Friday, April 23, 2010

Some history on the Strategy RPG Test

It all started way back in 2004, when I was contacted by my English teacher who also, back then, worked in a now defunct graphic design company called Red Pumpkin Design Studios. They were looking for someone to model 3d units for a Flash game. They saw my old portfolio, pointed at my old render of a silly looking 3d model doing a sword hacking animation (missing picture), and said it's something like what they're looking for.

Tactics Arena Online, our inspiration back then for what was to become Nth Legion.

There I was introduced to my good friend James Lo, who was planning on making a multiplayer online strategy game similar to Tactics Arena Online. Excited about the idea of developing games, I joined in. We had a lot of brainstorming and more or less decided on a post-apocalyptic theme. It was to be called Nth Legion. James later founded SkyRocket Interactive to house the development for Nth Legion and other possible future projects. In the meantime, (since I was still in college back then) I did on-the-job training for them in their graphic design jobs at Red Pumpkin.

The very first 3d model test I ever made for Nth Legion.

James would model the 3d units (I even convinced him to use Blender for the 3d modeling), and I would animate them, often getting forced to berate him (jokingly) for doing the 3d models inadequately fit for 3d animation.

Test renders for the various units in Nth Legion. We called this 3d model "Blocky, the Cube Guy".

Meanwhile, still being a student back then, I was also looking for work opportunities elsewhere and landed on a local game development company called ViTAS. There came a time I couldn't keep on being freelance and had to choose between ViTAS and SkyRocket Interactive.

Rejected concept art I made for Nth Legion.

I wanted to be a part of making an MMO back then, and considered Nth Legion's platform of Adobe Flash to be too simplistic. SkyRocket already had one programmer working for them, while ViTAS had none, so I chose to be sympathetic and decided to leave SkyRocket and work for ViTAS. My work there would go on for 4 years.

I then learned the development on Nth Legion was halted, because their programmer left the country for other work opportunities.

Fast-forward to 2009, I left ViTAS because of stress, burnout, and other personal reasons. I contacted my old friend James Lo, looking for work, and found out SkyRocket Interactive was no more and that he had established a new game development company called Indigo Entertainment (not to be confused with the production and distribution house of adult movies of the same name), whose main service is developing Flash games for other companies.

I tried working there but found Adobe Flash to be too hard to work on, and gave up. I was then introduced to Unity 3d as a different, viable platform for developing games, and instantly became comfortable with it. Unfortunately, Indigo's clients were not very interested in Unity games as they were for Flash games, as Unity is not very widespread, while Flash games are very popular these days, so I still couldn't get work.

We then talked about the idea of reviving Nth Legion, this time developed as a 3d game made in Unity. James tried to find investors to get funding for the project, but unfortunately because of the economic recession, we couldn't find people willing to invest.

I couldn't get the idea of a new Nth Legion game off my mind and then started gathering ideas for game mechanics, features, units, factions, and various unit abilities for the game. Right now I have a total of 15 factions, 52 units, and 64 unit abilities designed on paper. I've thought of ideas ranging from hero units, to Dopewars-style trading, to quests, to automated tournaments.

I keep a Tiddlywiki of all my ideas for my version of Nth Legion.

These ideas I translated into a prototype in Unity, which is how the Strategy RPG Test came to be. I still develop the Strategy RPG Test every now and then in my freetime.


You can still find remnants of old articles regarding Nth Legion here and there.

Other files:
A flash presentation of a mock turn sequence of what combat would be in Nth Legion
A flash presentation of the old rifleman 3d model

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