Today is the day I'm proud to announce the fruits of our labor of the previous two years. "FOUNDRY", a game about first person factory building in an endless voxel world. But I am not going to make this into a sales pitch about our key features (I'm going to talk about the game itself later down), if you found this blog post you most likely have seen the trailer. Instead I want to talk about the motivation to create this game.
I consider myself a (semi-)hardcore pc gamer since the age of six, where strategy, building and simulation were always one of my most preferred genres. The thrill of planning, building, iterating on the design of something and finally seeing the (not always) perfectly working end result was always something that caught me for many more hours than it did most people. Due to my high amount of gaming and my education and work experience as a programmer, developing games always seemed like the logical next step. After many prototypes and test projects to get the necessary experience I finally started this project two years ago, almost on the same day I am writing these lines. The development process had it's ups and downs but overall has been a great experience I wouldn't want to miss. I've been working alone on the game for the first year to work out the core gameplay loops, after this I grew the team to increase the development speed and also to counter my week-long world-of-warcraft-enforced development breaks. The game is far from being complete, but it is ready to move into early access very soon. I personally think that early community feedback is crucial in game development and that this will benefit the final product a lot. This does not mean that every community suggestion will be taken into the game or that we'll do everything proposed, but I guarantee that I'll seriously consider and think about every sort of feedback or ideas we receive.
As you may have noticed there is no final release date, a decision I made as I don't want to be forced to release on a certain date just because I thought weeks ago that it will be ready by that day. At the time of writing this the game is very stable and contains everything that should be included for the first alpha version, however we're still iterating on the balancing and improving the performance. My release date philosophy on the other hand means that the game will release the day after there is nothing left we're unhappy with and the testing is done, so there won't be a release date announcement weeks before the actual release. You can sign up for the newsletter (on the front page) or join our discord to catch the moment.
The Game And It's Mechanics
I'll start with the obvious: The game is inspired by the great Factorio. A game I am playing since at least five years and one of my top games in terms of played hours, only rivaled by WoW, Kerbal Space Program and Oxygen Not Included. For a long time I wasn't sure if a similar game is the right choice to create, there's always this connotation of not having created something truly original. However my honest intent is to find out if this sort of gameplay works in 3D and a voxel world players can shape. Also with other games having comparable mechanics I think it has become a genre now.
So what is this all about? The world is made of 1x1m voxel blocks which can be mined and placed as the player likes. It is infinite along the four cardinal directions and limited in height (256 blocks), the height limitation downwards has gameplay reasons (I'll talk about this in future sneak peaks about whats next), the upward one is a technical thing. There are multiple biomes and every map is (seed based) procedurally generated. One of the core reasons for a manipulable world is the idea of digging for resources, a feature that is at it's current state very loosely developed. There are rich underground ore deposits, but you'll find ores on the surface as well. At the moment we lack content to conveniently carve out huge caves to fit in your mining equipment, therefore we don't want to force the players underground before those features will be added to the game.
The core gameplay loop is to automate the process of acquiring resources (ore) and processing them into more advanced resources to fuel your research operation in order to unlock new technologies (buildings, crafting recipes, ...). Your most used tool will be the conveyor belt, which moves items from one machine or container to another. Every item on our belts is simulated and can be picked up, something that was really important to us, we're not showing you an illusion.
The building system is fairly straight-forward, the buildings lock to the voxel grid. You have all the freedom you want to create factories you like. Large open areas, cramped buildings, whatever fits your likes.
Then there is the need to provide power for your machines, a system I decided to design a bit more complex than in most games. There are high-voltage-grids (HVGs) and low-voltage-grids (LVGs), a system inspired by reality. The basic concept is that your generators feed the energy into the HVG (power poles connected by cables), which is connected to transformers, which relay it the LVG. Our LVGs are the floors and walls, they will convey energy to every machine that stands on top, this has the nice side effect that you don't need to connect every machine to a power source, you only need your foundation/building to have a transformer that is connected to a HVG. It sounds more complicated than it actually is.
To progress your research you need to create a certain amount of items for each unlock. Newer researches will always need all previously required items, so that you'll never build production lines that will turn out pointless eventually.
And of course there is multiplayer where you can play cooperatively with friends. We think that multiplayer adds to most genres, but especially here it makes a large difference. There is a lot to do, get a helping hand!
Thank You For Reading!
I really do hope that those lines aren't jumping too quickly from topic to topic and that you gained some interesting insight into this project. I'm certainly not the best writer and I tried to put out everything that was on my mind while keeping it somewhat brief. My upcoming blog posts will be more narrowed down in terms of topic, so this should improve.
So long, mrmcd