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development (part 1 of 6)

Here 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 time.

There 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.

[October 2002] 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.

[January 2003] 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.

Continue to Part 2 of 6


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