Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Battle Fortress Tortoise

Hi guys, this is the capstone game I've been working on at FIEA in a team of 20 for the last eight months (January - August 2012).  It's called Battle Fortress Tortoise.  It's about a clan of gnomes riding on the back of a gigantic tortoise (like a battleship).  And hordes of barbaric hyenas run up to the tortoise and climb aboard in an attempt to kill you & the tortoise.  So use your handy-dandy crossbow to shoot tracer shots (to fire cannons) and bolts (standard rifle shots) to ward off enemies.  It's a PC game that's played using the Xbox 360 controller.

August 3rd was the capstone final presentations.  All three games, BFT, Penned, and Plushy Knight turned out great--I cannot lie.  BFT was done in UDK while the other two were done in Visions.  The problem that Penned & Plushy Knight have right now is that the Scaleform license (used to render Flash movies in-game) only has a limited use so if they were to burn copies of the game now, it would be rendered null & void in a few months or so.  So some guys are working on getting the limitless Scaleform license.  On the other hand, BFT doesn't have that problem since Scaleform is built right into UDK, haha.  Yes, the BFT team has bona-fide copies of the game, box art, disc, instruction manual, all of that stuff.  Here's photo proof of the copies we received:

From March (after Vertical Slice) to July, everyone plugged away at the game.  This last month, the programming team didn't do much besides bug squashing so it was all on the producers to finish the level design, sound clips, voice-overs, trailers, box art, etc.  And this is one of the final trailers.

I suppose I could show the Penned & Plushy Knight trailers but I don't know where they are yet.  Anyway, I wonder what your opinions are on BFT.  It wasn't my idea obviously (I pitched the racing game) but yeah...the game's cool.  Props to my friends Gabe for the idea, Blake for being the fearless project lead, Max, Rock, Yanan, and Mark for being my fellow programmer friends and laughing at all my jokes, producer Jeff who actually likes racing games (so does Gabe), and everyone else for working so hard.  Check out the game's website.  Not much else to say.  After eight months, it's good to see a final product at last.  Now on to RACING GAMES, hah!!!  REVIEW SCORE: 9.9 out of 10.  Only losing one-tenth of a point for not being as good as Super Sprint.


  1. I can see what you mean with the art direction becoming more solidified over the production process. I have to admit, I was expecting much less, with the impression to simply make something that works. Instead we've got a clear showcase of effort, it looks different from everything else out there (though some parts still remind me of Warcraft and Gears), quite colorful, and uses an interesting combination of different play styles I honestly didn't expect. Which I find a really good thing - take on enemies from a distance as well as close combat, when we're usually restricted to one or another, one's implemented well and the other is really wonky, or become dependent on distant combat. I suppose I thought it'd be something of a simple tower defense game with a unique setting. I really like how the trailer revealed you're on a giant turtle the way it did. And humor!

    Now the more critical people who seem never to be impressed by anything (and I once thought myself to fall under this category until I met some far worse than I, lol) might say that some elements were clearly inspired by something and not "absolutely original". And those are the types who think nothing is original and everything's been done, so why bother - and their own work becomes boring. But you can still take those elements, mix them around and put a personal spin on them that it's still different. I can see that here and I can sense pride in this. It would've taken years for the people here to make a fraction of this, but then again I have to take into account how different the schools are with the available resources. ENVY!

    But if I have to be honest, from a consumer standpoint, I don't know if this is the kind of game I'd rush to the store to get. Which, perhaps may seem like pushing aside the efforts made, but I figure it's still something to be mindful of. That said, it kind of makes me wonder how many games I dismiss or have disliked despite the effort people put into it, but that's how it is with any product out there. Not to say the game looks bad or unappealing by any means, and if someone loaded it up and gave me a controller, I'd probably be playing past midnight. But a rush to the store, not sure. But that's subjective, and the team was likely more concerned whether they made something they were proud of, and why not? I'm bound to have many others strongly disagree with me, as it should be. It's too bad everyone here is too focused on themselves, and I might fall into this category myself, to team up to produce something to show off.

    All in all, excellent effort from what I've seen.

  2. Well the art & style gradually changed over time (unbeknownst to everyone else) as me and the programming team started to implement new features. For instance, in the last month or two of design, we decided to switch over to this "Celtic pirate" theme with cel-shaded texturing which I guess I was okay with. As long as the game stayed colorful, I was cool with it.

    I did pitch a few gameplay ideas out there like a "lightning machine gun" from temporary ammo pickups (never came to fruition), a melee attack (was axed halfway through development and never really brought back, see the vestigal bayonet at the end of the crossbow), and a kill count like in Dead Rising with the zombies (added in the 11th hour). I guess that's the best thing I could do since I wasn't heavily invested in the gnomes vs. hyenas idea in the first place.

    The game wasn't meant to be very long in the first place. It's something that gaming execs could demo in one sitting and that's exactly what we made. We were planning on implementing a "journey" mode that was supposed to balance strategy across multiple maps (like Oregon Trail but with battles) but obviously that was cut. That and anything else that would be seen as complex (like pheromone bombs that directed the tortoise which way to go). And yeah, the game's content is a bit specific (compared to Call of Duty's "guns for everyone" and Forza's "cars for everyone" gameplay) but oh well--this was one of our last chances to make a truly unique setting so they went for it. Now onto EA & Zynga where we're forced to make the same exact games over and over again, haha.

    But everyone on the team is proud and while this isn't my most favorite concept for a game, at least it feels good to get something out there so I'm proud of the team & myself for that.