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asbijou

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  1. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    A word about rewards   While the development of the game goes full on we didn't forget about the physical and digital rewards. Currently we've decided on the posters, mousepads and t-shirts designs.   Here is a photo of a printed A1-sized poster. This is how it's going to look: We will send the poster size like on the wall   Mousepad design is in similar style: In a real life it looks much better then on photo! We've decided on a different style for the t-shirt, which reflects the unknown and aggressive nature of travel in Exoplanet: With hat t-shirt looks better!   We've almost finished the voting process on the t-shirt sizes. As soon as we're done with it, we'll start shipping, since the posters and mousepads are ready to ship. A couple of words about digital rewards, the exclusive wallpapers and badges. Unfortunately the production of wallpapers is slower than was expected, since we weren't satisfied by the quality of the first versions and decided to rework them. We're striving to reflect the style and the feel of our project even in these matters. When your friend looks at your wallpaper he should ask you "Wow, what's that game?!" Those who've already registered in our forum (alersteam.com/forum) can check out the badge near their avatar and nickname which shows his role on this planet. The badges' design isn't yet finalized though. On another important note, we've improved the pre-purchase feature on our website. Each Kickstarter backer has his own account now with his respective pledge and contribution. You can also increase your pledge via our website now, in order to receive additional rewards, such as t-shirts and others.   Last but not least — stretch goals.   Our website alersteam.com has also undergone a visual upgrade. We're glad that because of Kickstarter we could breathe new life into Exoplanet's development, and we'd like that visitors of our blog will know that. That's why we've added a Kickstarter badge. There's also a progress bar at the top of our website which shows current progress till the next stretch goal. At the moment of writing there's less than 14% required to reach 80,000, which will unlock the stretch goal Random Encounters.     Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  2. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

      But as we all know very well, the technologies themselves will not make a great game with distinctive visual style, so the steady hand of an art director is required to guide the ship of the game's development to the visual brilliance and integrity. Thanks to our generous Kickstarter backers we were able to hire one for Alersteam. In fact we just signed a full-time employment contract with an artist who was working for us for quite a while and has proven his design and illustrator skills many times before. Having a full time art director is profitable for us in many ways, our game designer will spend more time with the level and mission design and this will produce more quests and better dialogs for the next big updates. We were very cautious about this important decision and were considering a trustworthy candidate and only after lots of tests and discussion we actually took this person in. As usual, according to our development philosophy we were looking for an artist who both shares with us views on the process of the development and has sufficient experience of being an art director, which combines with the actual concept art drawing with lots of task-managing and communicating with other departments (like 3d-modeling guys and animators). Finally we decided that Ivan Taranenko is the right person we need to take care of our visual design affairs.   Here are some examples of his most recent concepts he made for Exoplanet: A quick sketch of the armored train gun turret – we don't need to make it as detailed as the e.g. character sheets, leaving a bit of finishing job to the 3D-artists. Detailed concept of bounty hunter armor types (light, medium and heavy). The progression from a rookie hunter to an elite is clearly visible.   In the one of the upcoming updates Ivan will tell you more about his personal game development experience, his tasks as a lead artist in Alersteam and things he is going to change and improve in Exoplanet in order to turn it into a visually recognizable and more immersive game.   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  3. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    As you most likely know, the development of Sahara engine (and actually any game's graphic engine) is a constant and never ending process of research, testing and improvement of existent or adding completely new features to the basic functionality. We've already put to good use our world editor before, pushing it to the limits and creating quite an intricate landscape, but this wasn't enough: our game designer and level designers always wanted to create more complex locations with lots of vertically split terrain levels and non-linear paths, also increasing the scale of each level significantly. Old locations seen in our videos and in playable alpha were deemed too small, so the next prototype level for the Outpost 74 and its surroundings where the players will start their adventure on K'Tharsis has grown about 9 times in size. When increasing the playable and explorable territory like this you obviously will encounter some performance issues – so we came to the conclusion that we need to rework the terrain generator completely. In the last weekend a new stable version was compiled and we have tested it thoroughly, exploring the borders of the playgrounds our new tech can deliver. Terrain is happy to be upgraded The results were quite satisfying; the new terrain editor can create patches of land that have adjustable LODs and they generally consume much less processing power, allowing us to increase seamless locations up to 9 times more than before, e.g. with a new height map generation and saving algorithm our prototype level with sides 2x2km eats less GPU and RAM resources than 250x250m in older versions of the editor. The draw distance on these levels should increase as well as creating the feeling of larger and more open world where you can reach every point of interest you can see. The next new and really enjoyable for our designers feature that was added recently is the tool that allows us to “drill” or cut holes in the terrain and cut the edges of the terrain patches, shaping them as we want. Now we can create overhanging cliffs and any cave entrances we could imagine with ease, obviously improving our level design capabilities. Jack is stunned by epicness   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  4. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    We thought you might enjoy learning a bit more about the alien life of Exoplanet we have planned for our next big stretch goal.   For the first chapter of Exoplanet our initial plan was to introduce the players to the world by releasing Jack into the rocky desert of the Red Erg, a terrain that is very similar to certain areas on Earth, and remains consistent with the Western theme. About 60% of the objects in this desert biome had to be easy for human brain to identify. They still had the Exoplanet visual flair, but it was important that the player could recognize and understand their function. The rest was going to be alien planet components to discover and learn about. But then we asked ourselves: is this "alien-looking" enough for us? Where is this wild, untamed K’Tharsis we are speaking of? The one untouched by terraforming and global climate change, the land that gave birth to the local sentient aborigine race as well as strange creatures like sand sharks? Soon we found an answer! It is deep down below the surface that has been scorched by the double suns, in an underworld consisting of enormous caves caused by the spontaneous antigravium explosions that occurred when the planet was still young. The scientists call it a unique underground wetlands biome. It houses lots of prehistoric species of K’Tharsis. Locals call it The Great Mangrove Forest.   A new biome: alien, weird, dangerous! Upon reaching the Alien Mangrove Forest Biome stretch goal we are going to include an entirely new area with new assets, enemies, and a global quest line into the first Chapter of Exoplanet. In this new area players will discover the mysteries of the aborigine race and find last remaining pieces of their ancient unique antigravium based technology. This biome is inspired by the Pellucidar setting created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Indiana Jones movies, as well as Peter Jackson's version of King Kong. All of these along with the good old concept of an alien jungle planet, often seen in the classic sci-fi books. The topology of the Great Underground Mangrove Forest is weird and twisted, this region could be described as a conjunction of huge (up to several kilometers in diameter) spherical caves connected by a labyrinth of smaller caverns. It has the structure of Swiss cheese as thick as the planet’s continental crust. Unlike the surface, this enormous maze of caves is full of water and contains something that can be described as an “alien planet jungle”: forests of huge, mushrooms as tall as trees and strange coral-like formations growing to gigantic proportions. This world without sun is lit up by glowing multicolored antigravium and numerous bioluminescent creatures.   Real world prototype - bioluminescent worms in New Zealand’s caves. In The Great Forest you've got to learn new tricks to survive because local plants hunt animals and animals mimic plants. You’ve got to study them and use them to your advantage.   Exploding mushrooms: young ones can be used as food or medicine, the ripe ones will make deadly explosive traps. The original dwellers of the Forest are the savage aborigine tribes, almost untouched by civilization. Cannibals and relentless headhunters - they are the last pitiful descendants of the ancient aborigine empire that was destroyed by an unknown cataclysm. Now they protect the relics of the past, the real meaning of which they forgot centuries ago: great temples, now crumbling and overgrown by mushroom jungles and strange mechanisms powered by antigravium. These amazing mechanisms now lie nonfunctional and waiting for someone to repair them and probably make use of them. Exploring The Great Forest you must learn the language of these savage tribes and understand their customs and traditions in order to become their friend or to hunt them down and slay the cannibals for cash.   Early studies of the aborigine heads. WIP. Humans entered this secret realm in search of ancient treasures and precious crystals and claimed a part of it for themselves - the mobile part. The Raft City ruled by the iron hand of the Blackthorn Mercenaries is roaming the swamps of the Great Forest, moving from one deposit of antigravium sand to the other. The dredges never stop, they work at the brink of overload to cope with Devil’s Throat mine, but there is never enough antigravium sand for the ambitious mercenary leader. A bold plan is being prepared to surprize the Terraform corporate dogs and you might become a part of it. Just make sure to pick the right side in this conflict (the winning one, as Jack always does).   Raft City never rests: tomorrow it might be unmooring to move to another dredging spot. In this new place you will find weapons, armor and gadgets based on the strange ancient technology involving pure antigravium. How could the aborigines who don't even know about electricity make huge rocks fly? Can an anti gravium-powered sledgehammer stop a running arphant? What does the antigravity grenade actually do? Will you be able to levitate using atigravium armor? Find out for yourself. If you manage to obtain and repair those items buried centuries ago in the secret spots of the Great Jungle.   Ancient antigravium technology. Better watch out or you will be crushed by flying rocks! We hope that this biome will satisfy those players who are seeking the true alien planet experience or just want to take a vacation from the desert surface of K’Tharsis. With your support, The Alien Mangrove Forest will become a great addition to the first Chapter of Exoplanet. Dear Exoplanet’s backers and other players, our Kickstarter campaign is almost over and this is the right time to summarize our experience and tell you about our plans for the near future. This month was one of the hardest experiences we have gone through during the entire 3 years of Exoplanet’s development, mostly because of the psychological aspects of having our game being exposed to the judgement of new people. This is the biggest audience we have shared our concept of an RPG with so far. From the very beginning of the campaign we were surprised by how many people reacted positively to our pitch video (which was a bit experimental and contained mainly alpha gameplay footage) and description of our project, so we have put a lot of effort into our updates, trying to tell you as much about the game as we can in this relatively short period of time. We have not released all of the information about Exoplanet’s world, planet K’Tharsis, our characters, or the numerous aspects of the gameplay (e.g. our skill system, crafting and hardcore mode elements), so we will continue to share our vision of the game, insight into the development process, and the results of our work in the upcoming updates here on Kickstarter and on our website. Unfortunately, our campaign didn't get coverage from the biggest game-related internet magazines and websites, but despite this fact we have reached two major stretch goals thanks to the support and active position of our backers and several smaller internet resources. We send our heartfelt thanks and feel deepest gratitude to those journalists and authors who interviewed us, and backers who have spread the word about Exoplanet across the Internet. It is simply astounding that the content we are producing, our concept of an action/RPG game we started to develop as our hobby and then made it our professional field, has found such a large resonance within the community of PC players. For us as developers, the feedback and the ideas our growing community gives us is more valuable than money. Our goal has always been to make Exoplanet a game that is interesting for ourselves as simple players, not to follow the trends or pursuing a mere commercial profit. It seems that we have found a lot of like-minded people on Kickstarter and that feels great! Exoplanet fans, those who believe in our dream, who fought for the media coverage alongside us to this day and defended our views despite all hardships - you gave us more than the funds to finish the development. You have given our small team of 8 a huge boost of motivation and creative energy for long time to come. Together we're going to make Exoplanet even better!     Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  5. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

      Amphibians: ancient, grumpy and conservative. They can swim, breathe underwater and sell a glass of water to a drowning man. Amphibians were the first alien race encountered by humans in their booming interstellar expansion. In fact, Terra was situated on the border of their vast domain, but the outcome of direct contact with humans was deemed unprofitable by their government. The uncivilized savages, who barely escaped self-destruction in a nuclear apocalypse, had nothing to offer the wise and rich race of builders and traders who invented interstellar travel about 20,000 years before the Egyptians built their pyramids. But, one day, the savages from a third planet in a yellow dwarf system started to sail the star seas and colonize other planets that were mostly too uncomfortable or too dangerous for amphibians. They extracted the natural resources of these harsh worlds for sale, or to serve as mercenaries in local conflicts for the wise and wealthy. Humans always were and will remain a barbaric, unreliable, and chaotic kin, who are not to be trusted. Unfortunately, these barbarians cannot be ignored anymore. The verbal self-identification of the elder neighbors of our race is unpronounceable by humans, who simply cannot produce sounds of such high frequency, so they were simply named Amphibians for their biological features. These calm creatures, who swim and breathe under water, originate from a world covered with jungles and swamps. Amphibians are hermaphrodites who can change their sex according to their social status and age: • young travellers, explorers, and traders can be female or male; • adult warriors, protectors, and builders must be male; • elder rulers and parents are female. Usually, they live in large communities that could be described as corporations or financial unions of several genetic bloodline clans. Several corporations built a Consortium, the amphibian’s equivalent of the planetary government, where the places are sold on auction. The most wise and wealthy bloodlines rule the planets and struggle to get along, but usually avoid wars and assassinations, proclaiming them to be too uncivilized. Amphibians value money and other physical attributes of wealth. They hate wasting their gathered resources by making insecure investments. They are said to be conservative and cautious, when making decisions or picking sides in conflicts. Bar na Bas “The Scrooge” is not your typical polite amphibian.On K’Tharsis he learned to shoot first, and then negotiate with the survivors. Bar na Bas, nicknamed by the locals “the Scrooge” established his pawn shop in Outpost 74 about 50 years ago. This old amphibian living on a hot K’Tharsis for decades is probably an outcast of the famous bloodline for some unknown crimes and is doomed to live in exile. Despite being a querulous and greedy person, he managed to build connections with lots of important people on the planet and is known as one of the most successful whispermongers in the desert region. Bar na Bas can obtain any information you need, but you gotta pay the right price either in crystals, or, even more dangerous, by fulfilling his various requests. If you think that this is a big gun, you are wrong. Bar na Bas keeps his biggest gun under the counter. Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:      
  6. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    22 minutes of gameplay with developers commentary: [video]https:[/video] We believe that this simple quest will be a great example of the things you should expect in Exoplanet’s Beta, and the final release of the Chapter (on a much larger scale, of course). Longer missions will involve more factions and will include complex objectives with many optional goals. Short or long, they all will have common features: those that are our design pillars for creating quests that we would like to solve ourselves as players. From the perspective of a game developer, it’s far more difficult to work on such non-linear quests than on the standard ”filler” side-activities or heavily story-driven main quest missions. Luckily in the last 3 years, we have proved that our team never gives up facing this kind of difficulties. According to our design philosophy, all quests in Exoplanet must follow a set of rules: ? K’Tharsis is a wild planet where homo homini lupus est (in our case the proverb works well for the aborigines and other aliens too) and everyone on this cruel Frontier world wants to make profit of the others, including the NPC’s, who will try to manipulate Jack Sharp. They are not “vending machines” stuffed with quests for players to take advantage of them. ? Players can refuse to do certain quests or abort the mission if they don’t like the outcome or the actions that must be taken to complete it. The world will react to this decision, though. ? Patient players will always make more profit and get extra rewards. Impatient players can kill everyone and rush for the quickest way to achieve their goals. Sooner or later, they will face the consequences of their deeds. ? All the actions that players take during a quest must be visualized (e.g. items will be placed on or removed from locations, NPC’s will spawn and disappear, the environments will change adding new dangers, various events will be activated, etc.). The final result should resemble gameplay sequences similar to those you can see in the video above. Please be aware that this is still work in progress and many things will change, including the options to solve this particular quest, and its consequences. At the end, there is still a possibility that someone is willing to pay for slaying Angry Jag and putting his head on a stake, starting another quest or, why not, an entire chain of them. You will be able to discover this by yourself in our upcoming alpha patches. And last but not least, we must thank Julian Höning for lending us his great voice to make the commentary for this update. Julian is our candidate for recording English and German voiceovers for some of the characters living on K'Tharsis. We believe he will make a perfect fit for certain NPC’s. Please share your thoughts and let us know what you think of his voice in the context of Exoplanet!   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  7. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

      Thank you. Our engine is pretty good but we are improving it all the time. So it's hard sometimes but it is worth it.
  8. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    Check out the main theme from Exoplanet's soundtrack [WIP]:   [video]https:[/video]   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:      
  9. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    New stretch goal "Assemble your Crew" We've unlocked the first stretch goal, Origins of Jack! Players will now be able to choose from several background stories for Jack’s origin. Each story impacts his look and special skills. Some even include unique perks that affect the gameplay! Now let’s talk about the new stretch goal for Exoplanet: First Contact.   In many modern RPGs companions are a standard feature, but sometimes it can be annoying to manage and control them. Some developers go even further and make interacting with companions and completing their personal sidequests an important part of the core gameplay that cannot be avoided if you wish to get the “good” ending. We at Alerstam think that all of the game’s features should be enjoyable and not punish the player for avoiding some activities they are not so fond of. In Exoplanet all of the companions activities are completely optional and in fact there is a special achievement called “Lone Wolf” for completing the game without using their help. They may still appear in some quests on their own behalf, but if you would rather walk the lonesome road and like quiet moments of solitude - then just leave them at your ship to do the daily chores. Or don’t even invite them aboard in the first place. You are the captain after all.   Just me and my buddy vs K’Tharsis We decided to limit the number of companions you can take with you on a mission to one person. It was a hard decision to make, but this limitation is a result of our experience playing many other action RPG’s. We also took into consideration what the companion should bring to Exoplanet’s core gameplay in order to be valued by players, to be seen as a friend but not expendable NPC you can easily replace. On one hand, we want to give the player good company, a buddy to talk to and help on his journey. On the other hand, we are trying to exclude boring micromanagement and don’t want to implement the standard “party” mechanics. The companion is your sidekick, your Robin. In Exoplanet the bond between the hero and his companion is stronger, it is more intimate than in the “party based” games because our companions are designed to be unique and contribute to your gameplay experience in many fields.   How to get yourself a companion Watch out for quests and try to be be charismatic and patient. In your adventures on K’Tharsis, you will inevitably meet many interesting personalities: humans, aliens and other creatures that you can convince to become members of your crew and live on your spaceship mobile base. Some of them are cut out to be your sidekicks and can follow you everywhere you go, provided you help with different activities according to their specialization.   What can a companion do? First of all, he or she (or it) will be a valuable asset to your crew, providing unique passive bonuses to your mobile base. Some companions will increase the ship’s defences or travelling speed, others will help to manage supplies or craft and improve your equipment, some will help you to find or avoid random encounters etc. When you take a companion on a mission, he will provide you his unique skills to aid you in combat or other gameplay aspects. For example, one will help you negotiate by adding a couple of lines to the dialogue. One half of a war is fought with words. The other will break into locks on doors and containers that you aren’t able to break into by yourself. The third is a real “animal whisperer” who can calm down wild beasts or redirect their attack onto other enemies. These are just a few examples of the additional options your companions will unlock. Your buddies have a personality, their own beliefs, desires and fears, so they will also react to your decisions and situations you will encounter, sometimes giving a sharp comment or even taking part in dialogues. Be careful: some companions will not tolerate certain courses of action. Luckily, they will give you a warning before leaving your side, so if for example you are really determined to burn down that aborigine village, just be sure to pick the right companion for the job or face the possibility of getting rebuked by others. Don’t test your leadership capabilities too much though, or one day you could face a revolt.   How to command your companion We want to make the typical interaction with the companion easy and contextual, limiting them to literally pressing one button that is called “Command companion”. Point at the cover and they will take it. Point at the enemy and press the key - and the companion will attack him using all his means. If you want a special attack or interaction then hold the button and choose available actions from a radial menu. Point at the cover and they will take it. Point at the interactive item to command your companion to pick it up or use it. The button in the menu will set the combat mode of the companion (defensive or offensive, melee or ranged combat, enable activation of special attacks at will). You can always change these settings on the fly.   Meet the space biker Vasily Volkov: a companion born to be a badass. 7 feet and 400 lbs of muscles. You better hope to have have him on your side in a saloon brawl! Vasily’s Short Biography Vasily was born on Volf’s Stone, an airless massive planet with 1.6G gravity that exports only 2 products: uranium and military recruits. Since he was not fond of the idea of spending his entire life mining radioactive ore and looking up at the metal skies of underground cities, Vasily enlisted in the Terran Alliance Marines at age 16 by hacking into his boarding school’s database and adding a couple of years to his real age. The recruits from Volf’s Stone were always welcome in Alliance’s military service thanks to their exceptional physique and psychological endurance. Usually no one dares to direct questions about age at the guy who can bend a crowbar with his bare hands. In fact, if Vasily had stayed on his home planet he would never grow over 5 feet and 200 lbs due to the high gravity and heavy labor in mining operations. Freed from the hard embrace of his homeworld and thanks to the genetic modifications typical for all inhabitants of the Stone, he grew at tremendous rate and at 18 was the biggest grunt in his platoon, carrying a heavy machine gun with ease, like his comrades did with their standard issue recoilless assault weapons. Vasily saved the lives of his comrades many times and was revered and respected by his mates and superiors. 25 years later, a decorated veteran, sergeant Volcov, who fought through the entire Human-Orha war and survived, was about to retire and spend the rest of his life as a revered citizen of on one of the Core Worlds. His last combat mission was the beginning of the Tartaros sector conflict. We do not know what happened to his platoon or his leg nor why he preferred to remain Missing In Action and finally settled on K’Tharsis. Since his “retirement” Vasily began to drink like there’s no tomorrow and build custom hoverbikes during his short periods of soberness that were always filled with black melancholia. The only thing that could give him some temporary relief was riding alone in the desert. He found himself fascinated by the vast expanse of the K’Tharian plains and roamed free under the double suns and countless stars at night. Maybe he will share these stories, if you manage to successfully complete his personal quest line. A fun fact about Vasily: Mr Volkov has a genetic augmentation that allows his digestive system to convert pure alcohol into adenosine triphosphate. He can literally “fuel” himself with booze! In order to get properly drunk he needs to consume a dose of ethanol that would be lethal to any normal human. That is why he is unrivaled in drinking competitions.   Vasily’s Unique Equipment “Grizzly Mk III” exoskeleton combat suit. Vasily’s old military grade spacesuit provides him with excellent protection against kinetic weapons and environmental hazards. It also has some cool airbrushed graphics, decals, and mean face mask. The backpack contains a significant amount of C2H5OH as emergency supply storage. This friendly “face” is the last thing many bandits and raiders will see in their life. “The Road Warrior” is a triple barreled, eight-gauge sawed off shotgun, Vasily’s favorite sidearm that he never leaves at home. The recoil is so strong that it could break the wrists of a normal man. Just as Vasily likes it. The real life prototype was produces by Chiappa Firearms. The eight-gauge version owned by mister Volkov turns unarmored raiders into heaps of shredded meat and can blow up a hoverbike with one well-placed shot. The downsides are the low reload speed, rather poor accuracy, and expensive ammo.   Real life prototype of Vasily’s sidearm was designed for hunting big game animals. Vasily prefers to hunt raiders. Active Skills Vasily is a front liner and a “tank”-type character. He knows that you will use him as a meat shield and does not object to such tactics. In fact, when he closes his helmet and remembers his war days, he becomes a different man, fierce and merciless, enjoying the destruction and death he causes. Send him into the fray and he will not hesitate to get his hands dirty, taking advantage of his extraordinary physical capabilities and performing amazing moves such as: Mighty Headbutt - Vasily's unique melee combat move: a targeted strike with his head that stuns larger enemies and knocks smaller on the ground unconscious Living Battering Ram - for a man of his size Vasily can move amazingly fast if needed. Once in a while he charges and bodyslams crates and other small cowers destroying them and leaving enemies defenceless. As you probably already guessed, charging at the small opponent sends him flying. Larger humanoids and creatures hit by the Living Battering Ram could stay stunned for a while so you can take your time and score a good headshot on them. Angry Throw - our big friend can grab and throw large objects like barrels, gas canisters, or crates at enemies which are too heavy for Jack to lift. Using the advanced levels of this skill Vasily can even grab small (in his case that means - any normal humanoid) enemies and launch them at their friends. Another way includes strapping a hand grenade to the poor guy’s ass before launching him. Passive Traits Every companion contributes to Jack’s cause in different fields, e.g. Vasily provides following bonuses: Talented Mechanic - Having Vasily on your ship increases the speed of ship’s repair and upgrades significantly. All hoverbike chassis, parts, and upgrades you might buy get a discount in shops. A Man Has His Needs - The ship gets regular free shipments of booze for its mess and you will find Vasily’s secret stashes with a bottle or two, saved for a rainy day in the most unpredictable places. In the field, the alcohol he consumes provides Vasily with adenosine triphosphate for his impressive muscles and also improves his mood. Being slightly drunk, Vasily deals 20% more damage in melee. But be careful and don’t let him drink too much - he might become melancholic and lose his focus. This hoverbike is probably the best one on K’Tharsis. And the deadliest. Volcov’s Custom “Fury” - Our tough guy is a skilled mechanic, probably the best on K’Tharsis, and has a knack for making intuitive inventions. He built this masterpiece of a bike using parts from other vehicles, devices, and even spaceships to fit his personal taste. Vasily has always had a taste for more horsepower, stronger armor, and bigger guns. His hoverbike is faster than other models and more durable when it comes to ramming into something. The unique feature of this amazing ride is an armored sidecar equipped with 2 machineguns. Jack can hop into it and shoot the raiders while enjoying the highest degree of safety a hoverbike can offer. Gameplay-wise that means you will steer the bike and have a 360 degree fire sector for the main caliber. No other bikes can provide this. Vasily is irreplaceable in driver seat though - this is his personal bike and no one else is allowed to touch the handles, no exceptions even for his captain. So if you wanna have a strong shoulder to support you in combat, win a race or just shoot some raiders in the desert, take Vasily as your companion and show them the meaning of being pawned! We hope that you like our concept of companions and we will reach this new stretch goal together to be able to use Vasily’s strength as well as findin other unique friends who will accompany us in our journey on the wild planet K’Tharsis.         Thank you very much!
  10. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    We’re 100% funded, which means the game is going to be finished. All this couldn’t be possible without you! Every single pledge, retweet, like and share counts, and has helped us reach our goal. Thank you all again! We’re super excited that we really made it! We promise we will do everything in our power to deliver an amazing game experience for you, our players. We’re also happy that there are so many old-school RPG fans around the world! You guys rock! Thanks for all your comments, questions and nice words.   [VIDEO]https:[/VIDEO] We won’t stop here! You know we have launched several stretch goals to add new features and scenarios to the game. ? $50,000: When starting a new game, you will be able to choose from several background options for Jack Sharp. These options will give him bonuses for certain skills and sometimes unique perks, affecting the gameplay in many ways. ? $60,000: This stretch goal is heavily inspired by one of the most important Firefly TV-series concepts and by the one of the most popular mod categories for open world RPG’s, as well - the building of a home or a mobile base for the player. ? $80,000: In our vision of the Exoplanet’s complete state, we see a global map as a convenient mode for travelling between locations and finding new ones. Global map will become a new level of exploration of the game’s world, similar to Fallout 1-2 or Wasteland 2, to give you a contemporary example. This Kickstarter will continue until September 12, so there is still a chance to join us and become part of Exoplanet: First Contact. Keep sharing Exoplanet with your friends, space cowboys fans, and old-school RPG gamers. You are just amazing. –Alersteam Team
  11. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    Before going into the update... Thanks to all of our awesome backers, we’ve now reached 50% of our funding goal. We love you, and will continue share info about Exoplanet! For those who are following the campaign closely, you may have noticed a spike during the last few hours. We have the awesome Imgur community to thank for that! We posted a few graphics of the game there, and it exploded! Now, for more on the history of K’Tharsis and the Devil’s Throat Mine... Click to read this update on Kickstarter: Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:           Thank you! We are trying to do our best.
  12. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    In the last days we have been getting a lot of questions from you, our backers, and some media representatives about the stretch goals. We decided to release them as soon as we reached the 25% funding mark. A small spike of backers is now bringing us close to the 30% of the initial goal! Our heartfelt thanks for the new backers and those who decided to upgrade their pledges. The time has come and here are our Stretch Goals for Exoplanet: First Contact Kickstarter campaign! Check Exoplanet: First Contact stretch goals HERE. Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  13. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    Every good story or rather — the setting of the game — starts with the definition of the place where the plot will unfold. In our case the scene for the adventures of our protagonist, Jack Sharp, is a desert planet, former mining colony called by the locals K’Tharsis. In this big lore update we would like to tell you about the discovery of this planet and the roots of the local society that has developed according to the laws of the Space Frontier, resembling in many ways the rules and habits of the real Wild West colonization period on Earth. Click to read this update on Kickstarter: Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  14. asbijou

    Exoplanet: First Contact

      Before we go into the Chapter, we wanted to thank each and everyone of you who has already showed their support, and to those who have posted their feedback! From all of us at Alersteam: Thank you! During the first days of Exoplanet’s Kickstarter campaign we received a lot of questions. One of the most important is “what is a Chapter in your vision of the game?” Many people think a Chapter is an Episode, a relatively small part of the game, that could be released as a DLC for instance. But we strongly define it as different thing! We want to focus that a Chapter is a complete game with a full storyline and quests. The player won’t feel like he only saw the first TV series episode, but he took part in a complete adventure like one movie of The Lord of The Rings. Our decision of 10+ hrs of gameplay is our MINIMAL DELIVERY, and this covers the main story only. There will be sidequests and exploration activities, that will allow you to get to know K’Tharsis in detail and to discover new options for the main quest. Side quests will lead to non linear gameplay, and as a result increase replayability of the game. One more important callout is that every quest is unique and hand crafted. You will have unique experiences, not the same one when different NPCs ask you to make similar activities. Consider it like higher quality gameplay, not quantity. So it’s really 10+hrs + sidequests + exploration + replayability. But this is not all what we have in store. In our plan we have several major stretch goals, that add to the game additional activities that will increase gameplay hours twice or more and add new experiences. The stretch goals will be revealed in following updates. We are starting with Chapters, as we understand our current limitations. We are not a big studio and we don’t have a big group behind us. So we decided to be honest and use a word that we can handle. We strongly believe many gamers understand that $45,000 is not enough to make a game for >80 hours of quality gameplay. That’s why we decided to go with several large and logically separated Chapters, and move some ideas to stretch goals. If we have enough funding, we can implement more gameplay and content in this Chapter as we already have ideas and desires to implement more features and content for the Exoplanet’s world.   Click to read this update on Kickstarter [VIDEO]http:[/VIDEO]
  15. [VIDEO]http:[/VIDEO]   Name: Exoplanet: First Contact Genre: Action / RPG / Survival Mode: Single player Status: Alpha build #14 / WIP Steam Early Access Distribution: Steam / preorder Website: Alersteam / Exoplanet: First Contact Engine: Sahara Engine (Custom Built) Graphics API: OpenGL + GLSL     Exoplanet: First Contact is a single-player, story driven action-RPG set in a space western universe, where real and fictional technologies meet the cruel and unforgiving, yet romantic reality of the Wild West exploration and development. You are playing as Jack Sharp, a daring adventurer, stranded against his will on a dangerous, wild planet known as K'Tharsis. The former mining outpost where he’s taken up residence is now gradually becoming a “ghost colony” as the Antigravium Crystal Rush is over and the inhabitants of this desert world struggle for survival.               In our game we transpose the outstanding archetypes of the western genre characters and the ever-existing problems of the human race to the steadily moving Space Frontier, to a resource colony situated far from the beaten paths on the wild, untamed planet K’tharsis. Torn apart by conflict between the mining corporations and the free prospectors, the colonists, and natives, this is a place where actions speak louder than words, a place that contains eminent danger for our protagonist, who has never before set foot on these hot sands. Despite the fact, that you can ride a hoverbike and have cybernetic augmentations, you still need to keep your trustworthy revolver well cleared and greased, just in case you want to leave the town’s walls. The local humans often see kindness as a weakness and aborigines won't be impressed by bubble gum and glass beads. The Western genre has not only granted us a healthy dose of good old “shoot ‘em up” moments but also a rich set of charismatic characters to meet. Many of them are the spiritual successors of cult personalities from Western movies who always have a strong and understandable motives, as well as a few skeletons in the closet. On K’Tharsis, the vast desert in-between the so-called fires of civilization is ruled by violence. Various outcasts, desert raiders, runaway slaves and even the original natives are always thirsty for the blood of other inhabitants of this cursed planet. They fight the “normal” people and aliens, who seek safety behind the walls of free settlements and last corporative enclaves. These are the years of decay for human colonial regime on K'Tharsis. A single man in the wrong place, at the wrong time becomes the smallest stone that triggers an avalanche of events. The only thing guaranteed is that not every inhabitant of the planet will survive. We also decided to invent a “new gold”, a precious mineral which is driving the colonists mad, spilling some fresh oil onto the flames of the eternal conflict in human civilization. This “new gold” is called Antigravium, and it became a symbol and the fuel that feeds the ambitions of the daring colonists, who, like their ancestors, are mesmerized by the visions of enormous wealth to be found literally under their feet on those wild Frontier planets. Unable to resist the call of this new Gold Rush, they ventured to the wilderness to spend their life in an unrelenting environment in hopes of laying foundations for the generations to come — or to die in vain. The “Antigravium Crystal Rush” broke out on K’Tharsis decades ago, but the local powers that be are still fighting for control over the remaining deposits of this treasured mineral. Wandering in this strange world full of opportunities and deadly traps, you must act carefully, always watching your back and keeping an eye on your numerous enemies, trusting only a select few friends.   Exoplanet: First Contact is a balanced mix of RPG and action game mechanics. The RPG aspect signifies a thoughtful and nonlinear approach to plot development where the player can choose how the story unfolds while facing the consequences of his deeds. The action mostly revolves around old fashioned gun-slinging, spiced with futuristic weaponry. The player can snipe at long range, use an assault rifle-like weapon for mid-range, and a variety of shotguns for close encounters, as well as getting up close and personal with melee weapons. You can focus on mastering a certain weapon category or rise as a jack-of-all-trades making use of different weapons and combat skill synergy. A skilled shooter can also make use of his environment, activating devices and destroying objects to maximize the damage to groups of enemies. Talking to NPCs and listening to their ambient dialogs will not only help you solve quests but also enlighten you to Exoplanet’s rich lore and provide additional information about the remarkable characters you will meet. They always have a background, their own story to tell, their motives and problems, fears and quirks. Learning all this will allow you to influence the NPC’s or get access to the locations of secret stashes and hideouts, or even warn you of upcoming assassination attempts. We give everyone a couple of fun barks and tips for your hero as well as reaction lines leading to the events you have probably got yourself involved in. Our crafting system opens up options for a patient player who has spent time gathering resources and blueprints which allow you to learn how to: • mine Antigravium; • salvage scrap from old items; • build electric fences, portable turrets, camping assets, mining equipment and more; • augment old weapons and armor with new features, or craft entirely new ones; • forge amulets and rings to please your taste and boost your stats; • create unique items with excusive properties or simply mass-produce trinkets to barter with the locals. And when you’re finished preparing, it’s time for some good old bounty hunting, killing monsters, robbing farmers and doing anything else you need to do to strike it rich. Exoplanet will also introduce innovative elements of survival that are limited (and optional) to give the player a more immersive experience of traversing a wild alien world and facing its hostile environments. If you choose to turn these options on, the hero will be affected by realistic needs like sleep, food and water. The lack of them will add negative effects to his physical and mental condition. So eat up those juicy hornhog steaks and crusty bitebugs-on-a-stick which you can cook at a campfire, and make sure that you gather some healing plants and keep your water canteen full: a well fed and rested hero is worth a dozen hungry and dozy bandits. In a good RPG, the growth of your character must always visibly affect the gameplay and that is why our role-play system is based on the idea of perks you can unlock and upgrade at every level. Perks are the game-changers. They allow you to interact with the world in a new and fascinating way as the foundation for creating your gameplay style, whether it’s focused more on direct combat approach, stealth, social or crafting activities. We are doing our best to design all the perks to be viable for many “builds” of the characters you will play.   Jack might be not always act as a paragon of virtue, but we don’t just love western characters for their positive traits. Mister Sharp is not one of these clichéd Chosen Ones, destined to save the world with his band of mismatched henchmen and become the head of a secret service or powerful organization in the process. He is a smart-ass, charismatic scoundrel, whose selfishness often backfires on him, but he never stops looking for a big catch. Fortunately, Jack is bright enough and knows how to hold a gun. This fact, coupled with his natural wits and luck have saved him from any dire consequences of his precarious and impulsive choices, so far. Mister Sharp often calls himself an independent merchant, but his real field of activities was stretch widely from smuggling to salvaging battle wreckage and even good old piracy. Despite the fact that Jack does his best to create an image of a cold-blooded killer, who blasts heads like pumpkins while maintaining a perfect poker face, his few close friends know him as quite a sentimental gentleman with critical weakness for pretty women. This guy could be called a real charming anti-hero, because creating him we took inspiration from Han Solo (Star Wars Universe) and Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly TV-series) adding some western grit from Clint Eastwood’s western movies characters, so don’t be surprised hearing our Jack delivering those punchy one-liners from time to time.  After all, Exoplanet: First Contact is a western! In videogames, the best way to tell something is to show it, so the logically correct and well-thought actions our protagonist can perform and his realistic decisions are what will define a credible, mature and highly motivated central character for our story. The mysterious planet K’Tharsis gives many desperate people a second chance, but only one. Will our charismatic hero find something here more valuable than just money and vengeance? Perhaps he will discover true friendship or even love? A new purpose for his life? Or will he become a selfish, power-hungry killer or a virtuous lawman? A cold-blooded corporate mercenary or a legendary savior of the enslaved aborigines? It is up to you to decide!   The world of Exoplanet will tell you its story trough the level-design and scripted events you will encounter, but not in the way of a railroad show we often can expect from a modern RPG-like games. One of the primary goals of our team, one of the pillars of our design philosophy is to make the exploration of Exoplanet's world an enjoyable and rewarding process. Our game’s world consists of large separate locations that could be called levels, which are connected via loading screens. Each location is completely free to explore, and it usually contains one unique biome or landscape type, several quest hubs, as well as secret areas and points of interest. A good example of a similar design would be Dragon Age: Origins or Borderlands 2. However, levels in Exoplanet: First Contact have a much more complex terrain, with many levels which contain more paths, shortcuts, and hidden areas. There will be no loading screens when entering houses and caves in each level, and only the natural objects will stand as impenetrable borders for the player’s movement. No invisible walls or scripted closed doors will hinder your freedom, but you must always consider that strong enemies, environmental hazards, or even your reputation with certain factions will affect the chances of your survival in certain areas. Explore wisely, study your environment, and improve your equipment. Take a step off the beaten path, if you dare.     Overall, this approach allows us to create each location with its own unique assets and landscape, lighting scheme and effects with more details than any open world engine can process. Our locations will change as you make important decisions in quests, sometimes opening new paths, building new obstacles or completely changing the rules of navigation and combat, even resetting dangers and traps you must be aware of. The world reacts to your actions: you can revisit levels at will to see the fruits of your deeds and to obtain extra profit from new side quests and encounters. Who knows, maybe your arrival will be celebrated as a homecoming of the great hero. Or, perhaps there will be a price on your head and packs of hungry bounty hunters on your heels as soon as you show up in already explored areas. Solving problems one way or another, case by case, you will shift the balance of the global situation in the game’s world towards critical states, where the events will unfold on their own. Your actions can wipe entire towns and locations from the map, or change their inhabitants and their attitude towards you. The living and breathing world of Exoplanet: FC does not revolve around your hero and his decisions alone, but you can affect its state on a larger scale than you would sometimes expect. Through the reactivity of the world, we create high replayability and your first playthrough will not be like the second or even the third if you want to discover all possible options, find the optimal way to get the best reward, or keep your conscience clean.   Before Mister Sharp landed on the K’Tharsis, he was a proud owner of a hunk-a-junk private spaceship, the small freighter that he loved more than his life. His spaceship was both his home and the manifestation of freedom to Jack. In the prologue of our story this most precious thing was taken from him by force. Delivering suspicious "geologists" with military implants (ha!) and their equipment to a smugglers landing on the remote planet was quite risky, but the call of "easy money" could not be easily resisted in Jack's financial situation. Once he had fulfilled his part of the deal, the treacherous employer shot Jack in the back and dumped him from the ramp of his "Crystal Betty" like a sack of trash. Now Jack is stranded on K'Tharsis and wants “his flying baby” back. Bullets will be shot, teeth cracked and God knows what will happen, because Jack has become angrier and greedier than ever. A man with a mission and a strong backbone for taking back what was his - will it suffice to survive on the planet that has already consumed generations of such adventurers? See it for yourself. Our main quest line will tell you stories of ambition, greed, treachery and heroic deeds, accomplished by a rugged antihero, whose only true desire is to get his freedom back. Our team hates to see the mindless filler, fetch/kill side quests just as a source of  experience points or being used to prolong the length of the game. In Exoplanet: First Contact, both the main plotline and each optional quest will have a certain degree of freedom in their completion and provide a meaningful choice for the player, such as an opportunity to look for the most profitable way or a solution that suits your moral principles. Each choice will have logical consequences, sometimes easily predictable, sometimes not. Here are just a few examples of the world’s reaction to decision made by the player: • Spared some change for a penniless miner? Well, you just might have helped him to save for a rusty gun, which he will wisely test on you several days later, since you obviously just demonstrated that you have some cash. Maybe instead of just throwing money at the problem you should have used your connections to help this desperate guy get a new job as a prospector? • Organized aborigine slaves uprising? Who can be certain, that without shackles and telemetric collars they won’t go on a bloody carnage against simple townsfolk who had nothing to do with their former cruel masters but just happen to be not so well protected as the members of the infamous Terraform Corporation? • Found a strange artifact containing memories of a millennia old alien creature? Eager to activate it? You can get a unique perk from it or be cursed by ancient spirit resting within. Take your chances or just trade this dangerous trinket with someone else who can make better use of it. How about to play smart and to find an expert who can identify the thing’s properties and origin first, so it can lead you to a better offer from a rich collector and start a whole chain of xeno-archeological quests. The choice is yours. The coming troubles are yours as well to endure. You can be a ruthless war chief or a diplomat, an éminence grise, creating alliances between the factions, dragging them into bloody conflicts causing massive casualties or eradicate them completely. You can become a peacemaker too, but this path can prove to be even more painful and tricky.   The standard development cycle for an RPG of the Exoplanet's scale lasts about 2-3 years minimum and our team doesn't want to make our backers and other supporters to have to wait that long for us to release something barely playable at the alpha and beta stage to ruin the initial gameplay experience for them. Accounting for the fact that we already have the core gameplay mechanics up and running and have completed large amounts of pre-production, we decided to work with smaller iterations and came up with a concept of the Chapters. Exoplanet: First Contact will be released in Chapters. Every Chapter contains a significant narrative sequence with clear goals, critical decisions and their visible results. Each Chapter delivers more hours of gameplay and quests than any standard episode of modern games, for example in one of the Tell Tale studio series. One Exoplanet’s Chapter will contain approximately ten hours of core gameplay, not counting the side-quests. To summarize: a Chapter is not an episode in a TV series; it is more like a part of a book. This model allows us to release the results of our work much sooner and to receive direct feedback from our audience so we can improve the next Chapter's content, as well as update the previously released Chapters with new technology and additional features that will encourage the players to take alternative paths in their playthroughs and explore the world more thoroughly.     Exoplanet: First Contact is powered by our proprietary game technology called the Sahara Engine. The primary reason for developing and using this engine and self-developed toolset and utilities is our strong determination to create technology in order to support and benefit certain features of the game. We want to be free from the limitations and excessive functionality of the well known engine packages and companies who engineer them, keeping the mainstream and console market in their mind. The second advantage of having our engine and tools is the ability to provide the most active and creative part of our community with all means for modding. You want to improve your Exoplanet: First Contact experience? Mod it! You want to create entirely new adventures and add some new features, maybe even make a total conversion or create your spinoff? Do it with our modkit, which is planned to be released with the final chapter of the game! Last but not least comes the question of the performance and our targeted platforms. Our team always places more value on the living breathing world and immersive gameplay than on the sheer power of the engine, larger levels, polycount in scenes and fancy post-effects the modern developers are so fond of. So we decided to base our Sahara Engineon on the OpenGL API in order to make the game look as neat as possible, while being accessible to all players with all kinds of PCs. Using OpenGL allows us to port the game to MacOS, SteamOS and Linux in the future. However, the order and the terms of the development for each platform depends on how the gamers support us with these goals.     All members of our international team are professional developers and modders from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and Great Britain with a high motivation for creating a great game. Being gamers with lifelong experience, we learn from the best, we study the games we had the most fun with, and we’re trying to recreate and enhance this experience in Exoplanet: First Contact. We consider ourselves a part of the community, and developing Exoplanet has become more than a hobby, it’s a way of life for us. Our team (team is the key word here) is not a typical company, but a collective of like-minded individuals who aren't satisfied with the course modern AAA titles are taking in the RPG genre and instead we are challenging mediocrity to make a game designed with brilliance in mind.     As passionate gamers ourselves, we are greatly inspired by games, movies, and fictional worlds that changed our vision of the RPG-experience. We decided to mix the best of TESIII: Morrowind, Gothic, Fallout, the Firefly TV-series, and Dune universe together – these are the main ingredients that define the setting and the gameplay or rather the “feeling” of the game we are making. However, nostalgia alone is not a good foundation for a new universe. That is why we season Exoplanet: First Contact with some modern technology and our hard-core game design.         CONCEPT ART               SCREENSHOTS                                   LORE                
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