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Josip Barisic from Gamepires talked about the team’s work on SCUM, a game that features beautiful vegetation and great survival mechanics.
Gamepires is a small game development team from Zagreb, Croatia. We exist for 8 years now and consist of 16 people with various background. Some worked on the world known title like Serious Sam, and some of us are totally new to the game development industry. Our first project (That I was not personally involved) was Gas Guzzlers Combat Carnage, Gas Guzzlers is a fast-paced car combat shooter. Something similar to Carmageddon, Twisted Metal, Flat Out etc. After that, we took the skeleton of Combat Carnage and made Gas Guzzlers Extreme, more maps, cars, weapons, modes. Also, big-time improvement in visuals, net code, physics. And also, we made 2 DLCs Full Metal Frenzy where we give you the possibility to shoot things on the main square of Croatia’s capital city Zagreb, and Full Metal Zombie where you have fun squashing hordes of zombies, and a lot more goodies.
The core idea of SCUM is to pump up the survival genre. To make it more than just „You’re hungry go eat“ or „You’re hurt, patch yourself“. Sure, those are crucial for a survival game, and we have it too. But most survivals stop at that. We want to take it as many steps further as possible. If you are hungry and eat, what happens then, depending on what food you eat, maybe if the food was rotten you get a disease. What happens then to your body, how will that influence on your character, what will you be able to do with that or maybe won’t be able? In most survival games you know how to react to each situation because most of the time the conditions are the same. In SCUM that won’t be a thing because the conditions won’t be set by the player but by the world, you play in. A plain fistfight will be different depending on if it’s sunny or rainy outside if it’s rainy and you have a lot of clothes that can get soaked and weight more they will slow you down, and maybe that 0.5 seconds that made you slower will kill you. Slowly but surely, we are building up to a dynamic world that will bring the survival genre to the next generation.
So, the basic mechanic of SCUM is its metabolism. It’s the most detailed and in-depth metabolism simulation in gaming history. With that said, from the metabolism things start to develop. We have also RPG elements of skills and attributes. There are 4 attributes: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, and Intelligence. Under each of those you have various skills, an example, under Strength you have Rifle skill, and depending on how your Strength attribute good/bad is, that will show you have far you can take your Rifle skill. Each skill has 5 levels: no skill, basic, medium, advance, and advance + to reach advance + you need a Strength level of 5. This is a short explanation of skills and how it will work. So how did we combine super realistic metabolism and this RPG system? Well, everything you do in the game will impact your character, if you eat a lot and do not exercise you will gain weight, most of it fat, you become slow but you have more calories to burn so you do need to worry too much about food. If you eat a lot of proteins and not fats and run a lot, carry heavy gear do physically demanding actions you will gain muscles and become strong, but such body needs more fuel to run or it will start to wither away. You can also eat just enough to lose weight to become agile and dexterous, but you won’t be able to carry a lot of weight or punch with a force like some big guy. SCUMs character progression is fully dynamic, yes sure you can plan out and have an idea what type of character you want, but in the long run, the character that you started with will be vastly different than the one you started with. And with that system in place, it’s impossible to have 2 same characters. And those are just a few mechanics that SCUM will have to offer.
SCUM is built on Unreal Engine 4, just to mention that we have our own in-house engine called Prana Engine, and Gas Guzzlers were made on it. But for a project of this scale it was not enough, could we make it be enough? Sure, but time is still a thing that we need to take into account. So, we decide for UE4 as we saw it most fit for SCUM.
We divide our team into two major groups. Art and programming team.
From the art division, we use Modo and Blender for 3D modeling hard surface, organic modeling is done with Zbrush. Textures were mostly taken by us and if we need to rework them a bit we use Photoshop and Substance Painter. For normals, height, roughness etc. we use Bitmap2Material or Crazy Bump. Animations are mostly made also by us through mocap and we clean them up and make game ready in MotionBuilder. For the sound category we use Wwise, and most of the flora was done by SpeedTree.
The programming team is using Visual Studio and C++ to produce game code and some modification on Unreal Engine itself. There is daily communication between those two teams and all task are reported to the internal task tracking system. One task iteration is based on length of one month.
Early access model
In our eyes, early access is a great system to build up your game with your community. Something like: by gamers for gamers (Razer don’t sue us please <3). It also gives us the ability to reward people who support us with a lower price for the game in the start, and it helps small studios in founding as your product can get to the market sooner. This is our first time working with Devolver Digital, and we can say it’s just good times with them. They see what games have potential and they reach out. In case of, SCUM they trust us 100% with the development process. I mean if you start interfering in development, in the end, it won’t be the game that you saw the potential in. AND, they are the only publisher that makes business fun and rewarding. Go team Devolver!
The plans are pretty simple, work on SCUM until it becomes what we have in mind for it. To be the best survival sim game on the market that can really say for itself that its next gen. Plans after August are also pretty simple, work towards the statement I said above. The future looks definitely challenging but also rewarding and most important, fun.