By Graham Smith on March 4th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.
Eventually everything you loved will be reborn, not as an expensive and confused studio reboot, but as a block-building or procedurally generated indie game. It’s a future in which communities and computers will be re-building your memories in perpetuity. In Gunscape, it’s the late-’90s FPS which is getting the block treatment, as it offers a construction kit for building Quake 1-3 style singleplayer and deathmatch levels, with texture and prop packs intended to allow you to theme those maps as you please.
There’s a Kickstarter campaign ongoing, which currently has $4,237 AUD of its $27,500 goal, though there’s plenty of footage of the game and editor already in action in the pitch video. There’s even a pre-alpha demo. I’ve had a quick play of it, but here’s the elevator sales pitch: “You could for example take the blocks and props from the Halo-inspired set, and the enemies from the Turok-inspired set, and build yourself a deathmatch map in space where you can hit a button and release velociraptors on the other players.”
I spent one half of my teenaged years building maps for Quake 2, Quake 3 and Half-Life, and the other half playing those games against bots and friends. Selling that time of my life back to me with a modern twist is practically what Kickstarter is for, and I’m sucker enough to be compelled to join up in this instance. My brain is still full of failed attempts to mimic the flow and vertical thrills of Q2DM1.
Having had a quick play with that demo, the editor is certainly easy to use. There’s none of the faffing around with texture alignment and tracking down light leaks that marked geometry creation in Worldcraft or whatever else. There’s also, as a result, less flexibility at this stage in terms of what you can make with it. It’s idiot-proof though, and that’s good.
I also had a quick play on the one server that was up. After falling to my death multiple times through holes in the ground I never saw, I can report that it is dark. This might be because skyboxes are a recent addition, not yet in the demo build, or it might just be a stylistic thing that it’s trying to evoke the grey-metal dreariness of its source inspiration. Or maybe I should turn up my monitor contrast. Either way, it’s certainly Quake-ish, though I worry the weapons – BFG excluded – lack real punch. I love some of the sound effects, but there’s nothing as immediately thrilling as an Id Software shotgun, and the jump feels a little strange.
That’s all fixable stuff, but worth noting at this stage before you back. Physics and weapons are what set apart these games, and those are something you can’t control via the in-game level editor.