I know it’s a bit odd for me to make two posts so close together, but this is a special occasion that I just had to blog about
Perhaps the few of you who follow me on my Twitter account have heard me rambling on a few times about a “design document”. And maybe even a handful of you have read a couple of my blog posts here talking about a “brand new game”. Well today was the day that I shed some light on this project to the public. May I present to you…
This is what all that “design doc” mess is about! There’s a more formal explanation behind what Project Retrograde is on our dev-blog. We’ve also setup some forums for public and private use which you can find here. So if your wondering what the general idea behind this project is, be sure to check those two places out!
So it probably seems a little redundant to have a post here as well as the dev-blog. I wanted to take some time and talk about the project and my involvement from a more personal perspective; the dev-blog announcement is meant to be more formal and impersonal, so it wasn’t really the place for that.
Ever since I laid my hands on my first video game, I’ve known that I would some day be working on and making them. It’s a very deep-rooted passion that has slowly been maturing over the years. And make no mistake, the catalyst which really convinced me that I wanted to do this was Doom. Doom and modding for Doom has given me a huge amount of appreciation the artistic qualities that make up video games. It has been such a huge influence on me in so many different ways. Prior to my modding experiences, games were just “something to play”. But nowadays I see games in a completely different way; they are works of art made by people who are passionate about what they do (well, most are I believe). Tell me – if it wasn’t so easy to make mods and maps for Doom, would it be nearly as played as it is today? Something tells me that it wouldn’t, even though Doom is probably one of the best games ever made (in my opinion, of course!). The modding and mapping community has given me plethora of skills and insight, and that may not have happened if Doom weren’t so fun or modding friendly. The glue that finally stuck me to go in this direction to create a new game, though, was my relatively short experience with the [now] Wrack team. It was there that I learned a number of things. Namely I got a taste for what making a game, completely from scratch, was all about. And after leaving the team, those experiences told me that doing this was the way to go. Not only that, but I also decided that if I was going to really get into this game design business, it was going to be as an indie developer.
Project Retrograde will be decidedly…well, retro! Some may be thinking that because I like and praise older games like Doom, that I must have a hatred of modern games. If you were thinking that, then let me tell you that certainly isn’t the case, at least not entirely. Many newer games made by large, AAA game design companies sometimes lose sight in what’s really important in a game. Sometimes graphical fidelity is emphasized over gameplay mechanics and the “fun factor”. And there seems to be little to no effort on the part of these design companies to foster a modding community; modding may be too esoteric for the regular joe or the tools may not exist. Please note that I used the word “sometimes”, as this certainly is not always the case. I also think the shift to more casual gaming is slowly eroding the fun factor for some gamers out there. The market is just responding to what the majority of people want, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Games are too easy and/or they “hold your hand” through parts of them. There’s little focus on innovating and interesting gameplay. I think the FPS genre is probably the one that is suffering from this the most. Project Retrograde won’t be just a “retro” throwback in more ways than one, but more importantly it will be a re-examining of what was fun then and how we can take those basic elements and inject new and interesting elements that compliment the oldschool gameplay. Retrograde is more than just a codename in this case; it is the philosophy by which we are tackling this undertaking.
We haven’t released any specifics about the game yet, obviously. But we will very likely release tidbits here and there about the game and the technology behind it as time marches on. I’ve spent close to a year (or longer) fleshing out many different details about the game’s content and mechanics. Things really started taking off once VortexCortex joined the team; he brought with him an energy and an intelligence that the design desperately needed. And so far we are relatively confident that what we have all come up with thus far will be pretty cool. If your a fan of Doom, Quake, Unreal, and arcade shoot-em-ups, then you might be interested in what we’re offering.
Maybe some of you are wondering how this effects any Doom-related projects I’m working on. Rest assured that, for the moment, I’m not planning on canceling or squelching on anything Doom related. Though there is very, very little chance that I’ll be signing up for any maps in the future. I’m pretty sure Doom is so ingrained in my being that I’ll never be able to put it down completely .
Anyways, it has been a busy road up to this point getting everything ready for the public announcement (dev-blog, forums, etc). Not to mention that we’ve be working on the project at the same time too! I’m eager to see where this road will lead me and, if all goes according to plan, it should be a pretty great time! Don’t forget to check our dev-blog and forums for more updates on Project Retrograde!