Bullets have penetration.
You can send a tank shell straight through a stand of trees or tin shacks without the bullet stopping, but only the railgun is going to pierce reinforced concrete security walls. Different weapons also have greater or lesser effectiveness against hull armor or shielding (to pull a page from Halo).
Bullets impart physical force.
You can send smaller units reeling from a blast, or use specialized directed energy weapons to push and pull enemy units into killzones, but now weapons also have kick as well. Mount a huge cannon on a small powersuit and it throws you backward when you firing:
Wider weapon selection.
We realized our guns were mostly variations on bullet throwers and lasers. We wanted a lot more tactical options, and now we're working on a huge array of guns for all of the mount types (which depend on what vehicle you are using). We expanded from 3 mount types to 5 in order to properly cater to the large vehicle variety.
You can play pretty stealthily, moreso than before. The old alarm system had anyone being able to raise a global alarm, but turned the game into wackamole. We've switched that out limiting alarm calls to detector units and bosses--they can send up alarms to call nearby units to you. Which can work to your advantage, especially if you're going in with a heavy mech with area dispersal weapons in tow. Using heavy ordinance too liberally or against individual targets can leave you out of ammo real fast.
The map system just wasn't working for us--gave you too much information, as well as too little in some ways. Use the radar to "ping" the location of enemies and objectives, but it's an active radar ping that enemies can detect if they're close enough. You can use this to your advantage too for kiting enemies.
A lot has changed, but the core story/gameplay conceit is the same: the Solo Nobre Concern (SNC) wants a very productive colony back under its control, but can't land troops from orbit, with all those orbital guns pointed at them. In order to do this, the SNC issues thousands of Contracts worth lucrative sums in order to destabilize the defenses and infrastructure of the city. You play one of the military personnel in the city that takes up a contract. You're betraying your city, and your planet, for a lot of money and a ticket offworld.
So the first major change is structural: to reflect the theme, everything is unlocked in the game via a (nearly) flat unlock structure. You got the money for it, you can buy any of the guns, vehicles, defensive abilities in the game. You also buy off pilot characters, which represent unlocking trees for different vehicle classes and factions. The harder "runs" (strings of levels) also cost money. But because of the mostly flat unlock tree, we are not going to gate off a lot of content arbitrarily, forcing you to say, play a bunch of levels with an agrav just so you can go back to getting the vehicles/guns you really want. That's why we're not using a more traditional unlock tree, we don't want to force playstyles.
But in order to earn that money, you have to get off the planet alive. Each run/level set is at least three levels, harder ones are much more. Starting levels are randomized, and once you beat the first level, you get to pick the next level you travel to. Beating a level requires you to take out the orbital guns, or the occupying forces' command units, both of which will net you cash bonuses, as will general destruction and mayhem. After the first level, you can travel to the spaceport level, and if you beat the spaceport, the run is successful; you've gotten off the planet with your cash. But every level you play further, the enemy force strength increases. So it becomes a risk/reward scenario--are you going to take the money you have, or see just how much you can get before you try to escape?
So that's the general structure. The more levels/objectives you complete, the better the payout. Earn money by completing runs successfully, money can be used to unlock guns, vehicles, defensive abilities. And there are a lot of guns and vehicles. Three playable factions, fifteen playable vehicles per faction. Something for almost everyone, along the axes of firepower, speed, or stealth.A word on unlocking vehicles: we think it stinks that in most games you unlock the most powerful guns etc at the very end of the game, when you are the best at playing the game, which usually just makes the game even easier. We know our game is hard enough to get to play well that we wanted to invert this dynamic. The all-rounders, the more powerful units are available early in the game. As you progress, you unlock the progressively more skill-intensive vehicles. The treadbikes and powersuits, for example, are absolutely the hardest to play well, so we want players to encounter them when they are going to enjoy the challenge, rather than be annoyed at how frustrating they seem (when first starting out).
Oh, and there really are a lot of units in the game. Current tally is just above 80 units, and that's not counting mixing and matching uppers and weapons on the chassis. Our newest faction, the Corvids, are most irregular and outlandish of the three. Makes them a lot of fun to build.
And a light and fast tankbike one with a chopped up car on it. This gives you an idea of how the sprites are made.
Everything in the game has been 3d modeled, not only because it is expedient, but so that everything has proper lighting information.Why the detail in the hood ornament if it's only going to be a few pixels at most? Because we know it's there.
Here's a test gif of the spacer seeker units (suicide bomb units, gif is faster than real time):
Also, please watch out for the civvies.
You gotta be caref--
(In space, nobody can hear the Geneva Convention.)
Out of 40 or so so total for each faction 15 are playable, for a total of about 45 playable vehicles. No mutually exclusive unlocks, you can complete the entire tree on a single profile. Once you buy off a pilot from a given faction, you can purchase vehicles from that faction. More detailed explanation as follows.
There are 3 main vehicles classes, with three subclasses:
Mechs - generally power/damage focused. CTRL to crouch, SPACE stomps.-Heavy Mechs: devastating stomp attack, good firepower, but quite tall-Light Mechs: decent stomp, faster/lower profile-Powersuits: low profile, crouch actually extends up to peek over buildings. (IMO most difficult but also most rewarding mech class to play.)
Agravs - generally speed/maneuverability focused. CTRL to toggle high/low hover, SPACE to ground pound.-Gravtanks: fixed low hover height, holding CTRL instead locks forward orientation (tank mode)--best of tanks and agravs.-Agravs: speed and maneuverability oriented. Front always orients to the reticle, so this is the class to play for circlestrafing/agility players. Pretty steep learning curve.-Gravbikes: even smaller, faster. When in low hover, they are fairly low profile. Probably the most fragile of all classes, but also the fastest.
Tanks - generally armor/toughness focused, hold SPACE to bullrush (overdrive speed and trample damage)-Heavy Tanks: exactly what you think. Big guns, tough armor, decent profile. Can soak up a lot of damage.-Light Tanks: Picture Napoleon from Tank Police or of course the tank from Metal Slug. Faster, lower profile, but still a tank. -Treadbikes: Small, fast, lightly armored. With the bullrush speed boost, one of the most fun (and challenging) classes to play as--get in, get out. For the speedfreaks.
Every playable vehicle in the game has two mount points and a defensive ability (LMB= gun 1 RMB= gun 2 MMB=defensive) and there are 5 mount types in descending size: heavy, main, auxiliary, turret, small arms. We wanted to make sure each faction had at least one of every single combination of the mount types (eg heavy/heavy, heavy/main, etc), which is how we ended up with 15 playable per faction.
I know some people are thinking "boo, another two-gun game" but it's a very different thing when you can fire both of them at the same time in 3-space (you can overshoot or undershoot targets), as well as operate a defensive ability, and manage your mech's torso facing while moving in an opposite direction. There are also battlefield pick-up guns, which you can either re-assign to a mount, or cannibalize for ammo, or just stock back up from an ammo depot. But be careful, those explode.
Speaking of weapons, here's a new one we just added-- and yes, we're huge fans of Descent: Freespace and Homeworld if that's what you were wondering:
So the cool thing about our rewrite of the weapons implementation is that learning from our mistakes the first time through, this time we tried to embed as much flexibility as possible into the parameters for weapons. When designing the new guns, what we think will be fun and what actually is fun don't always line up, so it helps to be able to fiddle around. For some guns, like this explosive laser (watch Short Peace - the "A Farewell to Weapons" short if you haven't, it's fantastic), the idea pops up while working on other stuff, and so you just switch over as quickly as possible to hack together a basic version before you lose it. Since we can edit data in-game now (part of the recent re-write) it only took a few minutes, and now I think it's my favorite weapon.
The main point here is that it's pretty easy to make new guns now-- I'm hoping that once the game launches (finally) people will have fun fiddling about with the weapons and come up with their own. To give you an idea, this is what the debug panel looks like in-game when i'm live editing the data, in this case working on the weapons. Would be nice to go back and sort through / pretty up these menu systems when the game is done, but for now they'll stay functional chic.
To finish off the post, some more vehicles. Chopped up copter as seen before, plus an agrav hotrod and a tank roadster.
Tank technicals and truck mechs guarding a beetle (beetles drop a ton of shielding).
Did we mention the Tuk-tuk technical? Because that's going to be a playable unit (right). The one of the left is a suicide bomb unit.
If you made it through the post, even for just the pictures, cheers. We're working hard on the game, hope it'll have something exciting for everyone.