For the two of you reading this, I'll provide a little background:
I've been working on independent games (mostly as a programmer, though I have managed projects and done some writing and design) for nearly ten years. I spent the first five of those trying to create the fan developed, authorized, sequel to the 80s Classic Starflight series named Starflight 3 that (to make a long and bitter story short) I failed to complete.
I then spent a year and a half working with the wonderful people of Reactor Interactive on their impressive title Sector 13. I had to leave that project for personal reasons.
I then worked on the puzzle game Sudoktress did a short stint in the game industry writing cell phone games for Gameloft and, most recently, served as the co-developer on Raymond Jacob's (AKA: EDI ) adventure game The Lost City of Malathedra .
As my duties on Malathedra are complete (and the game will very soon be released - YAY) I am moving on to my next game.
I have several goals:
1. At this point I have helped work on a succesfully completed small game (sudoktress), and co-developed a (very very very soon to be) successfully comleted mid-sized game (Malathedra). My next move, therefore, is to assume all technical responsiblities on a medium sized project from beginning to end.
2. I have had a fascination with strategy/action hybrids. I believe games like Savage and Natural Selection have given glimpses of what could be the next evolution in strategy gaming and it would be a dream come true to develop a hybrid with the strategic depth of Starcraft and the tactical brilliance of Counterstrike, allowing the world's best RTS players to combine with the worlds best Tactical FPS players for an unprecedented contest of intelligence and reflexes.
Unfortunately, my miserable failure with Starflight 3 has taught me to take baby steps so, even after all these years, my delusions of granduer will have to wait (I WILL, however, get there eventually).
Fortunately, just because I'm not going to make my dream game right now, doesn't mean I can't reach my goals. I just have to cut them down to a more managable size - and that's how war machines was born.
I have frequent discussions with an industry designer, which often go like this:
"Why hasn't anybody created a game that's an updated version of [insert classic game here]".
In one particular conversation the [insert classic game] was filled in by yet another 80s classic: Archon .
For those of you who haven't heard of Archon (and don't want to read the wiki article) Archon was a game where you were given pieces on a chess board which could move in very different ways from chess. When two opposing pieces met on a square, combat was resovled in a real time duel. Like chess, certain pieces were more powerful than others, and the various pieces had different abilities. There's more to it (read the damn wiki article you lazy bum) and, for a 1980s game it was an absolute masterpiece.
Thinking about Archon, I ran down my goals:
1. It's a strategy game.
2. It has a real time combat element.
3. It's not overwhelming to create.
1+2+3 = PERFECT! (pun intended)
After a few more discussions, I mentioned to my friend (Shawn) that I would love to update Archon. He said he'd love to work on it, and he submitted a design document for an TBS/Action hybrid inspired by Archon called War Machines.
As a (very) high level overview:
The game will, of course, use completely original IP. The TBS portion of the game will be more like Advance Wars than chess and the action component will be remnicent of Star Control .
We think we've got something that modernizes Archon and will appeal to a wide audience today. We picked up an artist named Steve and we're good to go!
Thanks for reading, catch you next time with some development details from the early stages.