Early last month, we showed you this trailer depicting one of the most ambitious indie game projects ever, Interstellar Marines. Danish developers Zero Point Software planned IM as a trilogy of sci-fi first-person shooters featuring a realistic near-future storyline, role-playing elements, non-linear and open-ended environments, and an emphasis on cooperative gameplay. They describe it as a “AAA Indie” game, meaning it will have big-time production values without the studio having to sell out to a major publisher and possibly compromise their vision. To accomplish this, ZPS has adopted an open-door development policy with their community and are accepting pre-orders, as well as donations, to help fund their work. They’ve even begun offering shares of stock in their private financial holdings company to those that wish to seriously invest in the venture.
Since the launch of the Interstellar Marines website in May of 2009, three playable segments of the game (what ZPS refers to as “slices”) have been released, allowing those that “enlist” as a member to try out an early preview of what the game will look and play like:
The Vault: The first taste of Interstellar Marines in the Unity engine, it allows you to walk around and learn about some of the important characters and objects from the game. Cool 3D models and sound effects are arranged in static action scenes that you can walk in and around while listening to a voiced description.
Bullseye: A fully-developed weapons training simulator (target range/shooting gallery) that gives you a feel for how the assault rifle handles and how the weapon upgrades work. There are almost two dozen different challenges, performance is rated after each round to award medals and experience that unlock new challenges and cause you to level up. Each rank rewards you with an upgrade or attachment for your weapon, such as a scope, silencer, better handling, etc. With a bit of extra polish and content (maybe more weapons), this could be its own game.
Running Man: This takes you into full-motion FPS territory, pitting you against waves of practice dummies in live-fire training sessions. (Well, you’re the only one shooting bullets, but still.) Designed to simulate combat against multiple enemies of various speed and threat levels, this series of exercises takes place in several different environments and really shows off how good the Unity engine (running from within the browser) can look.
Before you run off and play those, though, why not stick around and read more about Interstellar Marines and its extra-ordinary development process from two of the guys that have been living it for the better part of the last decade? You’ll also see answers to questions that some of our very own FS forum members submitted. Enjoy!