Late last year I stumbled upon a game called agar.io and quickly became addicted. I loved its cat and mouse gameplay, it’s punishing penalty for death, and the natural symbiotic relationships that formed between players. I wanted to take this formula and expand on the way player’s move and use their environment. Adding a third dimension gives players more ways to try and outsmart each other and a greater sense of progression when reaching parts of the map they couldn’t before. I’ve also added power ups to help add more variety and strategy. It’s going to take a lot of testing to reach something fun and playable, but hopefully what I have so far gets the basic idea across.
My area of expertise and what I was hired by Facepunch for is concept art. I help design structures, props, landscapes, etc. for Rust as well as produce various concepts for other Facepunch prototypes. That being said, my knowledge/experience with programming and game design was nearly non existent before starting this project but after looking into Unreal Engine 4 and its blueprint system I decided to jump in and see how far I could get. It started as a side project outside of work and after Garry encouraged us to work on our own ideas during prototypes week it slowly snowballed to where it is now.
You would think this would be the easiest part for me since it’s the area I have the most experience in but it took me a while to settle on an art direction I liked. I needed a style that would scale well no matter what size you were, and after looking at games like Rez and being inspired by a lot of abstract sculpture a cold low poly flat shaded look seemed to be the right way to go. It’s definitely still a work in progress but I tried to keep the direction fairly simple and manageable.
Testing and balancing. I need to find answers to questions like does the open ended game mode work or do I need more of a win state/rounds? Are certain power ups overpowered, do I need to add more? Are the maps too big? Too small? What’s the right amount of players to have before it gets too chaotic? And I’m sure there are a lot of questions I’m not even thinking to ask yet.
The only way to answer these questions is to get people playing so that’s why I’m writing this blog, if you have a key for Facepunch Prototypes go try Absorb now and send some feedback!
Special thanks to Alex for his sound work, Michael for helping me overcome programming troubles, Rob for his graphic design/UI work, Garry and Craig and the rest of the Facepunch team for their support!