Confederate Express - a game about survival in the tones of the harsh retro, "written" by the masters of modern pixel art (Kickstarter Campaign)

    Kikstarter project page - ( Kickstarter link )
    Facebook project page - ( Facebook link ) Kilobite
    official website Maxim Pashanin Twitter Twitter link Trailer Link KS campaign debut Honestly, I was not going to write anything until the completion of another tutorial, because better than my talk - good, kind help, you made it clear to me (laughs). But today in the evening I saw this game on Kickstarter, and as in the case of SpinTires

    I could not resist. And it’s not at all because it is also done by our compatriots, and not even because the clip is natural as birds sing in the morning, but because it is ... fabulous. And at the same time real. This is not zakos (forgive me such formulations) under retro, it is just following precepts, respecting traditions, and at the same time an original presentation so that we once knew something that we can’t forget. I suppose we don’t want to forget.

    All mentioned before, so far my words. To add weight to them, I had to take a short interview from the developers. The more faces a stone has, the better it plays in the light. Will you take the trouble to help me unearth our find?

    It’s difficult to focus on a list of “features” or something similar, working in the gaming industry for the second decade and understanding that what has been declared can be very different from reality. Not to mention the fact that what was good on paper, in the form of a concept document or even in a demo version - may later not fit into the game concept. This is normal. Few can anticipate flaws in game mechanics at the level of paper or an early concept.

    Therefore, most often you have to rely on intuition or some kind of inner flair. Feelings of taste. Knowing of limits. After watching the debut video on Kickstarter, I leaned back in my chair and smiled with satisfaction. In a brief video review, the creators have invested exactly what they need. Emotions Mood. A bit of gameplay to the music. And also did not begin to load the observer with themselves and excessive details. This tells me only about a sense of proportion in the flow of information. And it immediately disposes to itself.

    A similar feeling appeared after watching the Legend of Iya video.. He is different. The same sincere, but more dramatic, permeated by the feelings of the developer who can not reach the desired line. You can’t get past this. And people did not pass. In the last days of that campaign, the situation was in crisis, but at a crucial moment the funds were found, and the developer, who tried to make the game for almost a dozen years, finally got his heavenly service. Do not look at smiles, look at the root. A person who bears his burden for several years, and does not go where others went, is unlikely to consider himself successful against them. But the man who did not give up is a stoic. He can smile knowing that another defeat may be waiting for him. That's the indie spirit. Go without stopping and sacrifice a lot for the sake of a dream. Do not look for easy solutions. Do not doubt it.

    It is clear that these assumptions are sucked out of the fingers by craftsmen in terms of cloning, clinging to the reins of casual and social games. This is characteristic of a number of recent online publications. I will not give examples. Otherwise, very serious uncles will begin to get angry, and the comments on the article will fill up, excuse me, but with slop. In other words, I can’t name describe what periodically happens on the so-called “sidelines of respectable developers”.

    Here ... is still to come, the campaign has just begun and so far the outbreak of massive publications has not yet covered the network. I will venture to put forward the thesis that this video is more like an impeccably played melody than anything else. This is my association. My vision of what I saw. But that is why I am here and ask you for help. Not for myself. Not for the developers. And for our world of games with you. This is what really needs our support. The Pantheon of the Golden Games, in which heavy and marked by thick-bellied kings copper interferes with breaking gold. However, all these are just my emotions. And I would not like to occupy your morning time with them.

    I was lucky to reach out to the developers and take a blitz interview from them. It seemed that it would be better both for them and for us. For us, because my enthusiasm will be fairly thinned out and in some places even washed away by a river of reliable first-hand information. For them, because maybe among you there are the same lovers of the genre and style who want to help these guys. For this interview, we were provided with exclusive content. It may not be great, but as they say? Small spool but precious.

    Note:I will quote one of the developers’ quotes verbatim, as a kind of justification for lightly polishing the further text, which I would not dare if I had not been given permission, namely, “Our Russian skill has slightly deteriorated over the years of living in states, so I apologize for the lexical errors. You can freely correct what doesn't sound right. ”

    Please introduce yourself. Names Surnames. Turnout?

    Denis: My name is Denis, I'm on the right in the video. You already know your brother - his name is Maxim, or Max, as you prefer. Oh yes ... last name. Surprise! Both Pashanin!
    (Such a reaction to the simplest question is the fault of your humble servant. By asking the names, I also tried to find out the names, I don’t know what I was thinking at that moment. I prefer to write this off to the impression of the video you watched, and not to the language that often strives to overtake brain).

    What prompted you to engage in video games, whether this choice was spontaneous or conscious and thought out in advance. When did it happen?

    Continuation of the interview
    Max: For me, this was never a question in reality, I was always sure that I would live games all my life.
    Denis (nods): I agree. But in me, most likely, there was no such passion for game design, I preferred technical aspects of development more ...
    Max: This, by the way, describes the division of labor very well. One deals with code, the other deals with art.
    Denis: ... well, or at least most of him (laughs). Max’s task is mainly animation and concept art, and I have broader responsibilities: illustrations, coding and PR.

    Where did your career begin, where did it move, and how did you end up where you are?

    Denis:Our career has always been focused on the technical aspects of development. I think most people will understand how difficult it really is to succeed as a hungry artist.
    Max: As I understand you ... (jokingly nodding to his brother). Most attempts to enter the industry ended in unsuccessful indie projects. But, despite this, an indestructible fire of passion always burned in us ... for games. Now this (thought for a moment) is the tenth attempt to throw a fireball.
    Denis: Yeah ... of course. One hundred and tenth.
    (both laughs)

    What game projects did you work on before Confederate Express?

    Denis:Most of the work was done on a contract basis, but unfortunately paranoia with the NDA does not allow us to answer the question. In the United States, is the situation with contract soldiers, um ... confusing?
    Weilard: No problem (waving). I have experience as a contractor, and I know very well what the NDA is.

    What game projects have you worked on in the "big game industry"? According to your KS profile, you have been working for over 12 years and I think that readers would be interested in your other work. (probably the day without sleep affects and I start to slow down)

    Denis: (clasps his hands to his chest and
    looks up prayerfully to the sky) Weilard: (I clasp mine in response and also roll up)

    When did you start working on this project?

    Denis:Work on this project began 2 years ago, however, the code was completely written within 4 months; art took about two to three months.
    Max: Yes, about three. Most of the time was spent on R&D style development, technical animation, etc. After we developed the system, the train rushed fast enough.

    What was the impetus for the creation of this game?

    Max: Definitely Kickstarter.
    Denis: Yes, there is no doubt about it. With the skyrocketing popularity of the indie movement, Kickstarter has become a beacon in the storm for many lost-hearted game designers. We are really very grateful to the creators of the
    Max portal . Absolutely. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

    What games inspire you, where do you get your inspiration from?

    Denis: Our main inspiration is all the classic games of the 90s era, from X-Com, EOB (Eye of the Beholder), C&C, Doom, Lands of Lore, Ultima, M&M to more modern (well, relatively modern) games like Wizardry , Baldur's Gate, Diablo ... in general there are a lot of them. But basic, yes. These.
    Max: For the current project, the main inspiration was the Jagged Alliance and FTL, which ultimately led to ConEx being a mixture of two ...
    Denis: (interrupts brother) ... types of games ... adventures and exploration in FTL style, but we have battles and team play looking back at the Jagged Alliance 2.

    Could you tell the audience of Habr, a little more about who and what is involved in this project? And who the hell is responsible for this beautiful animation?

    Max: (laughs) thanks for the compliment, I drew the animation. Denis, as mentioned earlier, is engaged in the technical side.
    Denis: Yes, but we are diligently discussing all ideas and assumptions daily, and until the result satisfies both of us, we always continue to work to eradicate the problems.
    Max:Yeah. We have a very simple philosophy on this score. If something looks bad, then it's better not to add it at all. For example, in the demo video there is no directional animation of fire, since we are still working on how it looks and will continue to work until we are completely satisfied with the result. Then you will see her.

    Do you plan to support Russian in the game?

    Max: Absolutely, absolutely and precisely. But, unfortunately, we plan to leave the dubbing original. I think that it is much easier to do this through services in the CIS like Buki or 1C ... They still exist, right?
    (I didn’t notice the shadow of a smile, but be prepared to bet that it was a joke. I think that if I were in their place I would have designed it that way. But I’m afraid that we won’t recognize it. Even if I recall this phrase, it’s unlikely whether they remember her exactly. And the affairs of the brothers are now higher than the roof).

    I understand that the question is more than premature, but ... what are your plans for the future? What do you plan to do after Confederate Express?

    Denis: There are 3 large projects in the plans, all in increasing order of complexity. We plan to gain experience before doing something big.
    Weilard: Sounds reasonable.
    Max: Our ultimate goal is an improved version of Fallout 2, with a pixelart graphic style.
    Weilard: (in this place my eyes begin to bulge)
    Denis: Yes, yes. This is not a joke or madness (laughs). We will try to implement the technical side at a high level, and we hope that the experience of releasing previous projects will help us in this. Plus, the engine that we are demonstrating will be much more advanced than now ... well, at least I hope so.

    I already spent a lot of your time. To conclude this blitz interview. Maybe you want to add something to the audience of the largest IT resource in Russia (and this is not advertising, God forbid), just a statement of the fact that thousands of IT people and gamers of all stripes and calibers will hear you today (this morning)?

    Denis:We are wary of promises of any type, but we will do our best to achieve a peak in the development of classic games, which, unfortunately, most developers abandoned in return for quick profits.
    Max: We hope that we will finally have an audience that can share our views on how a good game should look. We really appreciate your support! Thanks for attention!

    I would not say better. And thank you so much! Good luck with this and other projects. And I hope we do not say goodbye.

    Note:I don’t know about you, but I believe these guys. And I wish you every success. Well, we will see a selection of exclusive materials (in addition to the screenshots that were provided to us for the article) that have slipped from the workbench of this duet. Call it in the manner of collectible DVDs ...

    Sample of exclusive materials so far (specifically for Habr):

    Sample of non-exclusive materials available in official order:

    Full set of images
    Screen 1
    Screen 2
    Screen 3
    Screen 4
    Screen 5

    Animated presentations

    Work Ambient Occlusion in CE

    The same "work of fire" which is not. At the time of the interview, I did not yet have the materials and therefore did not understand that it was not a system of particles moving in a certain direction, but the burning of the character (its burning).

    Dynamic on and off light.

    The movement of dynamic sources and their impact on the "pixel man"

    Not exclusive materials also available on Kickstarter

    The influence of the Jagged Alliance 2 is obvious, and this is good news. And the animations of the "spread" of characters even lead us straight to Fallout, where ... well, you remember that obscurantism there turned out after a successfully "planted" line. With this wonderful meat sound.

    Note 1: In accordance with the request to reduce traffic, all images in the article (except for the shovel) are saved in JPG format. Also, presentation GIF files were kindly provided to us by the developer.
    Note 1B: Interviews and images are under spoilers. I know that many people get tired of “spinning the wheels”, and I think that it’s easiest to decide for yourself what you want and what you don’t, and whether you want to.
    Note 2: This text is not a product advertisement, or an auxiliary PR campaign on the part of the developer. The publication was carried out as a "desperate scream of a gamer" after watching a video marking the beginning of the Kickstarter campaign.
    Note 3:If you have any questions that were not disclosed by this blitz publication, please ask them a little lower in the comments. I hope that the developers will stay with us on the "hot line" and try to answer most of them.
    Note 4: I used the phrase in the header of this blitz publication:
    It’s not a retro zealot, it’s just following precepts, respecting traditions, and at the same time an original presentation so that we know once and that we can’t forget
    and I realize that this is a serious statement. A serious complaint, which may not be supported by a sufficient number of facts and could not be voiced in relation to a project that is in an early stage of development, but nevertheless, this is what I feel when I look at each pixel for the authorship of these, no doubt, talented guys.

    Note 5: Pressure on my part does not mean pressure on the part of developers. Chat with them. They are quite open to communication. They keep it simple, and I would say - modestly. Thus, all this noise is caused solely by falling in love with this game and respect for the feelings of developers. To the feeling with which they make this game.
    Note 7:I apologize in advance for errors and inaccuracies. We are in different time zones with the guys, and in addition I'm sick. However, the material was just “hot” like Pirozhkov. Therefore, I immediately tried to deliver it to your table. I didn’t sneeze on the pie.

    Crop marks

    Note from 09.24.2013 - Time: 2:55 At the moment, there is an active communication with the developers of the game. Questions about Linux and Mac support are being clarified, the author of the soundtrack and other useful information are being found out. Tentatively tomorrow will be the first update. All additional information will go in a separate block at the end of the article. What did you find out. Details The little things.
    Note from 09.24.2013 - Time: 3:58 The section "Hot Details" has been introduced. Answers to some of your questions. News. And of course the music track that was used in the debut trailer (I already started listening to the holes) .

    In this block I want to focus on the news that was clarified just a few minutes ago. The so-called "hot details." I think that they can please many.

    1.As far as I remember, in the comments on the publication, readers were interested in the lighting technology of the game CE. It will be revealed in the next two updates. I do not know for certain in what order this will happen, but the fact that this will happen is a fact.
    2. For music lovers (to which I include myself) it will be nice to know the author of the soundtrack, which we could hear in the video. Not only to learn, but also to listen to the full song on SoundCloud - this is AdhesiveWombat - Anthem
    3. In the coming days (week) a blog will be added that it’s nice that the news will be “voiced” in our native language as well.
    4.Soon, Stretch Goal's will appear which, with good activity on the part of the players (which I personally have no doubt of) will expand the CE world and bring a lot of joy to the bakers.
    5. A new plug-in (or plug-in) will appear.
    6. There will be sweets and bonuses, CE authors are now working tirelessly on this. I, unfortunately, cannot disclose details with all desire. The fact that this will happen is enough for me. And ... you know, for a long time I just did not communicate with the developers. Without any politeness, just as if we were sitting in some coffee shop. This is a real balm for any indie.
    7. Support for other operating systems has not yet been announced, but is not denied. Therefore, all this can be resolved in the future.
    8.Starting tomorrow, by virtue of my recovery, I am returning from my bunk to my work, in which I have accumulated many unfinished business. Therefore, "support for the article" cease. Nevertheless, some important marks, and comments - I will most likely still do.

    Thank you all for your attention, for the time, and for the interest shown in the project.

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