It Came: From The Depths

By Nathan Grayson on February 19th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Looks seaworthy to me, yep.

From The Depths certainly looks ambitious. I’ll give it that. It’s a naval first-person mermaidurer where you build all of your own vehicles and then fly/sail/submarine/hot air balloon them into battle. Oh, and it’s voxel-based, naturally, so expect mighty capital ships that look like they were assembled by children who’ve yet to learn their capital letters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it has kind of become The Style Of The Time. To be frank, I’m more worried about how all sorts of disparate elements – detailed physics, a random world, construction of every vehicle you use, and “dozens” of co-op and competitive modes – will come together. Freeform building tends make things a bit tough to balance, after all, and there are so many things here. But then, perhaps that’s the point.

In short, you and your friends assemble multi-vehicle fleets and (hopefully) ravage the high seas, which are better than the low seas because you get a much nicer view from up there. Other players roam the sleepy blue giant, as do monsters and other such nastiness. You have to both maintain your own vehicles and board/dispatch/make bombing runs on those of others, which sounds like it could be great fun.

But those are just the basics. Here, somewhat dauntingly, is the rest:

  • Design and build your own vehicle, however you want.
  • Realistic physics – every block destroyed or added affects the vehicle’s functionality, physics and control.
  • Test your design in a wide range of multiplayer adversarial and co-op modes.
  • Use the spoils of war to unlock new equipment.
  • Randomly generated world with weather, monsters and terrain for each game.
  • The sky’s the limit – cannons, lasers, mines, bombs, missiles, torpedoes, propellers, rudders, jet engines, wings, hydrofoils, hot air balloons, anchors, fire control computers, and loads more.
  • Design custom weaponry and missiles by combining payloads, thrusters, navigation units, fuel pods and more, to deliver a truly bespoke weapon.

I really, really hope this one can live up to its potential. The concept is magnificent, but the jury’s still out on whether it’s a strong foundation or a stormy sea of directionless “survival” sandboxery. I’m all for freedom in games, but I’m getting tired of having to craft my own fun in addition to items, structures, and weapons. Having discrete modes is probably a step in the right direction, but the “dozens” bit suggests we’re getting a cannon barrage of kitchen sinks rather than minute focus. And there will apparently be a big, NPC-ridden single-player campaign on top of all that. Developer Brilliant Skies has a lot on its plate, that’s for sure. Other indies have sunken under far less.

But maybe none of that will matter. Maybe Brilliant Skies has already plotted a course toward greatness, and all that’s left is to prod the steering wheel every once in a while. I sure hope so. From The Depths has already earned Steam Greenlight’s fickle favor, but it’s not on Early Access yet. For now, you can try the game’s brand new alpha by donating $10 on its website.

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19 Comments »

  1. TechnicalBen says:

    Would be nice to see someone attempt a different construction mechanism. Even SPAZ 2 is not jumping on the block mechanic bandwagon, instead finding a system that works for the game.

    There are so many different ways to build in a computer game, play the strengths of the system, not the popularity of previous games successes.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Blocks are a pretty good abstraction if what you want is the freedom of classic LEGO, though, rather than assembling and painting the prefab parts the developer has provided for you (or you’ve purchased as DLC).

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Clay, shapeable blocks/sections, parts, the options are endless.

        Just look at Spore for multiple options in just one game. KSP or Space engineers (which uses blocks, but slightly more options than the other voxel games).

        Really, there are so many options, that I don’t see blocks as the best for gameplay or useability here. :/

  2. staberas says:

    So its Space engineer but without space and more hardcore voxel action?

  3. rikvanoostende says:

    I think it’s brilliant. In most games, respawning gives defeat little consequence, and permadeath is too harsh on some players. But if you have to rebuild your vehicle minecraft-style every time you get defeated, the game caters to the fast paced player in their small vehicles and the careful, slow and tactical players in huge battleships!

  4. SuicideKing says:

    I really like this, I may even get this on early access. Multiplayer would be a lot of fun, especially for people who’re looking for a milsim type thing (everyone will have to build a complementary ship to support each other)…it’ll be like Battleships but all virtual and 3D and moving and yay!

  5. crowleyhammer says:

    pixel pirates with voxels, innit.

  6. Octuplex says:

    I quite like where this is going. say what you will about the art style, the destructive nature of the combat would make it even more hectic. you can target weak points on various ships, like destroying the rotors, making it plummet to the sea. makes you feel vulnerable no matter how big your ship is.

  7. KDR_11k says:

    Well, if Rare won’t make Banjo Tooie Nuts & Bolts someone else will have to jump in.

    Though I’m kinda sad that RPS didn’t cover the MAV kickstarter yet.

  8. The Random One says:

    See, now because I never liked Minecraft, I never got tired of open world voxely survival, so I can enjoy this. Who’s the joyless cynical bastard now? Wait- no, it’s still me, sorry.

  9. pupsikaso says:

    How many people are in the alpha? I’d like to try this, but don’t want to pay the $10 now if there aren’t enough people to play with.

    • lemmington says:

      i would say around the 20 people (i am one of the very first pre-aplha testers), and apperntly multiplayer will get released whitina few weeks (speculation), our little community is quite active.

  10. Tei says:

    Looks ugly but fun :D

  11. guygodbois00 says:

    It Came: From The Desert. ‘Nough said.

    • In Zod We Trust says:

      Just reading that headline wanted to make me shoot giant ants and wheel about hospitals all over again.

  12. racccoon says:

    They need to completely step away from blocks n’ voxel based worlds.
    The real build game is a game which allows exploration, formulation, manufacture and construction of something. Devs need to create a realism game for us to build on, not a blocky crappy one.

  13. neonordnance says:

    Wow, a lot of haters here. If blocks are what works for the game, then so be it. Just because there have been a lot of bad cash-in games doesn’t mean that blocks can’t be good in a non-Minecraft game. 3079, Guncraft, Starmade and Eldritch have all done interesting things with voxel blocks.

  14. Boba-Fetcher says:

    I enjoy From The Depths, very much. Even in the current unpolished form, this game is obviously a gem.
    The learning curve is somewhat steep, but there are tutorials to teach you the basics. Beyond the tutorials, trial and error reign. Looking forward to the multiplayer, and finally destroying all the good people of the FTD community. >:) (Jk please don’t shoot my little plane down :<)