Download

Epidemic Tracer - [the quarantine inspired game]

The story behind this project

Hello there! I’d like to introduce you my first personal game inspired by the current pandemic situation in the world. My initial goal was creating something related to the current situation (and my personal feelings) in the short time (1-2 months). However, during the progress, I realized that this project is something bigger and more important to me. And yet, it’s more complicated for creating. In the end, I told to myself: “let it be in development as much as it should be for myself to be happy with the results”.

The main concept of the game is developing a unique project about quarantine in solo and using the most efficient tools. This concept is still exciting. The game is mostly (70-80%) developing by me, Alexander Voщakin, in solo using Unreal Marketplace assets, and some help from my friends with things like coding, animation and concept art.

I making it since late March 2020 and hope to finish this year. The concept of gameplay is still developing, so I’d like you to support me with the feedback in order to give people better “videogame monument” dedicated to this unique and sad period of history :o

About the game

DISCLAIMER: Despite the fact that the game inspired by Covid-19, this project isn’t related to any real virus, and I have no goal to make provocative project or hurt of somebody’s feelings. The game storyline and place aren’t pretending to be real ones. All coincidences with reality are an accident.

The game take place in near future. After a huge biological disease, the world fallen into anarchy and extinction.
Only few countries saved and trying to restore normal life in the rest of the world.You’re one of such guardians. **Genre: **1st Person Interactive Exploration and Adventure.
Similar games: Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter etc.
Theme & Style: Realism. Near future somewhere in West Europe.
**Languages: English … [Russian, Chinese…after release]
Current Engine: **Unreal Engine 4.24.3
Platforms: PC, Consoles {?}

Release date: ~ Oct - Dec 2020
**Current status: **Pre-Alpha

[CENTER]Features

*Alternative way of time traveling. *I developed a special concept of time machine which rather let you travel in 4th dimension than in a real time. It gives interesting results.

One of the biggest time manipulation experiences. The ultimate goal of the game. Explore over 10 days of past, fully accessible and rewindable.

Time simulations and multiverse. Affect on the past and try to make it better. Over 15 versions of past and 5 versions of the storyline finals.

*Non-linear exploring and narrative.*You won’t find anything that you have to know in the end or in the begging of this games. Each detail is important.

*Tiny open world full of secrets. *My goal is creating a super detailed brutalist style living complex where each square meter will tell you a story.

*Abstract experience. *You see the past but in very abstract form; you will never know what exactly it means. Use the environment to get the context and do right actions.

Bonus Feature:I’m recording the ENTIRE process of creating this game from scratch, so I’m going release it as standalone course later, and give you a unique footage.

Gameplay

You play as a specialist who arrived in an empty ex-quarantined zone (residential complex), in order to explore previous events. The player has a time (4th dimension) control glove, which allows you to see the “ghosts” from the past. The player does not hear their voices clearly and cannot interact with them, but he/she can rewind time (just like a video: slowly at first, but then faster) and stop it in the right place. Rewinding works both forward and backward.

The player can also influence a part of objects from the past, and thus he/she can see how they change the events of the past. For example, he/she can close the door to the entrance/apartment, or turn on the water in the bathroom and make a flood. Some actions do not cause any effect; others, on the contrary, make everything worse - and only a few actions can lead to a positive outcome - the infected person will not leave his apartment and save humanity.

The earliest gameplay draft by my gf Magali Lopez

Story

The final storyline is still under development: however, I could call the background story ready.

The world is collapsed after an epidemic of previously unknown biological threat. Its spread is extremely high - most of the population has died, governments have fallen; the world ruled by anarchy. Only a dozen of countries (that managed to close all borders on time) were saved. But they also face the threat of extinction: the first cases of a breakthrough of quarantine appeared.

In order to save the planet from complete destruction (or to change reality), the governments are sending a specialist to the very first quarantine zone for finding out what exactly happened there. He is quiped by the latest development of mankind - a device that can look at the world in the 4th dimension and affect on it with the help of gravity. Using this device, he have to return to the past and check all possible scenarios that could prevent the catastrophe.

CURRENT PROGRESS (03.07.2020)

In this section, I’m teasing you with a real time progress.

And in the posts, I’m going to use this forum thread as my developer diary, so I’ll show you all my progress from the early beginning. Maybe you’ll find them useful.

Socials
Instagram(Personal diary):https://www.instagram.com/vo_akin/
Instagram (Game page): in progress
Facebook (Game page):in progress
IndieDB: Epidemic Tracer Windows, Mac, Linux game - Indie DB

Feel free to leave your feedback or follow me. It will really help me to finish this project!
[/CENTER]

Hello guys! So, I’d like to start my Dev Diary from early beginning and share you my experience and approaches of making this project.
So, let’s get started!

My goals

I was searching for some concepts of the game related to the current situation. They shall be interesting for playing but easy at the same time for a solo developer.

I started from some real-time strategy concepts (like Plague Inc), and finished with something which really easier and interesting for an artist - 1st person explorational adventure.

I was inspired by quarantine zones in my city (when government bloacked the most infected living complexes) and wanted to create something realted to them, but using assets I have - Unreal Marketplace ones.

I’d like to have something that would be interesting for Western audience as well, unlike my local typical buildings from Soviet Union. So that’s how I started.

Initial process

Everything is starting from collecting references and defining your final goal.

I was looking for a complex which has a “closed” outside garden or parking which could be quarantined. It should be something like a micro-district. Surprisingly, such complexes almost doesn’t exist in North America, so I was focused on Western Europe.

So I’m started. Collecting references doesn’t seem a big deal nowadays, but actually it is. You could find billions of photos of Eifel Tower or central streets in Venice, but you wouldn’t find much info on a specific residential complexes. Western community don’t really like to show their Soviet-like modernist/brutalist buildings which actually exist in many places in Europe, so you have to find them in unexpected places.

I was using Google Streetview, some YouTube videos (I’ll tell you more about them in the next episode), some old encyclopedias, and more often - videos and photos of a famous urbanist/travel from Russia called Ilya Varlamov.

Here are some of the refs I got:

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/References_-Outside.jpg
](https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/References
-_Outside.jpg)

Productions steps

In the end, I figured out, that UK and French buildings seem quite nice and unusual for me. Plus, they’re easier and more belivable for integrating English signs and other Western stuff (unlike typical buildings of Eastern Europe).

That’s how I started. I was looking for such living complexes on the outskirts of Paris and London. They’re all quite different to be honest. However, I found one living complex in London, which internal playground/parking part suit me well (in terms of closing this zone for a quarantine), so I take it as reference and modified sligtly.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Reference_Plan_3D.jpg

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Reference_Plan_Clear.jpg

This location suits me perfectly in terms of planning buildings locations and adjust correct sizes for everything. Thanks to the Google Ruller tool, I mesured these buildings and the frame itself and developed a special measurement scale - 1 real meter = 10 pixels of the image. That’s how I sterted building the entire plan of my game world.

The next important step was making a graphic simplified plan of this location in purpose of importing this image inside Unreal Engine 4 and use it as a base for building levels.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Reference_Plan_Floor_1.jpg

This is how it look like. That actually took me over 2 weeks to make all the floors look really accurate and realistic. I also added a lot of extra details, such as parking, but I’m going to cover this later.

So for today, I’m only going to show you the last shot on how It looks inside Unreal Engine 4. This was the earliest version, when I put simple cubes just to check if my scale correct. I was really happy when I realized that 2 weeks of works was quite useful. The scale was perfect right from the first import!

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/UE4_-Screenshot_1.jpg
](https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/UE4
-_Screenshot_1.jpg)

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/UE4_-Screenshot_2.jpg
](https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/UE4
-_Screenshot_2.jpg)

I think that’s all for today. Hope it was interesting for you. Please, leave a feedback so I’ll know if you want to read more of such stuff!
https://media.indiedb.com/images/articles/1/284/283432/auto/redface.png

Thank you for reading!

***Don’t forget, that you could also follow me on Instagram (for now, only perosnal page), ***
and look at my current progress.

Hello once again. Let’s continue talking about my project. Today I’d like to show you how I’m making interior drafts fro my location.

Defining the Problem

Nowadays, you can find everything on the Internet, but surprisingly, some things are still inaccessible to an average user. I had to find the exact plan of a living complex in West Europe built in modernism or brutalism style. Perhaps, for British people, it would be easy to find this plan, but because I’m Kazakhstani, I couldn’t find anything other than the plans of a typical Soviet building that were usual for my eyes. But a typical Soviet building did not suit me for several reasons:

  • It does not fit the setting of West Europe and English signs would not work for the locations.
  • Plus, brutalism and modernism had different approaches in design and construction in Britain and USSR.
  • Etc.

After a couple of days of studying Google Maps and finally choosing the reference of the building, I wondered how people get into apartments in similar buildings, where there is only one entrance?

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Epidemic_Tracer_-_Location_Refer.jpg

Possible solutions

My first guess was that there should be a corridor inside that leads to the apartments. I made a desicion to search for photos from inside of similar buildings, but it was impossible to find such pictures of the corridors. The Benno YouTube channel helped me get out of this situation. The author of this channel, making kind of tours inside of these residential complexes, showed that there are all the interiors and corridors in such buildings. And surprsingly, there are a lot of different kinds of such corridors!

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Epidemic_Tracer_-_References_Cor.jpg

Realism or gameplay? What to choose?

During the further search, it turned out that corridors exist in my buildings, but they go outside the building and are covered with glass.
https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Epidemic_Tracer_-_Reference_Corr.jpg

I didn’t like this for a number of reasons, and I decided to turn the plan into artistic vision rather than an absolute realism. So I drew a modified plan of the building where the corridors remain inside the building, and not outside like a real prototype. By making changes to the real prototype of the building, I had to make other changes so that the dimensions of the building remained close to real.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Epidemic_Tracer_-_Floor_2.jpg

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Epidemic_Tracer_-_Reference_Corr.1.jpg

The problem with collecting information on a typical British building was solved by a small artistic addition to reality, but another similar problem appeared - staircases and entrances. However, this is a story for my next article…
What do you think on how I solved it?

As a bonus, let me tease you with the next step of my game - the detailed blockout of this location. There also were a lot of issues on making it accurate enough, and I definitely tell about this later as well :slight_smile:

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Epidemic_Tracer_-_Detailed_Block.jpg

***Don’t forget, that you could also follow me on Instagram (for now, only personal page), ***
and look at my current progress.

Let’s continue my devlog of this project.

Gameplay challenges

Today, we will talk about HOW to adapt a real location to the requirements of game design and not lose its realism.
So, I made my location from 3 buildings and a playground in the center between them.

I have come to the conclusion that a realistic version of the corridor outside the buildings does not suit me. One of the reasons is that it will be impossible to create a mystic or horror atmosphere which would be a great addition for vibes of this location.

And another question appears - how to create a staircase without particularly changing the plan and appearance of the building?

Creative solutions

In normal cases (and in original buildings) a staircase has 2, sometimes 4 parts of ladder.

However, in our case, it is physically impossible to implement, because apartments are located at ground level, and making two parts of stairs or making a separate rooms for staircase is not our way…

But you know? Brutalist buildings are great because they exist in incredible numbers of combinations. One of these combinations of stairs, and fit me. It has only one part and fits perfectly into my hallway.

This is how it looks in practice.

Why marketplace assets are an issue?

Now, let’s talk about the main problem in my game that I barely considered in the beginning. That’s assets from the Unreal Marketplace.

The point is that modular assets are a big unknown and randomness for your project. Especially in architecture field. Of course, before buying, you’re able to look at screenshots and even videos of these models, but in our case this is not enough. You will only be able to realize how well an asset fits your location when you start actual building of a location out of them.

How to solve?

That thing happened to me as wel. I thought that 70-80% of the entire game I could create from completely finished assets without changing them in any way, but unfortunately, most of the assets do not suit me. Somewhere the dimensions do not fit, somewhere the textures, and somewhere it is even necessary to combine several modules into one.

I’ve attached above several examples of Before/After assets. I think the difference is noticeable and you understand how long it took me to modify them.

And finally, some progress. Here I am already showing you the finished facade from these modules. More about it in the next part.

***Don’t forget, that you could also follow me on Instagram (for now, only personal page), ***
and look at my current progress.

Hello!

In previous post I’ve showed you how to make realistically accurate imaginary location based on real one. We talked mostly about interiors. So, this time I’d like to show you some of my resulsts

NOTE:

This is still early Alpha screenshots. More details coming soon.

Like you may realize, I made a decision to post mostly my progress without in-depth making-of. That’s because it takes me a lot of time and I don’t get any feeback on this. So, my apologies to those who were really interested in them.
Hope you enjoyed that progress :slight_smile:

***Don’t forget, that you could also follow me on Instagram (for now, only personal page), ***
and look at my current progress in Stories

Amazing job with the reference work and great job with the use of assets. True remarkable. I’m looking forward to walking around in your world.

Oh thank you very much!

I really appreciate your feedback, TinkerTyler! Such things motivate me to continue working on my project even harder :o

*Hello everybody! There were no updates for a long time, and excuse me for that. Developing game in solo is a complicated thing, especially for mental health. That is, most of my updates beeen published on the game Instagram page and IndieDBpage, but not here. Now, it’s time to fix that, and here is my post blast! :slight_smile: This one is about my approach on building street environments! *

Introduction

Today I’m going to cover such topic as making your first game in the fastest and most efficient way. Why fastest? Well, it’s because as long you do your game as more budget and (your) psyche you will spend on it.

That’s why tips&tricks are important to use especially for a solo developer. You could achieve great results in a shorter time without losing the quality.

Problem

So, let’s start with my own problem and solutions for that.

I was needed to create special concrete plates for my garages area. They look kinda like that.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Refercence.jpeg

Like you may realize, that’s impossible to do with simple Megascans material or just simple textures.

The classical current-gen solution would be like that - I have to use Substance Designer or Quixel Mixer and spend few hours or maybe days trying to achieve really good looking material. In the end, it would be quite boring and plane material still (tessellation won’t help me). So that’s didn’t suit me.

What else I have? Next-Gen technology where polycounts are doesn’t matter, like Unreal Engine 5. It would be perfect, but this engine haven’t been released yet. So what should I do?

Solution

I researched that topic and been surprised! Actually, we already available to use next-technologies but just in a limited form! That means, that Unreal Engine could already (!) bear up to like 10-15 millions polygons in a scene and won’t loose any polycount! Materials diversity is more resource consuming thing now. Of course, that’s not billions of polygons, like Unreal 5 promises us, but that’s already helping a lot.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Garage_Plates.jpeg

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Sidewalk_model.jpeg

So what I did? I just made everything volumetric, using low-poly version of a street curb from Megascans and made models like that.

Each of them over 5k polygons, but that still enough for good performance! And most importantly - it save you time and make game even more realistic!

So here is my progress with basic materials so far! I think the results worth it.

What do you think?

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Screenshot.jpg

**Don’t forget, that you could also follow my game on Instagram and IndieDB
where you can look at my new progress and ask questions directly!

So, like I promised, let’s continue with old posts I forgot to mention here. Here are the most important updates happened with me and the game during September-October 2020.

What’s new?

First things firsr, I had family things, I was about to go to a local army for 1 year, but most importantly… My previous project been (a course called Creative Environmet Creation in Unreal Engine 4)awarded of MegaGrant by Epic Games, and it is supposed to support my current game!

That means, I’ve already built a new and much better PC with nVidia Geforce RTX graphics card on board. So, now I’m gonna test this famous raytracing feature in my game; as well as, there will be less problems for optimizing it and do more experiments!

More progress and results will be shown soon, so follow my game here (or on the Instagram) for an upcoming updates.

What I was working on?

I made many things during last 3 months. An Alpha version of the game been already finished on early September. A friend, who helped me with a storyline, left my game recently. He gave me some of his drafts, but many of them didn’t suit me; that is, I’ve started building my storyline in solo (almost from scratch).

And you know what? That’s extremely hard and interesting! Especially when you try to make it interesting… If you’re going to make a game with non-linear/explorational story, you have to keep in mind many options. So here is an example of story-line events I came for. More details about that will be shown later.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Scheme.jpg

I’m gonna be honest with you: initially, I’ve planned this game as just a quick adventure related to the pandemic theme and earn some money… But, since it taking much time and quarantine routine topic isn’t interesting for anybody now, I made a decision - I want to create a REAL game, a real project that I can call myself an artwork or even a masterpiece. That is, my game concept is fully changing right now, and it won’t be about just quarantine routine. It supposed to be something bigger. And of course, you all will be seeing that soon

Some progress?

Yes, I have a lot of that. However, let’s make it in a right order. And today you could see my July progress. There’s not much updates. I made some modular fences and sidewalks in the same “next-gen” way, as in my previous article, and put them together. I think it doesn’t look that bad anymore.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Fence_modules.jpg

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Screenshot_2.jpg

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Screenshot_3.jpg

What do you think?

**Don’t forget, that you could also follow my game on Instagram and IndieDB
where you can look at my new progress and ask questions directly!

And this is the last and most current post which been created just today! This post is all about realistic interiors of apartments in video-games. However, if you want even more fresh updates, feel free to look at my game’s Instagram, where I already published some info about gameplay and such thing as time glove (concept arts are included!) :slight_smile:

What’s new?

The game gets more and more details and changes to its gameplay. It’s not a simple visual story for an hour anymore. I’m continuing implementing new storyline details, yet new gameplay mechanics! I can’t say all details right now because most of them are in work together with my programmer Kris, but according to what we’re going to do, it’s supposed to be a true revolution in such exploration games!

And that’s not even a joke! I’m trying my best to implement the best possible stuff I could even imagine, so I could be proud of myself later. That postpones the game a lot, so it definitely won’t be released this winter, and even spring is a question for me now.

BUT! Being proud and satisfied of the things you’re doing is most important in my opinion. Like you already know (if not, check the first posts), this game initially was “invented” for making some money on the coronavirus hype. However, my concept hasn’t been so easy, and I’ve made a decision to make this game a little better at least. I’m not that person who just trying to get money from his art; that is, it was mentally painful for me to develop this game until now! After the changes, it automatically gave me some boost and energy to finish this project to look at the final result!

What I was working on?

During last couple of months (and a month or so in summer) I’ve been working hard to get my location finished in “alpha version”; it is without too much much details still.

I also realised, that it’s not so hard to create VFX by myself, and so I made my first dynamic effects in Unreal Engine 4 Niagara just within a couple of weeks! The results are just amazing (I’ll be also showing making of them in my course), but need slightly more time to polish!

The gameplay is also about to get first results soon! Since I started mentally visualise it, I realised that my game was a little bit boring, an so, I added even more details for my gameplay! There will be AI ghosts, some additional devices, and most importantly - the time glove! It’s already designed, modeled, textured, and done with all animations. But that will be topic for the next update, which I hope to release really soon!

So today, let me show you some of my apartment interiors!

Problem?

You may think that designing interiors for apartments in modern games is not rocket science. However, it is, if we’re talking about the apartments that are realistic as possible for a particular type of location and buildings.

So what’s the challenge here? Well, they’re the same as with the buildings itself, like I already mentioned that in some posts above. You wouldn’t find on Google so easily what apartments in London, Paris, Rome, or Berlin, look like. Moreover, the task becomes insanely complicated when we’re talking about particular styles of apartments in brutalist buildings in the UK or France for example.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Screenshot_from_Beno.jpg

But why might you need photos of real life apartments if Unreal Engine Marketplace (and Epic Games + Quixel in general) provides you tons of content, including the asset packs with the proper interiors completed?

And the answer is fairly simple. You need proper references just for two purposes:

  1. You have to figure out how plans of such apartments looks like, so you can make walls and rooms in each of your apartments believable and with right sizes,
  2. It’s all about immersive experience. No matter how good quality textures, models or materials you’re using; if they’re doesn’t match each other and have some real life analogues , your players would believe such game easily. Plus, you would get a nice bonus from players who really live in such buildings and apartments. I think the feedback from them will be the most pleasant thing for you :slight_smile:

Solutions.

Like I’m always advising you, you have to think different. If you couldn’t find something on Google, try other resources! I started from Pinterest, and ended up with some very specific sites which gave me some nice and precise results.

That is, I also used that YouTube channel of London brutalist buildings where I found some really nice footages of abandoned apartments in such buildings! It gave me an idea how actually plans of such apartments looks like, and how it could look abandoned in real life

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Apartments_ref_board_-_3.jpg

So, using PureRef software, I grouped all the footages found by type of room (I.e. living room, bathroom, hallway, bedroom, etc) and created a united reference board like you may see above.

Nevertheless, that hasn’t been enough for me. I was looking for real living apartments which people are still living in 2020, and you know? After some complicated searching (more details and sites will be given in my course), I found some! I was looking for apartments in brutalist buildings all over West Europe.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Apartments_ref_board_-_2.jpg

I’ve been surprised how different apartments could look today. In videogames and movies you could find mostly very stereotypical mid-class apartments of Americans, or sometimes, very high aesthetic apartments of rich people. However, in reality some people are still living in kinda oldschool apartments which I thought exist only in ex-USSR countries. Such apartments have vintage furniture, colorful wallpapers, and even carpets that normally associated with USSR only! So I grouped such apartments in the same order, as you can see in my reference board above.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Apartments_ref_board_-_1.jpg

And of course there were “typical mid-class apartments” as well as “modern aesthetic” ones, despite that’s quite difficult to find them in brutalist buildings because rich people don’t really love them much. So this is how it was done.

Some progress.

And it’s how I built my interiors this August and early September.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Apartments_plan_-_example.jpg

I was using my plans which I created in the early beginning of my game for making buildings, and delfines some apartments on these pictures, and then, using a modular approach and many asset packs I started building my interiors, with a goal to show as many different interior styles as I can.

Here is my progress. They’re still drafts tho.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/75/74202/HighresScreenshot00072.jpg

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/75/74202/HighresScreenshot00106.jpg

https://media.indiedb.com/images/members/5/4451/4450722/profile/Apartment_3_-_studio_interior.jpg

What do you think?

There’s much more apartments been made, but they will be shown when their time will come; and of course, you could speed it up with your comments here and by following the game page on Instagramand IndieDB:wink:

lighting and textures looking solid - what type of AO are you using (Assuming that you are).

Thank you for the feedback!
Like I told, these are just very draft test shots. The lighting is completely default, post-process is also default (except exposure parameters), so no dynamic AO used yet, as well as any tweaks in these textures involved. Everything is default, except light bake which been slightly modified in order to avoid too much noise and seams.

I’ll continue improving it later, after finishing the gameplay part. There will be better post-process, more details, upgraded textures decals, particles, and so on! If you’re really curios to track this progress, you could follow my game on Instagram or IndieDB (I’m also considering creating Facebook group and Twitter page soon) :slight_smile:

Hello everyone! The updates are back and today I’m finally going to tell you more details about the gameplay.

What’s new?

Well, many things. Updates on the game’s Instagram were released much more often since I didn’t have much time to write huge posts like I always do here. However, now it’s time.

So, the first thing first, we has been working on a brand new gameplay and experience. This job is still in progress by my programmer Kris Kirov, meanwhile I’m trying to finish my location at a basic level so it could be called working “pre-Beta”.

I re-imagined some of the location parts, created quite realistic VFX, some brand new models, corridors… But that’s a story for another post and update.

Gameplay. How it all started?

The gameplay concept development started right with the game itself. When I just started developing this game, I was thinking about creating anything simple related to COVID and easy to make. The gameplay were a starting point, so location and level design been designed after the concept was done.

Initially, Epidemic Tracer supposed to be something like a first person scripted quarantine simulator. An unknown character were getting opportunity to manipulate time and change some aspects of the past. A goal of the game supposed to be to find and stop a guy who tried to escape quarantine area by changing the past there.

Such “people of the past” were supposed to be a scripted primitive objects flying on rails (spline based system). At that moment I already found the Kris and he made me such system just within like 4-7 days, but…

We missed a very crucial aspect, so we started to rebuild the whole game again…

What is this game about?

The game became much harder in all aspects than I thought, and 2-4 week game turened out into… 1+ YEAR GAME! That became obvious, that in about 3 months I realised, that it’s a bad idea to develop a simple game for so long… So I started to tuen this concept into my first and last DREAM GAME!

I changed quite much the level of details of my location, I added a lot of gemaplay tools, but most importantly (!) I radically changed the storyline basis, so the game has much more background than ever before! And instead of unrealistic abstract story, this story (spoiler!) will be quite personal and realistic (related to COVID consequences as well). I’m really excited to talk you more about it, but that’s a topic for next article.

This time, let me tell you what is my game about in brief.

You’re playing as a special explorer of the very first quarantine zone, located in imaginary European city called Clotho. Your name is Viktor and you was a citizen of this citizen of this quarantined living complex before the new greatest pandemic (which wiped out over half of the Earth population). That quarantine zone is now abondoned as well as Clotho, but… During the new pandemic crisis, humanity get chance to develop a very special device - a time glove.

This time glove will let players see the world in kind of 4D, meaning that people of the past will be like silent ghosts there. Player will get opportunity to look at the first (real) ~hour of the quarantine, which he/she could rewind backward and forward, and most importantly - players will get opportunity to interact with some objects and change the events of the past! That way player will get a chance to simulate many options of the quarantine in order to find the best one.

Your goal in this game remain the same, as in my earliest version of the game - find and stop the escaped guy.

Sounds simple, but REALLY hard to implement.

Gameplay. How it’s going?

The new gameplay is way more complex than initial concept and currently is being developed for over 4 months now. Among the changes of the initial basis, there also a lot of cool new opportunities for players to enjoy my game

The first important addition is a time glove itself. Initially, the game hasn’t supposed to have any first person elements, and so the glove were a first thing that appeared.

The develpment process were quite intresting and it’s the only thing in my game that ivolved SO MUCH people to help me implement this :slight_smile:

  1. First, I made a very simple sketch of the glove by myself (I’m not an artist, lol)

  1. Next, my girlfriend Magali Lopez did the more detailed sketch of the gameplay (the gameplay sketch higher were also her)

  1. A very talented artist and friend of mine Andrey Hohlov made a folowing detailed concept of the glove based on my ideas and skecthes we had.

  1. And finally (for now), a very talented 3d artist and friend of mine Pavel Ivanin is made and animated the glove in Blender and exported all that in Unreal!

However, there were more details.

One of such brand new details became a smartphone, that will give a huge flexibility in narrative for the players since it’s going to have a fully flexible social media feed with all the info needed.

Another part of the gameplay features is a chocolate bar. Why are they there? That’s a good question but I don’t want to give you so much spoilers yet, so you could guess that in comments if you want :slight_smile:

Both models are made by Pavel Ivanin using my references as well.

Current progress?

Last but not least - the gamplay itself. Why it takes so much time? The answer is simple - AI (there’s nothing beautiful to show yet)

Yes, the game became SO much complex, that Kris is now writing a C++ system for my game FROM SCRACTH and the ghosts are not rail-baised but smart and multifunctional guys who will find paths and decisions by themselves!

That means, that the game supposed to give you unique experience EVERY TIME you’re playing, and that’s the most exciting for me here!

Thank you, if you read all that text. And have a nice day!

More amazing deatails are coming soon, so I’d really be grateful to you if you will follow my game on social media :slight_smile:

[COLOR=#c0392b]Keep in mind! Articles are not updating in time![/COLOR]

For current screenshots and feedback with me, please,

check the game’s Twitter and Instagram pages.