Escape: Sierra Leone is an exploration and survival game created with the Unreal Engine 4. The game is focused around complete freedom and on interacting with a vibrant and alive world. It takes place on an island chain based loosely off the real life Banana Island chain, off the coast of Sierra Leone. With approximately 21 square kilometers of terrain to explore, fight, survive and escape from. You start with no weapons, no supplies, no idea of where to go, getting those is up to you. The gameplay and style are going to be based loosely off of the mod Escape: Paradise for Crysis 1, you can check that out HERE, if you wish.
Set during the 1997 civil war, the main antagonists are the Revolutionary United Front, a notorious group rebelling against the government. The RUF have occupied the Banana islands and are busy clearing the previous inhabitants out in a quest for diamonds, recruiting who they can, and killing, maiming, enslaving, or torturing those they can't.
You play as a civilian trying to escape the island. Throughout the game, you are forced to make a series of choices that will eventually lead to you making your escape. Everything from how to approach your attempted escape, to how you interact with other people can have an affect on how everything plays out in the finale. The game is totally open and you are never given "quests" or "objectives" beyond simply escaping. You may have encounters during the game in which you are asked to help someone, but these are completely open, you can fulfill their request, or simply ignore them, or even kill them, if you wish.
There are going to be at least three methods of escape, and a minimum of 12 different endings, influenced by choices you make throughout the game. Both of those numbers are likely to rise as development progresses. The gameplay will be from a first-person perspective, there will be a basic inventory system and you can collect weapons, food, first aid, and other items as you play. Combat will be pretty realistic and very brutal. I'm adding a wounding system with appropriate animations and sound effects for both NPCs and the PC.
-Scavenge the entire island for supplies you need to survive, from a banana to an AK-47. No invisible walls or extra loading screens.
-Engage in vicious and realistic combat... or don't, if you're a sneaky type.
-Using a simple and intuitive 12 slot inventory system, make the hard call which items to keep on you based on your play style.
-Death comes in more forms than bullets, avoid disease, dehydration, starvation, car crashes, wildlife, and of course, falls.
-24 hour day/night cycle with a weather system that includes rain of varying strengths, wind, lightning and thunder.
-Discover and protect safehouses, they are your only chance to save your game and serve as a good spot to stockpile supplies.
-Find, fix up and fuel different kinds of vehicles, from a diesel powered mini tugboat to a gas powered beater of a car, walking won't get you anywhere fast!
-Interact with the environment, from turning a lamp on or off, to cooking food on a campfire you built, there are many ways you are involved in the dynamic world around you.
-Get lost (literally) in the thick jungle, or stroll around the more open savannah.
-Explore an unforgiving, although deceptively pretty island. This isn't like Far Cry, you will die... a lot.
-A semi-random spawning system keeps enemy and pickup placement fresh on multiple play-throughs, while keeping loot logical given it's location.
-No hand-holding or magical maps or arrows to push you to success, it's all you!
-Very limited HUD and a focus on immersion and realism.
More information will be posted as development progresses. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions, whatever, please shoot them my way, as long as you're constructive. Thank you for your time, and for reading through this,
So far, I'm very pleased with the decision to change engines. Leaving CryEngine 3 meant throwing away a ton of work, essentially I have to remake large portions of the game. That being said, this experience is giving me a lot of time to work on adding and honing features that I'd given up on implementing in CE3, due to it's lack of (stable) features and support.
The marketplace has been a big boon to a solo developer such as myself, allowing me to buy models at a fraction of the price I usually would pay a freelancer to custom make them, it's then a simple matter to tweak and edit materials or other attributes to fit my game. I get asked a lot about whether E:SL will be as good looking on Unreal Engine 4, and I personally think so. Of course, it's subjective, but if you compare my CE3 screenshots to these ones, you can judge for yourself.
Unreal Engine 4 In-Game, Early Development
CryEngine 4, Early Development
So far, I've added more features than I can remember off the top of my head, but some of the big ones are as follows:
- A 24 hour day/night cycle, with a variance in the moon (and moonlight) depending on the day of the month.
-A dynamic rain system that varies the amount of raindrops by the severity of the storm. The wind will also ramp up and lightning strikes will happen in the distance.
- Realistic projectile-based weapons that fire an actual bullet model and can penetrate thin surfaces, be affected by gravity and wind, and bounce.
- A realistic vehicle system that tracks fuel use, damage to the engine and transmission (with appropriate realistic responses if either sustains heavy damage), and allows the player to independently control the various parts of the vehicle (lights and the engine can be turned on/off on demand).
- A realistic wounding system for enemies, every impact plays an animation, ragdoll simulation, or a combination of both, whether it's a lethal shot or not. Enemies can also be incapacitated or scared into changing behavior. Excessive suppression can cause them to drop weapons and flee, surrender, or if they get wounded they will drop their weapons and try to crawl or run away.
Like I said, I'm missing some big features, and I'll probably remember them right after I post this. The crazy thing is I expect to be where I was on Cryengine in another 2 months or less. It's still too early to guess on a release date, since I want to avoid early access, and instead put out a finished, heavily polished product.
If you're interested in the project, please view the new screenshots in UE4 I've added to the Gallery. To everyone that's been following the project, thank you for the support and patience.
After several months of work, I've gotten to the state where I can release a playable build. It's still an early alpha, and has a few issues that need...
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