Monday, April 21, 2014

Game A Week Challenge week 2: Riftwars Arena. Also PAX East.

So I didn't do a game last last week because of PAX East, which was crazy and I'll get to that in a moment.
The game for this week is Riftwars Arena!

Riftwars Arena is an online multiplayer 6 degrees of freedom deathmatch game. You fly around in your spaceship and shoot other dudes. You can fly down in the lower part to be near obstacles so that you're harder to hit. You can fly around upside down (what does that even mean?) and you can flip and roll and do all sorts of cool aerial maneuvers.
You can probably tell that this is heavily inspired by Descent, which is probably one of the best old games ever.

How do I play this?

Well, here's the thing. You can't. 

wtf man?

Ok, so I know that the whole point of the game a week thing is to make a game that people can play every week, but this time, James, the other half of PixelRouter VR (btw, I am the other other half now, and will be releasing all future collaborative titles with James under that name) has recommended to not release this demo because of strategy. During the week we were developing this, our original collaborative project Riftwars kind of got some attention.

Here's a list of medias regarding Riftwars that occurred last week:
The summary of events is something like this: James went to PAX on sunday with his rig, and without buying any booth space managed to setup and demo Riftwars to a pretty full crowd for most of the day. He posted this on reddit and people started talking about it.

James advised me not to release a demo of Riftwars Arena because we didn't want to distract from the Riftwars demo release. I know that putting a download link to Riftwars Arena on my shitty blog that no one reads will probably generate zero interest from zero people, but I'd rather not rock the boat this time.

Fine

so there you go. I wound up demoing my game at PAX and now you can't play Riftwars Arena. Too bad. You'll probably get a demo in a little while, though I won't make any promises (like my promises mean anything). Also, we might be going full steam ahead on trying to make Riftwars into a real video game that people can buy someday. Isn't the world a weird place?

Riftwars Arena pre-post-mortem

Because I haven't technically released it, but I am pretty much done with it for now, I will write about what went right and what went wrong.

Good:
  • The six degrees of freedom controller is actually really fun to fly around with
  • The networking actually works! I'm getting better at writing networked code.

Bad:
  • Ship model isn't very polished, no textures or interior ship model.
  • Shooting feels kind of weak.
  • Whatever you do, don't shoot the gravity mines.
  • No menus or instructions.
  • Some people have trouble with the controls.
  • uh, didn't actually add in Rift support...

Terrible:
  • It's really hard to actually shoot fast small ships in such a big space. There are a lot of scale problems in general.
  • I spent way too long on the netcode (~8 hours), trying to fix up interpolation issues, which still aren't perfect. Things get pretty bad under packet loss conditions.
  • You can't actually die or respawn yet.
I guess that's it! I guess I'll be doing a game this week? Though, there's 3 events (boston indies, boston unity group, boston vr meetup), so it might be kind of short or bad or maybe it won't even happen.