US Claire Force reporting for duty! I am pleased to announce that my game, Comrade Quest, is currently in development in UTD’s Game Production Lab. Back in October I pitched my idea for Game Production Lab, and it got accepted! Now I am in charge of a team of nine people- programmers, level designers, animators, and sound designers, to turn that idea into a reality.
I feel that now is the perfect time to re-purpose this blog into a development diary for my game, so that in the future I can look back and see what worked, what didn’t, and what wisdom I can gain from the development experience. Comrade Quest’s been in production for little over a month, so to catch everyone up to speed I’ll give you the history of how Comrade Quest started.
To sum it up, Comrade Quest is a co-op, 2D brawler in which players work together, defeating hordes of enemies with attack combos, summoning Communist figures and navigating hazards to reach the end of each level. In the USSR a nuclear meltdown creates a dimensional rift, summoning demonic Crapitalists and their ruler, Uncle Sham. Four heroes must gather the Seven Blocks of Techtris scattered throughout Russia, to patch the dimensional rift and destroy the Crapitalists.
It all started last September after a game of Frisbee golf with a friend. I knew that submissions for Game Production Lab (for now on, I’ll just refer to it as GPL) were coming up mid-October, and I hadn’t formulated a strong idea in my head yet as to what I wanted to pitch. I did however, have an idea for a character with a magical beard. This nameless character had a prehensile beard, which he could shape and contort with his mind. He could use his beard as a whip, a helicopter blade, a grapple, and other things. I told my friend about the idea, and he really liked it, encouraging me to develop the idea further.
Around the first week of October, I had two aesthetics competing for dominance in my all purpose note-taking spiral. Coming up with the muscle and bones of the game wasn’t that difficult. I knew that I definitely wanted to make a 2D brawler with puzzle elements, similar to Guacamelee and to some extent, Rayman Origins. To get into Game Lab however, you had to have something that was both mechanically sound and attention grabbing.
One aesthetic for the brawler was horror-themed, inspired by the brooding atmosphere of Kentucky Route Zero and the old season one episodes of Supernatural. The game would feature an ensemble of four characters, each with psychokinetic abilities over different aspects of their bodies. For example, one character would be able to grow out their muscles to pummel enemies and break down obstacles. Another character would use osteokinesis to grow out their bones and use them as weapons. The idea was transplanted from a previous game idea of mine called Isotope, which I had submitted to GPL two semesters earlier.
Soviet Russia was the other aesthetic I had in mind. I’ve always made a point to examine current trends and see what hasn’t been done or explored yet. One thing that I noticed with video games, even the more cultural ones, there are very few that take place in Russia. There are many games that take place in the United States, Japan, the Middle East, and Western Europe, but very few that take place in Russia.
There are even fewer games set in Russia in which the player is a Russian protagonist. Most of the time in video games, Russians are the faceless mooks at the receiving end of a bayonet or gun barrel. I knew that if I could make a game where Russians were the good guys for once, it might have a good chance of standing out amongst the crowd.
The deadline for GPL submission was October 14th, and I knew I had to act quickly. I liked both aesthetics, but was having a difficult time deciding one over another. I had slight preference for the horror theme at the time, but I was unsure if the theme itself would be strong enough to stand out. I ran both ideas by the same colleague that I had talked to the previous month about the magical beard character. I pitched him the horror theme and its characters first, which he was completely uninterested in. When I pitched the Soviet theme however, he immediately became interested. Right then and there I knew exactly what to go with.
Part two continued in next post!
Commandeered by the US Claire Force