Post news RSS Brink of Extinction, where it's been and where it's going

Since I developed this game without much public display, this is a bit of a look back at what it used to be, and what it became.

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I started devving around late 2013, mainly learning how to code in Angelscript and trying to make a 2D adventure game. One of my main difficulties back then was keeping my ideas within a fixed frame, and what was supposed to be a fairly large but simple 2D adventure game soon became a 3D game with so many complex ideas going into it that it, of course, failed. This was one of my first lessons being a dev, decide on the game's scope and don't let it go beyond what you can possible do as a solo dev.

This lesson led me into starting development on a tower defense game. TD:s have been a favorite for a long time - in particular the game Incursion. The benefit of developing a TD is that scope can be decided quite easily - it will have X turrets, Y enemies and Z levels. Developing all the systems required to make the game, not quite as easy. :D

Brink of Extinction has a few very important systems, the main ones being turret targeting and enemy paths. I developed the enemy pathing system first. This is one of the earliest images I've been able to find from the time I developed the system (around mid 2015):


The system is very simple. I add waypoints, the waypoints are sorted from first to last by X or Z axis and then the positions are randomized slightly to give the enemies some variation. Oftentimes, two spawn points are placed next to each other so that enemies don't always walk in line, but rather come in wider swarms.

Enemies will keep track of which waypoint they are heading for, once reached, they move to the next. This is a very cheap way of getting enemies from A to B. But unlike most TD:s, in Brink of Extinction enemies will attack turrets when they are encountered along the way. So enemies will also keep track of where the player has placed turrets and when within range, they will stop and attack the turrets. I wanted this element to add a sense of strategy into the game - Turrets need to be placed where weaker turrets can stay out of harms way or be protected by stronger turrets.

Turrets, on the other hand, need targeting. All turrets in Brink of Extinction (except the Drone Controller) have two pieces, the base and the weapon (or muzzle). Turrets will attempt to detect enemies within range at a given speed, usually every 0.1s. Once an enemy is found by use of one of four targeting algorithms (closest, farthest, weakest, strongest), the turret will stop targeting and instead move towards the enemy. The base rotates the weapon/muzzle into place, and the weapon is rotated so that the aim is correct. Here's the machine gun turret taking aim:


Systems are all good to have, but a game also needs to have it's own graphical style. My early drawings were all of overgrown cities. My main references were buildings often found in Brooklyn. Most of the other areas in the game have a sort of american style to them. The game takes place in the post apocalypse, but as games like Last of Us and Enslaved have shown us, it doesn't have to be all barren and dry. I went with environments that look overgrown. Somewhat dreary, but colorful. Overall, color has been very important in how I've designed the game. As shown here, plenty of brown and grey, yes, but also popping colors.


My method of developing the game has been a process of iterative improvement. Allowing things to be "good for now", only to improve them at a later stage. This way I've managed to develop the game at an ok pace (game required almost 25-30 full time weeks over the course of 2.5 years - I did A LOT of other stuff at that time). Working with iterations meant this could be ok "for now":


Ok, because it serves the purpose of looking like an ok scene while allowing other system to progress. This level and the first level of the game were pretty much the testing grounds for basically everything in the game. It's also ok, because it went from the above, to:


And then finally to:


Which is pretty much the version in the game (although post proc is slightly different). The scene could still be improved, but it serves the purpose of acting as a good battle ground for turrets battling insects.

I hope you have found this dev diary interesting. Next time I will show what the enemies USED to look like...urgh. :D

/ Dispersing Minds

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