Sunday, April 5, 2015

Star Chronicles: Delta Quadrant mini Review

Edit: Full disclosure - since writing this review I've joined up with Jayson and we're now both part of Alister Software. So, when I wrote this I was just writing a review for a friend's game, but now I'm part of the team and actively working on it. Armed with this knowledge, I hope you can still find something useful in my review below:

My good friend Jayson and I have been playing around with the elusive art of Indie Game Development. It all started when Terraria was released, and I learned that it was coded in XNA. That got me to start tinkering around with it as well, and boy oh boy, what an interesting thing it turned out to be!

One of the first major things I realised was that the maths I so hated at school, actually had a place in this kind of programming. Working with sin, cos and tan, and calculating degrees and radians all of a sudden had a real place in my life!

Anyway, I didn't delve too much in it (although I still want to!), but Jayson carried on. A few years ago he started playing around in Unity 3D, and have recently finished his first proper game. It is called Star Chronicles: Delta Quadrant. And for a first title, it's damn fun indeed!

(visit Jayson's blog)

One nice thing about Unity is that you can compile your game for several platforms, including Windows, Linux and Android.

The game is about 2 years in the making, and I know the effort, time and love that went into making it. I was even lucky enough to give some inputs about the game to Jayson, and to help play test it on my PC and phone.

Check this videos out:

The game might look simple at first glance, but there's some deep mechanics at work underneath. First and foremost, it's a turn based game. You have a certain amount of moves, then you hit the end turn button, and the enemies get a go. Secondly, it's Roguelike - you will die often. Thirdly, there are RPG elements present, such as leveling up by gaining XP, finding loot, such as better equipment (like afterburners, long range sensors, bigger shield generators) and weapons (ion pulses, mass drivers, beam weapons and missiles), and earning skill points to improve various aspects of your ship. Lastly, all of this is in a great Science Fiction setting in the Star Chronicles universe (watch this space!).

The main goal is to survive and get stronger, all while searching for a new home world for your people. Each sector (level or stage if you will) has a certain goal, for example kill X amount of enemies, or escape the sector alive, or hack a station for intel, etc. After each sector, the game gets saved, and you have the opportunity to quit to the main menu and assign your newly earned skill points (stuff like making your weapons stronger, or increasing shield capacity or cargo space), and then carry on with your mission.

If you die, you have to start over, but the XP you've earned, along with any skill points, remain.

I really like Delta Quadrant, and it was rather special for me to see my friend write the game from scratch, and see what it really entails doing something like that! The biggest challenge you would think is the coding part, but in my friend's case it was graphics. He is sadly not an artist, but I really think he did an admirable job. The graphics is a little bit on the basic side, but definitely not enough to make it any less fun - the core of the game is absolutely the game play mechanics that Jayson created, and it makes for an excellent time waster that turns many a bathroom break into at least a half hour affair...

To prove to you how much faith I have that many people out there will also find the game enjoyable, I put forth the money needed to get the game on Steam's Greenlight ($100) - and I parted with my money gladly (something I don't easily do!).

Here is a link to the Greenlight Page:

And demos can be downloaded from the IndieDB page

Edit: The game is now available on Steam - Buy Star Chronicles: Delta Quadrant on Steam

If you are in any way fans of LITE Roguelikes, Scifi, RPG and turn-based games, you might just like Delta Quadrant as well, so give it a try!

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