Quake Champions was playable this weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston and fans had the chance to try out the game for themselves. Included in the demonstration version of the game were playable heroes who have been confirmed but not fully revealed on the game’s official website.
One such hero – Clutch, described as the “Awakened Automaton” is briefly shown on the character select screen of Youtuber CamerBOwen’s seven minute off screen video taken at Bethesda’s booth. This brief glimpse of Cluth’s abilities give us a better sense of some of their statistics but some vital information still remains obscured.
What we’ve learned about Clutch from this footage:
Their base health statistic is 150.
Their base armor value is 75.
They will move at 280 speed.
Players can select between a machinegun, rocket launcher or nailgun as their primary weapon.
Clutch will likely have a large hitbox given its size.
We still don’t know what Clutch’s heroic ability is as the text is either too blurry in the off-screen video or it was purposely greyed out in the PAX East build to prevent too much new information from leaking out before the planned information rollout.
Here is a blurry screengrab of Clutch on the Hero select screen. From this screengrab we can also tell that there will be nine total heroes in Quake Champions at this point in development. This is noteworthy as the official website for Quake Champions only lists eight confirmed heroes. Each hero is set to get their own debut trailer, similar to the one that dropped for Nyx last week. Here are the trailer dates as currently listed on the site:
Nyx – Out now
ScaleBearer – 03.15
Anarki – 3.29
This points to a possibly open beta date sometime in early Junem, as Bethesda / id Software are already accepting sign-ups for the closed beta that is expected to launch in the next couple of weeks. When Quake Champions launches later this year it will be free to play with only Ranger selectable and the other heroes rentable with in-game currency or via one-time purchase unlock.
Long since a staple of the ready-made game engine marketplace, YoYo Games’ GameMaker has reinvented itself in recent years after coming under its new ownership. Their recent GameMaker Studio suite got attention by overhauling nearly every piece of the software, turning it from a designer’s prototype plaything into a game engine that could stand on its own. Now, after building up its community and figuring out its development strategy going forward, YoYo Games has announced the second iteration of the remade Studio. We at Broken Joysticks had the chance to sit down with some representatives from YoYo during the Game Developers’ Conference to take a look at an early build of Studio 2 and ask some questions about its new feature set.
However, GML has been given a facelift in modern times, and it seems to be paying dividends – the new optional graphical interface introduced in the prior revision has received some major additions in Studio 2. For one, code now supports live editing previews, allowing for feature changes without having to recompile the game. We asked about their approach in creating the graphical language, particularly with regards to how they intend to differentiate themselves from competitors such as Unreal Engine 4’s Blueprint language. The representative we spoke with stated that he believed Blueprint to hide too much from the user, and that it tried to be a full scripting replacement, whereas Game Maker’s new system was created with the intention of being a bridge between learning to code and text-based scripting.
The graphical code editor that accompanies GML now includes a full in-engine sprite editor/animator, as well as integration with the Spine sprite animator. The live preview feature also made it over here, allowing users to “draw” over the sprite as it is playing through its animation to allow for easier changes to a whole animation set.
GameMaker’s structural changes include a new page tab system, similar to the layout of most modern IDEs, but the unified function approach of Game Maker allows for better organizing things that would require multiple different programs otherwise, keeping the graphical editor, level editor, and code windows all in the same tabbed interface. YoYo Games also boasted of several technical upgrades, such as GML’s apparent 50% decrease in compile times, DirectX11 support, native Box2D physics integration (As well as a custom solution for water physics), a custom pre-built networking system, archetypal level inheritance, as well as support for in-app purchases and advertisements. While this may not sound exciting to the uninitiated, these are indeed some welcome additions to developers.
One of the most surprising additions to the original Studio was the variety of platforms that games could be exported to, including several niche platforms, making it an attractive option for independent developers who want to support lots of platforms. While Studio 2 does support a few new platforms such as Microsoft’s new Universal Windows Platform and Android TV, several of said niche platforms such as the PlayStation Vita, Samsung’s Tizen OS, and Windows Phone 8 have been removed. When asked about this, YoYo Games stated it was primarily due to developer inactivity, and that said platforms will still be supported in Studio 1.x, but not in any new versions. They did state that MacOS was now a supported platform on which to run the editor itself, however, where it was Windows-exclusive in the past.
Finally, when asked about potential changes to their monetization model for GameMaker, YoYo Games stated that they have no immediate plans to change the current model for the engine which requires a purchase up front for the engine and once again for exporting the final game. They did state that they are toying with the idea of adding certain high-level features as extras in a subscription service later down the line, but that there are no plans underway as of now. As for said initial purchase, Studio 2 will be a separate purchase from the prior version, although existing users will be offered a 40-50% discount on the new version.
These look to be exciting times for the GameMaker faithful as the engine continues to blossom far beyond its roots as a simple experiment program into something that can be a legitimate rival to industry titans such as Unity and Unreal Engine.
The Game Developers’ Conference lets independent game makers to show off their projects in a professional setting, while giving platform holders and publishers the chance to show off their lineup to budding talent. Amongst the sea of VR and game service companies, indies got their chance to shine at a few events at the show – in particular, Microsoft’s ID@Xbox showcase.
Held at a private loft in downtown San Francisco, the event gave us a look at upcoming indie games to grace Windows 10 and the Xbox One. Among these, some of the standouts included Ooblets, the adorable life sim/role-playing game developed by Glumberland, Church of Darkness, a top-down stealth game by Paranoid Productions that tasks the player with infiltrating a cult compound, and Etherborn, a dreamlike gravity-bending puzzle platformer by studio Altered Matter.
The developers behind Ooblets stated in our interview that they wished to make a game which combines the most compelling elements of Harvest Moon and Pokémon into a single experience, marrying the meditative slow-life farming of the former with the collection and companionship of the latter. The game is designed to evoke the same soft, safe, endearing, and feminine aesthetic that both series pride themselves in, touting a visual aesthetic very much in line with modern cartoon style trends. Ooblets is setting out to be the alternative to both series that emphasizes the strengths of both that often get ignored.
Church of Darkness, by contrast, takes a much darker and more tense turn into the stealth genre. The player must infiltrate a religious cult’s South American compound in the 1970s and rescue their sibling who has left home to join them. The game uses a top-down perspective to allow the player as much visual information as possible without using standard stealth conventions such as a radar. The setting alone does a great job of establishing unfamiliarity and unease in the player, something well-suited to a stealth game. Plus, the wealth of ways with which the player can interact with the environment allow for some rather creative puzzle solutions, leaving the player feeling unrestricted in ways other stealth games do not.
Finally, the last standout was Etherborn, a game that prides itself on its eerie, misty, dreamlike visual aesthetic, as well as using it to support its gravity-twisting movement mechanics. In the game, the player can move up walls when approaching them with a ramp. Manipulating the gravitational standards of whatever polarity to which they are currently oriented is the key to the game’s puzzles. Falling down holes in the ceiling and establishing a sense of continuity to abstract spaces are necessary in the demo’s later levels, and make Etherborn out to be a gorgeous-looking standout of the puzzle platformer genre.
Microsoft’s Xbox One still has a lot to prove if it wants to keep up with the current indie clout of Sony’s Vita and PlayStation 4, but it is putting up a very compelling show of confidence with this show. Giving developers cheaper access to development tools, cross-platform certification through the Windows Store, cheaper certification fees, and big industry-facing events such as this one are a good sign that Microsoft still believes in the importance of independent development for its platforms.