Explore a Shattered World in Smith and Winston, a Voxel Based Sci-fi shooter

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by SnW_charlie, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Hi everyone, it's been a long time comingbut we've finally released on Itch.io and Steam. We are in early access at the moment but we've just added update#3 and are well on shedule to release fully in
    March
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    What is it? I hear you ask, well, Smith and Winston is a voxel-based twin stick shooter with a focus on exploration. With fully destructable hand crafted levels and fun puzzles. Along with engaging combat with a variaty of enemies and bosses and an assortment of items and achievments to collect. We think its a lot of fun and from feed back with players, they agree.

    Smith and Winston can be found here on Itch.io


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    You take on the role of Smith or Winston (or both as we have local co-op planned), two hapless adventurers, as you explore a shattered ring world and uncover its secrets, fight invading aliens and prevent the impending doom of the star system.
    Only you can save the world from the evil that's approaching and perhaps ultimately the galaxy itself... or not.

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    Smith and Winston can be found here on Itch.io


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    Also head over to our tigsource devblog if you would like to see how the game has developed over the years.​

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    And always happy to answer any questions :)
     
    #1 SnW_charlie, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  2. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    I thought I'd mention a bit about our engine, we're not using either Unity, Unreal or any off the shelf engine but our own proprietary engine. While we initially built a proof of concept in Unity a change to voxels quickly showed up that programs short comings (Unity's a great package and you can do some amazing stuff in it but its not optimized or intended for voxels)
    Our engine known as BSEd has been built from the ground up by Dazza, the other half of the team, over the last 4 years (it’s on build number 2.8.4.4.6.2 at the moment, so its been through a few versions), and having used it for nearly that long I can attest that it's a pretty sweet engine and editor.


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    So what are the advantages, well its built from the ground up to be a voxel engine and editor so for this application its quick (Unity and Unreal can do voxels but they're slow rendering them and we have a lot of voxels in our levels) it’s made it easier to port it over to Linux and Max without too much of an issue. It’s much more tailored to our games needs and Dazza knows everything about it and can change what he need when he needs to.

    The Big disadvantage is that it take a long, long time to build, test de-bug etc and there’s been a lot of blood sweat and tears shed but looking back I think we can say it was worth it [​IMG]

    If you have any questions we'd be happy to answer them.
     
  3. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    Update #3 available

    Today we released a 32MB patch to Smith and Winston fixing a few small issues that have been reported by players and one we noticed in a Twitch steam.

    Hot low end action
    On lower end machines players are having to turn down the amount of debris. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. So we’ve tweaked the physics a bit to get some more juice from your CPU and get some more debris on screen at 60 fps.

    Keeping your head!
    Because we are idiots we didn’t think about heads properly. So if you collected one of the hidden Collectable heads in the game you could never switch back to a standard Smith or Winston head. Well now you can.

    More text… or space for it
    Some of the Shippy text when you’re at the crash site didn’t fit in the little Shippy box. We know no one is going to read this text but we really want you to be able to ignore all of it properly, in it’s entirety with aplomb.

    No dead flying!
    When you were lying flat on your back, shot, wondering why you even started exploring this cursed ring world of DOOM you could press the boost button and fly up. This wasn’t very useful to you and in many ways it was quite funny but NO… STOP IT…. you’re dead [​IMG]

    No more equality
    If you pressed the equals key (‘=’) you seemed to randomly warp around the level… even to places that you can’t get to normally. We use this debug feature to quickly test new areas of the level and you were never supposed to have such powers because we just can’t trust any of you naughty people can we? Look out for this feature accidentally being re-enabled because “we are idiots” [​IMG].

    No more HOME
    Another oversight was that pressing the HOME key brought up a very useful debug window with loads of wibbly buttons and sliders and gizmos and yeah, we’re idiots, that’s not for you. Even I don’t know what most of those buttons did.

    Glyphs?
    A glyph is a fancy word for one of the letters in a font. We cleaned up the glyphs that represent the controller buttons for PSX and XBox controllers so they are less… poopy.

    Happy Exploring and Destroying

    dazza
     
  4. LadyAijou

    LadyAijou New Member

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    This looks so good! I absolutely love voxel games, especially exploration based, and with some great shooting to boot! Adding this one to my Steam wishlist for sure. How has it gone for you over on itch.io? You might recognize my name from there, as I help with social media, and customer service over there :D
     
    SnW_charlie likes this.
  5. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    Hey ladyAijou, thanks for that, I'm really glad you like what you see. Itch.io has been a joy to use and we've had great feedback from there.
    I must admit it has been interesting to see peoples reactions to the use of voxels in our game, they're definitely a love 'em or hate 'em kind of thing :D
     
  6. BG109

    BG109 New Member

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    I think you got a real nice style & feel to the game

    And also, I think this is the first case I've seen on a voxel based game using smaller voxels where it genuinely feels like it fits with the overall game!

    Overall kudos to what seems to be a very well-designed game!
     
  7. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    Hi BG109, thanks for that, a lot of thought (and sweat and tears :) ) went into the design.
    Though in many ways the actual limitaions of voxels, such as they're square and the colour limitations we have (currently 127 with another colour slot needed for empty space, this is so we can render everything at a decent rate) does dictate what you can do with them design wise.
    This is an early proof of concept image (rendered in a 3d package) I did way, way back when we started this project, you can see we've pretty much stuck to our the original design philosophy, though the the game has vastly improved visually.

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  8. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    Well we're ploughing forward with the release of update #4, not much longer before we fully release the game :)

    'Update #4 Live - Chopper Boss of DOOM
    17 Feb @ 4:21pm - ExUnitDazza
    We've released a new update to Smith and Wintston! This is mainly a metric ton of tweaks to the first half of the game to make it more balanced and more fun to play. Thanks to everyone that gave us feedback and helped make the game even better.

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    Features:
    • Added in the Chopper boss. This is the middle boss in the game. He’s pretty epic (testable via the new BETA TEST menu)
    • Added a BETA TEST menu so player can test specific features of the game and give us feedback without destroying their Arcade Save games. We’ll be adding things to this menu and asking for feedback a lot we think.
    • Added a button for twitter and facebook in the title screen
    • Tweaking/Balancing of lives and ammo based on player feedback and streamer videos
    • Added disabled story and coop buttons to the main menu so players know they will be there activated at some point :)
    • After the player dies in a level specific enemies don’t restore so it becomes ‘slightly’ easier to finish the level. The cost to the player is that they will get a slightly lower score because there are less enemies to kill.

    Beta Test
    You can jump straight to the Chopper Boss from the new Beta Test menu option. You can test the boss and give us feedback without affecting your Arcade Save game. We'd love to hear from all players [​IMG]

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    Engine Changes:
    • Upgraded BGFX rendering code. At least 10% faster on all platforms.
    • Added Metal rendering engine for macOS (8x faster than OpenGL)
    • Added OpenGL rendering engine for Windows
    • macOS and Windows can select the rendering engine to use in Options > Video

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    Bug Fixes:
    • Fix for some of the trophies not being present
    • Skip cutscene text is now correct for controller, KB/Mouse users.
    • Ping Game Boy helmet renamed to the correct Pink Game Boi
    • Chopper based enemies can now be hit by grenades
    • Mining Laser now shoots from closer to the player so that when right up against the wall it actually hits it. This makes running through the caves and mines a lot easier.
    • In some levels the player plows through snow or mud, after they died this stopped working, this is fixed.
    • Some GameObject (enemies, pickups etc) were not restoring after player death
    • long german and spanish phrases should now in to text boxes
    • custom in game cursors appear in front of the shippy text.

    Once again, thanks to everyone that's played the game and given us bug reports and feedbacl. It's really means the world to us so jump in to the forum and tell us what you think'
     
  9. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    Update #5 - Holodeck lessons

    Another quick update with some bug fixes and a new BETA area for your feedback.

    Hollow Holo

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    We hear you and agree we're really not happy with the way we use Shippy to teach the player how to play Smith and Winston. It's boring and annoying. Training areas in games are always hard tbh so we're having another go at it.

    As part of a brand new intro sequence the player will be sent, by shippy, to a holodeck training area to learn the buttons and get a feel for controlling Smith and Winston before getting stuck in.

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    The shippy text is all provisional and untranslated and we've not added Shippy's patented rudeness or voice yet

    What do you think? Is it a better way to introduce the game? Please give feed back in the discussion area [​IMG] More feedback on the Chopper boss is very much appreciated as well [​IMG]

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    After this the player will see a little cut scene explaining how the ship crashes and then they are straight in to playing the "second" level "Sunshine and Showers"

    Bug Fixes

    Toilet Sound
    If you happened to die in a bit of the game with reverb turned on (echoy sound effects etc.) then you were stuck playing the rest of the game like you were in a toilet. Should be fixed now.

    White.... so white
    Some textures didn't render correctly in OpenGL on any platform. This was because we were blending two texture together one of which didn't exist... yeah, that's fixed now as well... oops.

    Less chatter, more batter
    That's it, have a great weekend, Explore and Destroy and if you've got a bit of spare time jump in the discussion area of Steam or itch and tell us what you think of the holodeck, chopper boss or anything else about the game.

    be seeing you

    dazza.
     
  10. SnW_charlie

    SnW_charlie New Member

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    [​IMG]
    Smith and Winston
    has been polished, tested and tweaked and we’re ready to leap out of early access with a full release on the 27th August. Its been a long hard slog but we’re almost done and we both think we have game that we can be very proud of.

    Smith and Winston is the culmination of four years of work, a brand new engine, editing tools, numerous design documents and a bucket load of ideas, we’ve evolved from a simple twin stick shooter to a full blown space adventure, with exploration, puzzles, enemies to defeat and a whole lot of things to blow up!

    So check out our new trailer below


    All this is available on Steam to purchase or wish list, or if itch.io is more your thing you can get it here on Itch.io too.
     

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