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Kristie Addison on Derelict

Quick update!

Kristie Addison was the primary audio engineer for Derelict, developing virtually all of the sound effects (including footsteps, doors, gunfire and monster snarls) as well as composing the first two music tracks present in the game.

She has written a couple of blog posts about her efforts. The most recent one is quite interesting because it details how she made a few of the sounds. It can be found here

Edit - Kristie has informed me that she intends to release a remixed version of 'Enemy', the theme song for Derelict as a single. It may even see airplay on local radio stations. I'm really excited about it and I wish her all the best.


What's next?

Even before I finished Derelict I started thinking about other projects and.. I still haven't quite decided. There are just so many game ideas I want to do that i'd never be able to get them all done in a lifetime.

Still, I have decided that I will attempt to produce two more games this year. They'll each be small projects and have relatively short development cycles (two months, being over August-September and October-November). This is my short list of potential projects:

Working title: Airshow!
Genre: Puzzle

A blend of Art and Reflexes, you need to manage an Airshow acrobatic display. Your points increase as you have more planes flying simultaneously, doing different maneuvers, but you lose half your score every time there is a mid air collision (incidently, you get more points for near misses). You can play the game basically any way you want to, you simply have to get the highest score possible within the allocated time limit.

Working title: Blow stuff up xtreme
Genre: First Person Shooter

A sequel/remake to my absurdly pointless game from last year (where you simply had to flatten a Hong Kong type metropolis in a giant robot). This game sees you trashing the whole of New Zealand, from Invercargill to Whangarei, in a mecha piloted by a drunk Aussie. Lots of different weapons and power ups will aid you in your destruction of the nation.

Working title: Luger Me Now!
Genre: First Person Shooter

A restart of my aborted NaziKill 3D project, this is a parody of Wolfenstein 3D and 90's shareware games in general (the game itself will claim to be shareware and will perpetually bug the player to buy the full version - which doesn't exist) Working title: Project Firestart Special Edition Genre: First Person Shooter As well as applying much needed bug fixes to my Retro Remakes competition entry, this will include many other enhancements; such as improved graphics and sound and larger variety of gameplay options (including random placement of objects!). Also I'll put in an effort to make every area of the ship unique and have a purpose, rather than simply have it filling in space.

Working title: Mobile Warfare
Genre: Multiplayer/Action

Atari's "Combat" for the 21st century. You choose from one of four basic vehicle classes (Tank, Anti-Aircraft, Fighter, Bomber) and since each vehicle class has a fatal weakness (Tank beats Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Aircraft beats Fighter, Fighter beats Bomber, Bomber beats Tank) you will need to work closely with your team to be victorious. Hopefully I'll be able to support at least 16, if not 32 players simultaneously.

More then one person has suggested to me that Derelict could easily be modified to be a true Space Hulk remake. One even went as far as remaking one of the original Hulk levels with the Derelict level editor. I'm not at all opposed to such a project however i'd only be willing to make coding changes. All art, sound , levels etc would need to be provided by others. (That said - I'm tempted to see if I can make a utility to convert original Space Hulk levels to the Derelict format)

A couple of weeks ago I posted a screenshot of a tech demo I made of my brother's "Prince Mince" idea. I'm not sure if anything else will happen to that because it's really his project - I'm willing to do the coding but he needs to provide everything else, including story, level design and art. What do you guys think? Are there any of these projects you'd be willing and able to give a helping hand with? If not then, which of these projects would you be willing to play when completed?


Derelict Dev Post #40: It's done!

The handsome space marines of Atlas

After nine months and one week of development, Derelict is finally finished.


I spent many hours toiling away at it alone but I couldn't have done it without the support and help of Sam, Craig, Mark, Kristie, my voice actors and playtesters and many others.

That said, I'm not ruling out releasing a special edition of the game later. It could do with a bit more polish in some areas and I'm not entirely happy with all of my levels. This IS the last Derelict Dev Post though, since the primary development is done.

You can download it here

So what's next? Well.. I'm going to spend awhile treating myself to Super Smash Bros Brawl, and then i'll think about it. I will post the level editor in a couple of weeks with a tutorial though.

P.S. - I managed a completion time of 1:30:41 on Rank 5

Derelict Dev Post #39: Not quite done!

The mutant monsters are getting a little too close for comfort...

Yes, I know I promised i'd have it done this week but..

I'm going to delay it one more week to give it a bit more polish. I haven't spent as much time developing it recently as i'd have liked to (I blame getting Blazing Angels for Wii) BUT I will release it next Sunday, after July's Auckland Game Works meetup (12pm - RVB Bar on K'Road).

So, new stuff since last time:

  • Craig from the Blitz3D forums has been doing professional quality furniture meshes (pictured) to replace my rather amateurish ones. As a fellow Blitz3D developer he was able to also help me fix a bug in the engine. Thanks Craig!
  • Kristie has been working away at sounds and music for Derelict. They're fantastic - her music is first class, and the sounds make the game world feel more natural.
  • Squad icons now have alert colours (also pictured). They turn yellow when a Marine is firing, and red when a Marine is being injured. This will instantly alert the player as to what's going on with his squad.
  • Misc bug fixes, particularly with widescreen modes and the new multiview.

Derelict Dev Post #38

As you can see i've just added dynamic terrain, water, trees as scenery and the title character himself. Er, whoops. No. NO. Ignore that. Wrong Screenshot.

This is 'multiview', which allows you to see the viewpoints of every marine at once, as well as the map. It's an entirely optional mode that can be switched on and off with the press of a button and you can still directly control marines as well as issue orders on the map in this mode.

I've had a few requests for such a feature since the first public beta but I have only just been able to work out how to get it going well. Running this mode does slow the game down a bit (Since it requires doing six renders) but it wouldn't make much of a difference on Crysis capable PCs. Other then that I have been working on trying to add more ease and flexibility to the control options, for instance, by pressing Shift and a number (1-5) you can instantly tell that particular marine to follow you, rather then having to switch into map mode and doing a bunch of clicking.

Multiview will be the last major feature to be added to Derelict. Everything else will be tweaks, polish and bug fixes until the 1.0 release next week.

Finally, congratulations to Matthew of Looseleafgames for being the first person to report finishing the Beta, with a time of 02:33:04 on rank 1.

Derelict Dev Post #37

Okay, first off, the bad news. For a long time I had intending to include 24 levels in the final game, but recently I made the decision to chop it back to 20. It's not a decision I made lightly, but I think Derelict would benefit if I spent more time improving the quality of the existing levels rather then producing new ones. Also, I will make the level editor available for anyone who wants to develop their own.

Just recently I have started working on the distant exterior of the space ship. You already could see the exterior of the levels, but the levels alone look nothing like the space ship itself and give the impression the ship is rather flat. This is still a work in progress, but I think the effect is kinda cool. And I added blinky lights too.

Also I have started making the marines all look different. The face in the screenie is mine - don't ask me why a marine would be wearing sunglasses and have facial hair! My goal is to have the marines unique enough to be instantly recognisable, but similar enough that they still look like they're part of the same unit.

Feedback is still coming in slowly. Thanks to everyone who gave it a thumbs up on the various places I posted it. However I would really appreciate getting emailed the feedback forms that come with the game. If you do that you can be credited as an official playtester, so the world can know you helped me with the game.

Two weeks left to go. Stay tuned.


Derelict Dev Post #36

Bored to tears on a big empty space ship, the battle hardened Marines start taking joyrides on the conveyor belts..

The feedback for the final beta release has been trickling in. I am happy to note that it has largely been positive, the main concerns that I have been receiving about the game is a lack of variety - in sound, the enemies and the environments.

I have been negotiating with a local audio engineer to get the 'sound scape' of the game remade from scratch. Hopefully this will bring a more immersive and less monotonous aural environment to Derelict - groans and screams of monsters, hums and beeps of electronic equipment, crackling gunfire and roaring explosions, air being pushed and pulled through ventilation units, and the sound of marine boots landing on carpet, tiles, metal and grass. I'm really excited about getting this aspect of the game done right.

Most of the way through Derelict, you're only facing one kind of enemy, so surprises are few and far between. The game is inspired by Space Hulk, but taking inspiration from another source doesn't neccessarily mean you should take its weak points too. So I gave it some thought, what monsters could I add to the game within my limits of time and 3d modelling ability. I thought about an enemy in Duke Nukem 3D that used to SCARE THE CRAP out of me, and figured I could do one based on him. I may also add a couple of other new enemies, though i'll be keeping them under wraps until the game is out.

A couple of people have mentioned, after the first few levels, the environment starts to become a bit samey. I'll definitely spend a fair bit of time over the next few weeks adding more signs, textures and objects to the levels to make them more unique. One thing I have just added is these conveyor belts which will be seen in the cargo areas, as well as maybe a few other places. I'm not ruling out having conveyor based puzzles, but it'll definitely not be Chips Challenge style where you have to build bridges out of blocks of dirt.

Oh, the only other thing i've done is refined the map screen a tiny bit, click on the screenshot for a closer look. Doesn't change the gameplay at all, just makes it looks nicer is all.


Random Free Game #4: Ninja Hattori 3rdStrike DASH

Okay, first I will get my big gripe with this one out of the way. It's compressed in a freaking LZH file which is only popular in Japan. And even after you extract it with a tool like WinRAR, it turns out the game is already compressed in a WinRAR self extracting file. Whats the point of compressing it twice?!

Well anyway, Ninja Hattori 3rdStrike DASH is a charming little Japanese fighting game that appears to be based on Street Fighter (though I can only recognise Ken, Ryu and Dhaslim). The pixel art is simplistic and the characters are very cute with their oversized heads. The mission of the game is simple: You have to fight the rest of the fighters in the game one by one in two round bouts.

The game extensively makes use of special moves. I always found special moves in fighting games to be awkward but in this one they're actually refreshingly easy to pull off. I'm not a Street Fighter expert but I know a couple of the special moves for Ken and Ryu, which are:

Fireball - down, forward, punch
Spin kick - down, backwards, kick

In the game each player has a super power bar. Once they've filled it up they can unleash super moves, such as Ryu's super fireball which is done the same way as a regular fireball but with both punch buttons pressed simultaneously. The manual has a list of all possible super moves but, unfortunately, it's all in Japanese.

The single player game has no continues if you lose but fortunately it isn't too difficult. It's actually quite fun and i'll definitely spend some more time in the future playing it. If you're a casual or hardcore fighting game fan you should find this great fun for a few hours, and don't let the LHZ file or Japanese text put you off. 8.5/10

You can download it here


Derelict Dev Post #35 - 0.75 Beta

This is a couple of days overdue and I know it, but it took a lot longer then I thought to do last-minute tweaking and patching for the 0.75 beta. (Downloadable here - thanks to Max Penguin for hosting)

Sam Jefferys was asking for a better terminal so I did this. The idea for a holographic screen and keyboard came from those infra-red keyboards for mobile phones. I also did a couple of other new furniture items for the game, including some odd-shaped "space" cacti.

The game is completable since it includes most of the levels plus all of the boss fights and an early version of the ending (which is likely to be revised later to include cutscenes).

Also i've thrown in a form for potential playtesters, if you want to be credited as a playtester on the final version just fill it out and email it to me.

Four posts left to go. It's hard to believe I'm nearly finished the game. I am going to take a l-o-n-g break from game development after this, before getting stuck into making a more family-friendly title. Maybe.

Earok interviews Joshua Smyth

Joshua Smyth is a New Zealand based freeware game developer. His most recent works are the challenging graphical rogue-like Caverns of Underkeep and the thrilling neo-retro shmup Attack of the Meeplings. As I know him personally and since he already has multiple good quality games published on his website I thought he would be an ideal candidate for the first game developer interview on my blog.