Brawl Of The Wild: Double Fine To Publish Gang Beasts

By Adam Smith on August 19th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Gang Beasts, even in pre-release form, is one of the best games I’ve played this year. It’s a multiplayer brawling game, with elements of Dreamcast classic Powerstone in among the wrestling and clumsy acrobatics. Whether you’re struggling to roll a momentarily unconscious foe out of a ferris wheel carriage, or stumbling headfirst into a meat grinder, Gang Beasts is a wonderful combination of applied skill and improvised farce. The next update, which will coincide with a Steam Early Access launch, places the game under the Double Fine umbrella. Details below.

Ten days. That’s how long we have to wait until we see even more of the wonderful jelly-dough combat. The key changes are to the movement and character systems, which will be modified to allow for new terrain types, objects and actions.

We have spent a significant amount of time refactoring and optimising the character system (modifying geometry, joints, and physics forces) to make the character more stable to significantly improve walking on inclines, stairs, and undulating surfaces, and make the climbing mechanic less erratic and more intuitive to control (and to prepare the character for testing a potential water treading mechanic), the revision of the character system was necessary both to implement the additional character moves (slope walking, kicking, climbing etc.), body shapes and sizes, and to allow us to exclusively focus on prototyping maps and character customisations with less need to frequently pause the making of content, to make additional improvements to the character, this should make it significantly less difficult to manage builds etc.

Undulating surfaces.

The Double Fine partnership is the final team-based announcement in a period that saw Bone Loaf move onto full-time development of the game, which should lead to swift and robust updates. Here are some words about level design and implementation.

For the full version of the game we plan to make a number of districts e.g. Meat World (the city theme park), the Industrial Quarter (factory and industrial structures), Shopping Mall (Escalators, Shop Fronts, a Food Hall etc.), the new stages we are working on are an expansion of the Industrial Quarter stages from the pre-alpha prototypes (the Grinder and Incinerator stages), with gigantic industrial fans, pipes, cooling towers, conveyor belts, steam vents, and other hazardous industrial machinery, a number of the stages have been explicitly designed to test and experiment with the climbing mechanic, and improved character walking on stairs, slopes, and undulating surfaces.

Undulating surfaces.

There’s also some discussion of online implementation, although the game will remain local-play only for now. Any work on the networking front is at a very early stage.

I’m not sure what the game will cost when it comes to Steam but for now, the free version is still available. Hopefully that won’t change on August 29th.

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22 Comments »

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  1. Excelle says:

    I had a good chat to the guys behind Gang Beasts at Rezzed this year. They talked a lot about the jelly characters being essentially placeholder for the characters they were looking to introduce later on, which would be more traditional character types (as I recall, you can see examples of the concepts on the background of the menu screen). I wonder whether they’ve realised that the jelly people are a key branding factor for them and have changed their plans accordingly.

    Also, we regards to the online functionality – it was my understanding that it would be very difficult to do. With your traditional online multiplayer, there’s relatively little state information to convey (player moving in this direction, player fired gun). With Gang Beasts each character had a large number of skeletal elements, all of which need to synced exactly with all the game clients for it to work.

    It’d be nice, but I think it will require some very clever coding.

    • julianbenson says:

      I spoke to one of the developers at Gamescom last week and they said that the jelly characters are here to stay. In fact, they’ve now differentiated them by more than colour: one was wearing a sombrero, another a cat onesie, and other things like that. It’s the most adorable drunken bar brawl I’ve ever seen.

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        Rizlar says:

        Seems like even relatively simple costumes might detract from the tactile pleasures of watching a jelly man being repeatedly punched in the kidneys. It’s all about the movement, the jelly wobble, the weight… maybe it would work well with just hats/wrestling masks for variety?

    • Bremze says:

      Long story short, your understanding is wrong. If the developers have done their homework, their physics engine and all the game logic is deterministic, so executing a certain input sequence from a certain state would always cause the same results.

      • lyje says:

        Long story short, it’s not as simple as that.

        For the physics to all match up, they have to be perfectly in sync (since these simulations are chaotic, the client and the server diverge very quickly without sync). If the client receives an instruction late, the physics have already diverged. And on a network, all instructions are received late. So you have to rewind the physics and apply the instruction at the right time, then propagate the physics forward again to the current time. And if there’s much lag or dropping of packets on the network, the client is going to have to predict the physics between packets, which it will get wrong a significant amount of the time since it can’t predict what input the server is going to send it. So every time it receives an update and does the rewind/apply/fast-forward, everything’s going to jump slightly and feel awful. So you have to interpolate smoothly between the client’s prediction and the server’s updated info, which instantly gets very, very hard when you’re working with softbody skeletal physics.

        So it does indeed require some clever coding.

        • Bremze says:

          Never said it netcode was simple or easy, just that the physics simulations don’t significantly change the issues you face when writting netcode for any other fighting game. What you described is generic rollback netcode used by multiplayer games of any genre including regular fighting games.

          • Excelle says:

            Admittedly I am trying to dredge information out of my brain from 5 months ago. I take your point about not having to pass deterministic data however, but I’m sure there was a snag here that I can’t remember, and it was related to having effectively having 8+ agents per player, rather than just the one. A lot of data needed to be passed but I don’t recall why.

            Isn’t a lot of physics generally handled client-side anyway (my coding knowledge falls well out of the scope of games I’m afraid)?

          • lyje says:

            It does change things when the physics are so singularly responsible for the feel of the game. It means there are a lot of tricks you can’t use and assumptions you can’t make. And physics in fighting games in general are very different; in fact, I’d be surprised if they use anything even remotely similar to the physics used in other games. Fighting games don’t care about forces and momenta, they care about positions and character animation states.

  2. Skamberin says:

    Absolutely giddy with anticipation as this game is an absolute joy to play. Visually I feel the only thing they’d need to add is their already planned character body types and customization and possibly some sputter and blood effect for punching someone or falling from great heights.

    • Excelle says:

      I think blood effect would be a mistake. Part of the games charm at the moment is that it is basically jelly babies fighting. You could have other effects to give punching/falling a bit more umph though.

      • Christo4 says:

        I agree on the blood, though i think it would be nice if they could lose an arm or two, maybe even their head.
        THE HEADLESS JELLY MAN

        • Umbert says:

          I would opt for the bloodless version then. Its OK to lose an arm or head as long as the gummy bear man does not bleed. Maybe just show wobbly innards.

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            Harlander says:

            Or or or! If you can get over to where your head landed, you can stick it back on

  3. derbefrier says:

    This game does look fun. I would probably buy it if they added online play. Sadly. Being over 30 means my firends don’t get to come over and play very often so online play is a must for me these days.

  4. The First Door says:

    I would just like to say that I’m glad someone else remembers Powerstone! That game was the best fighting game I’ve ever played and was directly responsible for me utterly cocking up my maths A-Level. On the plus side, it was one of the few games I was genuinely really good at. On the minus side, I spent all of my time playing it.

    Anyway, I’m mightily looking forward to more Gang Beasts, it has become a bit of a local multiplayer staple in my group, so new levels/fixes to old ones would be excellent!

  5. Syra says:

    I actually played this a bit, locally, and enjoyed it. But as ever I’m here to be grumpy and say network or nothing for PC, I hope it goes to ps4 and local that would actually be fun on the couch. (Don’t kill me RPS!)

  6. Drake Sigar says:

    I don’t know if it’s got much in the way of longevity but I definitely want it. The animation is incredible. Just watched it play out on the NerdCubed channel and was in tears with laughter.

  7. Gog Magog says:

    Stuffing people into giant grinders for fun and profit.
    What is this, 2001?
    (slashes hand and invokes blood curse upon self for reference)

  8. Frank says:

    “It’s a multiplayer brawling game, with elements of Dreamcast classic Powerstone in among the wrestling and clumsy acrobatics.”

    I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  9. jonahcutter says:

    Angry drunken toddler simulator.

    I think it’s great they’re keeping the jelly body aesthetic. It has become part of the game’s identity. But it would also be a lot of fun to see an option for a gory version of severed limbs, gushing blood and crushed skulls.

    Imagine a Viscera Cleanup level of gore left at the end of matches, with the last two combatants basically wading through all the spilled jelly blood and twitching jelly limbs. So so satisfying…

  10. DrManhatten says:

    I hope it is not another one of this over-hyped Double Fine productions. I appreciate their effort in trying to do something fresh but most of the time it falls pretty flat onto the face ending up in a joyful experience of 30 minutes and then you’ll get super bored or frustrated as the game mechanics simply do not work.

  11. BlitzThose says:

    I played a rather special version of this lately at a Lan Party It had support for 10 players and it was absolute chaos. the effort involved getting 10 controllers to work off one machine was well worth it though. everyone who played it was in stitches throughout.