Game Breeding Pit - Part 1
Killer Roach grabs you by the hand and leaps into the beginning
stages of the game design process - coming up with an original
idea and figuring out what to do with it. This series beginning
covers the first steps in the game design process, finding
a concept, getting general ideas on game play, what to do
with notes, and how to figure out what to do with all that
you are thinking up.... Read more
One Must Fall History
Phreaky by nature travels into the past (or is it the
future?) and details much of the process from 2097, to the first
iterations of battlegrounds, the refined product that Diversions
Entertainment is working on today, and takes a look towards the future
in this expose of the history and life of One Must Fall:Battlegrounds.
Dynamic Music Exposed
The driving beats and catchy riffs in One Must Fall
2097’s music have stuck with fans for a decade now. But what is it that
makes the music so successful?
Beyond the Battlegrounds
Malfrex and Spockmeat take us beyond the battlegrounds in
a fan fiction following stefan in the advanced world of
future arena fighting. Science fiction and Battlegrounds
fans cant help but love this first entry in BattleCast Fan
Fics.... Read more
Please note that due to its length,
this fan fiction is found on our website rather than included in this
newsletter. Please click the read more link to view it.
One Must Fall Beta clans start taking on the
challengers. A clear victor begins striding out in front, and one clan
still struggling to get off the ground...
About Beta Testing
It was on a rainy pre-summer day, I was boring around a
bit on the internet, when I found an article on PC Gameworld about
OMF:Battlegrounds, (my heart jumped over), OMF, that game I always
played when I was a little kid, a new version, and a MMOFG, I just had
to sign up...
BasKet rounds up some funny images from around the
beta for your enjoyment! This month features bots and situations from
every corner of the playerbase.
|Game Breeding Pit - Part 1
Part 1 - Coming up with a concept (and what to do with it)
So you say you want to develop your own video game? Yeah, you and
about a few million other people. Despite what some will tell you, it’s
by no means an easy task; if it was, then you’d see thousands upon
thousands of AAA titles every year for your convenient consumption at
low cost to you. In reality, high-quality titles are very rare
(depending on whether you ask an optimist or a pessimist, there are
between six and forty such titles a year) and are expensive to boot (in
some places in the United States, copies of Warcraft III and Return to
Castle Wolfenstein sold for $70 upon release). Not only is game
development difficult, it’s time-consuming, expensive, and creatively
The first thing in game design, like many other creative pursuits, is
to make a good overview of your concept. Just like you wouldn’t make a
movie without a storyboard or a painting without sketching it out
first, a good (and perhaps necessary) first step for game design is to
write out what you want your game to do, the story behind it, and how
you’d like your game to play out. Some things to consider when doing
1) What makes my game unique? Just because you have a good
idea doesn’t mean that people will want to pick it up. Think of what
you want your game to feature, and write them down. For purposes much
later on, keep a short list of things that your game does that few other
(if any) games of its type do. Most top-tier titles from newer
developers have something that nobody else has seen before, be it the
swashbuckling scenes from Prince of Persia or the comic-book kitsch of
Commander Keen. These “hooks” aren’t necessary, but they do draw
interest. If you don’t have a new gameplay style like my first example,
try to do the latter and be more unique in the art style while still
being palatable to most. I can probably say with confidence that not
too many people will play a game that features randomly generated pastel
2) How is my game organized? Whether this involves the user
interface, the help systems, or the layout of the game’s progression,
organization is important. Making things unnecessarily hard for your
intended audience to play the game isn’t good; in fact, it frustrates
potential buyers and will certainly get game reviewers to pitch your
precious CD in the wastebasket as if they were playing Frisbee Golf with
it. To paraphrase Einstein: “Keep things as simple as possible, but
not any more so.” Interpret that as you will.
3) What makes people want to play my game? Most likely,
you’re not creating an open-source project; if you’re creating a game,
you’re more than likely creating a game that you’ll want to sell (be it
an original product or a game mod that hopes to gain publisher support).
If you want it to sell, well, you’ll need to make a game that people
will gladly pay to play. Keep in mind the strength of the game’s plot
(if it doesn’t have one, don’t worry too much; if it does, make sure
it’s good, as there’s nothing worse than a half-baked plot), the general
aesthetic design of the game (is your gamer willing to sit down and
play it rather than fleeing in terror?), and the learning curve needed
to play it (if it’s too hard, people will be less likely to play).
Once this is out of the way, have your notes in a single place (like a
notebook, sketch pad, CD-RW disk, or, my favorite, a legal pad) and
start to add concept artwork to your notes, so that you can show others
images in addition to your writings. After all, a picture is worth a
thousand words, especially when people are having problems visualizing
your information. However, don’t use pictures in place of words, as
then you will have as many or more confusions than were you to have none
After all of this, keep your design notes and specifications, all of
them. Why? Simple; that way you can have other people look them over
and give you advice (and heed it if necessary, as you can’t do it on
your own), use them for future use (adding on to your ideas), or to send
them off to another developer to see if they want to take on your
project (be careful with this; if you’re not attached to your project,
you may not like the end result if somebody does take the game design).
Once you get your preliminary design work out of the way, then you have
only one of many steps out of the way for your game’s progress of
development. Scarily enough, this might be the easy part of the process
for you. The rest gets more technical, more frustrating, and certainly
more painful on the wallet. Nevertheless, there’s nothing quite like
developing a game. To be honest, the concept of creating something that
other people can experience and possibly even add on to is one that
boggles the mind, and that is the goal desired by most developers of
games, explicitly stated or not. Game design isn’t just a business or a
vocation; it is an art that attacks the senses and the imagination, and
an art that attracts the masses to it.
Welcome to the interactive digital world.
|2097, Battlegrounds, And Beyond
funny how a time that has not yet come to be, has made history. The
year 2097 was the setting for the aptly titled “One Must Fall: 2097” and
it is a year that brings with it a nostalgic feeling to many hearts. I
imagine there are now many smiling faces as the mind’s ear remembers:
“Round One, Fight!” In 1994 Diversions Entertainment brought you a
classic gaming experience. Regarded by many as the best Fighting game
of all time, there just had to be more. OMF: 2097 created a unique
world of fighting. There were 90ft tall robots, known as Human Assisted
Robots (HARs), which each had unique moves available to it, and in
addition these HARs were, of course, human assisted, and you could
choose the pilot you wanted to use. Each pilot had characteristics
which would directly affect the handling and abilities of the HAR. This
added a new, strategic element and proved that OMF was more than meets
the eye. A great single player story mode combined with two player fun
was improved further with the inclusion of a Tournament mode which added
RPG-style elements to the game. A simple minded fighter is what many
would expect, but a mind-blowing, involving game is what they would
receive. And they would LOVE it. The RPG element meant that for
winning as you obtained credits (the monetary units of the OMF world)
you would be able to train your pilot in areas of strength, agility and
endurance, as well as upgrade your HAR to be a better machine.
OMF:2097 was a very early introduction into the world of
multiplayer fighters over modem, serial link, network, or BBS link and
over Virtual IPX networks OMF’s multiplayer still had some life. This
was a very early multiplayer implementation and things have come a long
way in the world of multiplayer gaming. However, these unique aspects
grasped a whole array of fans and kept our interests for years.
The game has received many good reviews from fighting game fanatics
and people who don’t even like fighting games, as well as picked up
awards and entrances into Halls of Fame!
“One of the BEST fighting games ever made. Period… Now
I'm *not* an action gamer, but this game did keep me hooked for hours.
Two thumbs up for this underdog, a proud entrant in our Hall of Belated
Fame” – The Underdogs (www.the-underdogs.org)
“One must respect this, the legendary PC fighting game
that remains the ultimate name in robotic combat… Download it, fire up
that dusty MS-DOS window, and experience what many have called the best
fighting game ever created for the PC. Rock'em Sock'em Robots really has
nothing on it.” – William Cassidy, Gamespy, Hall of Fame (www.gamespy.com)
“In short, OMF is a 2D fighting game with blazing graphics and sounds.” – Boson, GameHippo, Top 20 Rated Games (www.gamehippo.com)
How could Diversions Entertainment stop at what seemed like the peak
of the gaming experience? Well, they didn’t. Ladies, gentlemen, dogs
(Hi Nanook!) and every creature in the OMF Universe, fighting games have
evolved. Diversions Entertainment has broken the barriers of fighting
games to create a new peak… The Everest of gaming is here this year with
One Must Fall: Battlegrounds.
The transition from 2D to 3D is brilliant. There is a familiar fighting fury
in a newly realized 3D world with immense potential.
The look has changed to behind the shoulder view and
this has been a benefit to the genre, allowing individual
limbs to be controlled, multiple opponents to be attacked
and of course, the whole arena to be explored, in
glorious full 3D. Graphically stunning One Must Fall:
Battlegrounds provides us with other technical beauties
to match. Dynamic Sound offers the ability to adapt
the music, composed by the talented copperhand, to
the mood of the scenario. You will hear an involving,
deep reflection of how well you are doing in the game.
Little touches like this ensure OMF: BG will be as
impressive as 2097 was, and indeed still IS.
They say a picture tells a thousand words, well here I’ll illustrate
you sheer brilliance evolving into the beginnings of a self-actualising
A big difference in the graphics yet we still have a hint of the
nostalgic charm that is OMF! Beautiful shots of the hangar in 3
different timeframes there; it’s like watching the game evolve over the
most part of a decade.
The biggest step up is multiplayer functionality. There is the
opportunity to battle it out with up to 15 opponents, or whatever the
hardware constraints limit this to, and this is a thrilling proposition.
Multiplayer gaming is increasing with the rise of broadband and PC
gaming is where network and internet play began and is still the most
popular platform for such game play. With this, Diversions
Entertainment’s idea for an Online Multiplayer Fighter, (OMF – neat
eh?), is truly unique. The action is intense, the game play varied.
Strategy over button-bashing is the key. A game that brings back that
smile with new words… “You are in the lead!” A triumphant feeling and
no matter, a win or loss, you go back in for more. I hint of the
excitement and addictiveness that the game brings to us.
At this stage I must offer a “thank you” to the fans on the boards
and the members who are a part of the beta pool. They have made One
Must Fall progress to the stage it is at with their constant support,
vigorous testing and, of course, promotion through word of mouth… and
whatever methods they could employ ;). There have been a few builds
released recently each with new content and/or tweaked balance and yet
more quashed bugs.
Currently the volcano arena is being tested and comments about its
potential have been flying in from all areas. There is so much
discussion over one arena and each time these suggestions are taken into
account for the further development of a more rewarding gameplay
The newest addition, alongside the volcano, and indeed a quite
necessary addition, being tested is the Admin system. This enables
passwords to be set, kicks to be administered and even vote kicks to be
undertaken between administrators. So far I’ve had no trouble myself
kicking off AI once I wanted to get a fight going with real humans and
this has enhanced gameplay to no end.
There is still work to be done however. At present, the final couple
of arenas are near completion, and the hazards for several remain
unimplemented. This should be something exciting to look forward to as
the game nears completion. New arenas have always given birth to
different strategies within them.
The robots are coming along superbly; with a fair amount of balancing
they could be perfect. The tweaking DE will do with the feedback from
testers is essential to increasing the playability of the game.
With the deletion of each bug, comes along another bug it seems in
the beta testing process. This is common in testing but many creases
are continuously ironed out resulting in a much smoother game overall as
the time goes by. Still it will be a great feeling when the beta pool
eventually scours the beta for bugs and the Beta Test Bug Report forum
is empty. Let’s just hope they don’t all go Agent Smith on us after
losing purpose ;)
Recently the tester pool first met the patching system for BG. This
meant smaller downloads were required and it seemed like a clever idea,
but it didn’t quite work well. Many errors were encountered and Rob’s
ended up in a constant head-to-head battle with InstallShield’s
Installer packages. It seemed like there was no hope until Rob changed
from InstallShield Developer to Professional. After yet another
400-something MB file download we were now able to experience smooth
installation and seamless updates. A glorious victory for Mr. Elam!
The game has gone through much in its lifespan. There
were the old models with low polygons dropped in favor
of the new models with higher polygons and a much
cooler look Also the Open GL renderer was dropped
in favor of Direct3D which not only improved the graphics
of Battlegrounds, but actually helped increase performance.
It seems D3D and BG were a match made in heaven. Well,
This is a great game and a great experience is had watching the
progress of it. 7000 message board members, even more fans are still
hidden, lurking or not even in the know of the eagerly anticipated
Battlegrounds. Well even though it will be released, “when it is done,”
I leave you with this final thought on OMF: BG:
There’s nothing quite like attacking an opponent who has, in order to
survive themselves, assisted you in the takedown of a powerful enemy.
It’s survival of the fittest in these arenas, for it is true that:
Before You Can Rise, One Must Fall...
of the most memorable things in the One Must Fall series of games, has
definitely got to be the music. The driving beats and catchy little
riffs in One Must Fall 2097’s music have stuck with fans for an entire
decade now, and that looks set to continue for a long time to come with
the next game in the series, One Must Fall: Battlegrounds, due to be
released in the third quarter of this year. But what is it about the
music in this series that makes it stick with fans? Come to think of it,
what is it about any good game music that makes it synonymous with the
Music has been used in computer games ever since technology allowed
the first home console systems to become affordable and widespread.
Since then, there is no doubt that it has become one of the most highly
regarded components of a typical computer game. But why is music so
important? How has it managed to be elevated to its highly-regarded
Anyone who has been in contact with music, from even the most casual
of listeners to the most celebrated of composers, can attest to the fact
that music fuels and manipulates human emotion. Different pieces have
different characteristics, and it is these characteristics that
determine the emotions we feel through the process of listening to a
piece of music from beginning to end. Allow me to cite some well-known
classical pieces to illustrate my point. What do you feel when you hear
the thunderous beginning to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony? Dread? Unease? And
how do you think Beethoven’s 9th Symphony earned the title “Ode to
Music in computer games really is no different to the traditional
music of classical composers, in this respect. The primary goal of a
piece of music in a computer game is to make you feel something – to
make you empathize with the character you have in your control. Imagine a
party of heroes entering a dimly-lit cave in an RPG. Eerie music is
playing in the background. What does it make you feel? What does it make
you think? The music is trying to tell you something: Keep a good
look-out. You don’t know what’s lurking behind that corner over there.
Similarly, think of a thumping techno soundtrack to a fighting game (no
prizes as to what I’m alluding to here!). The purpose here is to get
your adrenalin going - after all, no normal person is going to want to
beat their opponents to a pulp if there’s some cutesy flute twittering
around in the background!
Music has other goals, too. For instance, it may not cause you to
feel an emotion so much as it serves to describe a mood or scene.
Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite of pieces that do
nothing but describe scenes – converting visual art into audible art.
And believe me, it works. It works very well indeed. It may even
surprise you to know that one of the pieces that made up Pictures at an
Exhibition, the “Promenade” piece, actually found its way into a game.
It accompanied certain scenes in the game Mario is Missing, if any of
you remember that. Yeah, OK, so it wasn’t really much of a game. Nor was
it very good. But that’s not the point.
Anyway, so far, we have only talked about linear music – music that
is played straight through from beginning to end. However, what about
dynamic music? Well, the truth is that the same principles that apply to
linear music, also apply to dynamic music. For instance, the purpose is
still to evoke a reaction from the listener – although the music now
has a less self-defined narrative (story-like) structure, preferring to
draw the beginnings, middles and endings of tunes from the actions of
the players or NPCs (non-player characters) in a game. (Because of the
nature of dynamic music, it is not so much used to describe a scene,
because a scene has a linear nature – and by definition, dynamic music
does not have a linear nature.)
It may come as a shock to some people for them to know that dynamic music has
been around a lot longer than people think. Although
it has recently sharply gained popularity and attention,
the concept of dynamic music has actually been around
since 1989. Super Mario Bros. was one of the earliest
examples (albeit a rather crude one) of the use of
dynamic music in a computer game. Remember when you
were playing a level, and you were spending too much
time on it? Every time the timer ran down to 100,
the music sped up, signaled by an ominous little snippet
of music – serving the purpose of telling you that
you really ought to be coming close to finishing the
level pretty quickly. That is dynamic music at work
in a very simple example.
So, now that I’ve taken you through this short exposition into the
whys, the wherefores, the goals and the messages of music in games, we
can now delve into the technicalities behind the music – in other words,
next we’ll be going into the actual process of how the music gets from
an idea in a composer’s head, to a full-blown piece accompanying the
next Game of the Year. Stay tuned.
Wouter van Dongen
with any up-and-coming game, One Must Fall has already begun to build
its clan base as beta testers take to the arena in an effort to find out
who can come out on top.
Currently there are a few clans active called: hyper-X,
eXceSs and Inter-Link. The last battle was between
hyper-X and XS which ended up badly for hyper-X. The
final score was 4-17 and the bad thing was that 2
out the 4 were scored because an XS member threw a
Hyper-X member out of the arena requiring XS to commit
suicide twice due to agreed-upon ring out rules. An
interesting match, with the caveat that ring outs
and running away would be penalized.
Game type: Last Team Standing
Arena: Space Station
Score: 4-17, Clan eXcess Win
|eXceSs|| 17 points
|Interlink||No Matches Played|
At the moment the Inter-Link clan managed by Tricky_IL is requesting people
to become a member of his clan. To become a member
please post at the message board in the clan thread
or mail Tricky himself at email@example.com.
joy, I got an invitation to the Earth & Beyond beta test,
Westwood’s highly acclaimed MMORPG. But, even better, my friend got in
too, w00t, just great.
I played 2 weeks when I heard the Beta would end, and it did, it
turned out to be a
Aw well there are more tests out there!
I’ve tested quite some games since the start of the new school year
(2002-2003), most of them were just some gold release and commercial
tests. Just like Eve2 genesis, it was just 2 weeks of “testing” without
any bugs so far found, and that’s a bummer for someone who would like to
find some. After overcoming that disappointment I signed in for a
Turn-based multiplayer game, when I got accepted, it was the same story
all over again. Just a gold release to get some more people interested
in purchasing the game.
It was on a rainy pre-summer day, I was bored and surfing around a
bit on the internet, when I found an article on PC Gameworld about
OMF:Battlegrounds, (my heart jumped over), OMF, that game I always
played when I was a little kid, a new version, and a MMOFG, I just had
to sign up. So I did, and life went on……
Until one day in November, forgetting all about OMF:BG, a message
from Judy Elam?, and I thought, “now who’s that?” I read the message,
and my heart jumped into my mouth, and screamed, “YEAH!!!” Now, about a
year and a half later, I’m still testing and I like it, being in the
community, telling my friends about it, letting them try, and see them
getting busted by AI’s is almost the greatest. The greatest thing is
that with OMF you have contact with the development team, something I’ve
missed with all the other tests. If you want a fun game to test, you
should go to some big company with millions of dollars, but go to a
relatively small team, and test. Then you will feel the real beta test.
an extraordinary game image that you think would be really funny to
show here? If its not a bug, and it was naturally generated by the game
(sorry, no photoshopping), send your blooper images to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note we reserve the right to choose which images appear in this section.
- You missed! They are over THERE. See now you
just wasted a super... again.... on burning up a little bit of air next
to the guy you are trying to hit...
- Well, the game is
entitled One Must Fall....
- Jaguar and Katana, going camping.... at a giant volcano pit..... say, is it getting hot in here?
Editor In Chief
|Wouter van Dongen
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