Sanctum Is A FPSTD, Has Beta

FPS Plants Vs Zombies should be next
That’s first-person shooter tower defence, of course. Sanctum, a UDK-powered project that we reported on some time ago, is now fully evolved up into a commercial project and has a pre-order-based beta going up on Steam. Want to know a bit more? Well, there’s a detailed video below, which explains how you set up your game in a classic tower-defence building phase before taking on the creeps with both the tower network you’ve created, and your own weapons. Looks interesting, and the art style is neat, too. The full game hits on April 15th.


  1. Hoaxfish says:

    A first person sexually transmitted disease?

    • Gotem says:

      that means it will require co-op
      just imagine the LAN parties

  2. Eleven says:

    History shall record this moment as the time when Jim invented the acronym for First Person Sexually Transmitted Disease.

    As opposed to those Third Person STDs, obviously.

    • Muzman says:

      STDs just won’t work in First Person. A human being has a field of view of roughly 180 degrees. In real life no one would be able to blind side me as easily with their STDs. First Person would be like STDs with blinkers on.
      The real question is whether or not to use the Over Shoulder or Full Rotation model.

    • Moni says:

      Wait a minute, by definition, aren’t all STD third person?
      Unless you can catch one by onanism, because I do that quite often, and I might have a problem I need to check on.

    • thessalian_pine says:

      Not meaning to take all the acronym-inventor glory away from Jim but nit-picky-ness (is that even a word?) dictates that the credit for FPSTD goes to Mojang’s Mollstam.
      Or at least that’s where I read it first.

    • GT3000 says:

      link to

      First comment, fifth paragraph. Piss on it.

    • Martha Stuart says:

      I don’t mean to rain on anyones parade, but medically speaking they changed the term STD to STI (Sexually trasnmitted Infection) a couple of years ago…..just sayin.

  3. Gnoupi says:

    I like the idea of a FPS mixed with a tower defense in general, for the fact that you participate in the defense yourself.
    What I don’t like, though, is the idea to do everything in the FPS view, typically placing towers. It’s impractical, and feels easily claustrophobic, to me.
    I would prefer a system like Iron Grip: Warlords, in which you can switch to a top down view to place your turret, and switch back to the FPS view to shoot enemies.

    • Gnoupi says:


      FPS view: link to
      Turret placing view: link to

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      Yeah, that’s one of the things that bugged me when I tried Monday Night Combat this last free weekend. Although, I’m not sure how you could do it any other way in a multiplayer game…

      Also, good acronym, Jim!

    • Gnoupi says:

      Iron Grip warlords is multiplayer, and you can still move while in the top view.
      But it’s only temporary, anyway.

      In MNC, it’s less of an issue, because you can build only on predefined places, and you have no issue of the maze-building type.

    • sneetch says:

      I thought the old Battlezone FPRTS worked well like this, placing defences worked well there, (IIRC that is, it was back in ’98 so maybe I remember it being better than it was).

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      If you watch the video, at 1:15 it does show a top-down view. Doesn’t say if you can place stuff then as well, though.

    • irongamer says:

      I agree with Gnoupi. When I first saw the description of this game I thought it might be an updated Iron Grip: Warlords. However, they appear to separate building and combat. While they didn’t specifically address it, it sounds like you can only view from the top down view and not build.

      I’m curious if they will have wanderers like IG:Warlords. IG:Warlords had more appeal because it kept many elements that make the game feel more like an FPS with tower defense elements in play.

      Sanctum, at first glance, seems to be a tower defense game that allows you to view it in FP, build it in FP, and shoot things as they go by. This is quite disappointing.

  4. Baka says:

    Was so excited about the headline and then “pre-order-based” thwarted me hard. :(

  5. Nomaki says:

    I don’t understand betas which are pre-order based.
    Surely it is more in the developer’s interest to have lots of people beta-testing their game than just a select few who decided to throw their money at it before it was released?

    • Gnoupi says:

      I think I remember cliffski writing on the topic, saying that with this method, you are more likely to get dedicated persons, instead of 99% of people trying a demo.
      In this case, you get people usually more concerned about the game, and reporting problems.
      In my opinion, an open beta works only if you want to check load charge on a massively multiplayer games, or if you implemented a system to auto-report crashes.

    • sneetch says:

      Good point, not to mention that people playing a beta as a demo may very well decide that it’s crap based on the beta and decide against trying the full game.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Well, pre-order does away with the need for greedy “investors” (you know: the cocaine-snorting criminal type with more money than he can count, who has achieved nothing in his life), if you play it right.
      As the end-users will become your investors.

      Of course this is all a moot point, if you don’t then also treat them like first-class investors. For example, if you pre-order before the programming has even started, you must also get the full source code and everything that came past it. If you pre-order on the same simple concept document that fat cat investors invest on, then you should get a copy of everything.
      On release, with everyone else who did the same, and not earlier, of course.

      But OK, I don’t expect that from people who are so delusional, that they still use unwords like “IP”.

    • Falerix says:

      It’s on Steam, and Steam has a neat ruleset where they will allow refunds on pre-ordered games exclusively. So it’s really just a beta that needs more work to get into then it should have.

  6. sexyresults says:

    I really enjoyed it when I played the alpha?. Biggest issue for me was level balancing and I’m sure they have change a lot since I last played.

    • AntonWestbergh says:

      We’ve done lots of work on the balancing of the game.
      There’s still the hard and insane mode for hardcore players, but we’ve added the easy and normal mode for more casual game play :)

  7. MaxNormal says:

    I played the UDK demo a while back. I wanted to like it but there was no option to set Invert Mouse. If I cannot invert the bloody mouse I can’t play your FPS. 15 years of muscle memory is making me hate your game.
    Developers please take note. None of you may ever use the setting but some of us learned to play with it set that way and we will not unlearn it EVER. We just won’t play / buy your game if you omit the option.

    Edit – I just started up the UDK demo again, there is a screen for settings, but nothing for Invert Mouse. If what you’re saying is you have added it to the new steam version – then thanks. If the setting exists on the old UDK demo, please tell me where to look for it or how to set it.

    • AntonWestbergh says:

      Hi, I am one of the devs.
      Invert mouse is an option in Sanctum.


  8. MadTinkerer says:

    Regarding First Person PvZ, it would definitely need to be Source Engine, I think. It’d be a nice L4D2 mod.

  9. mojo says:

    that fps building looks complicated.
    building phase should be available in accustomed top down view, then go fps for pew pew phase.

    • AntonWestbergh says:

      The building system is pretty smooth. You should try it :)

    • trjp says:

      Unfortunately he can’t “try it” he has to ‘buy it’ first which is nothing like ‘trying’ :)

      I have to agree on the first-person building thing – it looks faffy and the fact that ‘buying’ takes time would be even more jarring (we’re making a maze – why make us WAIT to make it??)

      This needs a demo to convince me otherwise…

    • ZIGS says:

      There IS a demo, get it here: link to

    • sexyresults says:

      I found it added to the intensity. Having to time jumps and build lift squares too build and upgrade was fun/challenging. Even moreso if you were leaking or something and needed to bolster rear defenses quickly.

      I think there was some way to view a top down so you could do some quick planning in your head and then go about doing it in first person.

    • trjp says:

      That “demo” only proves what a few of us have said – that building TD mazes in first person is a stupid idea – it just doesn’t work at all…

      In the demo, you can’t even build ‘from afar’ – you have to be standing on the square you want to raise/build on – which makes it even more annoying.

      Massive, massive fail on that aspect of it – the rest of the game could well be brilliant but I’ve no intention of spending 20 mins banging my head on the keyboard to find that out.

  10. SpinalJack says:

    Looks extremely tedious
    Much prefer the looks of orcs must die where the pacing and immediate response required of an action game are present to stop you from falling asleep

  11. Tam-Lin says:

    If anyone would like to split a pre-order two-pack, well, you know where to look.

  12. Araxiel says:

    I played this game when it was still an UT3 mod, and enjoyed it.
    I played this game when it was part of the UDK showcase, and I enjoyed it.
    I just threw my money to valve and hope I will enjoy it.

    Well, I hope they reduced the difficulty curve a bit, the UDK version was doggone tough and incredibly unforgiving.

    • Araxiel says:

      Well, I played the ‘beta’ for quite some time now. And I really like it. They vastly improved the game in comparison with the free UDK version. For example was in the UDK version only Blocks, Elevators, Slow-fields, Gatling-, AA- and Lightning-turrets and as weapons only a SMG and a Sniper rifle. Now we’ve got Blocks, Televators (elevator+teleporter), Slow-Fields*, Gatling-, Mortar-*, Lightning-, Laser-, AA-Turrets, and for the Weapons an SMG with Grenadelauncher, the Sniperrifle, a “Freezing”-Gun™ (owned by Mr. Freeze) and a Minigun-Shotgun* and three levels*.
      [*not in the Beta]

      But on the other hand, I just explained all there is. This is the entire game. I’m missing a bit of variety here. For example turrets that make other turrets stronger. Or turret that poisen enemies etc. (I’m looking at you SolSurvivor) or turrets that can/must be used manualy. Or special turrets that increase the revenue per kill. Basicly turrets that are not there to kill enemies directly.
      Well, it’s Steam afterall and if I remember right, there was a big KillingFloor update for Christmas (or before that) and MondayNightCombat got a bunch of extra maps with the “Splünky-Cola”-Update.

      One thing I would love to see though would be stackable blocks and turrets so you could build real towers (I ran out of space quite early in my game). And NPC allies e.g. drones that shoot baddies or buff the player/turrets. But that of course will never be added.

      I didn’t tried co-op though. I don’t know anyone else that owns this game yet.

  13. Wulf says:

    This seems really quite interesting! And I’m getting odd Second Life flashbacks from the building – in which one could drop cubes from a first person perspective.

  14. squareking says:

    I tried the UDK demo and enjoyed it. I would purchase, but my backlog is massive as it is. And I just bought Lead & Gold. :l

  15. Wulf says:

    After watching a bunch of trailers, I have to say that I’m enjoying the aesthetic, but it actually occurred to me why after a little bit. The Phantasy Star is strong with this one. The aesthetic is really very strongly inspired by Phantasy Star Online, methinks. That’s especially visible in this video. Anyone else see it or am I being crazy?

    That’s fine though, because I dug the aesthetic of Phantasy Star Online so much (PSO was all round awesome, both graphically and gameplay wise, so this is triggering all sorts of fond memories). It’s an aesthetic that Star Ocean II shared, but didn’t get quite exactly right. What I take away from all this is that I now know what Phantasy Star Online would look like if it were redesigned as a modern FPS.

    About the only loss versus PSO in this game is that I can’t choose to be a squat, stocky pink robot. (Probably.)

  16. Auzy says:

    Pretty awesome game, tons of a fun single-player cant imagine co-op. Best wishes to the team, will probably buy.

  17. Tei says:

    I play TD games for totally different reasons. TD games are like the last turn based-ish games in existence. You can even pause, and take hours before you use 20 points/gold/energy, etc.. I know some people think this is a flaw of the genre, but I enjoy the genre because of that. It also make me feel more like a general, and less like a peon.

  18. geldonyetich says:

    I’m going to hold off until I see an updated demo on this one. It seems to me that the difference between a good FPSTD and a bad one is going to be a matter of finer balance. Orcs Must Die looked very clever, but this looks a bit more straightforward. Simply setting up turrets and gunning down endless hordes of monsters an excellent definition of monotonousness, you gotta spice it up a bit, and the jury’s still out if Sanctum did it well enough.

    • geldonyetich says:

      Having tried the Oct 2010 demo now, I can say that they have a pretty good idea about how to make it fun, after all. Yeah, I’m sold, well done.

  19. alt24 says:

    I can’t wait until this game gets released, the demo is fantastic, the features they have added since look great, can’t wait to play co-op.

  20. Wulf says:

    Well, I picked it up, and I have to say that I’m extremely pleased with it despite the fact that I completely stink at it. (I’m determined to get better!) It’s fun, and that’s great, but what matters even more to me is that it has a fairly unique aesthetic (I’ll be coming back to this) and a good deal of charm. The dancing aliens, disco lights, and silly music when one loses a match is a great, great touch.

    And I was right on the money. Having played this myself I can see that this is about as close to an updated Phantasy Star Online as it could be. That’s exactly what it looks like! And for this reason, I’d love to see these devs try their hand at a Phantasy Star Online-like game. Essentially, create a hub with a number of maps a la Phantasy Star Online and sell it for roughly the same bargain price. Then create map pack expansions which can be accessed from the same HUD to continue on with it.

    And really interesting stories can be told in that sort of setting, too, where they don’t have to be entirely serious or realistic. I don’t expect the Fallout 2/Tactics balance of fun/seriousness to be matched, and such a game could go with an entirely silly plot instead, to be honest, and that would just work. But their artists clearly have no small amount of love for Phantasy Star Online, so I wouldn’t be surprised if such a project is on the cards in the future.

    Or I can live in hope, at least. The world needs more Phantasy Star Online-like games.

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