Inspired by Saturday morning cartoons of the early 90's, BUCK is a story driven, action-adventure game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
You play as Buck, a motorcycle garage mechanic who decides to leave everything he knows behind in order to find the truth behind a girl's disappearance; all while struggling to adjust himself to a world he doesn't fully understand.
Traverse the wasteland while fighting and talking your way through junkyards, mountain passes, ghost towns and survivor outposts while trying to piece together the reasons that brought this world and its rugged inhabitants to their knees.
“Our studio consist of a single programmer, artist and designer. All of us take additional roles in order to push the game towards it's release. This kind of development environment means that we simply don't have the necessary amount of time for testing.
We can't stress how much we need an external, objective and honest feedback from the community. We want to test all our existing systems and make sure the game is fun at its core.
We need to focus all our energy on development in order to get BUCK to play well and have the right amount of content.
We need a community of players to help us chisel away the rough edges and shape the game according to their feedback. Same as we did with our Kickstarter Backers up until this point.
Speaking of Kickstarter. From the end of our Successful Campaign on July 23rd, we've been having wonderful discussions with our backers on our Discord Server. We've introduced new systems that were suggested and tested by our Kickstarter backers. We want to continue this process with you, right here on Early Access.
Over the course of seven months we've added and tested the following features to BUCK:
The game is much further along in 2017 and we believe that BUCK is finally ready for Early Access.
After our Kickstarter we've released a new build every two months and we aim to reduce that build cycle on Early Access to once a month or even less, depending on the size of the update.
Our goal is to release the final version of BUCK around Q3 2017. Most of the game is performing well but systems like the weapon modification and crafting need exhaustive testing in order to feel rewarding and balanced.
If BUCK performs well on Early Access and if a big enough community becomes involved, we'll add even more content and push the official final release date until both we and the community feel that it is the right time to release the game.
We don't want BUCK to stagnate on Early Access, our goal is to release the final product as soon as both ourselves and the community agree that BUCK is ready.
“BUCK's Early Access launch build includes:
Here's what we're hoping to implement into the game during its Early Access run:
In addition we'll need to fix all the bugs, improve performance and polish the game where we can. BUCK might be a small indie game, but with your help we can release a polished game experience with a satisfying amount of content and kick-ass levels of fun.
Everything described on the Early Access launch build is in the game right now. Over the coming months, we'll iterate the game with minor fixes an updates every other week while deploying bigger builds every other month.
We know it's not much, but we only have a single programmer and because we want each update to feel significant, we'll need to make sure we can put out as much content as possible in every iteration.
The game will be available at a lower price during Early Access, relative to its final full-version retail price. The full retail price will be determined once we see exactly how much content we were able to add into the game during it's Early Access period.
We use Scrum as our main development method.
This means that tasks are set every other week, which we then attempt to implement into an improved playable build that goes public.
The tasks that didn't make it will move to the next iteration while new tasks are added.
We share our goals for the week and discuss all upcoming content and changes on our Discord Server some development and behind the scenes videos will come along soon to our YouTube channel as well.
Secondly, we'll communicate through our forums, community hub and social media as we've done with our monthly Kickstarter Updates and Developer Videos.
Thank you for reading! We hope you'll join us on this wild motorcycle ride into the dunes of the wasteland.
Gal, Amir and Adi - Wave Interactive”
I can't think of a time that's more troubling for a game developer than release. Even if it's for Early Access, it's a huge professional step forward for both myself and our small studio.
Starting with a few sketches at the age of 12, to look at our store page now is a weird and very invasive experience for me. This is my childhood dog we're talking about, I just made drawings with my brother and fooled around with the idea that one day we'll make a video game out of these drawings. So much time, money, effort, blood, sweat and tears went into making this game that it feels completely different to be where I am right now.
This isn't something one can explain in detail but for a young kid with a bad luck in grade-school "friendships", Buck was always there for me. He had a tough background; he grew up in the streets of my home city and was found beaten by a couple of nasty kids. As a result, he never liked people and especially children, but he was more than okay with me, for some reason. He was such a small little guy but he didn't let that get in his way, he always behaved to other dogs like they were nothing, no matter how bigger they were.
He was a character, that's for sure. It made so much sense to me to make a video game about him and so I nagged my brother to make some art of him for a "game".
His character was originally designed from a 3rd-person perspective, as this was how I imagined the game at a young age. This was clearly before I had any idea how difficult it was to actually make video games. However that same amount of innocence is what allowed me and my brother to just keep rolling with the idea and create this universe of a game that I simply titled "BUCK".
The years went by as I sat in class, ignoring bible studies and other subjects I either hated or found completely boring. I started writing some kind of early design documents without realizing what I was doing. Looking back at them today gives me a great deal of appreciation for how dedicated I was to laying out all the different mechanics and logical structure of the game.
A few years forward and we started to work on actual locations. We settled on the "Noir detective" vibe of cool colors and a downtown area of a city which is nowadays called "Oldtown". We tried to capture a certain look and we went with references to my home town of Haifa which has a harbor area that is connected to an area that is literally called "Downtown".
Having no idea how to design or plan levels for assets, we went with what we knew; story-boards! We planned out where combat encounters would take place and how the terrain would change during the player's progression through the level. Here's an example of the level Oldtown. Looking back, it's still pretty close to the original story-board:
It should be around early 2013 by this point. I've met Amir, our programmer, a few months prior to these story-boards. He started working on a prototype for the level editor while myself and Adi where trying to figure out how best to create assets for the game. It was a long and tiresome experience as we had to essentially develop our own workflow for making a game, something neither of us had any idea how to do.
We've exported files that were too big, broke down assets into way too many unnecessary textures and not to mention that all animations where done frame-by-frame by Adi in Flash! True nightmare material.
I started messing around with the idea of combining post-apocalypse with our noir aesthetic. I've always had a fascination with abandoned spaces and my favorite video-games and movies would take place in a post-apocalyptic setting.
Drawing frame-by-frame in Flash was too much work for Adi. I decided to try what was then a new software that had just hit Kickstarter: Spriter 2D. It took us close to eight months to get Spriter to work within our Unity editing space but it was worth the toil.
Spriter allowed me to take over animations while Adi could focus his attention on creating assets. This was by no means a small task and I am still improving my animations to this day. There are animated background items, NPC's, Buck's own animations which currently range over 90 animations and anything that actually "moves" in the game is made by spriter. The only thing we animate outside of Spriter are our cinematic scenes.
Both Adi and myself have some background in visual editing and cinematic storytelling. We decided to focus on making our cinematic scenes resemble our usual gameplay style just in a bit more detail.
I think this ended up being a good artistic choice since it packages the entire game to feel like a living cartoon. It also limits the dissonance that some games create with their cinematic scenes as compared to the actual gameplay visuals.
After our successful Kickstarter we pretty much went full blitz on code, systems and UI. I made a choice to focus on all the "close-term" polish instead of adding more levels and expanding the story. The goal is is to arrive to Early Access with a game that actually works. It runs at 60fps with partial controller support, keyboard re-binding options and most of the systems are working as intended (excluding a few bugs here and there). We missed our expected launch window by 2 weeks but that's game development ain't it?
This has truly been the journey of a life-time. Now, if all goes well on Early Access, we'll be able to expand the story, content, features and fix whatever bugs the community throws our way.
We want to add a new build at least once a month with minor updates to any major bug issues whenever we can.
If you'd like to give BUCK a try, there's a free demo on Steam.
It took us about a week to recover from PAX East. We'd thought we'd share our Kickstarter update to the lovely IndieDB community as well.
As BUCK will be launching on Steam's Early Access platform on the 25th of February, we thought we'd share with you the design process behind our two last...
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Some of our Kickstarter backers and players prefer to stay away from any form of DRM. So we thought we'd mirror BUCK's demo on steam right here on IndieDB...
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