entry to 7dfps for 2014. An asymmetrical multiplayer survival horror game, the concept was actually fleshed out last year for 7dfps 2013.
The SteamLUG 7dfps 2013 team conceptualized
a game where 4 humans would try to survive an encounter with a ghost, using only their lanterns to slow it enough to escape. The ghost was to be faster and completely invisible without a lamp shining on it, and could kill the humans on contact. Additionally, humans would have limited oil, requiring them to scavenge for more. Teamwork would be necessary for the living to make it to the safe zone.
At the time, Source SDK 2013 had just received Linux support. Considering SteamLUG is a Linux gaming group focused around Steam, it seemed like a "good fit" to use Valve's technology. Additionally, it had already solved many of the hard problems associated with making a multiplayer first person game.
So the team got to work with an idea in one hand and a game engine in the other. Things started to take shape as the game logic was implemented. Unfortunately, it became apparent that the Source Engine was not well suited to developing games outside of Windows. Tools to import maps and models into Source could not be made to work on Linux, and so by the end of the jam, Haunt was visually identical to vanilla Half Life 2 Deathmatch.
This is where I came into the picture. I started participating in the SteamLUG community and decided I wanted to be a part of the 7dfps team for the 2014 event. In early October
, discussion on 7dfps started. A new team was formed, eager to make a game. Soon we decided that we wanted to keep Haunt alive by bringing it to the Godot Engine
, a recently open sourced (MIT licensed) game engine from OKAM Studio
. The game engine is primarily developed on Linux, so we were certain that support for our chosen development environments should not be a problem. We also knew that networking would be a challenge, but we had a plan and were determined to make something.
Work started about a week early, so as to familiarize ourselves with Godot and git, as well as get some basic mechanics working, like a first person camera, player movement, and a simple client-server lobby system. Then 7dfps officially started. For me, it was a frantic balance between making a game, attending school, going to work, and sleeping. We made excellent progress, but our pace was not up to the 7 day standard and the game was submitted in a very incomplete state. We decided that development would continue beyond 7dfps.
7dfps is over now. It is nice to have a break from the constant exertion experienced during the game jam. Though Haunt is unfinished, I am proud of what we achieved and anxious to continue work on it. The event was a valuable experience that everyone on the team learned from.
I realized that during the week leading up to 7dfps, we should have done more engineering work to decide exactly how all the parts of our game would come together. This stands out as one of the most crucial things I learned from reviving Haunt. Knowing beforehand how the code interacts would have solved many problems before they had the chance to appear. This is knowledge I will bring with me to future projects, and can still incorporate into the future of Haunt...
We have planned to convene this Friday to perform a code review and debriefing. A lot of dirty fixes made it into the code towards the end of the event, so we may have some refactoring work before we can start implementing new features. I will be sure to make regular updates on our progress here on my 7dfps profile
Check out the 7dfps submission here:
Or the github page here: