we present screenshots from early versions of Darwinia
in chronological order, earliest first. You should
get some idea of the progression over the years into
the final game you've hopefully enjoyed playing. And
it should also become obvious to you how we clearly
didn't have a clue what we were doing for a very long
are no spoilers in this development diary. If you
haven't yet played the game it's completely safe to
read this diary without us ruining it for you.
[September 2002] These are
the very first screenshots we have of the "FutureWar"
project, after maybe four months of (part-time) work.
At the time Chris was actually working on another
game full time for Introversion (which has yet to
be released), and Andy was working for a commercial
games company. Amazing to think that this is where
it all started. The initial creation of Darwinia was
strongly influenced by the work of the first IndieGameJam
- in which the participants created games that had
tens of thousands of troops on screen at once using
sprite technology on modern 3d cards. We thought this
was a great idea, and built this prototype. The troops
could be moved around the map by creating Officers
and setting orders...which moved every nearby troop
to the Officers target. This simple gameplay idea
survived 3 years of development and made it into the
final game - probably the only thing that did.
With no clear goals for the game design we simply
experimented with whatever came to mind. In this
case I think we were trying to emulate the classic
spectrum game Chaos. The idea was that each player
had a Wizard and could summon armies to defend himself
and to attack the other Wizards. The monsters herd
fairly convincingly and in the middle screenshot
you can see some birds which obey simle flocking
algorithms. We were just jamming really.
It's fair to say we completely lost the plot around
this time. Keep in mind this was SIX MONTHS into
the Future War project, and I still have no idea
what we were thinking. In this version you controlled
that horrible looking avatar by hovering around
the landscape (which we came up with after some
drunken playing of the spectrum classic Jetpack),
and the large group of "LaserTroops" followed
you around. These screenshots are interesting though
because they are the first time the familiar sprite
of the Darwinian appears, although they behaved
nothing like the guys in the final game. Also interesting
to note the multi-texturing from previous prototypes
has been ditched in favour of flat shaded polygons.
Quite why we took any screenshots from this version
is beyond me.
to Part 2 of 6