DevLog Watch: Gastropoda, Gangster Tactics, M.I.N.T.

Rainweather makes the header images, too.

Mr. Rainweather is not amused. The stacks of letters I receive from developers have begun to overflow from every surface in RPS’ office, and Rainweather, the office temp, has done nothing but stack and alphabetise since he got here a fortnight ago. He tells me that each missive is brimming with enthusiastic detail about unknown videogames, but I don’t have time to read them in full myself. Instead I have the mewling Rainweather hand me three at random and write about whatever games they contain.

Snails! Gangsters! Mechs!


Sometimes while I’m working on it, it hits me that I’m […] implementing snail arousal timers and jotting down ideas for the steroid system, next to a terrarium of real life snails (which I’m keeping for scientific game-research purposes…). Then it becomes kind of hilarious to me, too. In a sad “I’ve just realized I’m a total weirdo” kind of way.

I don’t think the developer of Gastropoda is a weirdo. The tagline for Liza Shulyayeva’s snail breeding and racing game is, “When you play the game of snails, you win, or you die.” How could anyone resist?

The planned game itself sounds like a cross between Quadriga and Darwin Hill, in which you catch randomly generated wild snails, care for them in jars, help them through disease, and race them before old age claims them. There’s already a browser-based playable prototype over here made in a single month, but this long explanation of the game’s breeding system should be all the convincing you need. You can follow the game’s development on that blog or, of course, on TIGSource.

Gangster Tactics: Pile Them In

Even someone as guileless and dimwitted as I looks at an in-development game through a lense skepticim. So Gangster Tactics initially caused concern; because it’s called Gangster Tactics: Pile Them In, and because its devlog page begins with a yada-yada story.

But then, this screenshot.

“A dangerous person who drinks a lot and thinks only of beating other people.” A field labelled “Stereotype”.

Gangster Tactics is an isometric turn-based RPG, partly inspired by Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (which sort of explains the name). Your party is a gang, your battles are barroom brawls, and your strategic map is a city waiting to be brought under your control.

Don’t be fooled by the cutesy sprite art. There’s evidence to suggest that the game’s depiction of gangs and inner city fighting won’t shy away from grimy subject matter. I hope it does it justice. The devlog is currently four pages long and full of detail.

Update: As people in the comments have pointed out, there’s worse in Gangster Tactics than I initially realised. I’m going to leave the game here, as I still think there is potential and DevLog is about seeing games when they are rough and unfinished. But I hope the devs are smart enough to reconsider some of their work.


It’s a week for turn-based tactics. M.I.N.T., which I will never again write with the dots, stands for Mecha, Infantry, and Tactics. It’s been in public development since January 2013, but I’ve only just found it.

That’s a shame, because its thirty-page devlog contains more than just these delightful animated robots. There’s also video to show off its user interface design and a near weekly official blog.

Most of the games I link here are being made in Unity, Game Maker or maybe Construct 2. MINT is different in that it’s being built on the developer’s own C/C++ framework, which means the development blog is as much about building rendering frameworks and animation support as it is system design. I suspect that’s made development a longer process than it would have been, but it also makes the devlog more interesting.

Mainly though, I’m in it for these orange robots.

In briefs

  • Ultima Ratio Regum’s is a procedurally-generated 4X roguelike, and its development is huge and unstoppable. You might enjoy this first look at city districts, or these generated key designs.
  • Tom Francis’ grapple-swinging arcade game Floating Point began as a Ludum Dare entry but has grown into something more. He’s made a three-part video series about the design decisions he made along the way.
  • Citybound’s latest weekly video update shows for the first time: i) the game’s expanding road system and ii) the game’s author.
  • Office Management 101 has launched a new website, and continues to update its TIGSource thread with new screenshots and animation cycles.
  • IRKALLA has updated with a bunch more GIFs since we last covered it, showing off its beautiful, side-scrolling mech art.
  • From the archive

    EA’s bright and shiny new corporate trademark is “Challenge Everything.” Where this applies is not exactly clear. Churning out one licensed football game after another doesn’t sound like challenging much of anything to me; it sounds like a money farm. To any EA executive that happens to read this, I have a good challenge for you: how about safe and sane labor practices for the people on whose backs you walk for your millions?

    It’s been ten years since EA Spouse. Has anything changed in the time since? It doesn’t look like it to me, as an outsider. Maybe you know different.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    “The enemy will try to rape you”


    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Yeaaaah, evidently it’s being developed by adolescents.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I’d guess from the other text that the devs aren’t native English speakers, so it’s possible that they’re treading less than carefully around the various cultural minefields in the language.

        EDIT: Or, from what stonetoes says, they could just be idiots.

        • Niko says:

          Really weird. Looks like it’s being made by 4channers.

          • bc672 says:

            My thoughts exactly. On top of all the rape jokes, the dialogue writing (from the devlog posts, at least) is iffy, about the level of a 13-year old Internet troll. I don’t know if this is a “stylistic decision” or what, but its a massive turn-off for me. Which is sad, since I usually love games like this. Plus, I could see the “every menu/dialogue/choice has a joke attached to it” thing to get annoying quickly, from what’s already been shown from the “humor” thus far. But maybe that’s just me.

            Also, in other worlds, hello all! Name’s Brent, long-time reader, first-time poster. You’ll probably grow to hate me soon enough. :P

      • actsub says:

        Written by adolescents, responded to on RPS by adolescents

        • The Random One says:

          so really tired of these teenagers sitting on my lawn and finding rape disgusting, grow uuuup

          • actsub says:

            Nah, more like people screeching at every mention of the word

    • stonetoes says:

      Actual dialogue from one of the gifs:

      Cop: “Don’t do this, please!”
      Hobo: “Sorry, I kinda gay so…”
      *start with his ass*
      Cop: “No, my asshole is virgin!”

      source: link to

      Seriously, the devs seem like idiots. They even throw in a little “trigger warning: rape” underneath to mock the idea of trigger warnings. Yeesh.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeesh indeed. Kinda unsure why RPS chose to give this a spotlight, unless from the cursory glance at it they decided that it had a veneer of seriousness under the cartoony racism, etc.

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          Bluerps says:

          I think Mr Smith just didn’t look that closely at the dev blog.

    • JFS says:

      OK this is really sick. The idea itself seems good, if a liitle too close to stuff like Hooligans: Storm over Europe, but the abovementioned stuff sucks big time.

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    Gangster Tactics animgif looks like Riverdance.

  3. Frank says:

    “It’s a week for turn-based tactics.” — yay, thanks guy

  4. JFS says:

    This is my favourite column on RPS!

  5. Wowbagger says:

    So it’s actually MIT and they don’t understand acronyms.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      M.In.T would I guess also be acceptable? It looks kind of silly though…
      Moving on to actually discussing the game, is anybody else getting a huge splash of Front Mission nostalgia from that art style? Please, please say it’s not just me.

      • SillyWizard says:

        A Front Mission with infantry units would be very welcome.

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        Bluerps says:

        “This looks a bit like Front Mission” was pretty much my first thought when I saw the screenshots.

    • aldo_14 says:

      Maybe they’re worried about getting sued by large educational institutions.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Mecha, Infantry, ‘N’ Tactics?

      Or they could add a “Yo” on the end and make it MINTY.

    • SillyWizard says:

      I would much rather play something called MIT than MINT.

  6. Shuck says:

    “It’s been ten years since EA Spouse. Has anything changed in the time since?”
    Sure, they’ve replaced many of the “employees” with “contractors,” from what coworkers who’ve been at EA tell me. So now they don’t force people to work 7 days a week, etc. – they just strongly suggest that if you don’t, you won’t get your contract renewed. And of course, they don’t have to pay contract workers benefits, nor do they have to schedule things so that the workers have consistent work – they just don’t pay them for the month or two after one project ends and another one ramps up. The Aristocra- I mean, the games industry! Sigh.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Indeed. A roommate of mine was dealing with this for a good long while. They strung him along for several years suggesting that they’d hire him “the next time your contract runs out.”

      He finally stopped going back. Good for him.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, Charles Stross suggested that one issue with a culture of contract workers is that if you show your workers no loyalty, they won’t see any reason to show you loyalty. Hence the Edward Snowden shit, because if the NSA doesn’t give a crap about its workers, its workers probably don’t have any real reason to take the NSA too seriously either.

        • The Random One says:

          That’s the sole possible outcome of treating people as resources (human resources, if you will).

        • Shuck says:

          In the game industry, it seems like it’s pretty standard for employees to be far more loyal than management is to them, whether it’s contract workers or employees. That EA is being upfront by hiring people as contract workers just feels more honest, actually. For example, I know quite a few people who worked at companies that completely ran out of money but didn’t tell their employees, presumably because they hoped to get more funding and didn’t want interruptions in development caused by people leaving, but also so they could get as much work out of people before they left if the money didn’t arrive. So employees would find they hadn’t received their paychecks, ask what was going on and be told it was just a temporary snag and that they’d get it soon, and only after hearing from other sources that the company was in financial difficulty did the employees realize they weren’t going to get paid. (At which point they were owed a substantial amount of money.) And people would stick around, even after being lied to – one company had people working for four or five months without pay. Even more common is promising bonuses and time off after a game ships (and getting employees to agree to lower wages and no time off before that), while intending to have mass layoffs after the game is done, thus making the promises complete lies. Knowing that your employment is going to end with the end of the project is, in that way, an improvement, sadly. The industry has always had an attitude that people should be lucky to work in it, so it becomes easy to justify any treatment of employees.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, I suppose there are plenty of people whose dream it is to work in games, so companies know that a sucker is born every minute and for every person who gets fed up and leaves, there’s a hundred graduates waiting to replace them. Same with journalism, etc.

      • Shuck says:

        Yeah, I don’t know anyone who has worked at EA and wanted to return, but some of my coworkers have when studios collapse and they need a job, quick. EA, being big, has a lot of positions. I’ve also heard that in some corners of the industry, they consider ex-EA employees “damaged goods” for some reason, and are reluctant to hire them. Which is just adding insult to injury.

  7. zeekthegeek says:

    I spent some time at EA Canada a few years ago and it wasn’t remotely like EA Spouse said. But maybe that’s a Canada thing? Our employee protections are MUCH stronger than the US at any rate.

  8. fgadgdfg says:

    If only it was Sunday I could get the papers, get the papers.