Into The Breach

It has been quite some time since I did a blog update and even this one is going to be short.

We’ve been busy.

Building a game engine, complete with a slew of integrated middleware for physics, animation, GUI, AI, networking, lighting etc – is a lot of work. Getting around to building the game – in parallel – doesn’t make it any easier.

Then there’s the content. LOD has a ton of content that’s just mindboggling when I think about it. Especially when you consider the size of the team that has to put it together. Well, take a look at our scenes and draw your own conclusions. This is not some “level” based game where you have one or two buildings strewn around the equivalent of a city block. We’re talking a massive (each scene is 16km x 16km end-to-end, with each base covering a good 2km x 3km area within) base which has to be populated and designed with not only infantry, but also vehicles and aircrafts in mind.

You may be wondering why we decided to build a new game engine from the ground up. Simple. These days, your choice of engine pretty much dictates the type of game you’re going to end up developing. Since I tend not to develop run-of-the-mill games that everyone else is making, the typical engines out there tend to have a lot of gotchas by the time you are in deep enough. So the games that I want to make, tend to require specific engines for them. Which is why for more than twenty-two years now, I have never licensed a game engine for any of my games. LOD is no different.

But to be honest, this being the first time in many years that we’re building a new engine from the ground up and filling in the blanks with middleware libraries, I probably should have gone the licensing route back when we started. Doing that would have got us to the “making the game” part quicker. But again, the fear on my part is always that at some point down the road, a licensed engine is not going to do some things that you want to do. And then you’re left with having to either cut corners, change features, hack in some less than stellar solution – or doing a whole different game.

You know what they say about the “best laid plans”. The long and short of that is that decision caused some delays. But now that things are back on track, the game is completely out of the original Q4/11 release period and into “early” 2012. Joy.

Today the media page has been updated with a slew of shots from various parts of the game world. There are some shots of the completed (one of my favs), as well as first shots of the , inside the – and last but not the least, the .

The Arkangel station is one of four stations in the game world. It orbits the contested Lyrius planet. Players are able to move between these stations and the planet surface using jump pads. So as an infantry player, you can go from a starbase (e.g. on Nightbridge) on the planet to the Arkangel (or any other linked station) and vice versa. If you have access to a fighter, you can also fly from the planet to space, then dock – and exit into the station in first or third person mode.

Like starbases on the planet, these stations have all the amenities (repair, weapons, cash shop etc). And since players exist inside (play in first or third person) combat can take place in there.

There is also a single carrier floating around in space. This is the last carrier that was part of the battle fleet. It’s crew abandoned it and left it on auto-pilot. Which means that it just flies around the space region. Since we built the entire carrier’s internals, players can move between it, stations, the planet bases etc.

The reason that so much was invested in these huge areas (planets, stations/carrier) is because we’re going to be selling and renting rooms inside these installations. So you can have your own private quarters in any base, station (or the carrier) and be able to invite your friends over (in full first or third person mode gameplay btw), stash your stuff (gear, ammo etc) etc. In short, they are fully functional areas. Monocles are optional. 😉

So yeah, that’s how you do it.

They say that space games are making a comeback. I know that a lot of my install base would be disappointed if I didn’t insert myself squarely in the middle of that revolution.

So yeah, the space region where the contested planets and moons are located in Line Of Defense, is also accessible. Even though the space regions aren’t as big* as my previous games, this is a different kind of game and so these regions are more than adequate. You will be able to combat in space and on planets – moving between them with ease.

* If you want to be a part of the massive space regions and epic skirmishes from my earlier games, you have to wait for my next game, – which takes us all the way back to our roots. It promises to be epic.

You can view the game’s for a better idea of how this is all linked together.

The is also online. And yes, those are actual in-game models.

Starting next week, we are going to be releasing video tours of all these bases in order to give you guys a better idea of the sort of scope and tech we’re dealing with in Line Of Defense.

At the end of the day, even though there are a lot of shooters out there, not to mention this whole F2P fad currently gripping the industry, what is going to set games apart is not the premise or the genre, but rather the gameplay experience and audience being targeted. My games have always catered to the hardcore gamer – and Line Of Defense, though much more accessible than any of my previous games – is no exception. These days, run-of-the-mill simply won’t cut it. You need more. Much more.