Update: E-Line have announced that the beta might not be quite as open as first announced. To quote:
“While the team will strive to provide access to as many users as possible on a first-come-first-served basis, upon further inspection it was decided that, given enough demand, it may be necessary to limit the number of users in the initial testing period for technical purposes”
As accessible as Unity and Unreal are nowadays, there’s still a degree of technical know-how involved in assembling even a basic 3D game. The Endless Mission, from the creators of Never Alone, might just provide a boost for those looking to paddle around at the shallow end of 3D game development before diving into its boundless depths. Looking a bit like a more fleshed out take on Microsoft’s ill-fated Project Spark, it allows players to build, combine and modify basic 3D games, and is opening its doors to the public in an open beta sometime this September.
While The Endless Mission’s tools look flexible enough to bend outside of those bounds, the open beta will provide users with basic 3D platformer, RTS and racing templates, with more due at and beyond launch. You’re free to mash them together as you see fit, as you can see above, with their generic platforming protagonist on the run from a swarm of little pixel strategy units. It’s nothing that we’ve not seen before in the likes of Project Spark, but the combination of a solid-looking PC interface and (hopefully) better sharing tools gives me somewhat higher hopes for this one.
As an amusing showcase of The Endless Mission’s creation tools, they’ll be demoing it at PAX West at the end of the month. Between successive groups of con-goers (with some help from the developers) they’ll assemble a showcase game, piece by piece – “gamedev, meets the game of telephone”, say E-Line. Assuming incomplete games can be shared in the beta, I can see that being a potentially interesting RPS community jam idea. If the beta is properly free and open to all, I could see a chained, improvised dev jam project being a creative and fun way to spend a weekend.
While E-Line Media haven’t pinned down an exact day for the open beta beyond ‘September’, you can sign up to be notified when it does happen on their official site here. The game will fully launch into early access after that, and should be properly finished by 2019.