to use these areas from the editor to split the world inside those because currently the engine renders everything and does collision checks against everything. This, combined with my old computer (Athlon64 X2 4200+, 1.5GB RAM, ATI X1950 Pro), means that i can't place as much geometry as i want on the levels.
After the alpha is started, i'll also resume work on the C version (the engine already works, but it doesn't load yet the .rtw files the editor produces) because i want versions for Linux and Mac OS X (and maybe iOS and Android eventually... and who knows what this newfangled Metro for Windows 8 will come out to be). Since i'll use my LIL scripting language (which has C#/.NET bindings) for the game stuff, i don't expect the porting to be too lengthy.
At this point i still need lots of feedback. It is better to have it earlier than later - especially when the "later" feedback means ignoring the game because it sucks :-P.
You can find a download of the game so far here:http://runtimelegend.com/games/robgetout/download.html
(if you have the previous version mentioned at the top of my previous post, you'll need to uninstall it first)Music
I'd like to cooperate with someone to provide music for the game. Currently the game has some placeholder music i found in Jamendo which i used for the original XNA demo. It doesn't really fit the current game (which i think it requires more slow paced and "background" music). I haven't removed it because, well, inertia :-P.
However this will need to be done after alphafunding (which, btw, will not include the current placeholder and i'll remove it in a next upload) because, as i mentioned above, currently i have $0 :-P.