Engines starting off (again)

Aug 17 2018

Hi there, Francisco here with the first update for 4drop. For those of you new to the project, I wanted to give some background on it.

4drop is, as its description states, a multiplayer game built for 2/4 players where you have to compete with each other to grab a flag and take it to the base. This is fun and games, until you notice that the environment moves in sinchronization with the music and it becomes a puzzle-like experience.

The game is really fast-paced and intense. At least that’s what we’re aiming for!

Some background

Ourocytosis (2012)


4drop is the last instance of an idea that originated on a Global Game Jam back in 2012, a game called Ourocytosis, a weird game where you had a tail that you used to capture minions that gave you powers. Super caotic, and not really accessible, but was fun enough to think about doing some progress with it.

Glitchhiker’s fight for the galaxy (2013)


After that gamejam, the project got archived for a while since I started working on The Insulines, a game we build with some friends, then worked on Moai SDK and finally moved into Counterspy.

In 2013, when done with Counterspy, I started thinking about the project again, but this time I removed the weird mechanic and wanted to explore something different, I wanted to make a fast-paced space battle game with DubStep music and some music / gameplay sinchronization. The result was Glitchhiker’s fight for the Galaxy. A local-multiplayer space fight game, still uberly caotic and not accessible.

4drop (2015)


After working on Glitchhiker’s for a couple of months, I joined Nastycloud and went to GDC in 2014, we showed the game a little bit but I was not really happy about it, so we focused on working on a new version for Nubarron. We made a kickstarter that failed, then started working on 4drop.

After working for a couple of months on 4drop, we signed a publishing deal to work on Nubarron, so 4drop got archived again. A little bit sad for me since I had so much love for this project.

4drop (2018)


So, now after three years of working on Nubarron, I left Nastycloud and started working on 4drop again.

I gave some thought about what I wanted to do, I wanted something challenging, since I was really tired of working on a platformer that had no technical challenges for me. So I decided to go remote multiplayer (something I haven’t done before) with the worst kind of game you can go multiplayer with: a fast-paced one. But I know I’m up for the challenge, I also want to get better at game design and that’s the reason why I’m opening the game to the public so early, because I want to work on the design with a small community of gamers that will help me decide how to make this game great.

Current State

So, what’s been going on this week?

Since the local-multiplayer version of 4drop has been done in an old Unity version (remember 2015!), I started the project from scratch. I gained a lot of insight in the past few years about game programming in general, so I wanted to test some ideas on architecture and they were not compatible with the way the demo was coded.

This week I’ve been working on getting the movement going. Inspired by an interesting talk on Rocket League’s architecture, I started working on a deterministic movement system, ignoring Unity’s physics and implementing everything from scratch. It’s not a big deal since, for now, the movement is pretty simplistic and we’ll see where we’re headed in the future. I want to wait until we have the aesthetics figured out (more news on this next week!) before spending too much time in player input. If the need for a fully-fledged physics system arises I’m probably going to use Bullet Physics or something like that.

The plan for next week is to get a single level playing with music synchronization and the basic capture the flag logic going on in local-multiplayer. After that, the nightmare of networking!

By the way, the ships you see in the screenshot are temporary from the assets store.

If you’re interested in more technical updates, let me know in the comments below, I’d be happy to post some on my blog and reference them here (want to keep this as programming-light as possible)!

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