Wrack Isn’t Retro!

I’m tired of Wrack being referred to as a “retro” FPS.

It would be one thing if it truly was… but it’s not. Is the art style retro? No. Is the music retro? No. Are the sounds retro? No. Are the character designs retro? No. Are the models retro? No. Is the gameplay retro? If running around at breakneck speeds, battling lots of monsters out in the open, and rocket jumping is considered “retro”, then something is seriously wrong with the universe. Cats may stop being cute and bacon may cease being awesome at any moment.

Besides, let’s be clear on the difference here. A retro game is deliberately trying to look like games made a long time ago. A modern game inspired by those older games is not. Here’s a perfect example of what I mean:

Mega Man 10 (2010), RETRO:

Random object + googly eyes = MONSTER DESIGN!

Random object + googly eyes = MONSTER DESIGN!

Mighty No. 9 (2015, aka NOT SOON ENOUGH), NOT retro:

Capcom copyright infringement lawsuit pending.

Capcom copyright infringement lawsuit pending.

Do you see the difference? You do? Good.

I realize that people see the inspiration and similarities between Wrack and games like Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, etc. I get that. It just feels a lot like them. But there’s a big difference between being inspired by something and trying to emulate it. Wrack doesn’t do things because “Well hey, that’s what Doom did!”; it does them because they make sense — a LOT of sense.

Ah, such fond memories of leaping lava pits in Doom with a giant glowing claymore in hand. ... wait...

Ah, such fond memories of leaping lava pits in Doom with a giant glowing claymore in hand. … wait…

Take something simple from that genre of game — like being able to carry all of your weapons at the same time. Being able to carry all of your weapons at the same time (we’ll be at 8 when everything is all said and done) gives you a ton of different options with which to approach a situation. Want to save some ammo and use your Hyperblade? Go for it! Want to sit back and pick things off with your pistol! That could work! Want to get up close and personal with your shotgun? Great idea! Want to blow things quickly with the pulsar? Capital idea! Want to take everything out at once with your bazooka? Sounds fun! Want to line them up and take them all out with your maREDACTED

It’s just fundamentally better. It adds depth to the gameplay by giving you meaningful options. We could limit you to 2-4 weapons; that’s what all the trendy, “modern” games do. But would it make Wrack a better game? Hell no! That’s what it all really boils down to for us. At no point during the design process do we ask ourselves “Is that what Quake did?” The only relevant question for us is “Does this make Wrack a better game?”

We’re happy to continue doing the things those games got right… but I don’t think there’s going to be a Wrack game with a flashlight that doesn’t stay out any time soon. Wrack isn’t a retro game, after all.

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Posted in Game Design | 4 Comments

Version “The Update Cometh… Early” Released… Early

I’m proud to announce that the first of our biweekly updates, entitled “The Update Cometh… Early”, is here… and as you may have guessed, it’s here early!

The Update Cometh... Early

We really wanted to get some bugs and other issues from the initial release taken care of as soon as possible, which is why this update is out so quickly. The next update is still scheduled for Dec. 9th.

So, what’s new in this update? Here are some of the highlights:

  • Fixes galore! – Numerous crashes and glitches have been fixed, including ones that allowed you to travel outside of the map.
  • Featured maps! – At least, we have featured maps! Two are fun speedrun maps, and another is a challenging map, for the few of you who think Wrack is too easy!
  • Gameplay improvements! – Wrack is now more fast-paced at all difficulty levels (except the last one). This affects Time Attack and Score Attack mode as well.
  • Font improvements! – Remade the main game font, and enlarged it slightly to make it easier to read. Speaker colors have also been updated.
  • … and plenty more!

If you’ve already got the game on Steam (which is pretty much the official version)… congratulations! You already have the update! Otherwise, head on over to the Download page to grab the update.

Enjoy!

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Some Plans for Steam

So, in case you hadn’t heard the great news, here it is: We’ve been greenlit! This means we’ll finally be able to sell the game through Steam – a major, major PC distribution service (among other things). This means that people who have the game through Steam will have it in their convenient library, get automatic updates of the game, won’t have to log in through Wrack to play, will easily be able to gift extra copies to friends, etc. … and those are just the basics!

There are some other features Steam has that I’ll be looking to take advantage of that will make Wrack a much better product for you and the rest of the community. Here are a few, and if you feel like I’m forgetting something, feel free to chime in:

  • Cloud saving! How nice would it be to play Wrack on one computer, and effortlessly have your saved games transferred to another computer you’d like to play it on? Or your saved games preserved if your computer is destroyed by a rampaging werebuffalo? All possible with the magic of the cloud!
  • Early Access! We’d like to take advantage of Steam’s Early Access program so that we can get the game into the hands of many more beta testers players to make sure all of those little bugs are squashed!
  • Leaderboard upgrades! Wouldn’t it be great if instead of the “multiplayer” of Wrack having just a handful of people playing it, it had a TON of people playing it? And wouldn’t it be nice if you could not only lookup your score, but your friends’ scores as well? This will all be possible soon!
  • Steam Workshop! Admittedly, I’m not too familiar with this feature, but I’m pretty sure this will allow us to create a centralized way of finding and sharing maps and mods! Plus, if it can be integrated with WrackEd to make this process super easy… wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks! All sorts of greatness awaits! Today is a good day! :D

… oh, and just to be perfectly clear, if you bought the game already, you will get a Steam key! There, hopefully I can field that question a few less dozen times now! :P

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New Update Preview!

Wrack’s next update is going to be so big that it’s getting its own preview! We’re all very proud of this update which marks a major step towards Wrack’s completion. That doesn’t mean we’ll be done working on it by any stretch (Blizzard was still making updates to Diablo II 10 years after the game came out), but it will be great to have all of the features and main content completed. A couple more updates like this one, and we should be all done and ready to turn our focus to the two episode expansion which should come out around… well, I don’t even want to think about that right now!

On a sidenote… do you all think these updates need better names? It seems a bit weird referring to this as “the next update”, versus “Version 1.0975″ or something fun like that, but maybe it’s just me. Anyway, since I can hear you all screaming at me to get on with it… I think I shall!

Here’s what’s in store for the next update:

    • NEW WEAPON! Wrack’s next weapon, the bazooka, will finally be included! It pretty much does what one would expect: You fire it, and things die. Lots of things.
    • NEW LEVEL! The next update will introduce a new area – the fusion plant! This area makes heavy use of force fields, which have all sorts of fun applications. The area even has a new monster – an arcturan that fires (wait for it, wait for it)… a railgun!
    • CUTSCENES AND MAP INTROS! This next update of Wrack will feature both in-map cutscenes, along with fully illustrated intros to many of the maps. These will put into motion Wrack’s plot, but more importantly, the personalities of all the characters we’ve been introducing.
    • VAST IMPROVEMENTS! Many areas of Wrack have been either vastly improved, or completely redone… like weapon animations, loading screens, the E1M4 texture set, and much more!

But hey, assuming you’re a human (rather than a Google web crawler), I’m sure you’d much rather be shown what’s in the update, rather than be told! So, with that in mind… SCREENSHOTS!

All in all, I’d say the biggest game-changer (pun intended) has got to be the bazooka. Why? It allows the Wrack maps to open up a bunch. Prior to this weapon’s inclusion, you didn’t really have any weapons in your arsenal that did well against far away monsters. The pistol is accurate and good for individual monsters at a distance, but not piles of them. With the bazooka, you finally have that weapon. E1M6 and beyond have lots more open rooms and bunches of monsters up on ledges – perfect for the bazooka!

Anyway, we hope to bring this to you real soon. As you can see, we’re hard at work on this and making tons of progress, but there’s still quite a bit more to finish up. We’ll do our best to make this happen as quickly as possible – without rushing things.

Thanks!

Posted in Screenshots, Updates | 5 Comments

Character Bio – Kain Sager

Can you believe I actually thought it was okay to post the bios for everyone except the main character?! What the hell was I thinking?! Sometimes you guys need to smack me. Hard.

Once Kain’s bio is posted a couple of paragraphs from now, that will be it for characters at this stage of the game. Should we do well enough to do the massive two episode expansion (seriously, make this happen people), and even a multiplayer-focused Wrack 2, there will be plenty more! Ideas are already brewing.

Anyway, to avoid teasing you too much with what’s (potentially) coming… here’s Kain!

NAME: Kain Sager
CLASS: Commando
WEAPON: Hyperblade
BIO: Kain Sager is the protagonist of Wrack, leader of the small band of characters he’s assembled, and the character you play as. Haunted by a pair of tragedies from his past that he blames himself for, Kain now finds himself shouldered with the burden of keeping those he cares about safe. Even though he lives in a time of unprecedented prosperity and peace, he finds himself unable to relax and take part in it. Instead, he does everything he can to stay prepared against possible threats: staying in shape, maintaining a weapons arsenal, and recruiting a small complementary team to do the things he cannot. When tragedy does befall Earth in the form of an alien raid, only one person is ready for it… Kain!

That’s it for the bios! Now that you know a little bit about everyone, you’ll be able to see their personalities in full display when the next update comes out. It should be here sometime between 0 and 1,000,000,000 years.

Posted in Characters and Plot | 4 Comments

Character Bio – Starlyn Sage

This is it! This is the last new character in this batch, so this will have to tide you over for awhile! Plenty more are planned for later, though. But enough about that! This post is about Wrack’s medic: Starlyn Sage!

NAME: Starlyn Sage
CLASS: Medic
WEAPON: Disruptor
BIO: Starlyn is both the medic of the group and the brains of the operation. On a team with the headstrong Kain and the narrow-minded Fabian, Starlyn fills the valuable role of keeping everyone focused on the big picture. While not possessing much technical expertise, she’s fascinated by science and by what must be out there in this vast universe of ours. Her being the only girl in the group though… complicates things.

This completes the introductions for all of the main characters thus far (or does Kain need a post like this too? Let us know!). The next update will feature all of these diverse character in action in cutscenes drawn by the same artist, Jack Love, who’s brought you all of these fantastic drawings! I know I can’t wait!

Until next time…

Posted in Characters and Plot | 7 Comments

Character Bio – Exo

We continue to make progress on our next major update! More textures are being done, more levels are being completed, but most importantly… new characters are being made! I’m very pleased to introduce the next major character in the Wrack universe: Exo!


He’s… probably a good guy.

NAME: Exo
BIO: Exo is the engineer responsible for the creation of the arcturans’ robot army. Being a cyborg himself, his expertise in the field of robotics is unparalleled. As the last of his race, he now travels the galaxy offering his services in the form of providing robot armies, robot workers, etc. – all while searching for a way to bring his fallen race back. Not much else is known about him at this time.

We’ve got one more left in this batch, and I’ll let you know as soon as he (or she!) is finished! Stay tuned!

Posted in Characters and Plot | 4 Comments

Character Bio – Fabian Long

As I mentioned in the previous article, a lot of the focus lately has been on the story and characters involved in the Wrack universe. One of the best parts about that? New character designs! That being said, I’m very pleased to present you with the next character in the Wrack universe: Fabian Long!

So just who is this guy? What’s his deal? We don’t want to give too much of that away just yet – you’ll learn about him as you play the game! However, here’s a small bit of info to get you started:

NAME: Fabian Long
CLASS: Engineer/thief
WEAPON: Protoclaw
BIO: Fabian Long is the best friend of Wrack’s protagonist, Kain Sager. Being highly gifted in the realms of science and engineering, he builds gadgets and weapons for Kain – including his Hyperblade! Over the years, however, his immense talents have taken their toll. Without being forced to try hard at things growing up, he’s become narcissistic and lazy – only doing things when he “feels like it”. Most of the time, he’d rather be off having a good time and being a ladies’ man. … but when he focuses and buckles down and does his job… there’s nobody better!

That’s it for him! More soon!

Posted in Characters and Plot | 3 Comments

Story Time!

What’s something that games have focused on a lot more in the past 10 years or so? The plot – and Wrack is about to be no different!

Games are evolving into a storytelling medium. Why is this? For one, stories are something that we’re hardwired to enjoy, and games can tell them reasonably well. Having interesting characters in diverse environments with engaging circumstances that move the plot forward are all things a game can fundamentally do. Between better technology and developers figuring out better storytelling techniques (ex. having NPCs yell the plot at you while you run around breaking crates with a crowbar), games’ ability to tell stories have only gotten better over the years.

But that’s not the big reason! The big reason is this: It’s a way to help games appeal to a broader audience. Games have typically been about skill building – fundamentally, we enjoy them because they’re helping us develop a skill that would aid us in survival, all while in a safe environment. It’s why we humans enjoy basic hunter/gatherer games (hunt/kill monsters, while gathering weapons/supplies), and cats enjoy chasing after toy mice – in each case, survival skills are being honed in a safe environment. All while you thought you were having silly, mindless fun playing “Tag!” as a kid – SURPRISE! – you were actually practicing evading predators so you didn’t become lunch for a sabre-toothed tiger.

So what’s the problem with that? Lack of universal appeal! Developing skills isn’t for everyone – it’s primarily for the young, and more likely male. But stories? Hell, everyone likes those! Just look at who comes out of a movie theater sometime – it’s not exactly just teenage boys. Game developers want to appeal to the same vast audience, so that’s part of why you see this trend.

Starting with our next update, Wrack will start presenting the plot within the game (of course, there’s always been a plot – it just hasn’t shown up in the game much)! We’re in the middle of having more characters designed, and plan on having some really cool artwork to go along with it. I really feel like this has been a huge step towards Wrack’s completion. Between the cutscenes and map intros (basically a more elaborate cutscene that plays when a map starts), the game feels much more complete. There’s an actual interest plot here that’s finally getting presented, along with a bunch of great three-dimensional characters. I’ve been having a blast writing out all the scenes, and can’t wait for the art for it to be all done!

It’s all shaping up very nicely so far, and I can’t wait to share the next update with you all! Stay tuned!

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Wrack – Released on Desura (and ON SALE)!

Wrack is now available on Desura! Just what is Desura? It’s a digital distribution platform that’s geared towards indies like us! We’re part of their alphafunding program which means that you get everything we’ve made now (for a discount) and then get updates (and eventually, the completed game) as we finish up. It’s pretty sweet and we’re thrilled to be part of their service!

In fact, it’s such a big occasion that we’ve had a brand new trailer made! Check it out:

Thanks to Seth Mussey for making the trailer! Incredible job! :D

But that’s not all! Wrack is currently 50% OFF to celebrate our first week on Desura! The sale runs through the end of the weekend so make sure to grab it before time runs out (if you haven’t already)!

QUICK NOTE: If you’ve already purchased Wrack through our website and would like to have it on Desura as well, feel free to contact me for a key.

So what are you waiting for? Go get it!

Desura Digital Distribution

Posted in News | 1 Comment