Voxeliens, Volumes of Fun’s debut game, is a retro-style arcade shooter for the PC, in which you defend your planet from waves of descending enemies. The gameplay is simple and fast paced as you battle your way through different environments using a variety of powerups.
This weekend I’ve started the process of getting Voxeliens to run under OpenGL as well as Direct3D. A large part of this transition is handled automatically as we use Ogre as our rendering system and it already has support for both APIs. However, we do need to convert all our HLSL shaders into GLSL versions.
So far this transition is going fairly smoothly, and the screenshot below is taken from the new OpenGL version. As you can see, the voxel colours are coming through but the lighting and shadows are missing. Shadows are probably going to be the trickiest part but hopefully it will come together over the next week of so.
Although I’m still working on Windows, the motivation behind the OpenGL version is to allow the port to Linux. Stay tuned for further updates!
Hello again! Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks but, with the Windows version of Voxeliens finally out of the door, I thought it would be useful to update everyone on our plans for the next couple of months. Getting the game released was a huge milestone but it’s not the end of the project yet 😉
I’ve spent some time over the last week tweaking the payment system. I’ll talk more about this in a future blog post, but basically we wanted a smoother experience. For example, the price displayed now include VAT so there are no more surprises when you reach the checkout stage. We’ve also removed the address and phone number requirements for PayPal orders.
I’m also pleased to announce that we expect to have Voxeliens on GamersGate within the next few weeks. GamersGate contacted us after they saw the initial set of screenshots which we released in December, and I’m currently preparing the material needed to build our product page on their website. Hopefully there will be more news about this in the near future.
After that the priority is the Linux version. Matt will have an important role here as he knows Linux better than I do, but I’m hoping the port won’t be too difficult. We need to port the shaders to GLSL and remove some Windows-specific input code, but we had cross-platform support in mind from the start. We’ll probably also want some Linux testers so stay tuned if you’re interested.
So that’s the immediate plan. There will also be some longer term investment in Voxeliens in terms of getting it onto other distribution sites, running promotional activities, etc, but I expect that in a couple of months we will be able to get back to PolyVox and have a think about our next project.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us bring the game to completion! It may seem like just a two-man project, but when you consider the testers, the developers of the open source software we used, and the people who contributed art and sound assets it becomes clear that we couldn’t have done it without you. We hope everyone enjoys the game, and please do let us know what you think!
Ok, here we go… after a sucessful beta testing program we can finally announce that Voxeliens will be released on Friday 27th April! Just writing these words feels pretty scary, as this game has been such a big part of our lives and the end is finally upon us.
The version released on Friday will be Windows only, but we will soon be working on the Linux version and hopefully MacOS soon after that. A simultaneous release would have been nice but it was just too much work.
On Friday we will also make the demo available, so you will be able to test the game before purchasing. Be sure to come back then!
First of all, thanks to everyone who has helped with testing! It seems that overall the game is in a pretty good state, and we hope to produce a release candidate in the next few days. We’ll send that out to all testers and, assuming there are no major problems, this will be the version which gets uploaded to our online store.
We’ve also done some more high quality renders of the Voxelien enemies. I have to admit, I really like making these 🙂
Update: Thanks for all the interest! We now have enough beta testers and have been gettings some useful feedback on the game. So far there are no major problems so we hope to get the final game out soon.
We’re pleased to announce that a release of Voxeliens is now getting close. Before release, we would like to get a number of people to test the game. The main aims of the testing are to ensure compatibiliy with as many systems as possible, and also to set an appropriate level of difficulty. Naturally we would also like your opinion on the game, but be aware that we won’t be making any significant gameplay changes as we hope to release soon.
Each play of the game will only take about 10-15 minutes, but we’ll ask you to give it a few plays so we can see how you progress with practice. A log file will be recording how far you get and how long each level takes. The testing period will probably run for a couple of weeks and there may be more than one beta version released. The last version you receive will be the release candidate, so you’ll basically get the final game for free. 🙂
If you are interested then please send an email to david<at>volumesoffun<dot>com with the subject ‘Voxeliens testing’. If we don’t get back to you straight away then please be patient, as we’ll start with just a few people and then expand from there. Please note that this first version is for Windows only. Linux and MacOS ports will follow once the final Windows version is released.
There’s more to game development than just making the game, and as we come to the final stages of Voxeliens we have to consider the supporting material which is needed. For the user we need to provide an installer and a manual (not sure if anyone will read it?!) and distributors require promotional material such as screenshots, trailers, and box art. The term ‘box art’ is a little misleading in the digital age but it is still important for catching people’s eye as they scan over a list of available games.
We have already released some of this material, but in addition I recently spent a few hours preparing a high quality rendering of a Voxelien in Blender. This was modeled from scratch rather than using the existing in-game assets, though it wasn’t difficult due to the simple nature of the characters. The lighting took some work though, and in the end it’s entirely lit via ambient occlusion and emissive surfaces for the eyes (i.e. there aren’t any real lights in the scene).
This image will probably be used for logos and icons, and maybe for the box art too. Alternatively I may model a few more and build them into a simple scene… let us know what you think 🙂
Sorry it was such a long time coming, but we finally uploaded some in-game footage of Voxeliens! It contains a bunch of stuff not seen in the screenshots including the menu and highscore table, powerups, and a new desert terrain type. Check it out below:
The end is definitely in sight now 🙂 Next priority is to get some kind of testing build prepared. Stay tuned for more information!
I thought it was time to do a quick update on the progress on Voxeliens as it’s been a month since the last news. Things have been going a little slower than expected, mostly because I have been moving house again. This is my fourth house within the space of a year but I’m hoping to stay still for a while now.
A fixed address also means I can take out a broadband contract… believe it or not I have survived the last 3 months on a 64kbs mobile internet connection. While such a retro speed may match the style of our game it is not great for productivity (I mostly had to use the internet from my day job). But a new broadband modem/router arrived in the post yesterday and it seems to be working so far.
The game itself if very near completion. A fair amount of testing will still be needed to ensure the game runs on as many systems as possible, and also to make sure the difficulty level is appropriate, so in a couple of weeks we will release a limited beta. Priority will go to people who have been active in our community for a while, though it may get expanded further depending on what kind of issues we encounter.
But before we get to that, our main priority is to prepare a gameplay video as we’ve been promising that for a while now. I’ll try to record it next week though it probably won’t happen until the weekend.