"From Earth" takes place close to the year 3,000 when one woman and one man, Zenaida and Anthony, are sent to a remote alien planet. After fifty years in cold sleep, they find themselves on a recently industrialised world being hunted by an alien government. They have only their wits, athleticism and the remains of their equipment to keep them alive. In this first person singleplayer experience, the player takes control of Zenaida Liu upon arriving on the planet. From Earth's gameplay is very much about your relationship to this world and its technology, requiring you to figure out how it all works and encouraging cooperation with the local population. Nothing about the alien technology is explained to players. It's about experimentation and learning what's what and how things on this planet work. The player also has some athletic abilities, such as climbing, wall running, hanging on ledges and so on.
From Earth will allow players to either take completely peaceful road or to attack their hunters. Here's a short look on the fighting system in From Earth.
Posted by Au-heppa on Dec 27th, 2013
Last week we were surprised by the Editor's Choice Best Upcoming ModDB award. I felt like I owed a progress report after putting it off for so long. If you were following From Earth before, you might remember I promised to talk about our fighting system in our next post.
During the summer and part of fall I had a day job, and while I was still working on FE during the evenings, I didn't want to take the time to write a news post. Writing news posts is probably my least favourite thing to do in the whole mod business. I constantly fear that what I am talking about isn't super interesting to other people, that I don't have flashy enough screenshots, and generally have to worry about trying to put my thoughts into sensible, full sentences. I have probably written an article about the fighting system a couple of times by now, scrapping the text again and again. On top of that I am still not sure if the fighting system is good, it's still developing.
I should mention that I haven't played a whole lot of fighting games myself, and it started as an experimentation, something I wanted to try out. A lot of times when I do design, I don't look or think about the games I like to play myself, but rather what I think would be interesting (I have never played Minecraft, but designing a similar game would be cool).
Here's an old version of the fighting system. In this version the attacks are still selected with a combination of keys, and the camera is in third person when the player is in "Fighting Mode".
Even during the development of Water I thought about making a real time fighting system, but it was really late in the development so I never tried it. In From Earth, I started by having all the fighting moves hard coded. The player would do a kick from +attack, a hit from +attack2, and so on. This wasn't a very robust way to design the attacks, though, and it was difficult to keep track of how the attacks were defined. Also, the attacks were always enabled, the playtesters would be trying to press buttons on interactive machines, and would end up smashing their fists in them instead.
In the latest version, all the attacks are defined in a .txt script file. Each attack is a KeyValue entry with the attack name, animations, key, hint message, requirements, and other settings defined.
The attacks are selected by looking at different hitboxes in the enemy NPC's body. The attacks have priority based on how high in its list the currently selected hitbox is. There are also different types of attacks for +attack, +attack2,+attack3, and +jump keys. Currently, though it's not hardcoded, +attack is used for kicks, +attack2 is used for grappling, +attack3 is used for blocking, and +jump for evading. Some attacks might also need special requirements to be met before the attack can be selected, such as the enemy being in a special position, having a specific weapon, having enough damage, being knocked to the ground and so on.
The downside is that, for every item animation type, I need to define a copy of all the attacks I want the player to be able to do while holding that item.
Having all the attacks defined in a script file makes it really easy to try out new attacks and keep track of what all the settings are for them.
Currently, the fighting mode is enabled only when there's either an enemy near the player or if the player has turned the combat stance on. While this approach has some problems, it solves some others. As the fighting system is now in first person again, and it will stay that way, we scrapped some attacks which weren't looking that good in first person.
I want to give the players a choice to try to take the peaceful road, avoiding attacking guards, and be able to finish the game without ever attacking anyone. That said, I want to make the fighting as interesting and robust as possible. I want to add variety to the attacks, and even give some options for combos. I want to give the player the ability to take a few guys down, but if the player is overcrowded then she should quickly lose. Hopefully the fighting will require a little thought rather than being just frantic button smashing.
I have also tried giving the player's PDA some attacks for crowd control, but these attacks were very badly underdeveloped and suffered from the player being able to exploit them too easily. We wanted to focus on the fighting system itself, as well as the alien technology as weapons.
If you are wondering why Anthony looks like an alien, it's because the model for Anthony is still under progress.
We have thought a little bit about the whole indie thing, but haven't taken it too seriously yet. This is for multiple reasons, including worries about funding, the technical bits about running a company, the way things are moving slower than I hoped, and generally the fact that we don't have a lot of flashy things to show yet.
I started to work a little bit on a teaser trailer, but it will have to wait until I have fully developed the first map.
We currently don't have a writer, though we have a better idea of what we want from the story now.
After the trouble we had in finding dedicated level designers, I have stopped waiting for things to happen and started to spend more time in Hammer myself.
XCOM: Enemy Within:
I have yet to beat the game on Ironman Classic or Impossible.
We are looking for any kind of help. While short contributions are welcome as well, we are specifically looking for people who have a little bit more time to spend for From Earth. We are looking for designers to spend more time, and give input on our fighting and item crafting system. We still need to design more puzzles, but we want to focus more on the interactions with the aliens as well as the fighting system.
While we are at a stage where we don't want to add or change anything big (we are more likely to remove than add anything), we are looking for active help on fine tuning the gameplay. As I am currently the only active designer it's very hard to get constant feedback on all the different elements of the game. We need someone who has time and interest for the project.
We are looking for two different types of Level Designers. Firstly, we need people that can bring existing levels to an aesthetic quality, and are experienced with lighting, texturing, and the general make up in Hammer. Screenshots and/or example maps are required.
We are also looking for general level designers, such as anyone who has a lot of experience designing different types of puzzles for games like Portal 2. Source engine or Hammer experience is not necessary, you only need to be able to design levels well, whether it is on paper or Google Sketchup or what ever you find best suited.
We are interested in finding help for the character models. We want to keep the existing rig so that we don't redo all the animations, but we want to improve on the look of the two human characters. The character modeller would need to be able to at least texture the model, and being able to weightmap would be preferred.
Most of the concept work will revolve around the industrial era Alien technology and architecture. Samples of previous work is required. We already have a strong set of existing concept art for you to draw on.
Voice actors and actresses
We are currently looking for voice actors to do the male and female alien voices, as well as someone for the voice of Zenaida.
The aliens will be speaking an alien language specifically designed for this mod. Their dialogue is already partially written and ready for recording. Examples will be provided if you are interested.
We are interested in getting any help we can get, especially world texture creators and prop modellers.