How tactical combat works in All Walls Must Fall

All Walls Must Fall is a Tech-Noir Tactics game. We have a thing for classic tactics games, and we’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from classics like X-Com, Fallout and Syndicate. We’ve created a tactical gameplay system that also mixes in time travel. This is one of the key fundamentals of the game and we’re happy with how it works, so in this post, I’m going to give an introduction to this aspect of the core gameplay – but if you need a general introduction to the game, check out our Kickstarter campaign first.

Pausable Real-Time Tactical Actions

Time is at the core of All Walls Must Fall, and everything happens on the beat. However, as the game is played in pausable real-time, you the player don’t actually do things on the beat – this isn’t a rhythm game. As a tactics game, you need to choose the best course of action, and so the game is paused while you’re planning what to do. Once you select an action, the game unpauses, the action is carried out, and the game pauses again. To external observers, your agents appear to have incredible reflexes and decision making, but as time-travellers, they’re actually aware of this pausing of the clock.

Kickstarter Campaign and Closed Alpha of All Walls Must Fall

Today we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign for All Walls Must Fall!

We’ve been in full-time development on the game since April 2016, and have been running a pre-alpha for friends and family for a few months. We now think it’s time to open that up to a wider audience. A game like this needs feedback from the community to really become something special. That’s why we’ve decided to start a closed alpha, exclusively for Kickstarter backers, that will begin in May this year if we reach our funding goal.

We’ve spoken to a few publishers to help get the game to the finish line, but none of these talks went anywhere. Most publishers think of the game as too niche, too hardcore, too complex, too old school, or too political to make the kind of profit they expect. The is why we have come to Kickstarter, we are not in this for profit. We are in this to make the kind of game we believe in, the kind of game that you don’t see that often. However, it’s also the kind of game that could potentially resonate with a group of people looking for something a little different, in a genre that has a lot of potential for unique gameplay ideas.

The Disco Generator: Procedural Level Creation in All Walls Must Fall

Hello, I’m Isaac, the programmer at inbetweengames, and in this post I’m going to outline the algorithm we’ve developed for creating levels in our game All Walls Must Fall.

All Walls Must Fall takes place primarily in the nightclubs of Berlin. One campaign takes place over a single night in the city, and will see you visit multiple clubs to carry out your missions. Each venue is procedurally generated to be unique for each playthrough. We call the system that creates these levels the DiscoGenerator (Disco here being short for Discotheque, the venue, rather than Disco, the musical genre…).

Clubs created by the DiscoGenerator, shown in Unreal

Above you can see how a few layouts currently look in-engine. Of course, it’s still early days for our project, and this is a somewhat rough version of the algorithm. It’s very much subject to change as we continue development, but I’ve had some requests for detail regarding how it works, so here we go!

Design Goals

Guiding the design of the generator is, of course, the design of the game in general. We have to take into account both the spaces we want to create themselves, but also how we want our toolchain to work for authoring content. As a small team, we want to be able to reuse assets as much as possible while still creating spaces that feel different each time you play. As such, we have a number of high-level requirements:

Play OSHIYA! PUSH! now!

やった YATTA! We did it!
PLAY OSHIYA! PUSH! NOW

So after our entry last Jam, The Mammoth: A Cave Painting (17th overall, 6th mood), we decided this time around to go for the fun and humour categories. The Mammoth was a little bit on the sad side and we opted out of the humour category completely then. This time around we focused on the gameplay and tried to make it a light-hearted celebration of a certain aesthetic. Let us know what you think by rating OSHIYA! PUSH!

We re-used the crowd AI framework that was used to power the hunters in The Mammoth for the passengers in this game, and also pulled in a rhythm framework that we’ve created for another project. Everything else we did from scratch in the 3 days of the jam using Unreal Engine 4, with a team of 4 full-time developers plus our friend Almut Schwacke, who provided the audio. Check out this timelapse of development from Isaac Ashdown, showing c++ coding and Blueprint and UMG scripting:

We’re starting to get into open development – the NDAs of AAA are a hard habit to break, but we’re trying – The Mammoth already available as an open source project if anyone’s interested in the codebase. Feel free to pass on any development questions you have to @eyesiah or @inbetweengames!

Announcing inbetweengames

We’re proud to announce that we are going indie! Wooohoo!

inbetweengames are three former AAA developers who worked together at YAGER in Berlin on Dead Island 2. When that game got cancelled, we started thinking about what we wanted to do next. Turns out we wanted to keep making video games! So now we’re happy to announce that we’ll keep doing that as an indie team!

To celebrate, we’ve released our Ludum Dare 33 game, The Mammoth: A Cave Painting, on iOS and Android! You can play it here!

Follow us on on Twitter and Facebook to see what we’re up to.  If you’re into these kind of things you can also check out our Presskit.

Here’s who we are and also a little interview:

Isaac Ashdown
aka Disruptive Technology – 1st Horseman of Indiepocalypse
Isaac Ashdown is the best gameplay programmer you’ve never met. With over 7 years in the industry including at YAGER and Zeroscale he worked on a myriad of games including Demolition Inc. and Dead Island 2. He’s also very excited to be finally responsibile for his own failures: no more blaming it on the publisher! Even though according to credible industry source KPOPSTARZ he was ‘Deep Silver Boss’ all along!

Jan David Hassel
aka Low Barrier of Entry – 2nd Horseman of Indiepocalypse

David was raised on German medieval festivals before being adopted by YAGER for 8 years where he helped develop Spec Ops: The Line, an undisclosed project and lastly Dead Island 2 as Staff Designer. In his spare time David enjoys talking to imaginary characters and his cat while hitting people with swords and wearing silly costumes.

Developer Timelapse – The Mammoth: A Cave Painting

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Want to watch 3 days of coding in 10 minutes? Here’s a timelapse video of inbetweengames’ Isaac Ashdown writing the gameplay and UI code for The Mammoth in Unreal Engine 4:

All of the team currently work at YAGER in their day jobs, where we’ve been using UE4 for several years on a AAA project that was recently cancelled. We thought it would be interesting to see what we could pull off in the engine in just 3 days, which for us is a pretty big change of pace compared to our normal way of working. We’re really happy with how it turned out!

We created the entire game, including the concept, in the 3 days of the jam. Beforehand we did some prep for some of the systems we knew we’d need for the game we wanted to create: a custom 2D flipbook material that allows us to animate sprites similar to Paper2D while giving us the full functionality of Unreal’s material editor; controls for a top-down or “isometric”-style game; and finally a basic framework for flocking/crowd AI. This last system was pretty heavily hacked up to create the AI for the hunters and mammoth babies.