Kickstarter Project: DYSIS
Kickstarter Project: DYSIS
Minecraft and Starcraft Combined? When’s The Release Date?
I have been a fan of Starcraft ever since the game first came out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play the game until 2002, but real time strategy games were always fun to play. Warcraft 2 was the game that conquered most of my childhood, along with Duke Nukem 3D (for obvious reasons). Nevertheless, when I rummaged through all of the interesting indie titles on Kickstarter and saw one for a game that combines first person shooters and real time strategy, I was intrigued. First of all, those two genres are different in play style. As I read more about this game, I realized that DYSIS has the capability to meld these two genres into an enjoyable game. Hell, I thought that melding RTS and role playing games was nearly impossible. Then DoTA happened.
How DYSIS Looks So Far…
From what I can dig up from the development blog, Kickstarter page, and web site provided for the game, DYSIS appears to grab mechanics from Minecraft and Starcraft to create an unforgettable experience. Hundreds of hours can be used for this game, considering the environment is infinite (unlike Starcraft) and as such, the player has infinite amount of resources to use. The one problem that I had with Minecraft was my inability to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, a goal was never created for the game. Since that is the only problem with playing Minecraft, I haven’t opened the game in months. However, DYSIS fixes this problem by implementing the enemies. As nice as it would be to build your base to an infinite span of polluting buildings, this isn’t Minecraft! You better be ready to fight for your right to build!
First Impressions: Game Play Trailer
The game trailer, provided here, shows a significant amount of what the game play will consist of. Presumably, the character starts off with their main character and the ability to start up a base. The base will eventually grow bigger and bigger until resource gathering units and offensive units are able to be built. Along with managing the resources, the player must also repel enemies with their own offensive units, or lose. The ability to move back and forth between a first person perspective and bird’s eye view is what interests me the most about this game, since it is new (at least to me) and capable of catapulting the game to great heights. Remember all of the button clicking and hot keys used to command units in Starcraft tournaments? I can imagine such macro being used tenfold on this game.
Amazing Prizes, From Appreciation to a Freaking Robot
For those who haven’t already checked out the Kickstarter for this game, perhaps some interesting prizes would be able to catch your eyes? A robot. Do I have your attention now? Christopher Farrell creates robots. In his own words, if ten thousand dollars is pledged, “Using the same design that has won several RoboGames kung-fu competitions, I will custom build you a working humanoid robot! I can put your name (or nickname) on the robot, it will be able to fight, play basic soccer, get up if it falls over, walk and do some gymnastics. I can’t guarantee future updates to your new best friends programming, but I can give the knowledge required to give your robo-buddy new moves.”
If money is an issue, ten dollar pledges allow you to get the game at pre-release price, along with free updates to the game and your name provided in the credits. Sixty dollars gets you a t shirt along with the beta of the game. For those who want to be imprinted on the history of the game, two hundred and fifty dollars allows you to work with Christopher to create a character in the game based off of you! I’m half tempted to live off of ramen noodles just for that. I’m already doing it.
Valid Gaming acquired contact with Christopher Farrell, the one man army behind this spectacular (looking) game. We managed to ask him a significant amount of questions from the engine to how long he has been working on the game:
VG: How many people do you have working on the game? Is it just you?
CF: Just myself working on the game. I do have someone doing music for me, his name is Harry Rowell, and he has a soundcloud page.
VG: Tell me how to plan to manage the shifting between third and first person. Game play such as this has the possibility to mess with the flow of the game, along with feeling awkward if the transitions aren’t fluid. How do you plan to keep that pacing and transition balance?
CF: The third and first person shift will be entirely user controlled and by the selection of a single unit and press of a button. That is – the first person aspect won’t be required at any point – but it will be enjoyable and highly polished. It isn’t just tacked in there – the game engine was built to support it from the ground up. I envision users choosing to use the first person mode in several scenarios: 1) After they have delegated commands to all units, they would pilot a robot on the front line of a fight, out maneuvering the AI of their enemies. 2) They have a lull between battles and want to focus on building up the terrain around their base manually and creatively, so they pilot a building robot while their other robots are at work.
When a user drives a robot in first person, the rest of the game keeps going – nothing stops. They can choose to get back out of the robot and it will go about its job (if it’s a fighting robot and it’s being attacked, it will respond, if it’s a Mason building robot, it will await your orders and avoid combat). If the bot is destroyed while the player is controlling it, they will be immediately kicked out, their perspective will be above where the robot just was.
VG: What is the story, so to speak?
CF: You’ve just crash landed on an ancient alien super-structure that encircles a sun: a Dysis. You control an advanced army of robots, and your goals are to research, explore, and eventually escape the Dysis. Along the way you will uncover mysteries, and be forced to either evade or overcome enemies you encounter.
VG: Who are the main characters?
CF: You are the main character! Plus anyone who pledges $1,000 on the Kickstarter will be placed into the game as another main character – there will be commanding robots that lead your army, specialized building robots and a host of other players. I’ll be working with people to determine how they best want to be in the game, either as playable characters, or big robot bosses!
VG: Should I say that the game is developed by One Dimension Games or yourself, Christopher Farrell?
CF: Either is fine, One Dimension Games is a start-up indie game company that I began just a little while ago. I am currently the only member
VG: Tell us your previous experience with game making, if any.
CF: This will be the first game I have ever made, and it has gone through a lot of revisions to get it to this state. My experience comes from robots with embedded controllers that are a lot more restricting than modern computers. The CAD design for robotics transfers directly to model making for the game, so that has been a big help!
VG: How long have you been working on this game?
CF: I’ve been developing it for a little over a year now – I’ve got a blog at tumblr.Dysis.net that follows my progress from the very beginning. It’s gone through some pretty big changes, and ideas since the start, but I really love the direction it’s going right now.
VG: What is the game engine built on?
VG: The Dysis engine is fully custom, I built it from the ground up using Netbeans and LWJGL (Lightweight Java Game Library). So it uses Java for the main base of the game, but C99 via openCL for complex math, and openGL plus GLSL for rendering. I looked into some engines like UDK and Unity, but I really wanted to get into all the nitty gritty details – plus developing from the ground up is free (only costs time!). I have a lot of requirements, and I knew that I couldn’t learn nearly as much by trying to hack them into an engine that isn’t designed for my game.
VG: Would the game play remind us of a sand box Star or Warcraft?
CF: Absolutely – these games are part of my inspiration! Instead of a 2D landscape though (or several layers), the terrain is truly 3D, deformable and traversable. The tactical third person perspective will definitely feel familiar, though of course you’ll be able to jump into any of your units whenever you’d like.
The Verdict: Validated!
I was honestly sold of the game idea once I saw “A real time strategy/first person shooter hybrid” on the page. But being the skeptic that I was, I had to dig deeper into this game to make sure that it was valid enough for us. A robot designer creating a game all by himself with an engine built from the ground up? Along with that, the idea is original and fresh? Color me impressed. No wonder the game is already completely funded. Let’s bring this game to new heights! Valid Gaming officially supports this game! While this may be a preview, I cannot wait for the review.