Following their namesake, indie studio Unknown Worlds (Natural Selection 2) has decided to explore new ground with their next project and will be taking a plunge into the unexplored depths. Titled Subnautica, the game “will combine elements of role playing, sandbox, exploration and cinematic games” in an underwater setting. Players will be able to construct and customize submersibles that they will then pilot into the unknown as they explore an alien ocean. Not much is known yet beyond these outlined gameplay goals just yet, but Unknown Worlds plans to keep the public up-to-date with a widespread social presence, including an official project website, blog, Twitter, and YouTube.
It’s undeniable that Minecraft is currently a large force in the indie gaming world, and while the topic of any new Minecraft-inspired games is a fanatically touchy subject with many gamers, I am always excited to see where developers might expand the gametype to next: It’s an important part of the advancement of game to take some already established ideas and use them in new environments. Last week, Ace of Spades utilized the place/destroy nature of voxels in a trench warfare game of capture-the-flag, and last week the formula began, quite literally, traveling to a new frontier.
Inspired by both the open-source Infiniminer and the wildly popular Minecraft, Blockade Runner aims to have players constructing spacecraft – complete with electronics systems, engines, crew stations, weapons batteries, and more – in a zero-g environment, then using them to explore the universe, either peacefully or struggling against fellow players. The game will also include a fluid algorithm for liquids as well as gasses, so if an enemy weapon happens to breach your ship’s hull, you’d better seal the hole quickly before all your air escapes into the vacuum of space.
Currently little more than an early (very early) prototype, Blockade Runner is being actively developed by ZanMgt, a dev-team comprised of six siblings. Their development schedule is split into 6-month release cycles, with weekly updates in between each major release. The current build (Release 1, Week 2) mainly only allows allows for the placement and removal of blocks of varying texture. Next week’s build plans to add propulsion systems to the ships.
Time will tell if Blockade Runner will soar to its full potential, but I’ll certainly be following the development closely.
Little is known for sure concerning upcoming, relatively unknown yet already highly anticipated indie title Terraria, as the developer was caught unprepared when Minecraft developer Notch posted a link to the game’s trailer on his Twitter account, sending hundreds of interested gamers its way. To help introduce curious followers to the project, developer Andrew “Redigit” Spinks (of Super Mario Bros. X) has begun slowly releasing a series of gameplay videos of a co-op session between him and a dev-team member.
The videos show multiplayer arcade-style, side-scrolling action set in a randomly generated world with destructible terrain, resource gathering, a large crafting system, fluid mechanics, plenty of monsters to fight, and much more. Despite Notch’s linking to it – and many people immediately comparing it to the similar Minecraft – the gameplay and art remind me much more of the side-scrolling, resource-gathering gameplay of the CLONK series. For that reason, I for one am eagerly awaiting further information concerning Terraria.