It has been a while since we talked about Overgrowth here on The Reticule, the good news is that developers Wolfire Games have made a lot of progress with the game in recent months. After the break I catch up briefly with John from Wolfire and show off some very nice images from the game.
Chris Evans How is the development of Overgrowth going so far? You are in your 21st Alpha release, what features are present in the game right now?
John Graham Development of Wolfire’s ninja rabbit fighting game, Overgrowth, is going great. For an indie team of five guys, I’d say we’re really moving fast. We’ve ironed out a lot of our engine features and now have a fairly polished map editing system. Fans have been using our alpha map editor tools to make their own levels. You can observe our basic tools in our map editor turorial video (since releasing that video we’ve also added more specialized tools).
Below is a tour of an amazingly detailed level created by one of our fans. He managed to use our tools to craft an intricate city under siege. You can see it in HD here.
The character running around is our place-holder for the player’s character. This proto-type character has been affectionatlye named “Rabbot” by our fans. Inspired by Little Big Planet, we’ve made it possible to instantly switch from map editing mode, to Rabbot mode so you can easily run and jump around in your level to see how it plays.
Chris What features do you still plan to introduce to the game?
John There are a lot features we’re planning to add. Our lead programmer, David, recently created an impressive-looking direct lighting and shadowing system. It’s amazing how light maps can add so much character to a scene. Below is a demonstration of the new shadow system and how quickly it updates. See it in HD here.
Jeff and Phillip recently added scriptable hotspots that activate when Rabbot gets close. Because they are scriptable, level designers will be able to use them as triggers for a number of exciting level events. A simple example of where a hotspot is needed, is a platforming level. When the user works his way through a set of obstacles and reaches the finish line, he needs to trigger a hotspot that signals the end of the level.
Of course, the next big thing we will focus on is our physics-based fighting system. Overgrowth will borrow heavily from Lugaru’s tried and true combat but we are definitely going to toss in some new and exciting elements.
Chris What has the feedback to the Alpha releases been like so far?
John It’s been great getting our fans involved so early in the process. A lot of people seem to like getting to watch Overgrowth get built from the ground up. Because we’re so open with our development process, alpha testers can interact with us on the forums, find us in the Wolfire Public IRC Channel or talk to me on our live chat widget to share feedback. Of course we can’t incorporate everyone’s ideas but it’s nice to able to get instant user feedback about new features. Phillip diligently listens to fans as he creates new features for our map editor so that it stays streamlined and intuitive. Based on the flurry of modding activity we’ve seen on our forums, this kind of open development seems to be working but we’re also really lucky to have such a supportive and involved community.
Be sure to keep up with the latest Overgrowth news by checking out the Wolfire Blog.
If you want to get into the Overgrowth Alpha tests you just have to pre-order the game here. Fear not Steam fans, if you pre-order Overgrowth direct, you will still be able to use the game on Steam, read this for the details.
It is safe to say that the development of Overgrowth is coming along nicely and I look forward to checking it out when the game is released. I recommend you keep your eyes on the Wolfire Blog, they have constant game updates as well as interesting articles concerning indie game development and life as an indie developer.