Robot Walk Cycle Test

Here’s one of the robot enemies for Vectricon. I haven’t really settled on a name for him, but I refer to him as KB-60 (Kill-Bot model 60). I just finished a walk cycle so here’s a video test. He’s still a work in progress. Also, the frame rate dropped a bit while I was recording so the video is a little choppy in a couple places. Anyway, enjoy. More coming soon!

State of the Game and what to expect from this Blog

So yeah, in case you haven’t noticed (and you haven’t because I have no followers yet, so you currently don’t exist) it’s been a year since I made a post. Is it because I stopped working on Vectricon? Not at all. I’ve been working very hard on it, there just hasn’t been much to say.

Imagine running 10 miles worth then you turn around to find you only traveled 10 feet. That’s what the past year feels like to me. I put in a shit-ton of work and ended up very little to show for it, at least until now. Why is that? Well, here’s what I did get out of it – experience. I have never made a game before and I’m not a programmer. Even though I had a clear vision for the game from the start, I had to teach myself how to make it. So on top of being the sole artist, CG modeller and game-design-dude, I also had to learn how to use Unreal Engine 4. So now we’re a year later and I’m much more familiar with the engine and other tools. I’ve learned a lot. The best part is that even though it may seem like the game is overly ambitious for a noob game designer, I haven’t lost a shred of confidence that I can actually finish this thing.

Now I’ll tell you, my currently non-existent friends, what I did get done.

The First-Person Player character is about 60-70% done-ish, at least from a programming perspective. He can run; jump; pick up items such as health, weapons and upgrades; flip switches and open doors; He can also switch between different types of weapons and fire them or lob even a grenade. There’s one particular upgrade which will be available fairly on in the game that allows you to run faster, jump higher and survive any fall no matter how high it is. With it you could jump off of a skyscraper that’s half a mile high (Vectricon City is a big place) and land without dying or even injuring yourself. It’s in the game, it works and it’s fun! As you’re falling a wind sound will fade in and when you reach a certain velocity threshold, the player will scream as he falls. It’s great but I will talk more about sound design in an upcoming post. I’ll eventually have to rewrite most of the Player Character’s functionality, mostly by making everything run more efficiently, but it’s in there and it works.

Vehicles!! I have several working vehicles of various types in the game. You can move the first person character up to a vehicle, press the interact button and now you’re controlling a vehicle from a third person perspective. I have a few wheel-based cars you can drive around in, pretty basic so far but they feel pretty realistic. I also have a flying pod-like vehicle you can fly around in and fire its weapons. To give you an idea of what this flying pod is, think of the Cobra Flight Pods from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Same Idea. It’s basically a weaponized Jet-pack. Then there are the Jets. Jets have two modes: Hover mode and Jet mode. Hover mode is mostly for vertical take-off and landing, but you can also fire the weapons in this mode. Jet mode is exactly what it sounds like. They’re fast and highly maneuverable. There will be more vehicle types in the finished game, but for right now this is what I have implemented.

Enemy Robots. While I do have some enemies with some rudimentary AI in the game that can wander around and attack the player, my main goal for the next few months will be focusing on making it better. The enemies should go into an attack state when they spot you and have some sort of memory when they lose sight of you and search your last known location. They should also be able to run away and hide when they feel overwhelmed, depending on the inherent aggressiveness of the particular enemy.

I have a basic mock-up of the overworld and it’s going to be huge. There are some skyscrapers that you can jump off of (Trust me, it’s fun!). I have done many other things as well, many character models and props are all in various states of incompleteness.

One of the main problems I had this past year is that I’ve been trying to do everything at once: Graphics, sound, A.I., CG models, etc. It was too much to juggle all at once and progress suffered as a result. So I’m shifting focus. Make the game playable and fun, then make the game look pretty. OK, I’m lying. I’ll still probably be doing everything at once, but now my goals are much more clear than they were a year ago. Great gameplay is more important than great graphics.

As for this blog, I’m making a promise to myself to update it on a semi-regular basis. Coming soon I will go deeper into what type of game Vectricon will be, what the influences are both in terms of gameplay and graphical style, and how this game with a retro-1980s aesthetic will differ from other games with a similar ’80s look. I will also upload tons of screenshots and concept artwork, along with actual footage of the game. So look forward to that in the coming weeks. I may also post my thoughts on other videogame-related topics from time to time, just whatever comes to mind that I want to talk about.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach me at vectricon@gmail.com

-Steve

Welcome to Vectricon

Hello, welcome to our video game development blog for Vectricon, an upcoming indie action game.

Vectricon

What is Vectricon?

Vectricon is an open-world, single player hybrid First-Person/Third-Person Shooter that pits you against an army of evil robots. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, the game is an homage to the movies, cartoons, music and video games from the 1980s.

Our design philosophy is to keep it simple. Embrace minimalism. We are designing Vectricon to be a “pick up and play” style of game. If you have ever played an FPS before, you’re ready to enter the world of Vectricon.

Exploration is encouraged and the game is designed to be played at your own pace. See something in the distance that looks interesting? Hop in a vehicle, fly a jet or walk there. It’s up to you. Just make sure to destroy as many robots as you can along the way, and there will be plenty of weapons and power-ups to collect to help you on your mission, if you can find them.

Vectricon-01

Backstory

Vectricon is a fortified city built by robots under the control of a mad genius who is quickly amassing the power to take control of the quadrant. As a member of the Galactic Patrol’s ‘Special Forces’ unit, you are sent to infiltrate the city, fight your way to the central control tower and assassinate the power-hungry leader of the robot army.

The city itself is enormous and heavily protected. The transportation routes are littered with robot sentries and ground troops of all sizes and configurations and are designed to eradicate any organic lifeforms dumb enough to trespass. Just about every robot you encounter will be armed to the gears with the most advanced weaponry such as Ion Blasters, Fusion Cannons, Lasers and self-propelled, precision-guided munitions. The enormous skyscrapers are armed with gun emplacements to bring down any intruding aircraft.

The Central Command Center of the city is protected by an impenetrable force field. The power for the force field is generated in eight massive structures scattered throughout the city. Your mission is to infiltrate these buildings by any means necessary and destroy the shield-generators. Once access to the city center is attained, you must make your way into the Control Tower and destroy the heavily guarded main computer complex.

Features at a Glance

  • Huge open-world to explore
  • Retro 1980s synthwave soundtrack
  • Large assortment of weapons and power-ups to find and collect
  • Many different ground and air-based vehicles with various speeds and weaponry
  • Destroy ’80s Robots!
  • and much, much more…

Closing Comments

Vectricon is early in development, but we encourage you to keep checking in on us as we’ll have some really cool things to show off in the coming months. I’ll be showing more screenshots, some design sketches, and I’m writing a blog entry on the sound design of Vectricon which may reveal a few interesting surprises. Stay tuned for more.