There are no sound effects yet, no gameplay. Yet the first time you run "your game," is always a magical moment. This time "your" means you, the backers, as well as the dev team. I'm very happy to share this moment with all of you.
When I helped make WoW, the "first time" was a human running around a barren Westfall. For Firefall, it was a untextured "alien" shooting cubes on a flat plane. For Em-8ER, we've exceeded those two "firsts."
The original IndieGoGo goal was simpler: Model the THMPR on a flat, featureless plane and trigger a handful of animations.
Instead, we've not only managed to model the THMPR, but to also include some basic "wander" AI, music by the composer of Firefall, and a half kilometer of sculpted terrain complete with next-gen texturing methods.
We did more, because we love the idea of this game, and want to share as much as we can with you. Thank you for your support, backers, please enjoy the demo.
Mark Kern - Creative Director
The Mining MEK/A - T.H.M.P.R.
The T.H.M.P.R. mining MEK/A is your companion and best tool out in the field for extracting precious resources from the frozen wastes of planet EM-8ER. Called down from a dropship, the THMPR immediately goes to work while you defend it from the strange creatures that seem attracted to its drilling. During invasion by the shape-shifting Tsi-Hu and their Kaiju, the THMPR fights alongside you. A weapon as well as a companion. The THMPR has personality and a bond with the player.
The main goal of this art demo was to create the THMPR and give it basic life and animations. The THMPR in the art demo wanders a patrol path, drilling where you instruct it, and occasionally laughing at your jokes. Fully rendered with state of the art PBR (Physically Based Rendering), metals look like metal, rubber looks like rubber, and the THMPR has an overall gleam and gloss from constant polishing by its protective and proud Gatestrider owner.
An Icy Planet - Terrain Bonus
The planet EM-8ER is a study in contrasts. Fields of ice and rocky snow exist alongside volcanoes and flowing lava. Players must open up pockets of breathable atmosphere on EM-8ER to begin the long terraforming process by collecting resources to power the gigantic terraforming factories. As players build more facilities and successfully defend them from the invading Tsi-Hu forces, the terrain changes and grows lush with seeded flora and fauna. Lose the battle, and watch the landscape revert back to its primordial state.
As a bonus goal, we created a half square kilometer of basic terrain for the THMPR art demo. Not yet fully populated with details or larger landmarks, the terrain already looks beautiful thanks to PBR rendering and new procedural texturing techniques. Zones in EM-8ER will range in size from 4-8 sq. kilometers, and will form the battlefields that must be won, terraformed, and defended.
Looking Ahead - Next Steps
We've set a high bar with the quality of the THMPR art demo, especially for an indie game with only a handful of part-time creators. We're happy we were able to achieve what we did with this milestone, and feel it stands up well to the quality of work being done elsewhere in the industry.
But there is still much to do. EM-8ER is funded on a "per milestone" basis. Future funding and development milestones will enable us to create the human characters, the Gatestrider pioneers that wildcat this strange world. The player's main suit, a light MEK called the Omniframe, is already funded and slated for a future milestone. Finally, players will need Tsi-Hu to fight, both in their humanoid and beast forms, as we put everything together into a playable mockup THMPR mining encounter for a future Kickstarter campaign.
We are very grateful for our fans and backers support and encouragement. We look forward to future milestones, more great art, and gameplay!
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