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The Sirens’ Song

Devilsong was our Dream Build Play 2011 submission. We decided to enter this contest fairly spontaneously, signing up on May 16th … less than 30 days before the June 14th submission date. I still have the email, which starts and ends like this:


No exceptions, if ands or buts … it takes 3 minutes. If you don’t do it tonight, you won’t be able to be on the team. Sorry for the rush.”

With no code written and no time to lose, we decided to do what any sane trio of coders would do – we went 3D multiplayer. We grabbed a couple friends who “do art” and Devilsong was born.

Devilsong is a throw-back of some of our favorite childhood gaming memories: Xwing vs. Tie Fighter, Wing Commander, FreeSpace and Jumpgate. It’s unfortunate, but since we’ve grown up, the space combat shooter has been sadly (and sorely) neglected. We didn’t have a lot of time, but we wanted to capture the essence of the core fun of those games – the pulse–pounding adrenaline rush as your squad and your opponents twisted through turns and spirals, cutting engines and firing missiles, hoping to out–manuever each other through gunfire and asteroids. We had great talks about a bigger game, one involving fleet actions, squad tactics and more dynamic mulitplayer … but for the contest we had to stay focused. We picked one map, an asteroid field, and two races (ship types in this case).

The lead up to DBP2011 was legend, the stories of which involve supportive significant others, long hours after work, weekends, rising significant other aggro, lots of caffeine, some sick time at work – an engagement proposal in the middle of the final weekend crunch, a new job interview delayed due to temporary burn out, bugfixing 2 hours before submission deadline and, of course, upload issues. It was an amazing experience and I don’t think anyone on the team would trade it in. What came out of it wasn’t just an incredible game, it was also a finished and published product. Actually finishing a game, getting it out there, making it to publish … is unbelievably difficult. Achieving that goal was a mental and spiritual milestone that helped propel us further and push us on to our next project: Etch.

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