Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Relic

In the App Store April 14, 2011!

The Relic is a 3D Gauntlet- or Diablo-style arcade RPG developed by Axolotl Studios (aka me) and published by Chillingo. It runs on iPhone and iPad. It's taken too long to develop but it is currently in submission with Apple and will be released within the next few weeks. I'm proud of it. There are those projects that you create that turn out far better that you had hoped and this is one of them - for the most part. Like all your creations that you know intimately, you know its flaws. One big disappointment was having to cut multiplayer.

Multiplayer is not in this release. I spent months working on it and got it working reasonably well but the architecture was a mess and it was hard to fit the rest of the game around it at that time and it was getting later and later. I was starting to believe myself that the game would never be released, so I cut it. I intend to get it in in a future update.

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

Life is about attachment and detachment.  We're born; we love; we die.  Yet science in our age hints that even death itself may yield to the relentless advance of technology. The Relic explores the concept of immortality and of mastery of the biological in an unexpected, though admittedly minimalistic way. I'd like to add more depth and nuance to the story in future updates.

The Art of The Relic

Mark Jones created the character art and most of the animations. Some of the environment art (the tents and market area) was stock 3D art and well worth what I paid for it.  In the future I will use stock art more, it's more cost effective that creating my own art or paying for custom art.  I created the dungeons themselves and props such as the crates and barrels and the items that can be dropped, some of the animations, the UI art and the logos. Much of the scene art, the intro, etc. uses art adapted from public domain art sources - that is, famous, old works of art.  I used Blender for the 3D art.

The Music of The Relic

Most of the music in The Relic is stock music, however, The Relic includes two songs by indie songwriter and musician Andy Livingston, "Indigo Winter" and "Heavy."

The Code of The Relic

One of the most successful parts of The Relic's engine is the sheer number of animated 3D enemies that it can handle. The Relic engine uses Lua heavily for game-side scripting, but it is organized in a way that does not interfere with The Relic's ability to manage so many enemies.

I'll write more about coding concerns later, but with 438 source files (not including the Lua files), this is certainly the largest software project I've written entirely by myself. It's written primarily in C++ and I did most of the development on Windows PC with Visual Studio and occasionally testing with the iPhone with platform-specific pieces written in C++ on the Windows side and Objective-C on the iPhone/iPad side. As with Indigo Ocho, near the final stages of development, development shifted completely over to the Mac/iPhone.

The Relic (iPhone 4 screens) [on facebook]


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