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1000 Years Later

1000 YEARS LATER

Sometimes when working on a long term project the size of STASIS, you get a bee in your bonnet, and need to do something else.

After reading all the literature on WASTELAND 2, and with games like The Last Of Us, and I Am Alive coming out, I decided to take a small break from the bleak corridors and medical labs of The Groomlake, and try my hand at something a bit more…post apocalyptic!

I’ve always liked the idea of a more sandbox style approach to Adventure Gaming.  So I sat down with a pen, and quickly sketched out a very brief story and outline for a more open ended Adventure Game-something that gave the same feel of the original Fallouts.

What started out as just a little design exercise eventually spiraled into a sort of mini-design document, with quick a few really cool ideas! So I decided to take 2 weeks, and build a small tech demo.

The demo as it stands has a large map, and builds the world parametrically. So as you explore the world, you can zoom down to any part of the map, and walk around. If you revisit that spot, the same tileset will be loaded up.

There are of course towns that you can visit (the abandoned Railway Station being an example of a fixed location), as well as a system for random, and special encounters.

I also implemented a change of terrain tile set, so you can specify if an area is desert, grassland, mountainous, etc, although I only finished the Desert tile set.

I did write a story for the world aswell, whereby you play as a bounty hunter named George Washington, who is part of a specialist unit called The Dead Presidents. The story involves you hunting down an ex-dead-president member called Truman, who has stolen a vile of the disease that caused the death of the planet.

The world is inspired very much by the Wild West. Small frontier towns, homesteads, and settlements dot the landscape, with 3 larger settlements controlling the politics of the land.

The game would feature a day/night cycle, where certain parts of towns would only be accessible dependent on the time of day you visit.

As I said, this was really just a small distraction from STASIS. I may revisit the ideas at a later date, but until then, I’m going to delve back into the gooey festered corpse thats been beckoning me to come back… ;)

-Chris

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  • S13

    This looks awesome, reminds me bit of Fallout (1-2) but love the actual vegetation twist.

  • Nikos Patsiouras

    i’ve thought about real time systems and their integration to adventure games a bit myself…..requires very precise design so that it doesn’t become a drag and feels natural to just abide by it like you do in real life.

    as far as the tiles go….say there is a change in an area…an explosion takes place and incinerates big part of the tileset….are the tilesets static or do they follow up on changes?or maybe something as simple as changing the texture for the tileset with a texture of the incinerated area?

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    Hey Nikos,

    I would probably have to have some sort of decal system for things like that. I planned a system of body decay where you would kill someone, and return in a few days and the body would be more decayed-so a modification of that could work.

    The large ‘world’ right now randomly picks a tile set when you zoom, and assigns that to a co-ordinate. What would have to happen with a persistent world, is each co-ordinate system would have a separate decal system that would be called when yo revisit that space.

  • Paul

    Looks great!
    Is this running on the Visionaire Engine also?

  • Nikos Patsiouras

    I didn’t know about decals but i’ll research them when i have the time….i got an idea though of what it is.also the decay idea is super.talk about immersion….you come back to the desert and the guy you killed is half there and vultures are on him eating him,when you go closer they look at you and when you are in their danger zone they go away…..your graphics have a way to make things easily imaginable.

  • Daniel

    I’m positively in love with your artwork Chris. Good to see you taking the time to do something that inspires you. I got quite the Fallout vibe from this, and such a pretty one at that. Good job.

  • Kimotei

    =O
    Wow.. This is like…. Wow!!!
    Please please please why dont you consider working on Wasteland 2 graphics. :P This looks so much better then the cartoonic style they have come up with so far. Haha.
    Or why not make a f1/f2 inspired game, the way the old fans wants it! (2D iso)
    This is the graphic style I miss in modern rpg games. And you pulled up this beauty in 2 weeks!! Timeless graphics.

    Kickstarter? :D

    My first wish would be to add some rpg elements. I looooove the “cause & effect” Brian Fargo system. ;) I am personally more of a rpg gamer then an adventure gamer. Love tiny details, stats and stuf. But I will certainly support Stasis!

  • random1

    Really impressive work!

    It’s astounding how you’re able to show more in 2 weeks than Fargo in 2 months.

    I’m not sure about inXile, but I think Obsidian Entertainment is hiring.
    If they allow you to work remotely and if that’s your thing… then by all means.
    However we would lose Stasis :(
    So forget what I said :)

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    Paul,

    Yeah-this is done with the Visionaire engine. I used the setup file that I have for STASIS already, so things like saved games are all set up.

    Nikos,

    Yeah-I really like the idea of a persistent world where time ‘moves on’. Id really like to play a game where your effects on the environments are shown, but nature plays a big part in the world.

    Daniel

    Thanks man. :D Thats the biggest compliment I could get. Fallout just ROCKS!

    Kimotei

    Ive been in contact with Mr Fargo, and his art director. I know that the way that I do graphics really isnt a production friendly way of doing things on the scale of Wasteland 2. From their point of view, they have to exagerate some of the aspects of their characters to be able to easily indentify them in a firefight, and that then translates to the environment.
    From the conversations Ive had with them, I know that Wasteland 2 is going to kick ass!

    I’ve considered Kickstarter, but really I have the means now to finish Stasis on my own steam. But Ill never say never! :D

    Random1,

    Never fear-Stasis WILL see the light of day. :D

  • Nikos Patsiouras

    it would be a huge undertaking to simulate nature but i think it’s doable.it’s all in the design anyways.

    how come you came into contact with Mr.Fargo?did you consider trying for a job there?or was it something entirely different?

  • xenman

    omg so hot looks like your 2nd game will be sweet as well :))

  • Howdy

    Did you really let the Wasteland 2 team talk you into that crap excuse?

    Wasteland 2 looks that way because it’s an extremely easy way of creating graphics, it means that the art director can bring in his huge salary while not having a clue about art.

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    Nikos Patsiouras

    I was contacted by Brian in the early days of WL2′s Kickstarter (I dont even think it had finished yet), with him saying that he really liked what I was doing with STASIS. He really is a pretty damned cool guy. :D

    Howdy

    They havent really dicussed the reasons for their art direction with me. The exagerated proportions really is my take on ‘why’ they are doing that particular style. From the point of view of what they are trying to create, it really does make sense. Valve did the same thing with Team Fortress, but to a larger extreme. From what I can see, WL2 are trying to balance that, with more ‘realistic’ proportions. Not an easy balance to strike!

    Personally, Ive never really been a fan of the cartoony style of graphics. For example, I prefer Diablo over StarCraft sytalistically – but I do know, from a development point of view, why they are making those choices.

  • Nikos Patsiouras

    Brian Fargo is an intelligent man,immediately thinking of recruiting you from what he saw on STASIS.Not only because of that,he is an intelligent man,if you just take a look on what he’s done over the years.Maybe you might be able to work with him at a later time.
    as far as cartoony style goes,depends on the genre for me.I agree that in RPGs it looks cheap since it’s easier to make as you say and while i can understand the devs and the choices they had to make,i still don’t like it.on the other hand though a cartoony style of graphics in adventure games is one of my favourites,if not the favourite.

  • Howdy

    Has the whole world gone crazy? :O

    No, Nikos, he had no intention of ever hiring Chris, why hire someone good when you can just keep the money to yourself and instead hire students for peanuts?

    Brain contacted Chris for one simple reason (and it’s NOT a coincidence that the WL2 campaign was still going): to get traffic to his campaign.

    Mail: “Hey I really like your work, [insert name of mass emailing]“.
    Response: “Wow really? I’m so gonna tweet the hell out of your Kickstarter!”

    There’s a reason why the WL2 concept art is in one style but the game is in another, and it has nothing to do with a change of heart regarding how the game should look;
    you hire a really good concept artist to make great pics for your kickstarter, then when you already got the money you crap out the cheapest fastest game you can get by with.

    Anyway, great work Chris, but it’s a disgrace to see Brian’s crap being compared to this, you’re really going beyond the call of duty to make something interesting.

  • Nikos Patsiouras

    Howdy,Fargo is a veteran and no offence to Chris(he already knows i’m a huge fan of his work,he’s probably sick of all the times I’ve used the word awesome in my posts),but Fargo he doesn’t need an indie developer tweeting even the hell out of his kickstarter campaign.Wastelands has a good enough fanbase as it is.If anything he is pushing more people towards STASIS because as it is,this game is indie and even if people have taken notice of it,it’s still not as well known to RPGers.I know this is not an RPG but it will interest them.And I repeat he is a veteran.If anything he can cause a ruckus with what he does,tweeting or otherwise.It’s like saying that Double Fine might have gotten to 3mil because Tim Schaffer praised a couple of developers they found by browsing around.(not saying that Fargo will get 3mil but nontheless the analogy is there)

  • Nikos Patsiouras

    Also people keep making those accusations about kickstarter developers so easily ,searching for conspiracies to bring to the light.
    Kickstarter is an easy way these days to fund your games.Some people will definitely try to scam people out of their money but game developers and especially those with fanbase and reputation really have to be stupid to try that.As it is ,it is a difficult time to raise funds for a new game.They have to honor their part of the deal if they want to keep milking the cow in future projects.if they do not think longterm these guys will fall so fast,they won’t notice when they’ve lost the company,their reputation and their fanbase.
    Maybe that’s a side effect of Kickstarter,people get suspicious too quick.And to think that not even one Kickstarter game,at least from a respectable developer,has been released in order to have something to make accusations from.not that one game would be the measure for all others.

  • Frusciante

    Been following your website for a while now. You’re proving that 2d (or pre-rendered 3d or whatever it is :D) can still look fantastic.

    A question: would you include combat in a game like this? Or would it be a pure adventure, point and click game?

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    I dont think Brian contacted me to get any additional followers. The blog does get quite a bit of traffic, but I know that he generated more than enough buzz before he contacted me!
    If anything, I know that a tweet from him about STASIS would do wonders! *hint hint. ;) *

    Ill write a post on my views on Kickstarter in the future, and why I see it as a double edged sword (or scalple…Im STASIS mode!).

    Frusciante,

    Thanks man! Its a graphic style that I forsee having a strong comeback in the future! I heard that the new OBLIVION project is going to be 2D (although that may be rumors!), and am beyond excited!

    I would have some sort of combat-I think it goes hand in hand with a ‘sandbox’ style game. But for combat, I would use some sort of ‘card based’ or ‘dice roll’ system based on GURPS.

    I have a pretty good idea about how I would impliment it from a technical POV, the issue would be how to get around having the player become a murdering psychopath and killing off story-pivitol characters!

    But thats a game design issue-and something I would be very interested in exploring!

  • Frusciante

    Thanks for the reply Chris.

    I’m not to familiar with GURPS. Would it be comparable to fallout 1/2 (turn based with animated attacks) or more like the original wasteland (also turn based but no animated attacks/fights)?

  • Chris B

    GURPS is a Pen And Paper roleplaying system. Fallouts SPECIAL is heavily based on GURPS (infact, I think Black Isle were actually going to use GURPS before they created SPECIAL).

    Turn based, with animated attacks, but it wouldnt be a ‘click on the enemy to shoot them’ thing. Rather, a battle screen would open with all of the stats, weapons, etc, and you would plan your attack, and execute it. Upon choosing the attributes of the attack, and hitting the ‘EXECUTE’ button, the attack would play out on the screen, being influenced by your players attributes, aswell as the random chance of a ‘dice throw’ (for certain percentages). The ‘accuracy’ of the dice would depend on your equipment, and character.

    Its all very conceptual in my head-and would possibly be boring as hell-but right now, thats how I would do combat. :)

  • Net1

    Incredible, brilliant, amazing!! Please lets us try this demo :)

  • MB79

    after STASIS you must develope this idea, a post apocalyptic world. i love your works. keep on it!

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    My brother and I are already playing around with another idea for a game. Right now it exists just over our daily lunch conversations-but its pretty damned cool!

    Glad you guys enjoyed these shots. I have quite a few more from this demo…perhaps in the next few days Ill upload them.

  • Jason Chau

    Actually this reminds me of an old isometric-type WW2 game called Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines. It was a game by Eidos from the late 90s and focused on performing missions in highly detailed environments much like this…

  • Grimm’s

    Please make this game. Please.

  • John Bell

    Holy hell. This game has to be made! Seriously, it looks incredible! You are extremely talented!

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