Perth Games Festival 2014 is just a couple of weeks away now, and trust us, it’s going to be a really awesome day!
However, in an effort to highlight some of Perth’s talent in advance, we’ve been reaching out to local developers who are showcasing on the day. One game concept which really stood out to us on our hunt is a “Survival eSport” called Down to One. To tell us more about the game, we caught up with Alex Blaikie, the lead developer at Gadget Games.
As a Perth-based developer, could you tell us more about the team at Gadget Games?
Alex: At Gadget Games, everyone on the team is an eSports fanatic. Our UI designer, Rob, is a Twitch admin, our lead level designer, Blake, is a professional Battlefield 4 player, and Matt, our video editor, has been making videos for some of “LoLs” top competitive players for almost 3 years.
What was the primary source of inspiration behind your new game, Down to One?
Alex: One of the biggest inspirations for Down To One was the “Survivor Gamez” event on Twitch. The last event captivated hundreds of thousands of viewers, and really proved that survival can work as an eSport. Another big influence has been the movie Battle: Royale – if we can capture just some of the intensity shown in that movie, we’ll be happy.
How would you best explain Down to One to someone unfamiliar with the game?
Alex: Down To One is a competitive survival game, where you start off with nothing, and battle it out to the death in an ever-decreasing playable area. Think DayZ-style looting, CSGO round structure, with a Battle Royale style player format.
Survival eSports is a unique concept! Could you tell us how survival comes into play?
Alex: The survival elements allow us to add more strategic gameplay choices, and to keep the players on their toes. In a typical round, players will have to worry about hunger, thirst, and even their heartbeat after they’ve been shot. These extra choices tie in with our eSports focus – adding a level of depth required for competitive play, whilst still being intuitive enough for new players to pick up quickly.
42 Players – that’s a lot of people! How long will one match take to complete, roughly?
Alex: We’re aiming for matches that last 30 minutes or less – as the round progresses, the playable area will decrease, forcing players into combat. This helps speed up each round a bit, and gets rid of those pesky campers! The 42 player target is a bit of a nod to Battle Royale, it’s also about the limit that our networking system can handle, whilst still allowing for responsive ‘netcode’.
Are there multiple game types and maps planned for the final release of the game?
Alex: Currently, we’re thinking about a separate game mode that supports playing with your friends, against other groups. Being a multiplayer-only game, we’ve got to be careful about splitting up the player-base too much, although if we do release any maps in the future, they’ll be added as free DLC!
There appears to be a lot of interesting tech under the hood. Could you tell us about that?
Alex: Certainly! One of the coolest ‘techy’ features of the game is our networking middleware, Bolt. It’s built by a Swedish networking wizard, and is actually still in Beta itself! With it, we’re able to tweak absolutely everything, from the network tickrate over the course of a round, to the prioritisation of different types of bullets when firing.
One of the other cool features we’re excited about is the full-body player model. This wasn’t easy to get right, but it does feel a lot more immersive than the “floating hands” approach, and lets us do cool stuff like full-body Inverse Kinematics.
#NOZOMBIES – We laughed! Could you tell us what kind of audience you’re targeting?
Alex: Haha, we’re having a friendly jab at some other survival games at the market at the moment with the #NoZombies hashtag, anyone who’s played games like DayZ will know how buggy the zombies in some survival games can be. We’re aiming to fill the gap for players that enjoy survival mechanics – like looting, PvP & VOIP interaction, but don’t want to run for 30 minutes just to get started!
You’re going to be at the Perth Games Festival this month, will we be able to play it there?
Alex: Definitely – it’ll probably be a bit buggy, but we’re rustling up a pre-alpha build for the Festival, and we’re very excited to be exhibiting there. Perth has a very passionate game development community, and I’m personally looking forward to showing people the game!
What is your current release date, and what platforms will the game be available on?
Alex: We’re aiming to release the game on December 16th on Steam Early Access on PC. If you’re interested in supporting Down To One, feel free to share our Steam Greenlight campaign with your friends & social media – it helps a lot!
To stay in touch with any future updates related to Down To One, check out Down To One on social media!