Minions of steel (MOS) has been kicked around as a design concept for 10 years or more. It existed as a prototype in the Genesis 3D engine, Ogre and has come to rest in the outstanding game development engine, Unity 3D. The tools set for creating games is very important, especially when time and quality are a factor. Luckily, the Unity engine came along and stripped out a lot of risk for independent game developers as far as rendering technology and tools are concerned.
MOS is an RTS / FPS hybrid, which are rare breeds. It also incorporates some brand new game concepts like the behavior system and Wartach. For individual units, behaviors are assigned in the Operations Editor. This will govern how the unit behaves in the game and is a pivotal function of the strategy part of the game play. I would imagine that players may assign like behaviors to squads, for executing special attack maneuvers as a group. This feature allows players to custom tailor the AI to respond in a special way during the game.
The Wartach gives the player a snap shot of the playing field while not directly observing any major battles. If a player is tending units or commanding a unit and a major engagement unfolds elsewhere, the Wartach will clue them in immediately. The numbers on top of the Wartach are the total number of units in the game. The number on the bottom is the players units. As shots are fired, the Wartach dial moves from green to yellow to red indicating the intensity of the battle. The music will also escalate as battles intensify.
MOS will be single player and multiplayer capable. The single player mode gives gamers a chance to sharpen their skills offline, or just play for fun. The multiplayer mode will allow gamers to team against the computer or other players. In multiplayer mode, one person gets to act as GENEI and command the troops in RTS mode as well take over the GENEI robot in first person mode. The GENEI can have up to seven other real players controlling minions in first person mode for a total of eight real players per team. There will be up to eight GENEI bases per map for a total of sixty-four live players. And, there could be hundreds of minions on the map.
Minions of Steel leans in a different direction as far as building up armies and resources, for a typical RTS. There will be salvage caches scattered throughout the maps that will contain valuable weapons and a-typical minions. One can imagine some epic battles taking place over such caches. It works a bit like capture the flag. If a GENEI maintains control of the salvage area long enough, the bounty goes to him. There will be temporary powers scattered about the maps as well. These power ups will give minions acquiring them a boost in ability.
GENEI will level up as battles are won. GENEI will progressively get stronger and stronger as you play and win. GENEI will also level if games are lost, but not as robustly. Each minion will level up as well. MOS is very excited about the leveling concept for GENEI and the entire army. Check it: as minions win small battles against the enemy during a game, they will get an immediate hit point boost for instituting the killing blow. We are calling this the “second wind” feature. This prevents a minion that delivers a killing blow, but has drained a significant amount of hit points doing so, from being killed immediately by a fresher enemy minion! Each minion that survives to the end of a game match will receive slight boosts in hit points as well! Over time, you could grow some seriously nasty armies.
It will be our pleasure to produce MOS for you, the players. We hope it will be your pleasure to play it! Thanks one and all for your support. We can’t wait to go gold with Minions of Steel!
– Jerry Waugh
For more information be sure to check out Minions of Steel’s active development blog at MinionsofSteel.com – It’s very cool to be involved and actually see parts of how the game is being made!