Mat@MDickie.com
Wrecked














 


When asked what his dream game would be, the author Terry Pratchett simply said: "leave me stranded on a desert island with a spear and let me see how long I can survive." I intend to give Mr. Pratchett his dream game! Wrecked is the ultimate free-roaming concept - challenging players to defeat the biggest boss of them all: mother nature...


Bar Tender

The eating system had only just started at the last preview, but now it's fully integrated - complete with clear displays that indicate how you're feeling. These colourful bars may look a little intrusive, but it's important information that you need to be aware of at all times. From left to right, we have "Energy", "Hunger", and "Thirst". They're all self-explanatory, and simply indicate how close you are to suffering in any department. And suffer you will! The effects of malnutrition have also been implemented. When any area is lacking, your character slows down to a tired stagger and gradually loses his strength (which should be familiar to fans of the wrestling games). Not only that, but his demeanour also indicates his condition. He gasps with his hands on his hips when tired, clutches his stomach when hungry, and even grabs at his throat when thirsty! All of which occur whether standing or moving, so it's a very convincing effect...


Life Or Death

Slowing down is the least of your concerns though, because hunger and thirst can eventually lead to your death! The dying process has finally been implemented, and it's frighteningly easy to come across. Whenever you collapse with no health (whether it be from hunger, thirst, or physical damage) your character threatens to die and his life hangs in the balance. He writhes on the floor, gasping with his last breath, while his fate is determined. The camera slowly drifts skyward as his body approaches death, and you have to pray that he comes back to life before all hope is lost. It's a nice touch which means even your death is entertaining! It's not a risk you'll be wanting to take though...


Sleep Walker

If you want to avoid the lethal lottery of death, you'll need to look after your body. Fortunately, another new development is that you can take a nap to refuel your health! In fact, as in real life, it's practically the only way to do it. Every action you take (not to mention every beating!) takes its toll on your energy, so it's only a matter of time before you have to take time out. In true MDickie style, this is all within your control. You simply press both "Pick Up" buttons simultaneously to curl up on the floor. In fact, choosing when and where to do it is key to success - because a cosy snooze next to a warm fire is twice as beneficial as any other rest. And if you're body's not telling when to rest, you can always go by the real-time clock instead! The atmosphere system has finally been implemented, so now night follows day right before your very eyes - including all the states in between such as dusk and dawn...


Fire Beater

One of the "hottest" developments is that we now have flaming weapons! Far from the ugly texturing of previous games, this new system makes use of the breakthrough in particle effects. A cloud of fire and smoke follows the enflamed weapon wherever you swing it - scoring a major damage bonus on anything that has the misfortune to get in the way. You simply take a weapon over to your camp fire and rub it against the enflamed wood to achieve the effect. In addition to the sleep benefits mentioned above, this is obviously another incentive to build and maintain a decent fire...


Message In A Bottle

In amongst gameplay developments, work has also begun on the title screen and menus. There shouldn't be an awful lot of them in this game (most of the depth is revealed in the gameplay itself), but the few there are certainly seem to be looking good. A cool scrolling water effect sits in the background (which is a nice change from the standard tiled logos!), while the options are scrawled on pieces of broken wood and debris. It's hard to appreciate from these scaled down shots, but I can assure you that the game is looking good from top to bottom...


Map Quest

Even the loading screens are pushing things forward! In this game, the process centres around a miniature map of the island - which plots your journey while you're waiting for the next area to load up. Naturally, the screen is only there for a few stray seconds - but it's a captivating little gimmick that makes the transition as smooth as possible. Above all else, it's a handy reminder of where you are and where you're headed. Speaking of navigating the island, I'm pleased to say the CPU characters explore as surely as you do. I had expected that to be a little too problematic, but now you can return to an area to find that a handful of natives or animals have gone elsewhere. It's quite an important development that stops the action from being too predictable...


The Blueprint

Yet another major development is that you can now build the all-important boat that wins the game for our hero! Whenever you use a hammer on wood & vines near the coast, you add a segment to an increasingly bigger vessel. It starts off as 4 planks for the base (essentially a raft), and then progresses to a proper boat with sides and furnishings. Like a lot of recent developments, this boat building mission has opened up the gameplay even further. Until recently, the action hit a lull whenever a player had run out of wars to fight and items to make. Now, however, this ongoing project means there's always something to do with your days! It also forces players to stop camping, as you constantly set about gathering enough materials for the next segment...


Escape To Victory

Once completed, the process of sailing the boat has even been done. You simply jump into the thing and press one of the "Pick Up" commands near the seat. Our hero then sits down, while you assume control of the vessel and manoeuvre it as if it was a character! I was dreading making this part of the game, but it seems to have come off okay. The boat even bobs up and down on the water, and leaves a trail as surely as you do when wading. One last minute addition is that you can even build a couple of oars to go with it - and they exist as real handheld items! They don't actually get used to propel the boat, so you might as well use them as weapons. You can even sleep on the boat, and store resources in it, so it's worth making even if you have no plans to leave the game!


Camp Fire Songs

The most encouraging development is that work has begun on the game's presentation. A suitable logo has already been drawn up, and it's even been accompanied by a theme tune! I'm pleased to say that they're both my finest efforts yet. Although you may not be able to tell from the composite shot, the logo is much sharper and more detailed than my usual efforts (albeit somewhat cartoony like that of Sure Shot 3D). As for the music, it's as primitive as you'd expect - with native beats and chants lurking in the background. Yet it's a somewhat accomplished composition, and certainly feels very atmospheric. So much so, in fact, that you can actually tolerate it DURING the game! There'll certainly be an option to hook that up...


The Garden Of Eden

As the gameplay becomes more stable, I've finally been able to turn my attention to the island itself. In addition to the 4 coasts, there's now a huge garden in the centre of the map. Compared to the dry beaches, this green area is positively brimming with life - whether it's animal, vegetable, or mineral. It even boasts a small oasis of water in the centre. Above all else, this area also shows the most signs of native life. There's a little farming pen, fenced off in one corner, where all kinds of resources and animals are stored - complete with a firm "Keep Out!" sign for you thieves out there! Speaking of signs, their civilization also benefits from signposts at each cave - so there's less confusion as to where you are or where you're going. The strangest "signs" of all, though, can be found scrawled on the walls and on special structures. Biblical scholars can have a field day working those out...


Rock And Roll

The whole island is technically complete now, as the 4 surrounding coasts have also been drawn up and fully integrated. They're not as repetitive as I feared either. In fact, they're all perfectly unique. For instance, the East coast is sandier than normal (and even boasts a wooden pier!) - whilst the West coast is relatively swampy. However, the most unique coast of them all can be found in the North. It's more craggy than the standard beaches; featuring a series of cliff ledges that lead down to the sea. As you can imagine, it's a rare chance to use the jump command - as you clamber around the unpredictable terrain! Unfortunately, the texturing there leaves a lot to be desired (since I'm not used to such complex landscapes), but it's mostly a fine effort and certainly adds a little variety to the scenery...


Going Native

Not only has the island been finalized, but so too have the natives that inhabit it! Until recently I had just been using clones of the main character, but now we have a whole gang of red-skinned locals. I was planning to portray them in various races, but the Indian tone is a snug fit (making the climate feel suitably tropical) so that dominates the tribe. That doesn't mean they look repetitive though. The game calls upon a whole range of faces, hairstyles, and costume variations to keep them all looking unique. So there'll be no doubt as to which ones you're at war with! You won't be the only stranger on the island either. There's another that's been "stranded" just like you...


Handy Man

One of the most important developments is the construction system, which has finally gotten off the ground. You'll be pleased to know that it's blissfully simple too! Far from the menus of strategy games like Age Of Empires, this game uses a "real-time" construction system - whereby you literally place the materials over one another and then bash them into shape. Although it's activated with the attack buttons, there's very little conflict because the game's intuitive programming knows how to act. It may sound simplistic, but the options are expanded based on what's in your hand. For instance, using a hammer on materials will yield different results to using your bare hands. You can even start a fire by working a stick against a piece of wood! By mixing and matching the different possibilities, players will be able to unlock all manner of creations - so a good knowledge of recipes should be as important as being a good fighter or explorer...


Trigger Happy

One of the most interesting things you can create is a trap! By combining wood and vines, you can emerge with a fiendish device that the Ewoks would be proud of. As you'd expect, once planted it snaps at the heels of anything that dares to come near - taking them down immediately. Of course, a tactical player can even enjoy covering it with tantalizing resources! The artificial intelligence has finally been programmed, and it gels nicely with tricks like that. Not only are the humans keen to gather as much as you are, but the animals are also on the prowl. The carnivores are attracted to meat, whilst the herbivores are attracted to vegetation - so you can play some serious mind games with the right bait...


Bone Transplant

One thing you can't create is a bone - which has just become the latest weapon. I spent so much time creating sophisticated weaponry that I forgot about the basics! Now, however, you can find these crude weapons in amongst the meat that bursts out of animals. As you can imagine, it's a good way to get your inventory off the ground before you even discover how to build things...


Food For Thought

Speaking of flesh and bones, I'm also pleased to announce that the eating system has been programmed. I was concerned about how these actions would be triggered (since there's already a lot of multi-tasking going on with attacking and throwing). However, I've emerged with a genius solution. You simply hold down the pick up button, instead of pressing it normally, and the character will bring an item to his lips and choke it down. It's a fantastic system that looks good and works well. So well, in fact, that I even adapted it for drinking! If you do the same thing in a pool of water then he brings a handful of liquid to his lips and slurps it down. It looks quite cool because a trail of water follows his hand from the sea to his mouth. A breakthrough in programming, by the way, which may soon make flaming weapons possible...


Bloody Hell

You'll be grateful for a good meal, because life just got even tougher on the island. The scarring system from The MDickie Show is back once again for this game! Whenever you strike (or get struck) there are plenty of scars to be proud of. It even applies to animals, so the psychos amongst you can enjoy some serious butchering! It's an advanced version of the scarring system too. Like a lot of things in this game, it works in "real-time" - which means the scars slowly heal over time! That in turn means it's also a good way of judging how beat up you are. As if that's not enough, one last great touch to talk about is that the blood even washes away in water! The game detects which body parts are underwater and then tones down the scarring in those areas. I mean that quite literally, because you can kneel down to pick something up out of the water and then find that your bloody hand has been washed! It's an incredibly sophisticated system that ties into the drinking breakthrough mentioned above...


The Day Of The Jackal

Most of the work in recent weeks has revolved around the animal kingdom. The leopard has been fully integrated into the game now - complete with attacking animations, and even feline sound effects to go with them. So now even the blindest of players will be able to tell the difference between an animal and a tree! The cats have some unwanted canine company too. I'm not even sure it makes sense on a desert island, but there are now wolves prowling the territory. They don't look spectacularly realistic, but they're quite good for a first attempt. They too have their own sound effects as well, so you can expect a few unhappy growls as you clobber them to death...


Oh Deer!

The animals seem to be getting more docile as they go along though, because next up is a charming little deer! Not quite the "reindeer" that you would expect from this time of year, so much as a standard Bambi style creature. He looks surprisingly good, considering that my deer drawing skills haven't exactly been honed through years of wrestling games! He's certainly got a cute face, so it'll take an evil player to beat the life out of him. Beat you must though, because he'll be the food of choice for carnivores. He doesn't fight back and he's quite clumsy on his feet, so he's a pushover compared to his predator friends...


All Creatures Great And Small

The third new mammal is the most impressive of them all - yet also the tiniest! This little rabbit/hare creature is barely bigger than your foot, but he makes his presence felt with a boisterous hopping animation. He's actually quite well modelled and textured too, so it's a shame that his features are hard to make out on such a small scale. That doesn't take away from his importance though. Amongst so many bigger animals, it's refreshing to see a little one running around. It certainly makes the island seem much more realistic. It livens things up for the player too, because you have to thrash away at the ground to try and kill him! Despite being small and weak, he's probably the hardest of them all to catch...


Fisherman's Friend

Out in the sea, there are even smaller creatures to play with. The wildlife is rounded off with a family of fish that patrol the coast! They're so slippery that it was almost impossible to get a decent shot of them, so you'll have to settle for this clumsy image. I can assure you that they look fine enough though, and swim through the waters with a realistic animation. They will, of course, be the food of choice for players that like a defenceless target! A few stiff shots with a weapon soon breaks them down into a pile of meat that can be taken home. I'd like to spoil your fun with a more dangerous sea creature, such as a shark, but it remains to be seen how much more time can be devoted to animals. If I made every one that came to mind I'd be here all year! Don't be surprised if the selection ends here so that I can concentrate on more pressing matters. There's nothing to stop a few more appearing in downloadable updates though...


Fruit Cocktail

It's not all about butchering animals though. Our hero's diet has finally extended to fruit as well as meat - clusters of which can be found in certain plants and trees. A whole variety of fruits are grown from the same tree, which may not be a realistic scenario but it works for a game! It's basically a symbol of getting nutrition from nature. I haven't got into the intricacies of hunger yet, but I imagine fruit will be far less satisfying than ill-gotten meat! As in real life, that should make it all too tempting to become a savage. We can expect thirst to play a factor too. In the same way that you need a fix of food, you'll also need to return to the water regularly and take a drink. Again, it's not realistic to drink from the sea - but practicality may not leave us much choice...


Twisted Fire Starter

Speaking of fuel, a nice touch has been added to the fire system. It now uses a real-time fuelling system - in the sense that you have to keep piling flammable items on there to keep it going. Once one thing has burnt away, the fire looks elsewhere in the close proximity and tries to spread to that item. If there's nothing there, it expires - leaving you to rustle up a new one or go cold in the night! That's primarily what camp fires will be for. A warm night's sleep will replenish your energy better than anything else. I'd like to say the fires will be used to enhance weapons too, but that may prove to be a little ambitious. In any case, the flames are now dangerous enough on their own - so you can have a lot of fun luring enemies to a fiery death! With the new spreading system, you can even get creative by laying wood out for a deadly domino effect...


Hammer Time

Following the arrival of the animals, the next biggest development is that the full set of weapons is beginning to emerge. As promised, there's now a primitive hammer - which you'll be able to make by combining ALL of the available materials. That in itself is an interesting little resource decision. You could have 3 little weapons for the price of this one powerful hybrid - but it's certainly worth the investment. Not only is it an even deadlier weapon, but it's also an invaluable tool that opens up other possibilities...


The Way Of The Warrior

By using the hammer to work on rock and wood, you can chisel yourself an even deadlier spear! It's actually a very unique weapon, which yields huge bonuses when thrown. It flies faster and hits harder than any other projectile, so it makes that style of hunting much more effective. As a regular weapon it's not quite as effective though, so you may find yourself using different weapons for different purposes...


Getting The Axe

In the same way that a hammer can be used to chisel a spear, it can also be used to construct an axe (which is effectively a superior hammer). It may take a while to gather the tools and resources to make this beast, but it's the ultimate weapon so it should be worth it! It may not have the range of weaker weapons, but it's deadly strength makes light work of any material (including flesh and bones!). In fact, that's perhaps the greatest strength of these sophisticated weapons. They finally unlock the ability to destroy bigger resources, such as trees and rocks, so they're key to success. The only catch is that weapons themselves can be destroyed if you use them too much. So you may pile all your time and resources into a product that falls apart after a few excursions! When that happens, you'll gladly return to the comfort of sticks & stones...


The Blueprint

Behind the scenes, one of the biggest developments is that I've been working on a system that lets me decorate the island. Unlike Sure Shot 3D and co, most of the scenery in this game is fully interactive - which means ten times as much thought has to go into it! Each individual resource has to be laid down in the game as if it were any other character. The result is that the island boasts a refined layout - rather than the random mess that I was working with. Trees and plants inhabit the grassier areas, while lifeless bushes and rocks are scattered amongst the sand. It's a painstaking process, but it has to be done to ensure that the world looks in order. Before you ask, no this does not mean that there'll be a terrain editor. Although games like Age Of Empires benefit vastly from such a feature, I'm afraid it's far too ambitious for this one. The island and its resources are so carefully sculpted that I can't possibly randomize the process. If the game is successful though, that may evolve in future versions - much like the character editor did in the wrestling games...


Tree Thugger

One of the most important developments in recent weeks is that the island is now brimming with core resources such as trees - and they're all fully interactive. Not only can you navigate around them with pristine collision detection, but you can also unleash a full range of attacks on them! The aim being to break them down into wood and vegetation which can then be taken back to camp. The process is quite satisfying, with the trees shaking upon each hit, etc.. You can even throw things at them and achieve the same effect! I had been dreading making such interactive scenery, but it seems to have emerged okay. The only suspicious thing is that the trees "explode" into the relevant resources once they've been destroyed. It's a somewhat cartoony effect that you'd expect from something like Zelda, but it's better than nothing...


Wild Palms

Thankfully, the trees have been remodelled since Sure Shot 3D - and now boast a much more convincing leaf texture. This new sparse look is better suited to a desert island, and also makes it easier to see your character through the foliage (which is highly important in this game). There are even different types of tree to bring a little variety to the island. While regular trees occupy the grassy areas, you can now find palm trees as you approach the coast. They look even better than the others, with realistically shaped leaves hanging from a tall stem. Not only do the trees look different, but they also have different qualities. For instance, these thin palm trees are much easier to tear up than their thicker counterparts...


Blood Out Of A Stone

There's nothing easy about hacking up a rock though! While trees are needed for wood, your stone comes from these big lumps of rock. They're just as interactive (you can even jump on top of them), but you'll be there all day trying to break them with your bare hands! It's practically essential to build an arsenal of tools before you tackle these resources. As surely as weapons help you kill an opponent quicker, they also affect how easily you can tear down the scenery. That should add a little more depth to the gameplay, as life becomes easier as your inventory increases. The weapons will no doubt break if you use them too much though, so it's yet another balancing act...


Pussy Galore

One of the biggest developments in recent days is that these resources are now joined by wild animals prowling the island! The first one being an excitable little leopard. Since I've never had to draw animals before (in 2D or 3D), he's suffering from a few novice flaws - but he's certainly not bad for a first attempt and bodes well for all the animals that are set to follow. As ever, the animation has saved the day. That too was a difficult new learning process (especially with their weird way of running), but the result is a lively creature that even boasts a realistic swaying tail. He actually looks pretty good from a distance - which is ideally where you want to be! Rather amusingly, for the purposes of testing I've had to make him a controllable character. It may not have a place in the finished game, but we can definitely look forward to a cheat that makes it possible...


Ground Control

The arrival of animals has forced me to expand the attacking system. In addition to whacking humans in the face, you can now deliver low attacks that are aimed at things clawing at your waist! You can even continue the beating with an even lower attack once they're lying on the ground. Fortunately, it's all very intuitive though - and doesn't need any extra buttons. The game simply figures out who (or what) you're trying to attack, and then uses the necessary action. As you can gather, all of the hurt and death animations that follow these attacks have also been implemented. And, like everything else, they're a notch better than what we've seen before. The ground attacks will actually factor into the killing system. A respectable player will consider an enemy defeated once he's on his back. You can then leave them to get back up and run away, having learnt their lesson. However, evil players can beat the last breath of life out of them by continuing the attack once they're down! They will then be well and truly dead, and will turn into food morsels for you to take away - much like a broken rock or tree...


Life's A Beach

As the gameplay gets more and more stable, I've finally been able to turn my attention to the island itself. After much deliberation, I've decided to break it down into 5 sections (North, South, East, West, and centre). That may sound a little disjointed, but it's absolutely essential for keeping the performance high. Technically, I can now make it 5 times bigger (and 5 times more detailed) than it would have otherwise been! That means there'll be plenty to see and do - plus enough resources to fuel a long adventure. In order to get from one section to another, I've implemented a network of caves - which are like doorways to another area. If you want to move on, you simply wander down the necessary route. It's actually forced me to bring a little more detail to the island, as a perimeter of mountainous areas surround each coast. At the moment, I'm only using the South coast - but the others are due shortly. With a bit of luck, they'll all be suitably different and worth exploring...


Carry On Camping
As promised, the character is now picking up and dropping items with BOTH hands. It's all working very smoothly and should prove to be a great feature. Not least because your movement speed is affected by how much you demand from your body. There's a noticeable difference between being empty-handed, having one arm full, and having both arms full - so deciding how much to carry can be a tactical choice. You don't want to be ambushed when your arms are full and your legs are tired! At the moment, these resources are lying around ready to be snatched up - but the finished game will almost certainly challenge you to smash them out of an even bigger source. Hopefully, the natives will have do the same too - which could open up all kinds of treacherous possibilities! There'll be a lot of blood shed over who owns the rights to a recently chopped tree or broken rock...


Material Boy

As you can see from the above shots, the full compliment of resources is beginning to emerge too. Vines and stone have joined the original logs of wood. As you'd expect, they'll all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Not only within themselves, but with regards to what they can make! A realistic construction system is planned, whereby you can either break one resource down into a simple weapon (like a stick or rock) or combine multiple resources to make more sophisticated weapons (like a hammer or spear). There should be plenty of tools to make too - such as wooden  armour and backpacks. Some resources are simply there to keep you alive though! Meat is the latest resource to join the selection, which will obviously be extracted from dead animals (or humans!). There are also plans for more peaceful nutrition - such as fish, nuts, and berries. I'm hoping to establish a spiritual difference between being a vegetarian and being a blood-thirsty carnivore. However, it remains to be seen how that will manifest itself...


Chuck Rock
Whatever you're carrying, you can now enjoy the throwing system in this game too. As ever, it boasts realistic physics that ensure the items fly through the air and rattle along the ground. Isaac Newton himself would be proud of the mathematics that went into that one! It certainly wasn't easy to transfer the system to this all-new 3D terrain. Not only has it been "transferred" though, it's also evolved! I'm pleased to say that the items now have noticeably different weights. Stones thud to the ground and are hard to throw, whereas vines float around by comparison (and wood lies somewhere in between). It highlights the difference between each resource, and makes the whole experience much more convincing...


Punch Drunk

In the same way that you can pick up and throw with each hand, you can now deliver attacks from either side. I'm pleased to say that the punching animations are a notch better than anything seen in Wrestling MPire and co. Their impact is a little more satisfying too. A new system is in place to detect how close you were to an opponent when you made contact, and that affects how far they reel back. In addition to being realistic, it also avoids that nasty clipping that occurred in previous games when your fists went through an opponent! Now they're forced back by the right distance, so everything looks nice and solid...


Wooden Gear Solid

Never mind the punches; the most exciting development is that the weapons are emerging too! The most basic set (a vine whip, a wooden stick, and a rock) are already on the scene and ready to be used. As with everything else, they can be loaded into either hand. This presents yet more tactical decisions, as you decide whether to become a sensible explorer or a two-handed killing machine! Like the bigger resources that they came from, they can even been thrown too. In addition to being a handy way of transporting your goods, it's actually a good attacking manoeuvre too. As in the wrestling games, an airborne weapon can strike an opponent with hilarious consequences! But is the long range attack worth losing a weapon for?


Stick It To 'Em

One of the greatest developments with regards to weapons is that they now have their own dedicated animations. Fans of the wrestling games may have noticed that you just delivered the same old punch with a weapon in hand - and it often failed to make use of long objects like sticks. Now, our hero swings his weapons with more of a whipping motion - and finally adds some range to his attacks! In the case of the wooden stick and the vine whip, it practically doubles your reach. So not only is a weapon-wielding enemy more dangerous, he's also more likely to score a hit. Fortunately, it all balances out though - because the more deadly weapons, by their very nature, are small and heavy. Things like the rock, for instance, still use a punching animation - and suffer from the same weak range...


Gr
eat Balls Of Fire!
Speaking of breakthroughs in attacking, if you study the previous screenshot you may also notice a faint impact effect. Yes, I've finally mastered particle effects - and they're making a hell of a debut in this game! These realistic, transparent balls of fire are a staple of any satisfying action game - and now they're in my games too. A similar ball of dust even accompanies the items as they bounce along the ground, so it's a very thorough feature. The greatest development of them all, though, is that I'll finally be able to offer a realistic camp fire! I had been dreading this part, but I've pulled it off spectacularly. The same flames group together and flicker realistically to produce a glowing fire. The effect is even accompanied by a faint stream of smoke that dances up to the sky! Of course, it looks especially good at night - adding even more atmosphere to the world. I'd like to see it evolve into a system where you can set fire to items and weapons, but that's a little more ambitious and remains to be seen...


Water Sports

The new particle system goes from one extreme to the other. Not only are there hot fire effects, but there are also cold splashes of water in the sea! Although understated, this is perhaps the most impressive effect of the bunch. It follows the characters around very realistically, leaving a faint trail of water behind. Rather cleverly, it automatically detects when a player has entered water and arises at the right time. For instance, in addition to following your strides, it also accompanies other animations such as jumping in or out and ducking down to pick things up. The system even extends to items, so you can enjoy seeing them splash into the water when they're dropped or thrown! Whatever you're doing in the water, you'll be pleased to hear the effect wrapped up with a satisfying splashing sound...


Leap Of Faith

Speaking of hard-fought breakthroughs, here's another big one that took a long time to perfect. The game now promises a little bit of platform action, as our hero is now confidently jumping around the island! It might not sound like much, but it's a highly sophisticated new system that we've got here. In previous games, it would have been one preset animation that lands on a flat surface - but this new game had to consider the unpredictable 3D terrain. The result is a system based on realistic physics, that throws the character into the air and allows gravity to bring him back down to earth with a thud. This means there's a noticeable struggle when jumping uphill, and a noticeable benefit when jumping downhill or off ledges! It makes the world seem all the more convincing and interactive. Not least because the system even acknowledges a fall that didn't come from a jump. If you wander off the edge of the above tower, for instance, then the character automatically plunges into a falling animation (with the same realistic physics at work). Fans of cute platform games will be dismayed to find that our hero is all too human though. By default, his jumps are as clumsy and unspectacular as they would be in real-life - so you won't be jumping over people's heads any time soon (without an amusing cheat!)...


Washed Up
Like Sure Shot 3D and Popscene, Wrecked is actually an old concept that's had the good fortune to be resurrected. It was first conceived as a 2D game, way back in December 2000, but my novice skills couldn't do it justice. It was little more than an artist's impression of a deeply ambitious project. Now, 4 years later, the concept is a little more feasible - and promises to benefit from an all-new 3D setting to boot! It's still as ambitious as it ever was though. Demanding the biggest (and most interactive) world yet, it's going to push my solitary skills to the limit. It's sink or swim time - but if any project was worth taking a chance on, this is it...


Grand Theft Water

If the concept doesn't quite explain itself to you, allow me to elaborate on what the gameplay promises. It's essentially Grand Theft Auto lost at sea - combined with the resource management of games like Age Of Empires. You've got the real-time "anything goes" gameplay of an action game, plus the responsibility of gathering and applying resources - whether it's food and water for surviving, or wood and stone for constructing. Vegetarians can forage for berries, while shameless carnivores massacre the wildlife! All the while trying to construct the weapons and tools that will make all of the above easier. As I say, an ambitious project that could fall apart as easily as a wooden raft...


Carry On Camping

Fans of the weapon-based gameplay from The MDickie Show will be pleased to know that this game is equally interactive - if not more so. Much of the gameplay will revolve around cramming resources into your hungry arms and then staggering back home with them. It will almost certainly use the same picking up, dropping, and throwing actions from previous games - but there's a dose of Tekken here too! Each arm will be operated independently, so you can decide whether to fill both arms with goods or leave one arm free for other actions. Likewise, you could choose to become a killing machine and arm yourself with TWO weapons instead of one! It literally doubles the amount of fun you can have with what was already an entertaining system. Above all else, it should make the gameplay a little more strategic too - as you constantly decide how to use your body...


Mountain Of Muscle

I must stress that the game has barely been in production for more than a few days, so these screenshots aren't worth the pixels they're printed on! Although they're real, the game is merely borrowing the sets from Sure Shot 3D at the moment. It should develop its own (much improved) look over the coming weeks. In any case, I'm pleased to say that it's already developing its own gameplay! The game is one huge breakthrough when it comes to exploration. It boasts the most thorough collision detection in the history of my games - with a character that can navigate a fully 3D terrain. That means you can run up and down hills and bumps in the landscape. It might not sound like much, but that's a tricky situation to work with. Even Sure Shot 3D, for all its landscape improvements, limited the action to a level playing field. Now I'm diving it at the deep-end with the real thing...


Weird Science

The game promises to deliver plenty of other breakthroughs too. The above terrain development even extends to water, and allows a player to wade out into the shore! With a bit of work, there could even be a spot of swimming - complete with splash effects. Our hero is certainly going to have to catch fish one way or another! Back on dry land, we can also expect our first taste of platform action. I'm already hard at work on a jumping and gravity system that will allow players to scramble up (and fall down) rocky terrain. It'll be quite amusing if the biggest obstacle you face is to get through the day without killing yourself!


Rain Man

As you'd expect, the game looks set to build upon the atmosphere system of Sure Shot 3D. Not only will night follow day, but it should do so before your eyes in real-time! Since the game will be one continuous experience, everything else will have to follow suit. That goes for weather too! I've already implemented a rain system that pours over the land. It's a bit of a clumsy technique, but it's not bad for a first attempt. Complete with a rainy background sound, it certainly adds a lot of atmosphere to the proceedings. Whether or not it'll have an effect on the character remains to be seen. The cold climate will no doubt slow him down and make him weaker...


Ocean View
Accompanying the terrain is a camera breakthrough that I'm equally proud of. The game is my first to use a "turn and advance" system - as seen in games like Tomb Raider. To make the best of that, it also uses a smooth camera that sits behind the player. And "smooth" is the operative word! I took the time to calculate a mind-boggling equation that makes sure the camera explores all 3 dimensions at exactly the right pace. It's hard to explain, but you'll notice the difference when you see it in action...


Feeding The Five Thousand

In pre-production, I began to suspect that being stranded on a desert island had the potential to get boring quite quickly - so I'm making plans to introduce some rival humans! A native tribe are on standby to liven up the proceedings. Your relationship with them will be a clean sheet - soured only when you murder them or steal their resources. Live side-by-side and everybody's happy, but start playing like it's Grand Theft Auto and the sea will run red with blood! I may even allow you to become a cannibal and eat your victims (it's up to you whether you're sick enough to do it!). The natives haven't been made yet, but I have cloned the star character dozens of times to see if it's possible. As ever, performance is nothing to worry about! I've got about 30 humans an screen at the same time without slowdown - and only a fraction of that will be needed. My low-end graphics might have a lot of critics, but at least they get the job done. What's the point in photo-realistic characters if there's too few of them to make things interesting?


War Stories
In case you were wondering, the game is actually a tenuous sequel to Sure Shot 3D. Your character washes up on what's supposed to be the same war-torn island! Quite what (or who) will remain of that civilization hasn't yet been confirmed - but don't be surprised if it produces an entertaining little twist in the tale...

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