Zero Point Explain Interstellar Marines

By Jim Rossignol on February 1st, 2011 at 10:25 am.


Zero Point want to explain their (frankly fairly impressive) Unity-powered first-person shooter, Interstellar Marines, to you. To do this they have created a four-minute trailer, which shows off the game in action, and talks about how you can support their attempt to make a full-blown FPS without the resources of a big studio. It’s fun. It’s even got some jokes in. Go take a look.

We’ll be talking to Zero Point about their project quite soon.

__________________

« | »

, .

83 Comments »

  1. Novotny says:

    Sharks in space. I’m sold.

  2. sneetch says:

    That looks good… bugger it, I’ll bite.

  3. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I want to like this game, but considering it’s a unity game it’s progressing very very slowly, if they even had a rough suggestion of when the game is likely come out it might help people tune their excitement radars, i mean if you’d told me this game wouldn’t even be out by now when i messed around with the first preview i wouldn’t have believed you.

    • subedii says:

      Yeah I’ve been reading about this game for over a year now and I’m still not sure.

      On the one hand this has been in development for a long time and there’s still no indication of when it might be expected to hit.

      On the other, I have to admit that I found the two promotional gameplay segments they released far more fun than they had any right to be, and those were literally just training scenarios.

      I mean I wouldn’t mind pre-ordering except that I still have serious doubts about them actually making release.

      They’re due to be releasing a multiplayer demo sometime in the future, and I imagine that might be enough to make up my mind, one way or the other.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      exactly, although i will say the trailer is very promising.

    • xrabohrok says:

      I’m used to a Black-Mesa sort of development strategy where they give a tease every year and a half, and disappear for long stretches of time. These guys in comparison are moving along, albeit somewhat slow, which give me great hope that they will release one day.

    • subedii says:

      Whilst that’s true, I’m not sure how much of a compliment it is to say “Is slightly more probable than Black Mesa.”

    • Heliosicle says:

      Problem is – if they get no support because no one thinks they’ll make release, they won’t make release, guess thats what the video is aboot!

    • Henke says:

      My biggest concern about this game when I saw the trailer a year ago was whether or not they’d be able to pull of some challenging AI in Unity. I just played the Running Man section and it did nothing to allay my concerns. Enemies just walk in a straight line at you. Sure, they’re supposed to be mindless training-drones but I don’t see anything in the new trailer that suggests they’ve managed to actually make any better AI than that. :/

    • MycoRunner says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s been progressing very slowly compared to other games. And the fact that they are progressing steadily is encouraging. There’s a little timeline they’ve got showing what they’ve released already and what they’re going to release before the final game. I wouldn’t worry too much, as long as they keep releasing info/media that proves they’re still making progress.

  4. GreatUncleBaal says:

    Nice enough trailer, but it just made me want a game based on the bit with the ED-209 type mech roaming around the real world. Grand Theft Mechwarrior!

  5. sneetch says:

    Hell, that’d be a cool on-rails shooter if they want to make one as a demo, ED-209s and aliens popping out around their office/street. :)

    “Get the guy behind the two artists!”

  6. Hides-His-Eyes says:

    I really want these guys to do well; I just hope the game is equal parts substance to hype.

    • Urthman says:

      The game might be great, but this trailer sells it very poorly. They make all these claims:

      Compelling sci-fi, absolute immersion, multiple paths, satisfying to master, what would it REALLY be like?

      and have ZERO specific examples of how this game does any of these things differently.

      I mean, I laughed out loud when the dude said “Multiple Paths!” and the example was a grey corridor that branched. I’ve NEVER seen that in a game before!

      I would love to see a shooter that had interesting Sci-Fi world building or something, but there isn’t even a hint in this trailer that the game’s narrative or background is any better than Halo or Gears of War or F.E.A.R. or Singularity or Timeshift, to say nothing of Mass Effect or Bioshock or Stalker or Metro 2033.

  7. Navagon says:

    I want to like this game more, but I’m seeing a lot of grey corridors here.

    I like the fact that there are multiple paths through the game, a walking shark and the weapon customisation looks good. I’m looking forward to it, but not as much as I should be given that it’s such an ambitious indie game.

    It strikes me that they’re sticking to the tried and tested FPS formulas rather than doing what indies do best and introducing the concepts that publishers have a tendency to shun.

    • StranaMente says:

      I’m not all against fps, but you’re right on the grey corridors. It’s ok to make a futuristic ambient, but it could use some more variety. If nothing else to distinguish this game from the others…

    • Towercap says:

      I’m inclined to agree. It’s disparaging to see land shark cop so much hate on their forums, seeing as it’s pretty much the only feature that, in my mind, sets the aesthetic of IM from any other corridor shooter.

      I’d love to see the devs inject some colour into the game while keeping a realistic direction. Or bleach it, a la Mirror’s Edge. (:

      PS. Pre-ordered the Spearhead edition. Have some love.

    • Navagon says:

      Big Gabe made some good comments on the use of colour in an FPS to invoke a mood. Not just drawing people’s attention to things like such as the next objective. But things like using blue to create a sense of safety, which is backed up by the lack of combat. Then you violate that safety. Blue is no longer a cool colour. Hell is breaking loose.

      I can’t really see how you’re supposed to do that with various shades of grey.

    • Superbest says:

      And how does that fit in with TF2? Does RED lose all the time because they are lured into easy overconfidence against the seemingly passive BLU?

      Is there even a Gabe game where this is meaningfully implemented, at all?

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    Nice little Minecraft cameo. I like these guys, even if a few lines from that trailer were a bit too cheesy for my tastes: That bit about making me forget where reality ends and the game begins? Well you damn well better include at least a few elements of Immersive Sims, then, and not just tease me like the Bioshock games do.

    Otherwise, I expect a nice, competent shooter. But Indie or not, you better not try to hype immersiveness and “dynamic environments” without having some actual interactive bits in the game. And glowy pre-scripted “pull this special lever you now can actually pull, unlike all the other ones” don’t count.

    Okay, I’m coming off as really cranky, but it’s been a long time since anyone’s even tried to do a shooter that’s more than just a shooter gameplay-wise, and that trailer is short on specifics. If they were just claiming to be a really good shooter, then I’d be jumping right on the bandwagon right now. But I’ll hold off deciding whether I’m excited or not until I see something that explains more about what’s actually in the game as opposed to the developer’s vague descriptions of just what makes it so good gameplay-wise.

    I do like the hard sci-fi angle, though.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I see nothing “hard” about the sci-fi on display. It has Lego genetics sharks for starters.

    • Henke says:

      lol yeah

      “A game so immersive you will begin to doubt where reality stopped and the game began.”

      They may not be getting any publisher funding but they sure know how to talk PR-bullshit just as well as the big boys. :D

    • LionsPhil says:

      It was at least cute that they then went on to show Visible Legs Technology(TM), which remains a novelty to this day.

  9. Gap Gen says:

    Ah, it’s another Informationpunk game.

    (Informationpunk is my name for games that have spaceships but the weapons tech and society haven’t evolved at all beyond today’s Information age. It’s like Steampunk in terms of level of realism, but it’s still fun. Kinda like Battlestar Galactica, Starship Troopers, or Halo.)

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Your examples don’t match up with your description. Also anyone who talks about *punk is a weirdo.

    • Nullkigan says:

      @Gap

      Surely this should be “Space Punk” or “InterstellarPunk” or “SciPunk”? The first part is the new technology that is causing widespread socioeconomic upheaval, and the punk part refers to the rebellion of ‘fringe groups’ as they try and fail to keep up with the changing pace of tehcnology, forcing them to undertake morally ambiguous or quasi-legal activities in an effort to rediscover themselves and a valid way of living in light of the new developments.

      Future Retro could also be applicable?

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      As I said.

    • Vivian says:

      /nerd on/

      If you’re going for realism, its actually pretty hard to imagine a better small-arms weapon than a chemically powered mass launcher (unless you’re in zero-g). It’s simple, it’s light, its reliable, and kinetic energy works extremely well for breaking things. With some kind of space-gunpowder and space-metal construction, heavy metal slugs and mildly power-assisted armour to help deal with the recoil, I’d take a projectile gun over a laser or plasma emitter (barring massive development of superconductors and/or antimatter production and storage). Can you imagine actually waving a weapons grade laser around a place full of shiny surfaces? You’d go blind, at least.
      Only thing I really have an issue with is the sights – they definitely should have better sights. Integrated into the HUD would be the obvious choice.

      /nerd off/

    • Gap Gen says:

      Nope. Steampunk is defined by the anachronistic use of steam power (there was a steampunk game a while ago where steam tech got people to Mars and was keeping Queen Victoria alive into the 22nd century, or something). I use the word “informationpunk” because it’s about the anachronistic use of information-age tech – spaceships are fine, but you’d expect people not to be using SCAR assault rifles by that point. Battlestar Galactica is especially like this – it’s literally just America in space with polytheism.

      As for whether or not weapons tech will atrophy – I’d disagree. This is like someone at the time of the Wright brothers arguing that the Lee Enfield is the pinnacle of rifle technology. People *might* still be using chemical explosive guns in the future, but I’d bet they will be significantly different to a carbon-copy of modern assault rifles.

    • CMaster says:

      @Vivian
      For the moment, guns work ok. For long-distance engagements however, you’re going to want something faster – high powered lasers would make sense for spaceship combat for example, where kinetic shells could be easily avoided or intercepted. The development of working power armour however (which is probably <50 years away) changes the game quite a bit however. You're going to need either much faster or much bigger slugs to take down an infantryman. Faster isn't really possible without the development of much, much tougher materials for building the chamber out of (C4 would fling bullets and shells and vastly faster speeds that currently. It would also shatter the gun to pieces). Larger is going to cut into the portability element quite a lot.

    • Vivian says:

      I guess it depends on whether you find it more plausible that sufficiently strong and light materials could be developed to make a portable gun powered by extremely powerful explosives, or sufficiently energy-dense power supplies could be developed that would make a rifle-size railgun possible. Lasers I dunno about – as you say, for spaceships probably. Plasma has the blooming/containment-to-target issue that requires too much handwaving to really justify by projecting current technology, as well as the power supply problem. If you are prepared to have made-up-ium as an element of your weapons, it kinda veers away from the hard sci-fi thing they’re going for, I guess.

      Then again – sharks with legs. Why not go all out if you’ve got sharks with legs?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, I’m saying this in the knowledge that whatever they’re going for, the sharks-on-legs thing suggests that po-faced serious is not it.

    • rivalin says:

      @gapgen if you had more knowledge of military procurement you’d see that your pronouncements are actually way off base. The game takes place at the “dawning of the 22nd century” i.e. 90 years from now. Procurement decisions aren’t focused (unlike nerds who like videogames) on things that are big and shiny, but rather on what is tested and reliable; trying to do what’s radical, e.g. the US’ Osprey program (that cool VTOL troop transport you always see in near future games but which has actually become a massive white elephant) often backfires. The US and UK militaries, which are currently the most high tech in the world, both still use a number of very old designs. The UK has just cancelled the virtually completed Nimrod MR4 spy plane program, just about one of the most high tech pieces of military tech you can get, the air frame it is built around is from the 1940′s, that’s SEVENTY years ago, the US still uses the m16 as its main infantry weapon, a design that entered service in 1961, 49 years ago.

      To say that its somehow ridiculous that a design that is new today could still be in service in 90 years speaks more to a lack of knowledge on your part than any weird “punk” fetish by the designers. In fact I’d say the choice by the designers to keep much of the tech recognisable is in fact much more in line with the hard sci-fi theme that they’re aiming for.

    • Kryopsis says:

      @rivalin
      Brilliant post!

    • Gap Gen says:

      Possibly – I guess, like you say, there’s less of a shift between 2200 and what Halo or BSG are trying to achieve (my bad, I didn’t listen to the backstory very closely). So some parts of weapons tech might not evolve that much compared to a future where we have warp drives and stuff. Although I think it’s still a stretch that someone in the 1920s would be accurate in saying that the US marines would walk around with Springfield 1922s in 2010 (to use a similar timeframe).

      But underlying all of this is, sure, walking sharks.

  10. Flint says:

    I’m somewhat excited about this. Grey grey grey corridors of grey aside, it actually looks somewhat more interesting than most of the FPS offerings these days.

    That said, I still can’t play the gameplay tech demo they’ve got up due to lack of control customisation. :/

  11. Ian says:

    His voice is awesome.

  12. Mungrul says:

    4 player co-op too!
    Ooo!
    I paid up for the full thing ages ago as I like their pluck. And the more they release about this game, the more I like it.

    • subedii says:

      Spearheads get access to WIP material right? Have they shown off anything of interest lately? Footage of the multiplayer or anything?

    • Mungrul says:

      I think I’m okay to say “No” to that. To be honest, they’ve kinda gone a bit quiet recently, and this latest video is the first substantial thing I’ve seen in months, although I don’t log in on a regular basis. Just once every month or so to check for new stuff.
      There was a Christmas thing, but I don’t think I can say any more than that.

      Edit: Actually, looks like video of that was made available on YouTube, so here ye go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyJ_KO1CtlQ

  13. Mxmlln says:

    I’m so excited about this game, been following it for a while now!

  14. skalpadda says:

    That accent.. are they Danish? Space marines with Danish voice acting would be entertaining enough to pay money for, but I guess they’ll go with boring old English.

    Doesn’t look like this has anything unique or really interesting going for it so far though, space marines, mechs, assault rifles, yawn. The shark monsters look neat but, well, they’re sharks with legs.

    • Anton says:

      The lady who did the SHODAN voice in System Shock was hired to do the computer voices in their sample games on the site.

    • skalpadda says:

      Does she do a Danish accent?

      I think I just fell in love with the idea of Danish people in space. Call it Space Danes, a co-op game where you play as Preben and Bjarne, travelling the galaxy in search of cheap beer and sexual equality. Sounds more exciting to me than generic corridor space shooter, at least.

    • Chinacula says:

      You have spread your enthusiasm to me, sir. I now join the crusade for more Danish Space Marines! Our voices will be heard.

  15. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Hyperbole a go-go. Looks ok if a little F.E.A.R minimalist…nothing there said “its different” apart from the voiceover.

  16. Mike says:

    Wow. I’d not realised how polished this project was.

  17. Stephen Roberts says:

    If you can get in a space ship and seamlessly start flying it off the planet and into another one in first person I’m sold. I don’t even know why, I just jizz my pants at that sort of sci-fi.

    Kudos should be given for an indy dev people producing this, even despite the corridors of humdrum. It looks like it plays pretty tight already, which is more than I can say for Natural Selection 2.

    The voice and the music had their seriousity valves engaged to maximum levels.

  18. Chaz says:

    Looks very nice, although if I was going to be picky I’d say the guns looks too contemporary for what is supposed to be a shooter set in space and the future and wot not.

    As for the sharks I kind of like them. Reminds me of an old 2000AD story Bad City Blue.

  19. Cooper says:

    How are people excited about this?

    Marines. Shooting aliens. With different weapons.

    The environments in Doom had a greater palette range.

    Edit: Watching it again, I’m even more miffed. I just don’t understand how this is something to look forward to. At best it’ll be a decent corridor shooter. And decent shooters are fine, I enjoy them, but they don’t get me salivating.

    Men. In corridors. In space. Shooting things that are not men. With different shooty bang things. And after a while he can make more shooty bang bang, and sometimes he gets to decide which door to unlock.

    This is a pardoy, right?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “I just don’t understand how this is something to look forward to. At best it’ll be a decent corridor shooter.”

      SWAT 4. With land sharks. In space.

      Good enough for me.

    • Alez says:

      you seem to be the only one who shares my view, cooper.

      I kept waiting for some signs of sarcasm but could not see it. This cannot be serious.

      It couldn’t be more generic. Doesn’t look like a BAD game but nothing special. Why should i play this game over all the other shooters? Because they aren’t an evil greedy corporation out my soul…they just make the same kind of game as them.

      Seriously, it would be like watching someone talk about a platformer as something interesting because in THEIR game, you get to jump over things.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Some people have the capacity to find fun in very basic things. I’m one of those annoying people.

      Low budget horror films, pulp novels, endless tower defence games. That sort of thing. For me, being original is not a prerequisite for enjoyment.

      You have to agree it looks better than Breach.

    • liq3 says:

      The devil is in the details.

      They get all the little things like recoil, sound, movement, etc etc RIGHT. They don’t feel arbitrary, like they do in most generic shooters. If you want to aim well, standing still looking down the barrel gives the best aim. Running or sprinting makes the gun go all wobbly and nigh impossible to aim. They just get small stuff like this right, in ways generic shooters somehow fail, everytime. It really is very immersive.

      Also it has land sharks. LAND SHARKS.

    • Cooper says:

      The SWAT 4 analogy is flawed. I saw no context menus. Also, here you must kill things.

      SWAT 4 != generic co-op combat

      I’ll add that I am FINE with simple, decent corridor shooters done well. Heck, I adored Quake 4. But I wasn’t excited by the prospect of it, and was fine with it being a play-and-forget piece of gaming.

      Nothing in that trailer is anything that hasn’t been done in numerous generic shooters before. So much so that I really thought it might be a parody.

    • subedii says:

      I have to agree with liq3 on that. They’ve got a good feel and heft to the shooting and the movement, which is a big part of any shooter. It’s small details but it’s often what makes something re-playable.

      I mean, that’s pretty much what made FEAR for me. It certainly wasn’t the scares. And I can pretty easily look past grey corridor environments, because 90% of the time in any FPS, no matter how pretty those environments are, you aren’t paying attention to them when the action’s going.

      All this however, is with the proviso that we simply don’t know how the final product’s going to turn out. But what gameplay / tech demos they’ve released just reinforced the idea that I’d be interested in this game should it release.

    • tanith says:

      Thank God, I alreqady thought I am the only one.
      I’ve watched the trailer and even played those little games on the website and I really, REALLY want to like this game – but I can’t.
      Everything just looks so generic and with having preordered Natural Selection 2 back in 2009 I cannot justify paying for this. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will like Interstellar Marines but I can’t – not yet, at least.
      This would be a good time to buy it, with the 20% off but I think I’ll rather wait and see how that game will turn out before I further consider getting it.

  20. Colonel J says:

    The Running Man demo feels like a cross between Portal and Fear. I keep expecting the AI voice to go schizo. Cue 20 levels of pinwheeling crash test dummies, air conditioning ducts, opposing force of special ops bad guys. And dancing sharks.

  21. Network Crayon says:

    I do really want this to be all the nicely voiced man claims it will be.
    They seem to have a great attitude and seem very sincere about their game, and there’s a few nice touches in there, i liked the lowering of your characters helmet, hopefully he’ll occasionally wipe muck off of it during the game to.

    Seems it’s hard to garner support for a long running title still in development,, if you want more people to commit their money or remain interested the more you have to promise. I think they deserve a little support.

    (did anyone play the UT3 mod Angels Fall First?, it reminds me of that, and that had some fantastic ideas in it, even if the mods concept wasn’t entirely original. )

  22. McDan says:

    Yeah this game has come along well since I last looked at it, might be pre-purchasing soon. It does look great.

  23. Hypocee says:

    That’s the thing, the gun I played with in their training range demo feels absolutely MAGNIFICENT. Better than Half-Life’s MP5, better than Half-Life 2′s shotgun, better than the Flak Cannon, better than Painkiller’s stake gun…well, maybe not that last one. Someone on the Brink team made the joke/point recently that guns in an FPS are your co-stars and spend 99% of the time onscreen. In that vein, this game has at least one unusually well-crafted character. It’s not just the sound and visual pass – the way it interacts with your movement feels very natural but makes you move differently than anything else I’ve played. The fact that they managed to make a pop-up range fun in its own right also bodes well for their level design skills.

    • Chinacula says:

      You are one hundred percent correct. Good observation, and one of the things that prompted me to take a chance and give them some of my money.

  24. LionsPhil says:

    “With Interstellar Marines we’re evolving what you can expect from science fiction in games.”

    Cue same-old same-old dreary grey MUHREENS and ED-209 knock-offs fighting mutants and humanoid aliens. Funnily enough that’s kind of already what’s expected from sci-fi in games.

    Yawn. You took the advantage of indie development—trying new things—and threw it away to make something so generic that even the most conservative publisher would call it a safe bet. Death to “AAA” indie!

  25. bill says:

    There is something about their world that seems very cool.
    It really shouldn’t seem cool – it’s space marines in grey corridors – I should be filled with meh.

    I think it’s the immersion, the near-current tech, and that really cool shuttle-style space craft.
    It gives me hope for something more high-end sci-fi.

    But honestly I don’t know. Since I finally installed unity for Sarah’s Run, i guess i should go back and check out the stuff on their web site.

    • subedii says:

      That’s pretty much the feel I get from the game, right down to the target range they released. That it’s about more realistic humans and near future weapons fighting in a sci-fi universe.

  26. BobbleHat says:

    I admire these guys, but hopefully the game will be as good as they’re telling us it is. I enjoyed the Running Man demo, it felt like a proper, twitch based PC shooter which seems sadly absent in this age of Cod of Honour: Men and Guns. Reminded me of the first FEAR in its art direction, and in the general feel of the controls.

  27. Chinacula says:

    I don’t see as many people as I expected making the obvious comparisons to System Shock 2. Is that game so far in our ancient history that most people here haven’t played it? The training levels, the droid targets– it’s all obviously and delightfully homage to the training levels in SS2. I do hear people commenting that they have Terry Brosius (Shodan) for the computer voice, which is super. But to me it really looks like they are going for System Shock 2 in so many other ways– the space ships, military and civilian science research that goes awry, etc.

    And I think that is an awesome thing. It’s a high bar to aim for, and even if they don’t quite make it, I’ve decided to give them my support. It’s like when I saw that Dead Space was also influenced by SS2– even when a lot of game play elements didn’t quite work out (or worse– were boring), I still admired them for trying.

    I wonder if any of these developers were involved with Sapphire Scar, the canceled Doom 3 mod that wanted to file the numbers off and then revive System Shock 2?

    SS2 lives large in my gaming memory. It’s nearly continuously been on my various computer hard drives for more than a decade, despite the fact that it scares me so much that I can only play it for a week or two before having to put it aside for a year or more. Despite being my bellwether game and probably favorite game of all time, I’m still too scared to finish it. One day….

    • LionsPhil says:

      B…because it’s nothing like System Shock 2?

      I think maybe you’re the one who’s let it drift into history and forgotten it. SS2 was a paced, opressive, lonesome experience, and heavy on the RPG and narrative side (arguably too heavy in ways). “It’s in space and has AI and robots” does not make this anything like SS2.

    • Chinacula says:

      I was writing about themes and inspirations, not actual gameplay.

      You may be right.

  28. Freud says:

    I guess this is the ideal time to have a game in development for a long time. The graphics arms race have all but stopped and the game will probably not look all that dated once they get around to finishing it.

  29. multiname says:

    I’ve never seen a game look more like Doom 3 that wasn’t actually Doom 3. Why did they remake Doom 3?
    And, btw, Doom 3 had land sharks:

    http://images.wikia.com/doom/images/0/09/D3demon.jpg

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>