Bullseye! Interstellar Marines’ Boot Camp

By Alec Meer on January 12th, 2010 at 1:54 am.

The preview/hype campaign for Zero Point’s upcoming ‘AAA indie’ shooter Interstellar Marines continues to be interesting. Following on from their Unity-powered 3D scene thinger, they’ve now made a browser-based minigame to show off some of the tone and feel of the thing. Sure, it’s just about shooting pop-up targets – an FPS tutorial stage writ large – but they’ve made it more than the sum of its cursor-onto-cardboard-face parts.

The prosaically-named Bullseye is also created in Unity – we love it so – and is about scoring points and earning unlocks by shooting as many targets as possible as fast as possible and as accurately as possible. As old as the explodey-face hills, conceptually. However, a) it looks super-pretty for something so simple/purely promotional and b) it twists an age old concept slightly but fascinatingly. We’re well-used to numbingly shooting the pop-up things until the timer ends.

This one, though, goes nuts – there are a few points where it genuinely made pop-up targets feel a little, well, scary. And without doing it in a self-conciously silly way, either. Instead, it evokes a Starship Troopersesque sense that you’re going to go up against a truly serious threat in the full game. I’m enormously curious about Interstellar Marines: if there’s this much panache to a stooopid web-game, we could be in very something special and surprising.

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40 Comments »

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  1. Web Cole says:

    Somebody’s up late :P

    Also, yay Unity :)

  2. Ruke says:

    So, someone can pose a 3d scene and then not animate it and call it a trailer if they use epic music and lots of cut-to-black?

  3. PleasingFungus says:

    That was… actually pretty entertaining!

    I’m not sure what that says about me.

    (I liked the bits in the background-ship-noise where it would intermittently wish you a Merry Christmas. Felt amusingly out-of-place. Christmas in Space!)

  4. The Great Wayne says:

    Are those Shark-pigs ?

    If so, dammit, I might be interested by this “vault”. A dev team who thinks Shark-pigs can make worthy antagonists deserves at least some kind of attention.

  5. Max says:

    Alright, I’m impressed. Both with the graphics and the handling of the weapons. It seems really solid so far.

  6. Deuteronomy says:

    That . . .that was amazing. On the radar now.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well you can tell they beat MW2

  8. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Amazing for a browser game, that’s for sure. The expert ones were scary difficult, particularly swarm and go-go-go. The best was probably the hostages one with less lighting but a flashlight, or the urban warfare one. They have my attention for their full game.

  9. Stromko says:

    Very polished shooting gallery, felt quite fun, played about 40 rounds of it before I could tear myself away. Really liked the weapon handling, it captures a kind of crisp powerfulness, a challenging yet tameable beast of a gun. Felt almost like a zen state to pull off multiple, single, accurate shots from the bucking autofire gun in a row.

  10. Heliosicle says:

    Yay winning gamespot competitions, while I never won proper game, I won beta access and the game, glad its turning out pretty good

  11. SteveHatesYou says:

    That was impressive. Especially since the game is being developed by eight (!) people.

    If they actually pull off a AAA game, it’ll be a real kick in the ass to all the studios with 100+ developers and 4 year production cycles. Maybe more game developers will finally begin to take tools like Unity seriously. Or at least put some effort into their own tools.

  12. Caiman says:

    So I wait 15 minutes for it to download (I have a slow connection), then realise that I need to log in which I do, and then it has to reload the entire thing again. Is this standard practice for Unity apps, or is this just sloppy?

  13. mcnostril says:

    I spent quite a bit perusing their website and going through the vault thingie + bullseye, and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed at how sleek everything looks. I’m a big fan of their design style, and it looks like they seem to be shooting for total immersion in the way that only Dead Space has pulled off so far; it’d be interesting to see if they can actually deliver.

    Also, land sharks.
    LAND SHARKS.

  14. Jeremy says:

    I had a lot of fun with Bullseye, until I finally registered and it erased all my data. To be honest, though, not dreading going back and redoing those 6 or so rounds. Also, took me forever to realize right mouse button gives you iron sights. Wondered why I couldn’t hit anything far away.

  15. Brumisator says:

    I still can’t get over how incredible the Unity Webplayer is to use and what it can display.

    Also, this is by far the best shooting gallery I have ever played!
    So astonishing!

  16. Adrian says:

    somewhat like the weapon handling! the whole thing still looks promising!
    the only thing i don’t get… whats up with the pop- up targets? wasnt this supposed to be about some kind of shark aliens? why do we shoot at humans? why do the humans have hostages? this isnt counterstrike :(
    im very impressed by the game mechanics but the targets were just lame!

    • Dominic White says:

      If I recall right, the game is meant to be a First Contact kinda scenario, so you start out as a standard marine dealing with human problems, and then aliens kinda throw a spanner in the works.

      And the weird shark things are apparently genetically engineered fodder/shock-units, rather than the real aliens themselves.

  17. Tusque d'Ivoire says:

    dammit, right click hold and left click is a backwards mouse gesture in opera, so i can really only fire from the hip… not smart at all, other opera buttons don’t work when something flash is in fullscreen. don’t like to resort to FF.

  18. KP says:

    wow, this is really well done. is there mouse smoothing or is my computer just too assy to make this smooth shooting? I hate mouse smoothing.

  19. Lack_26 says:

    I love how in the background text of the loading screen it says ‘Do not read this text, or you will be subject to death’

  20. Psychopomp says:

    That was a damn atmospheric shooting gallery.

  21. duel says:

    Holey Moley, i cant beleive this is playing in my browser it looks great!

  22. Alastayr says:

    Nice. The gunplay is really visceral, although I’m only shooting paper targets, I feel like they’re a genuine threat. And the Unitiy Web Player is just awesomesauce.
    Wanted to give this a shot, just a few minutes. Now I’m late for lecture. Dang.

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    Nero says:

    Indeed that was extremely impressive.

  24. Siepher says:

    My name is in the background text as well. ;)

    I hope everyone’s enjoying Bullseye, I definitely am.

    Sign up on the forums and have a good time with the fans of Interstellar Marines!

  25. SpinalJack says:

    I’ve got 5 medals on all the challenges except Go! Go! Go! Expert and Urban Warfare. Difficult stuff and also quite rewarding. I keep going back to it like a willing slave to a cruel mistress XD

    Laser scope really helps nail those Bull’s Eyes.

  26. espy says:

    Very well done, very solid, good atmosphere and style, weapon feels really meaty. Played to level 10 before I could peel myself away.

    Bodes well for the full game.

  27. DXN says:

    Fuck you I’m a SHAAA-AaarghBLAMBLAMBLAM

    Very interested in this — everything I’ve seen about it is more polished than an ice-sculpture’s nads (or something). It’s lovely to see what small teams can do these days!

  28. JellyfishGreen says:

    In The Vault, The Shark Jumps You!

  29. Collic says:

    I don’t think you can execute a shooting gallery game any better than that. Very impressive. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

  30. Sajmn says:

    Does anyone have an idea how one could keep the “game” from having to download every time you start it up?

  31. espy says:

    Hostage and Urban Warfare are great.

    Prepare for next wave

    I should be working :/

  32. thib says:

    No, Bullseye doesn’t use the Unity web player cache yet.

    Also, you guys should know you played a beta version which will end on this friday (15th.) Check back after that ;-). Note that the stats will be reset, and that they’re obviously only saved if you register.

    By the way, the land sharks are absolutely not in the center of the game (as was suggested in another comment,) if anyone’s actually interested, there are some bits of story background in the articles on their website (they don’t give much away, though.)

    As Siepher said, the forums are pretty active – and for the quick chats there’s an unofficial IRC channel at quakenet.org: #interstellarmarines.

  33. Davee says:

    The best popup-target-shooting ive had! Also, very-well made for a promo. Hope the full game has weapon handling like that. It’s now on my watchlist :)

    And i will def. check back after 15th.

  34. thib says:

    Oops.
    As it turns out, the little beta indeed ends on friday 15th, but the final version will open on friday 22nd. Also, the stats won’t be reset.

  35. fresch says:

    No Linux client?! Developers like that can fall of the Earth, for all I care… *grumble*

  36. thib says:

    They need Unity support before even thinking about it. You might want to spend two clicks here and maybe a few keystrokes there. In the interest of every Unity gamer and developer.