Over the past year we have focused most of our efforts towards our website SandBoxd leaving little time for much else; we haven’t done much in terms of game design. Remember that we originally wanted to create a website for ourselves as well as any other game developers out there to be able to easily host and create infrastructure for the super-versatile HTML5 games. Having reached a point where we are comfortable with the site, we have begun to shift our focus back towards our roots of game design, thinking of what the next project could be.
We have decided to start Genesis.
Looking back at our previous major title, ZED, we saw that it fell short in a lot of regards, and can be looked at as somewhat of a flop. Deconstructing the reasons why, we noted in particular design crippling scope-creep that fed into a lack of cohesive project management which ultimately brought us to a project that was a far bigger proverbial bite than we could chew. What is important to us is to understand that we fell short of our goals, and in the end learn from the experience so that we won’t let our users down in the future.
The biggest thing we needed to address was the scope-creep--the process of slowly increasing the features of a project so that it doesn't seem like large additions, but the aggregate of them becomes an unfinishable project. As game designers excited about a real world zombie RPG, we were giddy with all the cool things we could add to make an amazing experience: “It would be great if there were many zones procedurally generated…” “Yeah, so then we should create a subway system for fast travel!...” “Cool! so then we should add factions you can create with friends and control territories…” etc etc. From there, our concepts got blended together to the point where one critical minimum feature was then tied to an advanced feature that really didn’t need to be in first release, and then everything suffered.
Our goal now is we want to nail the core mechanics of the game down. Figure out the exact minimum framework we need, and build upon those mechanics. Make something that is fun, and attainable. From there, we work forward introducing more advanced features, in discrete modular updates, using our overarching design blended with your suggestions and comments for balancing and playability. Performance is also another major concern of ours. Our previous titles suffered from rather laggy or choppy experiences, and we want to be sure that the product we deliver is not only playable, but engaging across all devices PCs, Macs, Tablets, Phones, and most any device compatible so that we can increase the users available to play, Our goal is to deliver the minimum viable game by Spring, 2015.
So let’s get to it. What will this game be about.
First and foremost, yes it will be multiplayer. However, we are taking a different approach from our previous shooter titles. Genesis will be a constructive, non-violent game with an infinite persistent world. The game will be oriented around survival, economy and trade. Players control a single character that is “you” in the game. Players will be able to mine various resources with their character and with those resources they will be able to construct buildings to help them survive and prosper.
We wanted to create a game experience that models the excitement and adventure of exploring a new land, and the importance of survival. Much of the early gameplay is all about surviving as an individual, the hunter-gatherer mindset of exploring to find food to sustain yourself as you cross the world.
To create depth and breadth to the later game experience, we wanted to put in the functionality for users to band together towards bigger goals, and more extreme progress. Akin to the prehistoric times, tribes and communities will be what allows you to progress. It takes a village, after all. The main mechanic will be resource management, so you must mine, gather, collect, and turn it into valuable output, and then scale your operation.
But bringing it back to what we were imagining earlier, we wanted to strip down the framework so that we can achieve our goals and deliver something you can play, so we broke everything down to the most fundamental mechanics, so that all we do is give you a set of rules, but it will be up to you to create your world, fund your empire, and keep to your civil duties. We are hypothesizing that this will allow you to create your own towns, cities, or metropoli, assuming you set your controls in place, managing your resources, and forming groups with the right people. Yes, that description seems like a pretty lofty experience to attain, but again we should reiterate that we are just giving you a fundamental world, with fundamental rules. It will be up to YOU on how to materialize your goals. We supply the building blocks, you make the structure.
Genesis will be exclusively available on SandBoxd. It is one of our goals with Genesis to demonstrate what is possible with modern gaming in our multi-device world. We want you to be able to play Genesis whether you are home at your computer or out and about in the world on a smartphone. No matter where you are you will still be able to enjoy a high quality, social gaming experience.
Anyways we hope you guys find this news as exciting as we do. We will be releasing updates and screenshots as we go. Feel free to comment with your questions and concerns.