So, what is it about? As the story goes, your ship has crash-landed on an unknown desert planet. Use your MPTU (Multi-Purpose Tank Unit) to repair your vessel and defend it from attacking alien life forms. So, you have your crashed ship, your tank vehicle, a top-down view and a desert map which is going to be swarming with hostile, acid-spitting aliens in a matter of minutes.
Of course, killing monsters requires proper equipment – and while you start your fun with a simple gun and a welding torch, you’ll soon be upgrading your gear: you can have a shotgun, a machine gun, missile launcher and a “sentry dispenser” which basically lets you shift this game towards Tower Defense kind of fun. Besides of that there are some other upgrades available, like health regeneration and tank’s speed. Everything is acquired with use of a special currency – mysterious energy crystals that for some reason grow inside the aliens that attack you. Who knows… maybe it’s those crystals what makes them so angry and hostile?
It’s my first shooter game – believe it or not – I haven’t done anything with guns and bullets before. There’s a first time for everything, right? Something I felt I had to do in order to learn about games from that angle.
Results are quite interesting: I’ve learned that the hardest part of creating a game of this kind was not the engine or enemies AI, but actually balancing everything in order to make the game with a proper difficulty level – not to easy and not to hard. Because of the nature of the game, it was impossible to predict what upgrades is player going to buy and in what order… and it didn’t make things easier. Even a slight modification in enemies speed or health resulted with a chain reaction that caused the gameplay to change drastically. I knew balancing things is not easy – but to be honest I though this problem only concerns games where PvP is involved. Well, surprise, surprise.
The game was inspired by ArmorGames’ Baloon in a Wasteland – I liked the idea of repairing the “base” while being attacked by incoming waves… It adds a bit of time-management – which is a useful skill for everyone to learn :D It sounds much more challenging than just dealing with waves, because in Primal Sands enemies don’t wait till you kill their predecessors. If you are slow with your trigger finger it is possible for waves to overlap – and while there is a limit for maximum number of enemies in-game at once (200 if I remember correctly), you are going to get a constant stream of monsters to kill if you’re doing it too slow (which, again, influences the difficulty level a LOT).
To tell the truth, I’m not sure if shooter games is something that I’ll enjoy doing. Sure it was interesting… as the learning process was involved. But in the long run? I’m not sure if that’s my favorite type of games to make. Well, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to see anything like this from me in the future – I’m just saying I enjoyed making adventure/puzzle games more than this… At the same time, I wouldn’t finish making Primal Sands if I wasn’t enjoying it at all!
Closing disclaimer: I know this note is a bit late (game has been developed in April and now it’s almost June) – that’s because I had a small accident involving a bicycle, hospitals and broken arm.
But I’m getting better now! ;)