Overgrowth Alpha Now A Playable Game

By John Walker on April 7th, 2011 at 1:32 pm.

I always knew bunnies were hiding such violence.

We’ve been following the development of Wolfire’s Overgrowth with some interest. And rather crucially, it’s now a playable game. The rabbit-laden strangeness in a remarkable self-made engine is pretty intriguing, and a new collection of videos show that off. Well, two of them do. One of them shows what happens when it goes wrong.

Brawling bunnies take advantage of the Phoenix engine’s context-sensitive combat. Which means, throw one ragdoll limb at another in inventive ways. As these new videos demonstrate.

Wolfire are documenting every moment of their game’s creation, including releasing videos that show every change that’s been made in the latest build of their alpha. An alpha those who’ve pre-ordered can play. And the latest of these is pretty significant – it’s now a playable game. Nowhere near finished, but levels can be loaded and played through.

Sometimes it gets a lot more complex, like this video explaining about AI pathfinding, and the options alpha testers can access to see the magic at work.

And I love this – the latest video demonstrates what went wrong in the process of skinning and animating the rabbits.

That last one – I want that one! Especially, I want a game that has a character in that condition due to an exciting story. Someone make that too.

You can pre-order the game for $29.95 from here. Which does seem a pretty hefty price tag for an indie alpha, but certainly one that’s looking very impressive. And you can read Alec’s interview with the team here. And read the game’s comic here.

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89 Comments »

  1. fionny says:

    Alpha the new Beta.
    Beta the new Demo,
    Demo’s… well demo’s are a dying thing.

    Remember when getting into Beta’s was based on actually testing games rather then as a marketing tool…. sad.

    • Okami says:

      Umm.. You don’t really understand this, do you?

    • Berzee says:

      I know :( I was looking for demos on Steam the other day and was very sad at how small a percentage of major games now actually release one.
      Maybe with the ease of downloading things nowadays, cheap people like me would *only* play demos if every game had one. =P But I doubt it…I can’t think of a single instance where the lack of a demo prompted me to get the full version.
      I miss them demo CD’s that came with PC Gamer.
      Being able to play an Open Beta is alright but different — what with instability and the knowledge that the timer is ticking down. Well…a different sort of timer. Only so many months before the beta ends — but unlike the Magi demo (<– awesome game), you can play it for more than half an hour (or whatever the time limit is).

    • Mattressi says:

      Their previous game, Lugaru, has a demo; so I’d assume they’ll be releasing one for this game too. I’m not sure how someone can be so negative about developers letting pre-orderers play an early build (nor do I get why it’s bad that alpha’s are now able to be played). They’ve actually been letting the community play every single new build as they go and have a special forum dedicated to discussing bugs, gameplay issues, etc with all the current builds.

      But, no, continue generalising and moaning.

    • Navagon says:

      Demos are the new full game if Homefront has any say in the matter.

    • Berzee says:

      Goodness me, you’re quite right. I didn’t mean to sound like I was moaning about this game in particular…I kind of got swept away in general state-of-the-times negativity. About this *particular* beta I’m super excited because WOOHOO BUNNIES! :D
      My apologies and thanks for your gentle correction.

      Edit — Also: reading comprehension, Berzee! This is an alpha which you cannot play because you are TOO LATE and BEHIND THE TIMES.

      Maybe I should try lugaru someday, too. To be less behind the times.

    • Mattressi says:

      Lol, Berzee, I was talking to fionny. Your points were well reasoned (though about other games); fionny, however, was just being a douche about it and judging the game simply because it had an open-for-preorderers alpha :S

    • terry says:

      Gammas are the new deltas.

    • Dominic White says:

      Alphas are the new Omegas
      Beginnings are the new Ends

    • Wulf says:

      I’m with Okami. They’re still going to have a demo, and the beta is about testing and feedback, you might want to visit the forum and see how involved people are with making the game better before saying something that might not be factually true. :p This is a real beta, as real as a beta can be.

      The reason they did the preorder-for-beta thing is so that they’re self-funded. Which is better than having a big publisher, deadlines, and being forced to create not the sort of game they want, but rather just the sort of unimaginative, common pap that would be popular to a broad enough base of people to please the shareholders, no?

      To be honest, I completely support Wolfire on all their endeavours. Their community is important to them, their testers are also important to them, and I say this as someone who’s seen it first-hand, what people say to them they take into account, there’s a huge amount of communication between people and the devs, and they even have their own meebo setup for just that reason, in case anyone wants to do some real time chatting. (They’ve had some fantastic articles which were just meebo quotes alone.)

      Basically, they tied self-funding into beta applications. Is that wrong? Well, if they dropped the ball and screwed it up, yeah, sure. But did they? No, they most certainly did not! If you don’t believe it then check out the forums yourself, there’s plenty of evidence there. Sometimes people do complain just for the sake of complaining, without any facts on hand. Assuming that this isn’t a real beta, or assuming that there won’t be a demo, both of which being wrong. I can understand actually complaining about a real, in-game element, but let’s not make things up to complain about, eh? :/

    • nick729 says:

      Didn’t you see? It JUST became playable. Betas are to test a form of the final product. Alphas are to test the product while in development. This still has a LONG way to go till it’s anywhere near the final product.

    • Dhatz says:

      alphas and betas can be charged for, demos cant, so thats why this betta have a demma!

    • aerozol says:

      Stupid, annoying post.

  2. HexagonalBolts says:

    I’m always astounded by the graphics, how did such a small team make something so beautiful?

    • Wulf says:

      That would be the artists they have on board, who are absolutely amazing, lovely people who tend to crank out amazing stuff in a short space of time, even creating an Overgrowth comic in their spare time! This is what dedication is, and what it looks like when someone truly loves what they’re doing.

    • Petethegoat says:

      @Wulf *artist
      Also because David has stupid hax graphics engine skillz. :(

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Talent, dedication, inspiration >>>>>>>> money, people, resources

  3. TheCheese33 says:

    Pre-ordered a long time ago, and it’s been an exciting experience to see their constant content updates. It’s cool that we can actually play it now, too. I’ll probably download the latest build after my classes end in a few hours and give it a shot.

  4. Unaco says:

    I’d be a lot more excited about this, if it weren’t for the anthropomorphic animals.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Same. I tried playing Lugaru, but gave up after the third rabbit encountered.

      This though… it does look really nice. Would have loved real people though, but I guess their facial expressions are a lot harder to get right!

    • Mattressi says:

      I thought it was silly at first…but damn, the satisfaction in slashing a bunny from behind, kicking a wolf’s head in, running up to a wall and springing back knocking your opponents down and jumping from a long distance right behind a wolf and stabbing it in the back with a sword…well, it’s just amazing! Never liked games with animals before, but I love Lugaru!

    • omicron1 says:

      Hey! Haven’t you ever read Redwall? It’s an older-person-oriented fighting-game expression of our childhood imaginations!

      Besides… you can’t say it’s not a unique setting/premise, now can you?

    • LionsPhil says:

      “It’s not a unique setting/premise”.

      That was hard.

    • Tizoc says:

      Rabbits are people too !

    • Wulf says:

      @Unaco

      Did you complain at people for not liking that visual novel because of the anime style? I think you did, didn’t you? So you should be able to understand then that this perhaps is not meant for you if you don’t like it. Personally, I’m a big fan of it, because the animals are more like were-creatures in build than just your usual anthropomorphs. They’re big, muscular things.

      Not everyone is going to be able to enjoy something because of the choices that a designer made, but for those same reasons it’s going to be the best thing ever to someone else. If you took all the animals out, along with their unique designs, their amusing characterisations, and their interesting visuals, and replaced them with just normal humans, then the game loses a certain, magical something that’ll make it just like every mainstream game that’s ever removed something because they thought it might be too challenging to someone.

      You might not like anthro characters, even were-like critters such as these, and that’s entirely your prerogative! I support your right to not like them. I just hope you understand that the reason why you don’t like it is still why it’s going to be amazing to someone else. We need more games like this, not less, much more games like this. Games which aren’t afraid to be themselves just because it might offend a minority. I support Super Meat Boy for being its own game even though it offends me!! That’s how things should be. We shouldn’t force people to play these games, either, they just won’t be for some people, but on the same lines, we should never think that a game should lose its unique visual design to be less intellectually challenging to a person or group of people.

      If you can get past the anthro thing and find a good game in there, great! If you can’t, then no one’s ever going to blame you, because there are just some things you can’t get into, and for some people this game will be all the more better because of these characterful creatures. Robots are okay in Portal 2, they have more character than your average human. So on the same level I’m happy about anthro characters in Overgrowth, which I can say the same thing about. I’ve always took an animal’s face in animation to be more expressive than a human one, you can just do more with it. They have ears, and big eyes, and there’s just a lot that can be done with that. This is why Disney fixated over animals for so long, and why modern animation tries to mimic that.

      So there you go, it’s not going to be for some people, but to others, it’s going to be fantastic! (And yes, I’m as into this as I was put off by Super Meat Boy. To each their own.)

    • Unaco says:

      “@Unaco

      Did you complain at people for not liking that visual novel because of the anime style? I think you did, didn’t you?”

      No. No I did not.

      I guess, to expand on my original comment a little… I like what this game is bringing to the table… the Engine, the physics based animation, context sensitive fighting, the customisability. But, the anthropomorphic characters I don’t like. If it had human characters, I’d likely have pre-ordered this already. Also, if it was more of a duelling simulator than a brawling simulator. They’re my preferences. Each to their own and good luck to them with this, and to the people that do pick it up, I hope they enjoy it. But for me, it just misses the mark.

    • Wulf says:

      That I can completely agree with and I’m sorry I misunderstood you. I guess I’m just all too used to seeing people act hostile toward this game, which makes me always think the worst is going to happen. It’s very rare that I see people saying that they did interesting things with it because of the anthro characters, so I’ve gotten into that mindset.

      Though that did happen once or twice in this particular comments thread, and I’m happy about that and pleased with the people responsible.

    • Waltorious says:

      I understand that some of you are not too enamored by the anthropomorphic animals in the game, but I would still recommend giving the demo a shot when it’s released. Lugaru had some really awesome kung-fu gameplay that was easy to learn and very hard to master, and most importantly was completely unlike any other game I’d ever played. That game was still a little rough around the edges, but I’m hoping Overgrowth will refine that gameplay in a more fleshed-out package. It’s going to be worth trying out for the gameplay system alone.

      The first time I broke a quarterstaff over an enemy’s head in auto-slow-motion in Lugaru, I didn’t even notice that the characters were rabbits because I was too busy feeling extremely badass.

  5. Schaulustiger says:

    Their weekly updates are amazing. I’ve been following them since they started doing actual videos instead of just releasing alpha patch notes and it’s great to see how the game – albeit slowly – comes together.
    I pre-ordered ages ago just to support them, though I’ll probably wait another 6 months or so until I finally install one of the alpha builds myself.

  6. Wolfhound says:

    So its Lugaru with better graphics? The furries will have a field day.

  7. SuperNashwanPower says:

    BUNNIES! That is all.

  8. poop says:

    on one hand this looks hella rad

    on the other hand ive yet to get a decent return on any investmentware ive bought :(

  9. bill says:

    Graphics look lovely. Not as lovely as the concept art, but still lovely.
    But I hope there is going to be a bit more plot to it than Luagru… that was essentially just a series of arena encounters with a thin plot wrapped around it. I was hoping for more from this. Right now it looks identical – but prettier.

    The combat in Lugaru is awesome, but it HAS NO QUICKSAVES which meant that it was great until the arena with three wolves – after spending an hour replaying that and never getting past it i gave up.

  10. Inigo says:

    DRR… DRR…. DRR…

    • Pemptus says:

      I love you for this comment. It’s been long since I’ve had any incredibly vivid nightmares and you made decide to reread Uzumaki later tonight. Thanks.

  11. Alphabet says:

    Gamma World???

  12. noggin says:

    that 2nd video is right Dali-esque!

    [edit] I mean 3rd…

  13. Urthman says:

    It looks like Oni with bunnies.

  14. jymkata says:

    I find the whole ‘furry’ shtick a bit creepy.
    I’m not buying that shit.

    • Dominic White says:

      What’s creepy about it? This is about as adult as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      Anything freaky you’re finding here is entirely a case of you projecting your own insecurities onto a blank canvas.

      Alternatively: No, jymkata. You are the furries.

    • Urthman says:

      What a weird comment to make on a video game forum. Do you find Sonic and Banjo / Kazooie and Beyond Good & Evil and Donkey Kong and the Khajiit and Starfox and the Duke Nukem Pigcops all creepy?

      (Give me a manshoot or something where I can spray the guts of a disgusting monster all over the room. Not something creepy!)

    • Oozo says:

      I think it makes him think of stuff like this: http://motivateurself.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/typical-furry.jpg (Totally SFW, but not save for your delicate aesthetic senses.)

    • Wulf says:

      Yes, because we should be judging everything by its worst element. Sigh.

      As it stands, furries are some of the most open-minded and simply damned nice people that I’ve had the fortune of meeting. I could pull the creepy thing on obsessive gamers, yanno.

    • Matzerath says:

      Stupid sexy Bugs Bunny!

    • Kdansky says:

      I agree. I find it creepy too, and will pass on it. I tried Lugaru, and couldn’t last 10 minutes.

      Made for furries, by furries?

    • pipman3000 says:

      yeah but i bet you dont find it as creepy as a GHOST

      god damn grow a set you pansies if this creeps you out then you’re more sheltered than those two mormon kids down the street who never leave the house

      do you pee yourself a little everytime you see a khajiit in oblivion?

    • pipman3000 says:

      did you know warhammer has rat furries oh my god what is wrong with those sick freaks i bet they’re beating off right now

    • Chris D says:

      I am secure enough in my desire not to have sex with animals that I would see no problem with playing this game. But I fully respect the right of those who are less sure of their resolve to abstain.

    • Inigo says:

      I demand that someone mod Overgrowth so that I may play as Splinter.

    • Dominic White says:

      I actually recall that there are planned to be scraggly-looking ratpeople, and staff weapons. Splinter is only half a step away.

    • Soon says:

      It’s another example in an incredibly vast and long history we have of anthropomorphising animals (and things). From ancient folklore to current cartoons. I don’t understand why people find this remotely offensive or why it’s any sort of issue.

      Additionally, game is looking awesome.

    • Nogo says:

      Headin to main so hopefully more people see it.

    • Thants says:

      Yeah, you can act like anthropomorphizing animals is a weird little niche, until you realize that the biggest, most profitable movie in history is essentially about sexy blue cat-people.

    • stahlwerk says:

      ^^^ good point. Also I’d like to propose that fables and tales with anthropomorphic animals are as old as time itself, about which this wee fellow worries a lot, coincidentally.

      Edit, God, I love John Tenniel’s work. Here are his illustrated Aesop’s Fables in the Public Domain: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18732/18732-h/18732-h.htm

    • Chris D says:

      If we got rid of everything with anthropomorphic animals in that would mean:

      No Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Daffy Duck
      No Sponge Bob Squarepant, Ren and Stimpy, Itchy and Scratchy
      No Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
      No Thundercats
      No Muppets
      No Brer Rabbit
      No Roger Rabbit
      No Wind in the Willows
      No Narnia
      No Animal Farm
      No Charlotte’s Web
      No Beatrix Potter
      No Anansi
      No Aesops Fables
      No Red Riding Hood, no Goldilocks and the Three Bears
      No Ancient Egyptian mythology
      No cartoon-from-my-childhood-which-I-can’t-name-but-nevertheless-I-have-fond-memories-of-featuring-a-tiger-in-an-eyepatch-and-a-spaceship
      No Monkey
      No Pigs in Spaaaaace! (Technically they’re muppets so I’ve already mentioned them but I don’t care)

      If you are still prepared to dismiss that entire tradition from ancient times to modern day because “Ugh Furries” then I probably wouldn’t think any less of you if I actually caught you sodomising a goat.

  15. pakoito says:

    If people have been following what the editor can do they’ll see its worth only by itself. It’s not Unity or UDK but still better than Torque3D.

  16. Alexander Norris says:

    If I were them, I’d make up an excuse to have at least one ghost show up so I could reuse the scrambled rabbit model and the one with the pieces missing and floating about.

  17. Catastrophe says:

    Video 3: A Mr. Fantastic game has never looked so appealing!

  18. Drakon says:

    Err, site appears to be down?

  19. skraeling says:

    Indie games are a mansion; Overgrowth is the hot sweaty sex in the billiards room.

  20. godkingemperor says:

    I’m more interested in the game in the third video. Surrealism should be a gaming genre.

    • Vinraith says:

      I agree. I don’t really “get” the whole anthropomorphic animal thing, but full-on surrealism is always entertaining.

  21. mod the world says:

    Is it correct to say that this is Grand Theft Auto for furries?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I don’t think it has enough vehicular freeform antics for the former, nor enough yiffy freeform antics for the latter.

  22. Nogo says:

    When Lugaru was made the creator didn’t even know what a furry was. Animals were chosen to avoid the uncanny valley and to make the violence less prominent.*

    It’s a 3rd person brawler through and through that made appropriate aesthetic choices concerning resources, goals and audience.

    Just because some weirdos are way too obsessed with animals walking on two legs doesn’t mean there is some sinister undercurrent running through a fun punch-em-up that happens to feature them.

    *Learned from a wonderful thread on SA around Lugaru’s release where the creator openly chatted about his game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Riiiiight. That’s why the studio is called “Wolfire”.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yes, and Tiger Electronics are run by cat-people, obviously.

      You’re probably letting on more than you intended.. Mr ‘Lions’ Phil.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That’s ridiculous. Tiger Electronics are run by the space-lizards; do you know nothing?

    • Vinraith says:

      Wow. Well now I just envy them their blissful ignorance.

      Regardless of the aesthetic, Wolfire are good people, and anything they make is worth a look.

    • Nogo says:

      Another reason was that animals have very strong archetypes that worked well for defining fighting styles and conflict between groups (bunnies are quick and tasty after all).

      If you have archives on SA it’s a very interesting read.

    • smartalco says:

      @LionsPhil: ‘Wolfire’ is actually named after the founder’s former dog, ‘Wolfie’ (which, I think, is a horrible name for a dog, but that is another matter)

  23. somedude says:

    Aside from the fact that this is looking like it has the potential to be the best brawler since Oni, I have to say I’ve been fascinated watching the developer videos and seeing the game come together, piece by piece. It’s a detailed and yet very understandable look into what goes into making a modern 3D game. In fact, the primary reason I preordered it was to be able to play around with the game as it formed, and see how things changed and were built upon over time, and in that sense it’s definitely been worth it. I have a feeling that this is going to be quite an impressive game once it’s a bit more fleshed out.

  24. reticulate says:

    Why always with the rabbits, this man?

  25. syntax says:

    Preorder! You are supporting a small indie team, and will be rewarded by weeky updates, art-asset overviews, and more.

  26. Wozzle says:

    I must be missing something as I don’t see the appeal of this game :/

    • Waltorious says:

      It’s hard to see from footage and screenshots, but the gameplay is actually very cool and unique. It really makes the player feel like he or she is pulling off awesome kung fu moves, and blocking or evading the enemy’s strikes. If that sounds interesting at all to you, I’d recommend taking a look at the first game Lugaru. It’s not free but I think there’s a demo. Lugaru is a very basic game that is little more than some arenas with guys to fight, but the gameplay at the core is really good. If Overgrowth can flesh out the rest into a full-blown game, it should be great.

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