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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsXenosis - A top down 2D story driven retro sci fi shooter (Fig Campaign)
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Author Topic: Xenosis - A top down 2D story driven retro sci fi shooter (Fig Campaign)  (Read 3714 times)
EpicNerdRage
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« on: February 01, 2017, 06:01:05 PM »

EDIT: March 2018 Update, Xenosis is back after we released Jump Gunners! Check latest update to see the new additions, and also to compare how far the game has come!

Fig Campaign Page

Xenosis Game Website
Xenosis Steam Page
NerdRage Studios Website
Xenosis Press Kit

**** name changed from Xenomorph to Xenosis: Alien Infection ****

Hi everyone, my name is James Stone, a solo indie developer from the UK who quit my fulltime job in September and moved to China to follow my dream job of working fulltime as an indie Smiley

I've decided to set up residence here and work on a devlog as I think documenting my journey and sharing my experience will not only help me be a better developer, but having feedback along the way will be invaluable for me to create the game... sometimes you just cant see the wood for the trees!

So, a little introduction on the game:

You are a deep space salvage hunter, who has discovered the remains of the starship “Carpathian”, thought destroyed on a deep space mission nearly 50 years ago. You know that the data core housed in the ships AI will be worth a lifetime of credits on the black market, so you dock with the ship to retrieve it. You only hope that the ship is empty… surely nothing can be alive after so long?

Xenosis: Alien Infection, is a top down 2D retro style shooter with a lot of action/rpg/horror elements. Its heavily story driven and has been in development now for about 6 months. I have been working hard to create a game that is all about the atmosphere and mood, I am using a lot of dynamic lighting and shadowing along with my own shaders to create a feeling of exploration in a dark and constricted ship, never quite knowing what is coming next. Tension is one of the things I want to get across as much as I can, and along with the need to manage your resources, I hope this will make an interesting experience for the player.

Please support this game on Fig

Xenosis was greenlit, thanks to everyones support!





I am doing all the programming, artwork, writing and the majority of the sound effects myself so its a bit of a full on task, but I am loving every minute of it.

Right now, gameplay and core mechanics are all largely done, as is the first few sections of the ships hangar. The ship is a huge though, so there are many sections that all need hand crafting, no procedural level generation in this game, everything is hand crafted for a unique journey.

I would love to get feedback from you all, as I am completely self taught, I only started to learn how to program about 18 months ago, and I am no super experienced game designer, so I am sure that there are some things I could be doing better!

The game is scheduled to release in about 6 months at my current pace, on Xbox One, PS4 and I will go for steam greenlight in about 2 months.

Anywho, here are some screenshots of the game. The HUD is temporary at the moment and needs a lot of work.









The game contains resource management, not just in the form of health and stamina, but has two extra elements to add to the danger, oxygen, power and suit integrity.

The ships air is toxic, so you need to keep your oxygen supply topped up in order to breath, you suit light and thermal protection needs power to operate and will drain as you use it, and finally as you take damage from enemies / environment your suit will become worn and damaged and will need reparing to prevent a suit breach.

The game has crafting elements too, where components can be used to craft usable items and player upgrades at various workbenches & terminals throughout the ship.

I am now currently level building and working on enemy AI and scripted events, so I will try now to post my progress at the end of each day to keep myself motivated and to ensure that I stay accountable to myself for making progress, I am sure you know how it is as an one man indie dev to keep on top of things Smiley

Thanks for reading, I appreciate its a long opening post, I will try to keep my updates succint from now on!

Cheers, James.

p.s. as a side note, how do a lot of indie devs go about testing their games? As a solo dev, I often cannot see the woods for the trees so to have some help on the game testing is important, how do you all go about it?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 12:14:53 AM by EpicNerdRage » Logged

soundofsilence42
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2017, 07:26:21 PM »

Quote
I am doing all the programming, artwork, writing and the majority of the sound effects myself so its a bit of a full on task, but I am loving every minute of it.

Really love the lighting effects that can be seen in the screenshots, creates a nice sense of ambiance and atmosphere

Quote
The game contains resource management, not just in the form of health and stamina, but has two extra elements to add to the danger, oxygen, power and suit integrity.

Does the suit's power level impact the player's remaining time on their flashlight? That might add even more value to the lighting aspect since players would know that their small cone of light in front of them is not infinite and needs to be replenished or else they plunge into darkness.

Looks like you're off to a really good start on this.
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Schrompf
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2017, 07:35:21 AM »

This looks great! Impressive lighting! I tried something similar a few years ago, it's great fun to play with lighting. Good luck.
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2017, 08:12:30 AM »

Looks great! Toast Left
I wanna ask :Is your game inspired by some movies?As i saw the <Event Horizon>.Maybe there are some terrible monsters from the hell?
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EpicNerdRage
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2017, 04:42:11 PM »

Quote
I am doing all the programming, artwork, writing and the majority of the sound effects myself so its a bit of a full on task, but I am loving every minute of it.

Really love the lighting effects that can be seen in the screenshots, creates a nice sense of ambiance and atmosphere


Quote
The game contains resource management, not just in the form of health and stamina, but has two extra elements to add to the danger, oxygen, power and suit integrity.

Does the suit's power level impact the player's remaining time on their flashlight? That might add even more value to the lighting aspect since players would know that their small cone of light in front of them is not infinite and needs to be replenished or else they plunge into darkness.

Looks like you're off to a really good start on this.

Hi, thanks for the feedback, I'm really happy with the way the lighting is working on this now, I really want to make the game all about the atmosphere, with sound and visuals working perfectly together.

Yes the players suit light and suit temperature systems all drain the power resource, so you will need to find power in order to keep your suit topped up with energy, i'm trying to balance it at the moment to make it an interesting mechanic, rather than just a pain in the players butt!

This looks great! Impressive lighting! I tried something similar a few years ago, it's great fun to play with lighting. Good luck.

Thanks thats really kind, did you finish your project?

Looks great! Toast Left
I wanna ask :Is your game inspired by some movies?As i saw the <Event Horizon>.Maybe there are some terrible monsters from the hell?

Yes indeed, I have been heavily influenced by scifi movies and books. My teenage years were in the 90's so I grew up with some of the best sci fi films, but particularly Aliens, Event horizon and Sunshine kind of inspired me to make a game based in a huge starship, plus years of playing space crusade, space hulk and 40k. One of my favourite games on my Amiga was Alien Breed, so I would say there are clear influences there when it came to me having the opportunity to make my ideal game  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2017, 05:17:47 PM »

So, at the moment I am trying to come up with a better way of of being able to give the player a tutorial on the controls.

My first thought was to simply ask if this was your first time playing the game on launch, and then just give a whole screen of controls to read through, but that felt like it was likely to just get in the way or be skipped immediately.

I then ended up going with prompts in game when the player first encounters a need for that particular control, for example the first time they approach a useable object:



The problem I found here though is that the player will likely use all of the controls on the first area of the game, which is very small, and that means constant popups that pause the game to give you something to read, thus it feels a bit immersion breaking.

So now I am trying to provide a "view controls" section in the pause menu, which will take you to a bunch of interactive screens where you can read the controls at leasure whenever you decide to:

apologies for the UI, its still in placeholder at the mo





I am still kinda torn on the best approach to take, maybe one approach doesnt fit all and a blend of the above might be the best way. I think I shall go and play a bunch of games just see how player controls / concepts are introduced to the player.

Anyone have any thoughts on this, or perhaps know of some games that do this really well without breaking immersion and treating the player like a bit of a dummy?
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3dgeminis
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2017, 09:53:41 AM »

The tutorial could be a test of your spacesuit before entering the ship. The AI of your ship will be telling you what to do to test the suit, walking, grab objects, shoot some objective, etc.
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Schrompf
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2017, 06:42:10 AM »

This looks great! Impressive lighting! I tried something similar a few years ago, it's great fun to play with lighting. Good luck.

Thanks thats really kind, did you finish your project?

Sure, it's on Steam since 2014. Sold comparably well, but only in comparision to the Shovelware Greenlight is swamped with. Far far away from Break Even.
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2017, 10:37:55 AM »

Love the concept and the screenshots look good.

Air supply is a good organic-feeling way to enforce a sense of urgency on the player, too!
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EpicNerdRage
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2017, 12:58:33 AM »

The tutorial could be a test of your spacesuit before entering the ship. The AI of your ship will be telling you what to do to test the suit, walking, grab objects, shoot some objective, etc.

Thanks, thats an interesting angle, one I know works for a lot of games too, I'll have a play  Hand Thumbs Up Left

This looks great! Impressive lighting! I tried something similar a few years ago, it's great fun to play with lighting. Good luck.

Thanks thats really kind, did you finish your project?

Sure, it's on Steam since 2014. Sold comparably well, but only in comparision to the Shovelware Greenlight is swamped with. Far far away from Break Even.
Whats it called, i'd love to check it out Smiley

Love the concept and the screenshots look good.

Air supply is a good organic-feeling way to enforce a sense of urgency on the player, too!

Thanks, much appreciated, and yes that certainly is the desired effect and in practise the feedback has been good on how the mechanics feels  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2017, 01:08:11 AM »

Today I have been working hard on re-writing the core of the enemy AI pathfinding. The approach I am using now is working really well along with the stealth mechanics.

Basically, the player has the ability to hide within shadows in the game, giving you 3 levels of stealth: Hidden, Partial and Exposed.

This has a number of effects on the enemy AI and automated security systems.

Firstly, being hidden dramatically reduces the detection range of all enemies and security systems, and will allow you more chances to hide behind objects at a closer range to enemies.

Being partially hidden, has no effect on the enemy detection range, but does allow you to lose enemy line of site by darting behind objects that would place you in shadow.

Bieng fully exposed increases the enemy detection range and prevents you from hiding behind anything, except walls.

Now light sources are the primary method of controlling stealth, but just to add an extra layer to it, if you turn on your flashlight, you become fully exposed (its bloody bright after all) or firing your weapon will also do the same. Thus, making it more of a tactical challenge to move in stealth. Melee does not affect your stealth level currently.

Now for the AI of the enemy pathfding, I designed the following approach based on giving the enemies specific "states" that they can be in at any one time. Here is the workflow I designed for the AI:



This means that the enemies dont just use basic pathfinding, they use their "senses" as well, ie. if you are in their range, they still have to be able to either see or here you, based on occluding objects and light levels.

In practise, this means that I can succesfully sneak around my enemies, or watch them chase me and I can lose them and see them try to find me at my last position, patrol around and then go back to what they were doing. It feels great, and i'm damn happy with todays coding, that was 11 hours well spent :D

[geekmode]
Mind you, I did have a minor melt down earlier when I made a load of changes to one of the levels and the enemy prefabs, and then forgot to put a yield statement in a coroutine, crashed unity and lost about an hours work, I was not impressed!
[/geekmode]
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2017, 02:49:45 PM »

It looks pretty good so far, and I especially like the lighting. Will you be needing any music at some point?
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2017, 04:41:38 PM »

It looks pretty good so far, and I especially like the lighting. Will you be needing any music at some point?

Thanks! As for music, at the moment I am good thanks, but maybe that might change in the future  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2017, 08:14:52 AM »

Just another quick update to say that we are now on Greenlight! If you think the game is worthy, your support would be greatly appreciated here : http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=845950054

I have also just launched the kickstarter campaign too : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nerdragestudios/xenomorph-a-2d-sci-fi-action-survival-exploration

If you happen to browse these and something doesnt make sense or stands out, please let me know as I really want to get this right first time!

Exciting times Toast Left
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2017, 05:21:03 PM »

So, after launching the greenlight page a few comments came up around the name, specifically about it being confused with the Aliens film franchise.

I am really interested to know your thoughts on this...

The name was just used in the film as word to describe the aliens, but some people do immediately attribute the name to the film, in the same way I guess that we call a hoover a hoover, even though its just a brand name and not the actual item.

The word itself is a Greek construct. It combines the prefix xeno, meaning "foreign" or "strange," with the suffix morph, which means a shape or form with the prefix’s supplied attributes. The word xenomorph in this context is a generic term for any "strange or foreign form"—any alien life form.
Taken from this article here: https://arstechnica.com/the-multiverse/2014/08/the-throwaway-line-in-aliens-that-spawned-decades-of-confusion/

I can see some potential confusion, but I also see that it is in no way officially attributed to the franchise, or any form of trademark or copyright.

I'm genuinely interested in knowing whether or not you feel that this is potentially confusing, or that it doesn't really matter? Let me know your thoughts.

You can also join the debate over on Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/filedetails/discussion/845950054/133257324788447223/
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2017, 05:26:47 PM »

Xenomorph is the name of the Aliens in Alien, it might have been an original word before that but it's been entrenched into the alien franchise of movies for some 30 years. It's like you could call an alien hunter "The Predator" since its' a generic term, but come on....

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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2017, 06:04:41 PM »

Xenomorph is the name of the Aliens in Alien, it might have been an original word before that but it's been entrenched into the alien franchise of movies for some 30 years. It's like you could call an alien hunter "The Predator" since its' a generic term, but come on....



you make a fair point, which is why i'm interested to hear viewpoints on this. Its not small task to rename the game, but i'm open to it if need be  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2017, 06:22:22 PM »

It looks great, if you are using a lot of dynamic lightings you should show some gifs to watch it in movement. Gomez

About the title, for what I understand if the public reads the title and the alien franchise come to mind that's enough for lawyers to take action, maybe you can find a better explanation.
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2017, 08:02:18 PM »

It looks great, if you are using a lot of dynamic lightings you should show some gifs to watch it in movement. Gomez

About the title, for what I understand if the public reads the title and the alien franchise come to mind that's enough for lawyers to take action, maybe you can find a better explanation.

Thats a great idea, so I just made a video highlighting exactly that, let me know what you think!





As for the name, I do see what you are saying... i'm putting some research into it now  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2017, 08:03:03 PM »

Xenomorph is the name of the Aliens in Alien, it might have been an original word before that but it's been entrenched into the alien franchise of movies for some 30 years. It's like you could call an alien hunter "The Predator" since its' a generic term, but come on....

From wikipedia:
Xenomorph may refer to:
  • Xenomorph (geology), a geological term
  • Alien (creature in Alien franchise), the fictional extraterrestrial species in the Alien films
  • Xenomorph (band), Dutch Death Metal band
  • Xenomorph (video game), a 1990 role-playing game published by Pandora

I wouldn't be too concerned about the Alien reference or the 90's game, but I do think you can do better. "Xenomorph" is a low-hanging-fruit sort of name; a portmanteau of greek science-y sounding words, (possibly part of why it'd turn up in a movie about aliens called "Alien").

I submit that the reason you should change it (if you still can) isn't because it's been used before, but because the name is a bit bland. Besides, having a less generic name will make your game more memorable and findable. It's not uncommon to use a working title in pre-production and rename your project once you have a better sense of what makes the game unique!
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