Bugging Out: Infested Planet

It's really hard to take a good screenshot of this one. Forgive me, masters.
Look look look look look look look look. Someone has watched Starship Troopers a dozen times in a row and then, after fondling his chin and scrutinising the grander philosophies of the universe, concluded: “You know what I think? I think: videogame.” That person is blessed Canadian Alex Vostrov, of Rocket Bear Games. And the game he made is Infested Planet, which you can see visual evidence of down below.

Infested Planet is a strategy game that gives you five soldiers to fight off up to 100,000 alien nasties on a randomly generated map. That’d be like trying to bat away a Zerg rush with a rolled up copy of OK! Magazine. You can even the odds by building new tech and weapons and placing turrets. But OH NO. the aliens mutate in tandem, developing poisonous attacks or even spawning evil clones of your own soldiers. Evil clones. Every game needs them.

It’s still in development but you can pre-order to get access to the beta, if you’re an impatient so-and-so. And if you’re still not convinced that this looks very deep, have a read of Alex’s sample battle report, which details a 17 minute game on Master difficulty level. My favourite part is when he shoots the aliens.


  1. Antsy says:

    I remember trying in vain to get an actual Starship Troopers RTS game to work many years ago. Did they ever fix it?

    I’m from Buenos Aires, and I say kill ’em all! etc.

    • Arnisarus says:

      That starship troopers RTS did work, i thought it was brilliant… i was about 14 at the time or something redculous ! but still fond memories … is that wrong?!

    • Joe Duck says:

      You are not wrong, that RTS was awesome. I am a passionate hater of Mr. Heinlein’s books and of the Straship Troopers films and yet I think the RTS game was excellent.

    • mcnostril says:

      It was interesting, but I wouldn’t say awesome.
      It had a lot of elements that could have made it into a really deep, awesome game (it blew my mind when I discovered you could order your men to turn off their flashlights at night), but pretty much every mission could be completed by just moving your team in one huge blob and focusing down enemies that came too close. They tried to add some variety with different enemy types, but they were all just as likely to die from mass fire (and the few that didn’t just got a rocket to the face from far away), and you were never really in danger unless you actually tried to be tactical beyond attack moving your blob.
      Damn shame too, it had so many tactical options and variables, but in almost every mission none of those beat the “bunch up your men and slowly move forward”
      That, and it looked damned good for its time (well, I tend to be easily impressed by games that have flashlights you can turn off and where you can see the equipment on your little dudes).

      Someone needs to take another shot at that.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I’m not sure it’s allowed to hate both the books and the film (what do you mean, there’s more than one?). It’s one or the other!

    • HeavyStorm says:

      @Dances, there are at least three films. On the third, Lt Rico reappears to fight the infestation. The second one is “space horror”, a genre that I despise (unless it’s aliens. aliens is good.)

    • MrBRAD! says:

      The power armour in that game is beyond amazing, and like X-Com, all your awesome dudes have their own stats and loadouts.

      The game’s power armour jump-jets are what jump-jets in all games aspire to be.

    • amishmonster says:

      And you could rename all the squad members, which was a nice touch. I thought that game was great fun; I wonder if it’d run on modern comps.

      IMO it was a good middle ground between the books and the movie, in terms of how effective the troopers were. They weren’t cannon fodder, nor were they nuke-laden superheroes. It was a good balance.

    • Chaz says:

      If memory serves me correctly the RTS was merely OK and the FPS was pretty rubbish.

  2. Hunam says:

    Starship Troopers was so rife for a great game but for some reason both were made by some backwater devs on a shoestring budget. Why a decent dev never picked it up is baffling as the gameplay is basically done for you by the film.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    For a trailer about “outsmarting the enemy”, that looked a lot like drag-selecting the (small) mass of soldiers and clicking on the (huge) mass of aliens.

  4. Alexander Norris says:

    They should make a game based on the book. I want the proper Mobile Infantry, not the cannon fodder from the films (because big stompy robot suits are best).

    • Harlander says:

      That would be rather awesome, I suspect.

      And any loading screens would be a good place for the didactic asides on Heinlein’s political view of the time.. ;)

    • Inigo says:

      They should make a game based on the book.

      90 seconds of gameplay followed by 3 hour long cutscenes about why a military based society is so awesome and how you’re a peacenik hippy turd if you think otherwise?

      Also you should try Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy as it brings back the powered suits to an extent.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Well, the movie would have had powered armor if they could have afforded it. From what I hear, some clever fellow bought the Starship Troopers armor, and rents it out to various Hollywood movies that need some spiffy space armor look.

      Heinlein falls into that category of military enthusiast who never actually had to kill anyone, or write a letter home to the grieving families of someone who’s died under their command.

      Much better to do it with games than with real blood spilling.

    • CMaster says:

      Actually, apparently the film was already some way through production when the studio realised they had the starship troopers licence and decided to tag it on.

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’ve been having a good old play of this. Might post some impressions later. But in brief: good.

  6. 2ds says:

    I went to the launch of that starship troopers game at the GDC, they gave me an official t-shirt… I can’t quite bring myself to throw it away, pity the game sucked…

  7. Baka says:

    Best comments

    Brendan Caldwell, 2 hours ago
    “My favourite part is when he shoots the aliens.”

    58 thumbs up.

  8. frenz0rz says:

    Did anyone ever play the 2005 FPS? I remember desperately struggling to get it to work on my PC, before giving up and playing Half Life instead. In retrospect, I think I got the better deal.

    • DK says:

      Both the Starship Troopers games were quite awesome – the RTS for being a movie/book hybrid leaning more towards the book and the FPS for being a shooter that changes the standard shoot mans formula by virtue of having hundreds of enemies on screen at once. It was very much modern shooter meets Doom cranked up to eleven.

    • Spacewalk says:

      How about the mod for Duke Nukem 3D, it was pretty good and quite impressive given what was achieved given that it works on the vanilla game. Sure your assault rifle had to reload every 12 shots but that’s an engine limitation that can be overlooked.

  9. Stompywitch says:

    Looks very much like Paper Zombies, which was ace; looking forward to this one.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      That’s what I thought it looked like too.

    • AlexVostrov says:

      After I released Attack of the Paper Zombies, I felt that I could do a much better job. So yes, you could think of this as AotPZ Plus or Deluxe or Super-Awesome edition.

    • johnpeat says:

      I just tried AOTPZ for the first time and it’s fantastic – how did I miss this before???

    • Stompywitch says:

      You, sir, have just made yourself a sale.

  10. Teddy Leach says:

    I was thinking it looked like Swarm. Turns out it’s the same people.

  11. Colthor says:

    Do the evil clones have goatees? If they don’t they’re not proper evil clones.

  12. scut says:

    If anyone wants a free taste of what this game is about, download Alex’s game ‘Attack of The Paper Zombies’. It’s the rough prototype that turned into infested planet.

    I think it’s the sort of game that’s very difficult to make a trailer for, because the game is so much more subtle than it appears. You first see it and think “oh a mass of dumb enemies marching into my guns”, but that’s the game’s clever ruse! That marching horde is like trying to plug a leaky dam; you stick your thumb into one leak, and 50 yards away another leak springs up. In very short order, those stupid hordes have got you in total disarray and you’ll be desperate just to keep your base intact, let alone resume the offence.

  13. Echo says:

    Huh. Funny how it feels completely alien to me in this age of Steam and SteamPlay to sell separate licenses for the Windows and OS X versions of the game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, it always was horrid nonsense, and used to have the non-excuse that the Mac ports were oft outsourced and entirely handled by the third party. Putting a deep crack in that mentality was one of the best things Steam has done for computer gaming.

      Quite why a dev doing both versions would try to split it like this is beyond me.

    • AlexVostrov says:

      I agree, actually. I’m trying to figure out with the guys who take the credit cards if I can give people both versions of the game at the same time automatically.

      Meanwhile, if you drop me an email asking for the other platform after preordering, I’ll be happy to send you a download link.

  14. pupsikaso says:

    Ugh. Another TD derivative… but this time with turrets that move in the form of soldiers…
    Not even gonna try this.

    • johnpeat says:

      Using your shit logic, CoD, Battlefield, Halo etc. are TD derivatives where the towers move and you look out of them in first-person…

      Elite was Tower Defence with trading…

      Jew Set Willy – single-unit tower defence with no weapons…

      I don’t get why people post stuff like that – do you think they patrol the Internet looking for things they can tell people they’re not interested in – based on their own totally and utterly skewed view of the world??

    • Tei says:

      Pupsikaso can be right in that this game is looseely based on TD gameplay. I love TD games and I am excited by that.

    • Daiv says:

      Minecraft is all about placing cubic turrets. Without guns.

    • Grape says:

      The game does not have much in common with TD, at all. Which is why it’s not shit.

    • AlexVostrov says:

      Hi pupsikaso, I’ll make you an offer. If you play the game and then decide that you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back and you get to keep the game.

      I can see why you might get the impression that it’s related to TD, but it really isn’t. maybe I should rename it to “Not Tower Defense Planet”.

    • johnpeat says:

      I love my own typo – Jew Set Willy, the same game but with more angst and a box on his head? :)

    • Scandalon says:

      That’s it! It looks very similar to that other TD clone…Crafting of the Stars or SpaceCraft 2 or something like that.

  15. shoptroll says:

    Oh goodness. Warning Forever merged with an squad based RTS on a dynamically generated map?

    This looks like digital crack for me. Take my money. Please.

  16. MiniMatt says:

    Claim to fame time – I was a GM on GameStorm’s service back in the 90s (when it were all fields round ‘ere), specifically looking after their Starship Troopers Online game. It was ace, you could lob asteroids at the humans and everything :o)

  17. Carra says:

    Starship Troopers. One of the most underrated movies ever made.

    I love that movie.

    • DK says:

      It was yet another case of critics simply not getting the movie at all. They thought it was a serious pro-war movie when it’s the best silly anti-war movie ever made.

    • Fumarole says:

      I must be a critic as well. I just didn’t like anything about that movie. Except Dina Meyer of course.

    • amishmonster says:

      Once you realize how incredibly tongue-in-cheek the movie is, I think it becomes quite brilliant.

      Would you like to know more?

  18. amishmonster says:

    If the preorder price is too high for some people, there’s a SUPER SECRET discount code cunningly hidden on the blog that knocks and extra $2 off. I hope the dev doesn’t mind my pointing that out here.

    In any case, I’m sufficiently intrigued.

    • amishmonster says:

      Though at present, Paypal seems to be having trouble processing the order. I hope it’s a good problem, like being crushed by RPS preorders.

      EDIT: Might have just been on my end; cancelling and re-processing worked.

  19. Kalil says:

    Been trying to find some indications as to the system requirements but to no avail, anyone else had luck? Specifically can it be played on a netbook’s graphics card and Atom N280 processor?

  20. Keilnoth says:

    Bought this game after I read this blog post and I must say it is good, very good. I played almost 2 hours just trying to find out how to manage my marines the best way.

    Some tactic are very logical, use a sniper to kill those nasty long range spore, use shotgun to reduce the alien mass and hire a medic so you will survive for a long time.

    But then appear the IA and the evolutions, land mines every where, they pass around your turrets to finally reach your bases and you spend your evening taking them back. You earn points to make some research, then you buy new weapons and defense and start towing crates to get more cash so you can get more weapons and more defense.

    For now, it’s been a lot of fun and for 11€, that’s good enough. I will play a few more hours…