Welcome back everyone !
I have finally completed my first FPS game, the enemies Within ! Before I even start going on and on about this project, here is the link fro you to play the game (no download, you can just the play the game in your browser): https://blackthornprod.itch.io/
I have been working for over two months on this project and I am very happy with the end result ! This game, like almost all the ones I have made, went through some good and bad times, especially bad at the start which led me to recreating the project and starting fresh.
The Enemies Within illustrates something I truly believe in : that we are our own worst enemies, it is our own doubts and the fact that we let others say what we can or cannot do that stops us from reaching our dreams. In this game you must destroy all the haters, critics and doubts lurking in your own mind, holding you back from reaching your dreams, potential and happiness.
Down below you can see some images illustrating some of the 3D art I had made for the game. Originally I wanted to go for a very simple, low poly, cubic art style. As you can see, the black enemies are made out of long, austere, black looking cubes. But the animations looked terrible and… well I didn’t really like the idea of only making cubic art and characters. Almost 1 month and a half later I don’t really understand why I restarted everything, the cubic low poly world really could of been good had I sticked with it, I would like to make a game in the future with this art style.
So a few days passed, my motivation for the project was very low. Eventually I decided to continue with the idea of you destroying the enemies in your mind but redo everything else, I felt the game was wrong, on the gameplay side of things and as I said, with the cubic art. My FPS was well… just like a very classic FPS, with some health (which instead was called “will”), waves of enemies and a reload button. We could also see the player holding a gun.
Which of course felt all very wrong. So I started by removing the gun, there was absolutely no need for such a weapon (the game is set in the mind of the character after all !). I also got rid of the silly reload function because A. it felt like the player was wielding a gun and B. I really didn’t like the feeling of having to wait before shooting. I wanted the player to be able to shoot whenever he wanted ! Which led to the problem of the player being overpowered. So what I did in the end was……… make the player have one stat only : Will. This acts as his health and his “shot power”. When the player shoots he looses Will, so if he shoots too much and too fast he will fall to 0 Will and lose the game. The player gains Will by destroying the enemies lurking in his mind and by hitting beams of belief.
Everything I did for the game had to reinforce the theme and experience I was trying to convey to the players. An experience set in the mind of someone, someone many people can relate too, a mind tormented with bad thoughts planted by other people and ones own self.
The “enemies” the players will be fighting are bleak, bland looking things. They have angry or dead looking faces, they cast an unhealthy feeling, they pollute your mind. The end boss is an incarnation of all this negativity, all the bad voices in your head, by defeating him you clean your mind once and for all.
I am really proud of this game, this was personally my favorite project. Not only did I extremely enjoy the process but I also feel like this game as the best, most polished result out of all my other ones ! In the Enemies Within I also put a lot of effort into the story and theme, the story is really important in this game. It is told not only through gameplay, sounds (more about that below), the tutorial (yep, I actually made a mini, dynamic tutorial for the game, not a heavy text page which nobody reads), the story is also told through the mini intro I created and end game sequence which only a few of you will probably see since it is only shown once you defeat the end boss !
The last thing I am really happy about with this game is the sound effects. For the first time in Blackthornprod history I didn’t add sound just because “all games have it”, I used sounds to set the mood and reinforce the story. Through out the hole game the player will be nagged by scary, echoing voices, voices that shout taunts, critics and doubts like “Give up”, “You weren’t born for this”… I created these voices using my own voice (recorded with my clunky microphone) and then of course, heavily edited using an excellent software I will definitely be using in my next projects : Audacity.
All right I am going to end this blog post here ! Of course I highly recommend you play the game yourself so you can not only have fun beating a small but very challenging game (my bro took 1 hour and 15 minutes to beat the game after loosing 40 times, today he played again and won after only loosing 20 times 🙂 ) but you will also be able to enjoy an interesting story told via a cool silhouette style intro, strange characters and spooky voices you would wish just shut up.