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Simulacra - Twinstick Exploration Shooter

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    [GAME] Simulacra - Twinstick Exploration Shooter

    Hey everyone!

    My name is CJ and I have been working on a passion project game currently titled Simulacra. I really wanted to work on a game with a lot of community involvement where anyone that wanted to contribute thoughts and suggestions would have a voice and help to shape the development and progress of the game in a way that one mind (mine) could not. So here I am!

    I post regular updates to the game's IndieDB page with images and developer diary videos, and at minimum a build of the game to coincide with its monthly milestones. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback and will do my best to respond quickly, but there's just one person on this ship so feel free to follow up if you don't hear from me!

    Synopsis (WIP Story)
    Once mankind progressed to the stars, the inevitable next step was the colonization of other planets. Corporations started funding expeditions to claim resources, set up factories, in an ever expanding search for monetary gain. In the furthest reaches of space, the possibilities were limitless, all ripe for the taking.

    In one such remote corner of space, a small planet hangs alone amongst its fellow stars. It is Phengodia, named for the humble glow worm. Land and air unscarred by industrial development, it is reminiscent of a time long past. Striped with dark volcanic rock, carpeted with vibrant neon plantlife. At night the rocks gather sand like gigantic fingers poking through the soil, softly illuminated by the tree’s bioluminescent glow.
    This is where Meridian, a pharmaceutical empire, enacted their black market “seed” program. The seed was that of human life, planted with one purpose in mind, to grow, mature, and one day be harvested. Life was their commodity and deep in space, beyond the reach of government and moral law it could be reaped without recourse.
    Meridian established outposts to monitor the dweller settlements, artificially limiting their civilization by suppressing technological growth. The dwellers live in relative isolation from each other, small nomadic pockets, easily contained and controlled.
    It is here in one such medical outpost that our story begins. You awaken as Evelyn, a synthetic virtual intelligence implanted in the outpost. Integrated into its very core, you feel every breath, every action taken within its walls. But you are alone, the facility is cold and empty. You are unable to go beyond its walls without a body, a shell. Pulsing fingers of electricity reach out as you extend your digital form, possessing a basic corporate shell, as easily as slipping on a new piece of clothes. Accessing the hatch you emerge into the sunlight, taking the first of many steps out into the wilderness.

    Simulacra is at its core, an exploration action game. You play as a virtual intelligence, capable of puppeteer-ing various bodies or shells with which you explore the world around you. Unlike most games of this type, you will be outnumbered and outgunned at most every turn. Nimble movement and quick thinking are your greatest tools, as you smoothly navigate the battlefield looking for opportunity. Once found, you temporarily shed your shell, moving at the speed of thought as your pure energy body. While in this “phantom” state you are able to turn enemies to your side, manipulate environmental resources, and force particular attributes of yourself on your foes. However the longer you stay in this form and actions you take, the more energy is drained, leaving you in a weakened state once you re-enter your shell. Balancing your situation and resources on the fly is key to survival.

    This action heavy exploration portion of the game is the “meat and potatoes” of the title, but it will hopefully be balanced by light management gameplay and intriguing narrative once you return to the base. Out in the field you will encounter and rescue natives who will work alongside you and fight for your cause. As you play a virtual intelligence directly integrated into the base, each improvement you make to the base itself and the well being of the persons living there will directly impact and strengthen your abilities in the field. This will be the main method of “leveling up” your character, whether it be fortifying your shell with better protection or upgrading the computers for increased “phantom” abilities. Talking with the your key team members you are able to learn more about them and the world around you.

    Images and Downloads
    Below are some of the in progress images from the game. More current work is available in the gallery and of course you can play the game in the downloads section.

    Thanks again for checking the game out! - CJ (JoscelinFrost)

    Attached Files

    I really like the art style here. Looks like a very intresting game! | Twitter | Epitasis - A Colorful Exploration Puzzle Game


      Thanks Higuy!

      I'm still working out exactly what I want from the visual style but am pretty happy with its state so far. This is the first top down style game I've made (used to first person games) so still learning quite a bit!


        Looks really good! I want to try out the demo when I get a chance.
        Check out our game Arcus!


          I'd love the feedback if you get a chance! I'm going to be hotfixing the build to have better keyboard and mouse support shortly but I'd recommend a controller if you have one for now. Thanks!


            Hotfix upload complete! Not a big change, but has a much more complete control scheme so the game is largely possible to play with either keyboard/mouse or controller with the exception of menus (they still need better controller support.) Will be posting another dev diary video going over some of the other week's changes tomorrow. Thanks all!


              Dev Diary # 8 released covering new compass ability, camera tweaks, and some design thoughts.


                Dev Diary # 9 released, covers some audio improvements, and a new procedural encounter system.


                  Hey [MENTION=39648]JoscelinFrost[/MENTION] - That latest video is super interesting. I saw your video on seeded variation.

                  Would you mind going more in depth on how you made this hybrid system for proc gen / hand placed assets?
                  Last edited by HeadClot; 05-20-2016, 08:22 PM.


                    Sure [MENTION=260]HeadClot[/MENTION] I'd be happy to! I should preface this by saying I'm not a programmer so many things are bound to be a bit messy and in need of improvement .

                    In a nutshell I'm breaking the system into a couple functional parts: The encounter map (where all of the content lives, streamed into any destination map of my choice), the encounter "pylons" (markers for each unique encounter, placed in map with content), the destination "rulers" (simple destination markers for where the streamed encounters will be placed in target map), and the spawn manager (controls which encounter goes where).

                    Basically when I start the game, the spawn manager assigns a particular encounter pylon to each ruler, and calls a simple move event in the pylon. That event cycles through all of the actors that are linked with it (by that ugly array I mentioned in the video) and simply shifts them to the ruler actor, maintaining position and orientation. This keeps each encounter easy to maintain and work with but still very accessible. I will probably add some functionality that destroys any unused encounters to keep memory down.

                    Most of the procedural stuff happens in the spawn manager using that seeded variation technique. The manager grabs each ruler's location and generates a unique stream for it based on the map seed. The rest is pretty straightforward array stuff, running through each ruler in order and using its unique stream to pick an encounter and then removing that encounter from the array of possible encounters.

                    If it would help, let me know and I will post some screenshots of the blueprints, maybe after a little cleanup and annotation

                    Thanks for the question, hope that helped! - CJ


                      Posted a follow up video on the procedural encounters, hopefully it helps!


                        New Build and Dev Diaries

                        Been a little bit since I posted an update, there is a new build of the game available on Indie DB, as well as two new Dev Diary videos. Enjoy and leave feedback if you feel inclined!