In Development: The Roughnecks

For about 2 months now, I have slowly been putting together the first of several personal projects I plan to work on in my senior year of college. I’ve decided to call it The Roughnecks, the title borrowed from the 1997 film Starship Troopers. While re-watching the flick, it rang out as a catchy name for a military based game, and better than anything I had come up with.

The Roughnecks is a strategy game I am building for Android (phones and tablets) using the Unity game engine. The idea for behind this was to try and create a “casual strategy” game. The game is supposed to feel like an engaging strategy game without all added elements that make games like Starcraft come off as overwhelming to people inexperienced in those genres. The lower barrier of entry will in some ways give the game a puzzle game feel to it, broadening its appeal to a much larger audience.

At the beginning of each the level, the player will be given multiple units of a predetermined number and types. Their objective is to defeat all of the enemy units in the level. The player will continue to play through the mission until all of their units are destroyed. To cut down on the level of micromanaging required, item and resource management have been reduced to giving orders to the units the player is given at the beginning of each level. These units range from basic infantry to long range artillery, strike helicopters, and even super soldiers with flamethrowers on their backs!

For the art, I made use of my basic 3D modeling abilities to develop all of the assets needed for the game. My focus was mostly on the units being identifiable and standing out from each other. Since this is supposed to be a mobile game, I also decided to keep the models on the simplistic side to make the art less processor intensive. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they can’t look cool!

For the enemy AI (since that’s kind of important), I developed them as a series of patterns that work independent of the unit. When a level is being developed, I choose which AI pattern I want to attach to the unit after it is placed in the scene. Since any unit can work with any AI pattern, there are all kinds of possibilities based on level layout, unit type, and the enemy behavior in use!

The core gameplay is complete, and the project is under revision for polish and additional content. There’s currently a list of tweaks of refinements that I’m chipping away at to present as strong a project as possible. I have gotten pretty good feedback from the people that have seen it so far, and I’m eager to get in the hands of more players. A beta build should hopefully be on the Amazon App Store by  early to mid-December. If I ever figure how to properly upload my games to the Google App Store, it will be there, too.

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