Interstellar Marines Reveals “Running Man”

By Jim Rossignol on May 14th, 2010 at 12:12 pm.


Perhaps the most impressive thing about Zeropoint Software’s unity-powered FPS Interstellar Marines is the way they’ve packed a website with tidbits leading up to release. You’ve been able to check out a bunch of the game models within the Unity plugin, and even test out some of the weapons. Folks who pre-order will now be able to play a test version of the game, called Running Man. All placeholdery stuff of course, but even that has a sense of style, and it looks as if Zeropoint have crafted the most solid shooter I’ve seen in Unity itself. I’m genuinely interested in seeing how this is going to turn out. Fancy trailery stuff below.

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63 Comments »

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  1. Bhazor says:

    Ahhh, so its a shooter where you shoot bullets out of a gun? Oh those indie developers and their crazy ideas.

    • Vague-rant says:

      Not everything that comes out of the goose is a golden egg. Sometimes its a normal egg… or a turd

    • subedii says:

      Been interested in this game since they released Bullseye. Jim’s right in that the shooting itself feels surprisingly solid, you wouldn’t ordinarily think it’s an indie game. The appearance of the levels as they currently are is because they’re set in a training facility. But even there, with a simple concept like Bullseye they managed to get me hooked playing it with some good implementation on what was basically an FPS target range.

      Not every game has to break the mould, not even indie games. Sometimes it’s a good idea to just do something really well.

      Heck, how did id follow up Wolfenstein 3D? How did Epic use its first FPS engine?

      Personally, I’m looking forward to this game with more and more interest.

    • Bhazor says:

      You’re talking about games from twenty years ago. I really hope we’d be able to expect more from a studio with full creative freedom than yet another grey and brown man shoot about space marines.

    • Tei says:

      Have you played it?

      Things already released, like the shotting area, are fun, pretty and challenging. If this continue this thread, it will be, really AAA.
      What we can see on this video (walking man, shotting things), continue this thread, and It was the big jump from prototype to real game. The next steps are smoother (but also important). I think this game will have a good “gunning”, so it will be fun.
      Originality can come in other areas, graphics, level design, mosters, mechanics,..
      Theres also some originality of the bussines model, that is supposed to be the point. I don’t care about his bussines model, but the game that is resulting is good, so /highfive to then.

    • subedii says:

      Adding to what Tei just said, Starcraft 2 is essentially a ten year old game but evolved with slightly updated mechanics and visuals. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s a good game. Good implementation of gameplay mechanics is more important than creativity for its own sake.

      And even then, I said before the game is designed like that because that segment is set in a training facility, much like Bullseye. As such, it’s pretty well implemented. If you want to talk later in the game, then I can’t comment. But then with regards to Interstellar Marines, I haven’t seen too many other FPS’s to date that have land sharks .

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Subedii
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHPvT8zVXT0
      Wrong!

      Ok, maybe I’m too harsh but that trailer really fails to do anything but make it look like a competent but bland gun metal grey shooter.

    • subedii says:

      Armed and Dangerous was a Third Person Shooter. Thus your argument is completely and unequivocally invalidated.

    • Mo says:

      @Bhazor:
      “I really hope we’d be able to expect more from a studio with full creative freedom than yet another grey and brown man shoot about space marines.”

      Just an aside, but: Arguably, those studios twenty years ago had more creative freedom than most present-day studios. Remember that id software came off the huge hit that was Wolf3d, and following up with Doom just made things better. They were flush with cash. They weren’t owned by anyone. They could have designed whatever they wanted to. They just really liked grey/brown corridors and space marines. :)

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      Another interesting possibility is that Unity could make this very easy to map/mod for. If the devs do get the core gameplay right, the community could easily step in and do some awesome stuff relatively easily, assuming the devs allow it. RPS certainly knows that you can pick Unity up in a fairly small time frame with a bit of willpower.

  2. Vague-rant says:

    I’m pretty impressed with what they’ve done with unity (admittedly I’m a layman so what do I know), but I still have the suspicion it’ll struggle to differentiate itself from every other shooter.

    What would make me choose this over the rest of the market?

  3. Lilliput King says:

    So what’s the hook? I had a look at their website and I can’t really tell.

    • IM19208 says:

      Come on…. Fucking Awesometastic Spacial Mutant Sharks! lol

  4. Rich says:

    I thought some of the death animations looked impressive. Nice bit of conservation of momentum in that guy whose head got shot off.

  5. Number47 says:

    The cool thing is that players get to follow development of the game very closely!

  6. Number47 says:

    The negative side ofcourse being that people might judge the game in its early stages and loose interest! Running man is just a techpreview!

  7. tchest says:

    It will have sharks on legs.

  8. Jimbo says:

    Agreed, having spent some time with Unity – and I make no claim that I really know what I’m doing with it – I’m impressed with what they’ve made so far.

    The audio is good, and the animation and lighting are great. The HUD could be better, and something feels off with the gun – a little too high up the screen maybe? Holographic sights don’t work like that either.

    • Torgen says:

      @Jimbo: Having a design doc (mostly) done and Unity installed, how exactly should I go about beginning to learn to use it? I ‘ve watched the beginning tutorials covering how to scale and rotate models, hierarchy etc., so what next? Just open a new project and start making models and terrain?

    • Jimbo says:

      I guess it depends if you have any relevent experience. I had zero programming or 3D modelling experience until I started with Unity and Blender a couple of months ago.

      For Unity, I started by following the “Tornado Twins” (google it) series of video tutorials. When I got to a point where I started needing to create models, I moved to figuring out Blender. For that I used Super3Boy’s series of tutorials on YouTube.

      Eventually you just start to get a feel for thinking of a problem in terms of how you can solve it using the tools Unity gives you and in code. If you get stuck with something, both the Unity forum and the irc chat have been brilliant – so long as you show a willingness to figure it out on your own first. You’ll become very familiar with the online Unity docs.

      My advice is to start simple. If you launch straight into your magum opus, you’ll just find it overwhelming and burn out on the lack of progress.

    • Thants says:

      Don’t forget about RPS’s series on making a game as well: Rock, Paper, Shotgunity. This one in particular seem like a good place to start. I’ve been meaning to go through them and try and learn Unity myself.

  9. jockey says:

    Kinda looks like F.E.A.R. 1

  10. l1ddl3monkey says:

    The Interstellar Marines based shooting gallery thingy was consistently entertaining and held my attention for quite some time. Hopefuly the full release will follow the same pattern.

  11. Scautura says:

    And they have the voice of SHODAN as the voice of their AI, SARA… What’s not to love?

  12. toni says:

    afaik they wanna do a semi-strategic coop alien military shooter about first contact with genetically mutated sharks thrown in and they hired Terri Brosius as the Voice of the AI, gave many good old games as inspiration. not a bad way to start. making an FPS is a risky choice with all the market saturation and insane budgets other developers have but then again: if the gameplay excells I don’t need 12 shaders and 20 post-processing effects.

  13. Shadowcat says:

    Did anyone else expect to hear those droids politely asking “How are you sir?”, “May I help you?”, and enthusing “That’s the TriOptimum way!”

  14. Serenegoose says:

    Those running droids could be dead scary if they used them properly. When the player turned round and there was one right next to him, I could imagine that giving me quite a fright – They felt fast and violent. It’s amazing they can convey that kind of feeling (to me at least) from such a basic demo.

  15. Ricc says:

    The only thing I remember about this game is “AAA Indie” and how stupid that term is. Still turns me off massivley from this developer.

    • ZIGS says:

      Didn’t you know? Being indie is all the rage now, all the cool kids are doing it!

    • Spoon says:

      It’s simple, really. ZPS is 9 people with no publisher (so, indie) and they are trying their best to make their game feel AAA. How about instead of getting turned off by two words (or one word and an acronym) you go to their site and actually try the Bullseye teaser or something?

    • Ricc says:

      @Spoon:

      Their work looks alright, as far as Space Marine shooters go. That’s not what bothers me. I did look at the site, actually.

      From the FAQ:

      “What is AAA INDIE?

      AAA is a branch term that states high budget, high quality. INDIE is short for independent. So basically we are trying to develop high quality games independently from game publishing companies funded by- or partly with the gaming community.”

      Both of those terms are often misused. Nobody knows what they really mean anymore. You could even argue, that they are contradictory. “AAA Indie” is a buzzword, nothing more. What Zeropoint Software really means is that they want their community to invest into their games, without actually getting payed like an investor. Remember Gabe Newell talking about the concept?

      A lot of independent teams need donations, but at least they are (mostly) honest about it. I’m getting the impression that they are claiming some moral high ground here (http://www.interstellarmarines.com/articles/aaa-indie/why-aaa-indie/), while all they do is funding their projects.

      Sorry for the rant.

    • subedii says:

      I really don’t get what your complaint is. Like you said, many indipendant developers ask their fans to help fund their games through incentive schemes. 2D Boy let you pre-order WoG and gave you bonuses (and eventually let you tie your pre-order to Steam). They made 2/3rds of their development costs for the pre-orders, helping them to make World of Goo in the end. So was 2D Boy acting maliciously there?

      http://wiiware.nintendolife.com/news/2009/03/2d_boys_ron_carmel_talks_about_indie_game_development

      Frozen Synapse can be pre-ordered, and that gets you in the beta now where you can test and offer feedback, and you get 1 free invite for someone else as well.

      And Interstellar Marines? It allows you to pre-order (at cheaper than full price) and get into the beta, or you can just make a small donation which gains you access to the beta work-in-progress stuff (like Running Man), which you can then test and comment on again. Why is this now evil?

      Indie just means that they do their own funding, they aren’t dependant on publishers. Heck, X-play had a recent panel on it at DICE, and their two chief guests? Chris Taylor from GPG, and Mike Capps from Epic Games, makes for an interesting watch.

      http://g4tv.com/videos/44302/DICE-2010-Hot-Topics-Indie-Games/?quality=hd

      Epic isn’t ordinarily a company most people think of when they think of “independent”. The thing is, because they’re independent, even a massive company like Epic are only 1-2 poor selling releases from bankruptcy. They’ve got a fair amount of leeway because of their record and their engine selling business, but that’s it. A company like GPG? Much less.

      The difference between Epic and Gas Powered Games, or even between Gas Powered Games and something like AAA Indie isn’t really that much to do with structure, it’s more to do with scale of production.

    • Ricc says:

      I don’t really want to dwell on this too much, so to clarify: My problem is a) a semantic one (“AAA Indie” is meaningless and further adding to the confusion of those terms) and b) I don’t like the tone of their self-proclaimed mission statement. (http://www.interstellarmarines.com/articles/aaa-indie/why-aaa-indie/)

      No, asking for donations is not evil. (I never said that, either.)

    • Urthman says:

      I honestly have no idea why you would object to this term when it’s perfectly clear and obvious what it means.

      Most indie games are not trying to compete with AAA games on graphics and scale. Zeropoint is saying that they’re making an indie game that is trying to compete with AAA games on graphics and scale. Can you think of a better term to describe what they’re trying to do?

      (Leaving aside the question of whether what they’re doing really is AAA quality. Judging only from that video it looks more like AAA from 2005 or so, so maybe they should call it AA or something.)

    • subedii says:

      This is going to get a bit ranty.

      Ricc, you were the one accusing them of doing this so that they could get people to invest in their games without treating them like “investors”. Fine, you never directly stated “evil”, it was still clear you were stating they were being disingenuous in doing this. The reality is that they’re doing the same thing that a tonne of other indie developers do. They have in no way been deceptive about what you get for your money, any more than any other indie dev that did the same thing. So if you’re not objecting to 2D Boy and Mode 7 Games, then I still don’t understand your objection here.

      And to be honest, I don’t see what’s supposedly so wrong with their mission statement either. All it talks about is how they wouldn’t have gotten here today without the support of their community, and that they need that support to get to release. And that with that, they allow the community to have their say and help shape the game. Which you know, they try to do.

      They’re active on their forums to things like feedback and they’re calling on people to have a look at their alpha stuff and shape where it goes. Devs can’t design by committee, this is true for any creative endeavour, but they’re being pretty open with their development. Most games you’d never really see hide-nor-hair of until release, but they’re actively trying to let people see even the “raw” stuff behind where they’re heading. The reason that Running Man isn’t publicly available yet like Bullseye is because it’s still in Alpha. But anyone who has pre-ordered the game (or even donated some money IIRC) can gain access to it and say what they think. It’s beta testing for the devs, and it’s an opportunity for the community to have a say in what they want from it. And that’s just one of the more complete parts of the game they’re looking for feedback on.

      I mean you referenced Gabe Newell earlier. During the creation of Half-Life 1, him and the rest of Valve were heavily dependant on fan feedback and ideas in order to shape the game. They didn’t actively show Alpha stuff, but they worked with their community so that they could find out what people liked in FPS’s, what they were craving to do, what ideas they wanted to see that were never really showcased in FPS’s before. Without that approach, Half-Life 1 would probably just be remembered today as a decent shooter that never really stood out from everything else (much like Sin is today I suppose).

      As a description of what they’re trying to achieve, I don’t see what’s so bad about it.

  16. Jeremy says:

    I was wondering if this is the same game as the shooting gallery from earlier. For all the naysayers, it’s playable in a browser! How awesome is that? I sure hope the whole game will be that way. Especially if I can play it on my netbook while I’m away from my home rig.

  17. DMcCool says:

    I know its beside the point, this being more of a tech-demo for the lovely things people can do in Unity, but when will people stop making games about Space Marines? How long do we actually have to wait? If someone reformed Troika with Warren Spector at its helm, playtested and co-developed by Valve and the game had you playing a Space Marine killing Aliens, I probably wouldn’t buy it.

    If this indy game didn’t have a fucking synonym for Space Marines as the title I’d play it. I don’t think there is any aethestic ever used in gaming as dull as this one.

    /Grumpy rant

    • Tei says:

      For some reason the footman soldier is more popular than other roles (like general, spy, etc.. ). The “Space Marine” fullfill this role.. on the future.
      Even If you manage to make a good game about Space Spy’s, It will be less popular, or it will be half-embraced by the populace, because a spy don’t fullfill his dreams, or where the populace want to be. The populace want to be that foot soldier role.

      Even if future ways make the foot soldier obsolete…
      http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarhead
      …people will still want to impersonate that role. Why? I don’t know, but thats is.

    • Tei says:

      arrgh… wrong url.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarhead_(film)
      thats the good one.

    • Spoon says:

      You think the aesthetic is dull, I’m just praising god that the marine’s armor doesn’t have random blue lights on it and actually looks like some feasible military gear. To each his own I guess.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      “Even If you manage to make a good game about Space Spy’s”

      You are now imagining Thief. On a space station. With zero gravity sections.

    • DMJ says:

      @HermitUK: I have 57p in my pocket right now. It is yours if you make that game.

  18. Urthman says:

    Soooo disappointed this post wasn’t about a game based on the Schwarzenegger film.

  19. shalrath says:

    “…but when will people stop making games about Space Marines?”

    When people stop buying them (and naming them game of the year.)

  20. A-Scale says:

    Very good looking shooting mechanics. MW grade. Also, frankly I’d like a game about shooting androids.

  21. Veldjes! says:

    Hey!.. That robot looks just like Vulture MKII from BattleTech :\

    http://www.mechlivinglegends.net/cpg/displayimage.php?album=19&pos=13

  22. pkt-zer0 says:

    This is more of an X-COM FPS than XCOM.

  23. andrew says:

    For all the complaining about “space marines” how many games have actually been made where you play an actual “space” “marine”? That is, not some sci fi soldier on another planet, but a “marine” deployed as part of an actual forward naval detachment to spearhead assaults on different locations around the galaxy, not that many.

    Most games feature soldiers that are not “marines” in the proper sense of the word (i.e. much like the slightly odd american usage of the word, and tend to feature extended campaigns in a single location, better called space infantryman.

    Hopefully this game will feature proper marine type assault missions, i.e. from drop pods, boarding craft etc with the objective of taking and holding key points, eastablishing defensive beachheads etc.

    • N says:

      Quake 4 did it pretty well.

    • Jeremy says:

      “Hopefully this game will feature proper marine type assault missions, i.e. from drop pods, boarding craft etc with the objective of taking and holding key points, eastablishing defensive beachheads etc.”

      Taking the tour on the website and seeing the ship has me hopeful that we’ll get to do just that. But mostly it’ll probably just be shooting landsharks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  24. Miles of the Machination says:

    Considering that it’s an indipendentally developed title in Unity, the guys behind this have some serious technological talent. The argument of whether or not this is “indie” reminds me of that RPS article a while back that basically discussed “what is indie’. It’s like comparing Valve to cactus – they’ve each got their own budget and ideas., and you just end up lumping independent and “indie” into their own categories. And hell, if these guys want to become a high profile indie company like Valve, or Futuremark, then why the hell not?

    Although, I do advocate creativity.

  25. Breaker Morant's Ghost says:

    Amazing! The shell casings are ejected from the correct side of the weapon. They should patent that.

  26. Pepito says:

    Being playing this one since yesterday and has lots of potential, thanks for the post :D

  27. godwin says:

    Another game to get holographic sights wrong.

  28. Sigma957 says:

    I’m a Spearhead, played Running Man on Monday. Those bots are freaky. Some walk some run. You can hear them coming from different directions. Head shots work the best. Espcially for the Tin Man. He’s tough. The blue ones explode. The Unit web player is just for testing/trying out the unfinished segments. The actual game will be a digital download you install to the hardrive.

    It was a hell of a lot of fun for being just a test of the weapons mechanics and character movement.

    The landsharks are only part of the story, there will be planets to explore with first contact situations. I’m going to remain plugged in since I am helping to fund the game as other Spearheads are.

  29. Sigma957 says:

    godwin,

    and I suppose you have real holographic sights to share with us?

    This game is completely fan/user funded. ZPS are not hounding our mailboxes with incessant campaign drives. Heck no. The only e-mails I get are thank yous and updates for the test invites.

    Cut them some slack people. Because they have no bosses riding them for deadlines they can be 100% creative and passionate about what they are doing. It’s done when it’s done.

  30. Pantsman says:

    YOU WILL BELIEVE…THAT SPACE MARINES…CAN FLY