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Outpost Recon is a game currently under development for Android, iOS and potentially Steam in the future. On this site I’ll be documenting all the ups and downs of bringing the game to life and my closer examinations and thoughts on the various mechanics involved. As I progress I’ll also be expanding the site with new sections and features. I hope the game looks interesting and you enjoy sharing the journey!

Testing and Interactions

Now that I had the rover moving along it was time to start seeing how it would interact with different potential level elements. I had already started planning for there to be various sizes of craters, chasms, boulders and land mines for the player to avoid. Getting a feel for how big they could be, how close they could be to each other and how quickly the player would have to respond and recognize the jump power needed would be crucial.

One interesting thing that came up immediately with multiple people play testing the build was that it wasn’t obvious enough that short controlled jumps would be needed for some obstacles. Something I’d need to look at covering through the early stages of the game / introduction tutorial level.

Things were coming together. I had functioning obstacles, pickups, different surfaces affecting speed and the rover moved well enough over the terrain (for now). It was time to look closer at the first really scary hurdle: level generation.

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A Working Prototype

Now to finally dig in to Unity and get a working prototype happening. One of the first choices to make was if I was going to use the built in Unity physics engine or try to create my own. For something like a 2D platformer I had some experience with making my own thanks to my Multimedia Fusion days. But for this game I wanted a very smooth feel to the multi sectioned rover going over the terrain and hitting obstacles. Something I wasn’t going to be capable of making myself currently.

Using the designs I’d made for the mockup and attaching them to Unity’s wheel and rectangle colliders I was able to get the vehicle moving and even jumping pretty quickly.

Several issues quickly became obvious though. The wheels needed to be much larger for clearer readability, the barrel of the weapon was way too small, the vehicle as a whole needed way more ground clearance and the front wheels couldn’t be partially covered as they kept clipping through.

Instead of designing all new placeholder assets I simply blacked out the existing ones and scaled them to more fitting size. Something that came close to being a design choice later on.

It was alive! Things were a bit shaky at first, and I still had much to learn about optimizing the physics objects to accurately recreate wheel suspension, but it was already looking like a game.

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Getting Started

I had the idea in my head of an endless runner mixed with a side scrolling shooter. Taking heavy inspiration from some of the earliest games in the genre such as Moon Patrol and Galaxian as well as other SNES, Genesis and Arcade classics. Lots of obstacles to jump over or shoot, side scroller style enemy patterns and plenty of collectibles and powerups to keep things fresh.

Here is my original mockup for how the game would actually play. I believe the parallax background (very important to me) seen in the mockup was taken from the Genesis game Last Battle. VERY smooth parallax.

Wise game developer logic says to just start with the most basic placeholders possible while still working on absolute base mechanics of the game. Unfortunately I’m not a wise game developer so even to make this mockup I started putting together sprite sheets.

Thankfully I at least had the mind to not spend too long working on it. It’s still kind of interesting to see that some of the design elements even this early on remain still.

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What is Outpost Recon?Outpost Recon is a side scrolling shooter / runner hybrid that pays homage to very early classics in the genre. In the game you travel across the map collecting intel, avoiding obstacles and blasting enemies. It will feature both a large collection of hand built levels and infinite sections to test your skills.

When will it be released?There is currently no set ETA as the game is under development as a hobby project and my workload changes week to week.