Founded in 1990 in Yorkshire, UK, Revolution Software is a proudly independent developer & publisher of narrative-driven adventure games. We're best know for titles such as the cult classic cyber-punk adventure Beneath a Steel Sky, and the multi-million selling Broken Sword series.

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Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #3

Revolution_Software Blog

Beyond a Steel Sky – Dev Diary #3: Meet the Team!

October 2019 Dev Diary - Meet the Team!

Posted 06 / 11 / 19

Hello everyone, and welcome to another Developer diary for Beyond a Steel Sky !


This month we primarily focused on preparing and optimising the first hands on demo at EGX. We had such a blast at EGX, and we were delighted by just how many of you came along to play (a very early) demo of Beyond a Steel Sky!

For now then, we thought it a perfect opportunity to introduce you all to some of our fantastic team working on our most ambitious adventure to date.

Without further ado, here are some of our lovely Scripters:


Hi! Nina here. I’m Lead Scripter here at Revolution, which means I spend most of my days immersed in Unreal Blueprints. I’m also a gamer and a mum, although I don’t have as much time to feed my games addiction these days. So if anyone has a Time-Turner for sale, please DM @steamgirlgame on Twitter! XD

Could you tell us a bit about what you do at Revolution, and what that role entails?

If game creation consists of chucking art assets, animation, design, writing, and engine code into a funnel, then the Script Team is that funnel. We take what we’re given, and we turn it into the game.

As Lead Scripter, I’m here to help the Script Team achieve the highest possible quality of implementation. Besides scripting my own scenes, I keep us somewhat organised and give feedback. The team is full of creative and talented individuals. There is nothing more amazing than to see them bringing the game to life!

How did you get involved with Revolution?

I started off as Community Manager 7 years ago, when we Kickstarted Broken Sword 5. Later I worked as a scripter on the Pearl and Duane scene in the chapel. I loved creating Pearl’s perfect spiritual moment with only a telescopic mop, a mug, and a wing mirror. ;)

How has it been working on Beyond a Steel Sky compared to when you worked on Broken Sword 5 - The Serpent’s Curse ?

Everything’s different. Different office, different team, different engine, different game, different vibe. But what always remains the same is that it’s Revolution.

Our team is bigger now. We’re working with Unreal in 3D, whereas Broken Sword 5 was 2D with a custom engine. We have a whole extra dimension to think about! And on Broken Sword 5 we often had pastries in the kitchen. On Beyond we have donuts. Major, major change.

But yeah, I’m working on a sequel to a much-loved game with a team of amazing people. You can imagine how privileged and honoured I feel to be here!

If you could tell the community anything about Beyond a Steel Sky, what would you tell them?

I would answer the question that everyone is asking. “Will Joey be back?” But alas - my lips are sealed. ;)



Hello, I’m Matthew, one of the Scripters on Beyond a Steel Sky. I’m fortunate enough to be situated at the heart of Revolution inside the York based office. I’ve been with the company for two years, first working as a Virtual Reality researcher and designer for an older project. Whilst my role spreads across many aspects of the project, I have a particular interest and specialisation in interactive-narrative.

Could you tell us a bit about what you do at Revolution, and what that role entails?

As a Scripter, I get to put my hand to a variety of elements on Beyond a Steel Sky. Primarily, my role is contributing to the scripting and implementation of the whole game in-engine, ensuring specific sections meet the design requirements; a large part of this, especially in the earlier stages, involves designing and prototyping gameplay sections.

A large portion of my time is spent on narrative design, which involves contributing to various story discussions, ensuring the game design supports Revolution’s world famous interactive storytelling. Working closely with other Scripters and writers, I also manage and coordinate the writing of dialogue. This involves designing and creating interesting characters, whilst ensuring the dialogue is written to schedule, as well as supporting the gameplay and narrative.

When a get a free moment, I often address any technical issues with the companies hardware/software, gaining sadistic pleasure from opening up one of our machines to play with it’s guts.

How did you get involved with Revolution?

I consider myself an expert at pestering my superiors to a point of compliance. I was first introduced to Charles Cecil through a talk at university, at which I expertly feigned interest and enjoyment. We then met again numerous times across my studies, including at the UK Games Conference, ‘Develop’, in 2015. After working and travelling in the States for three months, I once more reached out to Charles looking for work, to which he promptly replied. After a few lavish and high-status meetings in a Mecca Bingo car park, I was overjoyed to be welcomed onto the team in mid-2017, working on a VR design concept.

How has it been working on Beyond a Steel Sky ?

As my first large-scale industry project, working on Beyond a Steel Sky has been and remains an incredible experience. Besides working with an incredible team of experienced and creative minds, I’m able to focus on so many interesting elements of video game development. I feel endlessly fortunate to be working on a game that covers so many aspects of video game storytelling, as well as innovating and exploring creative possibilities in the adventure genre.

You’ve said you’re involved in many aspects of development. How has that been? And are there any in particular that you’ve enjoyed the most?

Hard work, but I wouldn't want it any other way! I have always relished a challenge, and feel highly honoured to have been given responsibility with so many elements of Beyond a Steel Sky. My passion for games as an art form means I’d struggle to work solely on one aspect of the game, and feel much more comfortable being involved across the board.

It’s hard to say what element I favour most - I find myself missing coding if I’ve been more dedicated to design, or vice versa. I’d have to pick my involvement in the dialogue and narrative as the highlight so far.

If you could tell the community anything about Beyond a Steel Sky, what would you tell them?

It sounds cheesy to say, but I truly believe this game was made with the community at the heart of it - every design decision is held up against the standard we know our fans deserve, and the game has only been made greater for it.

I’d recommend they brace themselves for tears, laughter and an awful lot of grievously devious puns.



Hi there, I’m Loz, and I’m one of the developers at Revolution. My degree’s in Archaeology, and I’ve been both a professional viking, insurance salesman, and a leatherworker in my time, so, obviously, my chosen career is in video game development.

I have a passion for history and the art of storytelling, and feel that videogames is the perfect medium to tell truly fantastic tales. I’m an avid participant in game-jams and the proud father of two wonderful children.

Could you tell us a bit about what you do at Revolution, and what that role entails?

I’m a developer on the Script Team, so it’s my job to take the high level design and turn it into a playable game - the team here at Revolution isn’t sprawling, so on the implementation side we tend to do a bit of everything - from blocking out the levels to fine-tuning behaviours of our characters, to writing additional dialogue. Of course, testing and hunting down bugs is a big chunk of our role too.

How did you get involved with Revolution?

I joined Rev’ during the development of Broken Sword 5. I’d originally applied as a community liaison to help with the kickstarter fulfilment, but was given the opportunity to playtest the game after my interview. It turned out my report after that playtest was rather useful and so I ended up being brought in for QA, and ended up being in-house tester for the second half of the game (^_^);

Afterwards, I did end up working on the Kickstarter rewards, and did quite a bit of the archival work for the 25th anniversary edition.

How has it been working on Beyond a Steel Sky ? Any highlights so far?

Absolutely fantastic! Beneath a Steel Sky was one of my favourite adventure games growing up and it’s been a thrill to not only see what happens next, but to be a part it telling the story. I’m really excited to see what people think of the VT system too - it’s been something Revolution has been working on since Lure of the Temptress, but I think our new implementation is the best yet.

How does working on Beyond a Steel Sky compare to Broken Sword 5 ?

At their heart, both are story-driven adventures, so the core is the same - solid story, dialogue and puzzles. The main difference though, is the move to true 3-d. We have a lot more room to iterate, do trial runs and add extra features, behaviours and fun reactions.

If you could tell the community anything about Beyond a Steel Sky, what would you tell them?

We are standing on the shoulders of a giant here - the original BASS was, well, BASS. It’s a classic, and I know some people are wary of the move to 3-d. I’d say to them, come to BASSII like you did the original BASS, embrace it’s new way of doing things, fall into the story and I’m sure you’ll come to love it. Everyone working on the project has a deep love for the original BASS, and I know it’s going to be great.



Hi! I’m Naoimh and I’m a student on my year in industry at Revolution. And of course most importantly I’m a Scripter on Beyond a Steel Sky!

Could you tell us a bit about what you do at Revolution, and what that role entails?

Here at Revolution I’m a part of our Scripting team, which means I’m mainly focused on implementation. My work begins when our lovely lead designer hands me a design document filled with content for me to make into reality. I get the pleasure of setting up all the colourful characters you’ll meet with their various behaviours and making sure the player can interact with the world. When that's done, I have to do lots of testing to make sure it runs smoothly and feels right!

As a student, taking a year out in Industry, how has your experience at Revolution been so far?

Fantastic! I had very different expectations when I started all those months ago and I can honestly say they’ve all been surpassed. I’ve learned so much about design, scripting and the games industry - and how much I love them! But the best part has to be the team. Working with all the passionate people here has been as much fun as it has been hard work and there has been a lot of hard work.

I’ve honestly loved every second.

Especially the bits where we got donuts.

How has it been working on Beyond a Steel Sky ?

Beyond a Steel Sky is the first game I’ve worked on and I have fallen horribly in love with it. It has such a fascinating world and premise, packed full of colourful characters and 25 years worth of passion. Knowing that every day I help contribute to make this game a reality is incredibly rewarding. And, okay, maybe I sometimes go to sleep dreaming about how to fix that one bug I left behind at the end of the day. That’s probably completely normal.

How has it been managing your own section of the game? Any particular challenges you’ve faced?

It’s quite daunting, knowing you’re responsible for making sure a part of the game is as good as it can be. But then I get to see all the amazing concept work for something I’m working on and the actual 3D models entering the game (has anyone mentioned how gosh darn pretty this game is yet?). I get so excited finally seeing things come to life right in front of me. But there are always challenges. Managing a section means a lot of iterating on old designs so we can refine them down into what's the most fun possible. I will mourn for all the very good code I’ve had to scrap, but it’s worth it to make sure the game is at its very best.

If you could tell the community anything about Beyond a Steel Sky, what would you tell them?

I would of course tell them about [redacted] and [redacted] and- oh wait, I probably can’t mention those. I suppose that I would then tell the community that this is a project filled with passion! Everyone here is working so hard and cares so much about this game we’re making. Beyond a Steel Sky is a game made with love and filled with all the things love brings; fun characters, puzzles, a beautifully realised world, a giant walled city in the post apocalyptic wasteland. You know, those things. I think they’re going to love it.



Hi there! I'm Luke. I’m currently a scripter for Revolution and have been for nearly a year now. I’m a huge Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Wuxia film nerd, obsessed with history and adore mainly Adventure, RPG and RTS games. I have an incredibly deep board game collection and relish any opportunity to break them out!

Could you tell us a bit about what you do at Revolution, and what that role entails?

In my head, describing what I do as a scripter is a little like brewing a potion. You add a dash of level design, sprinkle in some puzzle planning, a smidge of game logic creation and a flourish of dialogue. A quick overview of my daily work is that I have several more general tasks on the list for the week (something like “Change this section to incorporate this puzzle” and “Update new dialogue” might appear) and I am responsible for figuring out how best to achieve that goal.

How did you get involved with Revolution?

My path to Revolution was a case of the stars aligning at the right time, in many ways. I had just finished my third and final year of a Games Design degree, where for the first two years I had crossed paths with Sucha (our Art Director) and was lucky enough to have a few conversations with him. As it turned out, Revolution was interested in hiring Level Designers and through Sucha and my tutor, Ady, I learned about the job.

An application, interview, work test and several wracked nerves later (and a long story about how I got in the right mind frame that would take much more space than I have) I was successful and welcomed to the team. I’ve never felt prouder.

You mentioned this was your first job in the Games Industry, how has working at Revolution compared to what you imagined?

There are parts I was completely prepared for and parts that surprised me. I can hand on heart say I’ve never once woken up since starting it and groaning that it’s a work day - something I was all too familiar with when working retail jobs! But the respect and trust that Revolution has given me, despite being a relative newbie, is inspiring.

How has it been working on Beyond a Steel Sky ?

It’s been absolutely incredible. Beneath a Steel Sky is never very far from, if not on, most fondly remembered adventure game lists and working on a sequel 25 years later is incredibly exciting. It’s a little nerve wracking at times, thinking about how much it has to live up to, but if anything that gives you the extra drive to really make it shine.

There’s something absolutely fascinating about watching a game crystalise as you work on it, too. A year ago when I started, there were blocks and shapes to suggest things, where now there are cityscapes and humanoids. I’d have to say so far my favourite part is when the <>

If you could tell the community anything about Beyond a Steel Sky, what would you tell them?

I’d tell them that we’ve really done our best to make them proud and we’re sure it’ll show!


Don't forget to check back in next month for some more behind the scenes development for Beyond a Steel Sky!


Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #2

Revolution_Software Blog

September 2019 Dev Diary - Visit the Virtual Theatre

Posted 03 / 10 / 19

Beyond a Steel Sky – Dev Diary #2


Hello everyone, and welcome to another Developer diary for Beyond a Steel Sky !


It wouldn’t quite be a sci-fi dystopian future without some cool tech, and even in the world of Beneath a Steel Sky there was tech in abundance.

Well, time has passed since the days of LINC, and things have evidently only gotten more technically advanced in Union City. How do we, as developers, keep up with an ever evolving, self imposed, Sci-Fi technological race? We play the same game.

The support holograms in Union City really “project” kindness and cooperation!

We’re using the Unreal Engine 4 as our game engine for Beyond a Steel Sky. Usually we’ve worked on our own in-house engine for previous projects as it gives us the control to make a super efficient tool for the game we’re making. But on this occasion we’ve gone a different route.

Flexible, powerful - it’s great! The Unreal Engine is helping facilitate our ambition like never before. It’s really allowed us to explore Virtual Theatre (VT) - a concept we first used back in our early days with Lure of the Temptress

So what are we working on right now?

Hacking

Device Hacking is something we’re featuring quite a bit on footage these days. It’s a core mechanic in Beyond A Steel Sky that allows you to subvert the environment to your will to achieve necessary puzzle solutions, or just to mess with people.

We didn’t want players just walking up to things are miraculously hacking things, so we’ve implemented hacking to be done through a tool - how you get this tool is for you to find out later.

By moving data “nuggets” around between devices you can alter how they work. As seen in the Gameplay trailer, a bridge blocks your way and you don’t have authorisation to access it. What do you do? Why, swap the behaviour of course! Now, authorised personnel cannot control the bridge, but mischievous protagonists without authorisation can.

“I’m in.” Hacking in Beyond a Steel Sky is easy, and has so much potential!

Perhaps you can start to sense how much potential this has? Right now we’re also working on and refining the sheer amount of hackable possibilities - both in puzzles and in the environment in general. Watch this space!

Behaviours

Behaviours are another thing we’re working on in a big way right now. How do you make a living world more realistic?

This is a broad topic in Beyond a Steel Sky, but one way we’re doing this is putting extra attention into interacting with generic non-playable characters (NPC’s) and the world itself. For now we'll explain some of the basics.

For example, in most games if you walk up to 2 individuals having a conversation they’ll blindly keep talking whilst you press your face right in front of them and eerily look into their soul. Either that or they just don’t seem bothered that you barged into their conversation.
Not in Beyond A Steel Sky. Gaplanders, droids, and citizens alike will acknowledge you and will wrap up their conversations before they talk to you.

*Sigh* What now?

Behaviours don’t just go as far as conversations. We’re currently working on ways for your actions to have knock on consequences. If you break or block a vending machine at a public plaza, does the nearby Cafe get overwhelmed with new customers who can’t get a drink that the staff can’t watch you do your *cough* completely honest deeds? You’ll have to wait and see.

Access denied! The vending machine, now hacked, now alerts security when an authorised user tries to get a drink.

Look out though! We’re also adding behaviours for NPC’s whose job it is to go around fixing your… erm.... “Creative solutions”. Ultimately this is all part of Virtual Theatre (VT). You’re going to see a lot more of things like this as we go forward as we can’t fit it all in one page.

What else?

We’re also busy preparing for EGX London on 17th-20th October. For the first time ever you’ll be able to have a go at Beyond a Steel Sky - so we’re making sure it’s ready for you!

We’re adding more animations, dialogue, and ironing out bugs so the experience is the best it can be. We heard your feedback from the Gameplay Trailer, and we’re working even harder to get those animations polished sooner than scheduled.

That’s a little taster of what we’re working on for this month. We’ve still got plenty of things in store, and we’ll share the progress as we work on them.

Don’t forget to check out the new Beyond a Steel Sky Steam page that went Live this month and add it to your Wishlist!

Don’t forget to also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more immediate news as it comes. Be Vigilant!

Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #1

Revolution_Software Blog

Dev Diary # 1 - A Revolution Catch-up!

Posted: 23 / 08 / 2019


BeyondASteelSky_Header

Hello everyone, and welcome to our First Developer diary for Beyond a Steel Sky!

This is the first amongst a series of updates that will come out monthly (or more frequently we hope) and will be purely dedicated to sharing anything and everything Beyond a Steel Sky (or BASS2 for short). Gameplay? Behind the Scenes? Concept Art? You betcha!

First of all, if you’ve been following us - whether through our Social Media feeds, through the Broken Sword 5 Kickstarter, or just recently - thank you so much! We’ve always been so indebted to our community for their patience, support, and enthusiasm in what we do, and the games we make.

BeyondASteelSky_1_1Welcome to Union City 10 years on!

If you’re new to us, make sure to check out our Discord channel, a thoroughly great place for us to all come together and talk about… well, anything! And make sure to keep an eye on our Youtube channel for any trailers and gameplay videos that’ll be coming out for Beyond a Steel Sky. And finally, of course, keep an eye on our Twitter /Facebook /Instagram for all our updates and live-streams as they come.


So, Beyond a Steel Sky how is it made...


Doesn’t it look awesome! We’ve got SO MUCH in store for you all!

It’s been a long time in the works, but it’s finally coming. We’ve really wanted to share it earlier, but we wanted to wait for the perfect moment. With the Apple Arcade announcement, it was just right!
It’s not a 2D game like we’ve tended to do in the past, or like it’s predecessor Beneath a Steel Sky, but it still holds the core values of all our games, so don’t be scared! Everything we've learnt in nearly 30 years of game development is being channelled into this, and we aren't messing around.

BeyondASteelSky_1_2


OK! What’s next then?


Besides here, we’ll be active as usual on Facebook & Twitter, but we're also kicking things off with our new Discord channel, and we're also reviving our Instagram and our Twitch channel to do some occasional Livestreams.

Between all these there’s plenty of ways to keep track of what we’re doing, where we’ll be, and what’s coming.

We’ll also be at a few events - most recently, we were at Gamescom this week and had a blast! Although we weren't there in a public capacity, we had a fantastic time and it was a joy to meet everyone there. You can be sure that there’ll be lots and lots of information about Beyond a Steel Sky coming out from now on - just keep your eyes peeled!

BeyondASteelSky_1_3

The last time we properly showed off anything, it was at the Apple Event back in March with the announcement of Apple Arcade. If you've watched our new Gameplay Trailer, read the IGN First Look article, and watched the Apple Arcade announcement, then you're all up to date!


Why aren’t you talking about any Development Stuff yet? This is a Dev Diary.


Nothing gets past you! Well, right now we’re working our way towards a Beta - so that can hopefully tell you roughly how far we are into the game. Things are going well and the game is coming along leaps and bounds every day, but it means we’re also still ironing out a few issues...

BeyondASteelSky_1_4

Why settle with one when you can have 2?


So far we’ve got the majority of mechanics implemented, puzzles plotted, puns at the ready, and updated artwork being added by the hour - we’ll be telling you all about these things in depth in the following weeks we promise!

For now, make sure to keep checking in on us from time to time so you can be updated with any game info, and other Revolution info as it comes out!

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