Jam The Wind. The Shot One Project ! (Update 12/2)

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Sirio

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#1  Edited By Sirio

Hello Giant Bomb.

Back in 2014 I was sitting at my desk at a now defunct division of Sony, thinking about my future. I was disillusioned. I had spent a decade in the game industry, worked at 5 companies and unfortunately it was nothing like I expected it to be. I had worked on too many canceled games to count, and the most recent one I'd invested 2 and a half years into had just been axed. It weighed heavily on me. The pay was good, but where was the passion?

It felt like nobody was interested in making games. Everyone was just sitting there, collecting their paychecks and doing everything in their power to avoid any risk with the games we were working on. It fucked with me. However in the background I'd been paying attention to the indie scene. It was thriving and I was always inspired at the passion I saw there.

In an attempt to distract myself from these thoughts I tuned into 2014's Giant Bomb stream for GDC while working. It was a late night in March and I was working overtime. It was awesome, and it took my mind off things, until David Lang dropped a statement that stopped me dead in my tracks.

That statement stunned me for some reason. Mainly for the fact it brought back memories of a game I'd forgotten about, one I grew up playing and loved. This moment set some things in motion and planted a seed. I was overcome with a desire to prove Lang wrong.

It's nearly 2017 now. I left my job and the mainstream game industry. I started working in the workshop making items for Dota 2 and CSGO. And I put aside money from our success in that for a special project. This project has been in progress for over a year now, and we're just starting to put the pieces together. I hope to share the journey from now on in regards to that on this forum. It's not a joke this time.

Some proof of the team and what we've been up to:

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dstopia

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Wow, that's really cool! What engine are you guys working on?

By the way, do you guys have any programming task you need a hand with? I'm a programmer by trade, and I've dabbled on Unity a fair bit, but I'd love to be able to dip my toes into a real project. I know it's a long shot, and there's plenty of project like yours out there, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.

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s-a-n-JR

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#3  Edited By s-a-n-JR

That's impressive work dude! Diggin' the artstyle, I thought those 3D models were digital paintings at first.

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TobbRobb

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Can Vlad's super pierce the heavens? I need to know this before I throw my money at you.

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Monkeyman04

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YES! Where do I throw my money at!?

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climax

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Give us that training center gif! Looking good. I hope there is a decent lore behind it.

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PolyesterKyle

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You're the meaning in my life, you're the inspiration.

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hassun

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There are a few Windjammers-esque games out there now (or in development) but I'm not sure it's ever going to amount to much without having the (near) exact look, sound and feel of the original.

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Shambala

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This is some cool stuff brother. The art looks great, exactly what I would want a Windjammers 2016/17/18 to look like. You keep to your drive and I'll be a customer.

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LackingSaint

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Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb, my dude! FIGHT THE POWER!

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carpe_dmt

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#11  Edited By carpe_dmt

I appreciate your passion towards this project. the characters look great.

As I'm sure you know already, there's been a couple of windjammers esque games that have cropped up over the last couple of years. I think it was the GB community and their fervent appreciation for a largely forgotten game that got that motor working - In any case, your character designs already look head and shoulders above some of the 'competition'. All you need to do now is either A. Make windjammers play better, some how, or B. do everything in your power to make the game play exactly like a neo geo game. Because there's passion there, for Windjammers, but as we've seen, that passion is fickle. People have aimed to improve and fell flat. I have faith that it's possible to make a better windjammers, but until that day, you may want to focus on making just windjammers, like exactly. Nail that feel and you're golden.

I have no real advice, I'm sure you've said all this to yourself before - Really, good luck and good work. We're all counting on you.

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Sirio

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@dstopia said:

Wow, that's really cool! What engine are you guys working on?

By the way, do you guys have any programming task you need a hand with? I'm a programmer by trade, and I've dabbled on Unity a fair bit, but I'd love to be able to dip my toes into a real project. I know it's a long shot, and there's plenty of project like yours out there, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Hey man! We're using Unity. We spent a few months researching Unreal and Unity and found that from a long term cost and feature perspective Unity seemed like the best bet.

Really surprised you asked about programming. Could you message me here or email me (Siriobrozzi@gmail.com) ? We could definitely use some extra eyes in that regard.

@sanj said:

That's impressive work dude! Diggin' the artstyle, I thought those 3D models were digital paintings at first.

Thanks man! That's really awesome to hear. We spent a long time working on the style and I think we finally have something we're happy with.

@tobbrobb said:

Can Vlad's super pierce the heavens? I need to know this before I throw my money at you.

I think the animator has some ideas regarding Vlad's heaven piercing. I've heard this everytime I've showed somebody the Vlad design, haha.

YES! Where do I throw my money at!?

The future I guess. We're still a ways from finishing up. And we're going to do everything in our power to avoid crowdfunding due to how tainted it's become unfortunately. We're all working side jobs/volunteering to pay for this, seems to be going well so far.

@climax said:

Give us that training center gif! Looking good. I hope there is a decent lore behind it.

We're currently polishing it up and refining it. Too early to show but here's the concept I drew for it.

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You're the meaning in my life, you're the inspiration.

Thanks man. Means a lot to us. (nice Chicago ref)

@hassun said:

There are a few Windjammers-esque games out there now (or in development) but I'm not sure it's ever going to amount to much without having the (near) exact look, sound and feel of the original.

Understandable. Without the rights to the game sticking too close to the original would be dangerous for us as well. And we actually tried to acquire the rights to WJ..I'll share more on what happened there later.

@shambala said:

This is some cool stuff brother. The art looks great, exactly what I would want a Windjammers 2016/17/18 to look like. You keep to your drive and I'll be a customer.

Thanks man, we're planning on it. Close to a year and counting down so far, and we're finally starting to get stuff in engine.

Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb, my dude! FIGHT THE POWER!

Thank you for the wise words, Lord Kamina.

I appreciate your passion towards this project. the characters look great.

As I'm sure you know already, there's been a couple of windjammers esque games that have cropped up over the last couple of years. I think it was the GB community and their fervent appreciation for a largely forgotten game that got that motor working - In any case, your character designs already look head and shoulders above some of the 'competition'. All you need to do now is either A. Make windjammers play better, some how, or B. do everything in your power to make the game play exactly like a neo geo game. Because there's passion there, for Windjammers, but as we've seen, that passion is fickle. People have aimed to improve and fell flat. I have faith that it's possible to make a better windjammers, but until that day, you may want to focus on making just windjammers, like exactly. Nail that feel and you're golden.

I have no real advice, I'm sure you've said all this to yourself before - Really, good luck and good work. We're all counting on you.

Yes. I followed the multiple attempts closely but by far they all seemed to have fizzled out. I remember seeing how people were excited for that Iron Galaxy thing that turned out to be a cruel prank. The enthusiasm always left an impression on me, and to be honest little did I know I'd be working on this. We were actually planning on tackling this game later in favor of something else, but I had a falling out with some people who stole the idea for the game I had planned and restarted from zero. That sucked.

So as a result I sold the remaining team on the reboot/evolve idea..And they loved the game. I have a NeoGeo cabinet at home and we play it all the time. As for evolving from the original WJ- Yes, we have plans for that. We spent a year going over new systems and gameplay features to add to the game and differentiate it. Partially because we failed to get the rights to Windjammers, an attempt that went down just a month ago (the rights ended up at a mobile company that has no plans for it). We're still early on so these systems need to be tested to see if they're fun or not.

However we have the same idea as you, recreate the same foundation that made the original great first and build up on it. We've spent months deconstructing the the game and we are in the initial stages of replicating it. Thank you for the encouragement. We actually have some veteran game developers on board this time, myself included-And we're all treating this like a passion project (The best kind of project).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyways, whoah! Did not expect this much response. I'm honestly really happy to see this type of passion still around for a revival of this game in some form or the other.

I didn't state the name of the game earlier, but it will be known as "Shot One." We just finished finalizing the logo, and wanted to share some images.

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The inspiration for the logo came from the games I grew up playing. That era of Capcom is sorely missed. I did an early pass on the logo when we first started but well..It kind of looked awful. So I handed it off to a friend who is more of a graphic designer with some notes and she did a pass on it. The above image is somewhat of a preview of the main menu too! :o

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hassun

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@sirio said:

@hassun said:

There are a few Windjammers-esque games out there now (or in development) but I'm not sure it's ever going to amount to much without having the (near) exact look, sound and feel of the original.

Understandable. Without the rights to the game sticking too close to the original would be dangerous for us as well. And we actually tried to acquire the rights to WJ..I'll share more on what happened there later.

That I do want to hear about!

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Sirio

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@hassun:

So yeah, when we began the project we basically were looking at two routes.

One: Purchasing the rights to Windjammers from the rights holder and rebranding to WJ 2. It was more of a 'why not try' as we had no idea who had it.

Two: Evolving the game and differentiating it, creating a spiritual successor. This was also a fail safe if option 1 didn't work out.


I was put in charge of option one: With the help of some friends in Japan we went about tracking where the rights to Windjammers/Flying Power Disc ended up. When Data East went bankrupt in 2003 all their IP's went on sale to the highest bidder for pennies on the dollar. The majority of the IP's were snatched by G-Mode, but Windjammers and a few odd ended up at Paon DP, a Japanese mobile gaming company. G-Mode has since rereleased Data East collections on the Wii..All we ever saw with Windjammers was a temporary Wii virtual shop rerelease.

I had my friend Yukino track down their contact info and location. We sent them letters in Japanese and English stating our interest in the Windjammers property and had some back and forth.

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Unfortunately their response was generally cold about it. They expressed they had no plans for Windjammers, or to release the rights to it. They're probably making decent money in the mobile market and didn't have time for a negotiation. It seemed like they were doing decent in the mobile market so the rights to an old game were not a high priority for them.

On a recent stop in Japan I met up with my friends and decided to give it another shot, sending a few of them to attempt to formally meet and greet as representatives in person. Sure enough-Same response. 'We have no interest in releasing the rights and have no plans for the franchise.' This was a month and a half ago.

So we offered money, a partnership, and other means to get something going but Paon-DP has put their foot down. From the looks of it they tossed the rights into their basement and are just planning to sit on it while they focus on their mobile games.

As a result- We are proceeding with plan two; Differentiating and evolving. In good faith we tried to acquire the rights and it didn't work out. It was a setback but we were prepared for that outcome, as a result we are proceeding as follows.

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hassun

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@sirio: That's about what I assumed would be their answer.

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ArtisanBreads

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Interesting stuff. Good for you man I like what you've got here.

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Sirio

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#18  Edited By Sirio

Thank you Artisan. So a little catch up, wanted to introduce the first cast member we worked on. Shot One thematically is going to be an intergalactic tournament so there will be a wide variety of characters from a visual standpoint. It took a while to figure out the style but I opted for something really stylized at the end of the day. There was a good 6 months of rejected themes/characters but eventually we nailed one and moved on from there.

Volley is the first character. Born human but forced to become a cyborg after a traumatic event on her colony during her childhood-Volley has an upbeat spirit and appreciates her second chance at life. Highly agile, her augmentations will complement that aspect during gameplay. While I initially started work with Vlad as the prototype, we might be revisiting his design soon and cleaning things up a bit.

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The concept.

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The current in game model, after being rigged by our animator along with test poses. The modeler did a really good job translating the concept! :) He goes by Mafubash online, and is working on our character model stuff. Hopefully some of those guys will join up on Giantbomb and update the thread as well.

Volley is currently being animated, and will be part of the prototype, or vertical slice.

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katpottz

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@sirio: curious what you animate with, maya, 3ds max? (interested since I'm a 2d animator looking to get into 3d)

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andrew_helenek

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#20  Edited By andrew_helenek

@katpottz:Throwing my hat into the ring, animator here. I've been building everything inside of maya. Maya has always been my preferred tool of choice, every time I try and animate in max I find myself banging my head against the wall. I'm already well underway animating and getting her working in engine. Here is her rig, controls and bone layout.

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http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volley_rig_01.gif
http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volley_rig_01.gif
http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volley_rig_02.gif
http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volley_rig_02.gif

I don't know how technical to get here, but at the moment she's running somewhere between 120-130 bones, and my budget for characters is set around 130 per character. This should provide enough room to get some very expressive faces in the animations. I've already started getting her running around in engine so hopefully I've have something to show there soon.

I've also done a bunch of work on Volt and Kyu's rig, but there is still a lot of work left on both of those characters. Making progress slowly but surely.

Volt was the initial prototype character created for the game, so his rig and expressions are a bit rougher then Volleys. To be honest, I want to go back and rebuild his face rig and make it much stronger.

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Here is the rig, control, and bone layout for Volt, and just to note, his sunglasses have been removed in these screenshots in order to showcase his face rig potential. I'm still making a lot of adjustments to this rig so these aren't necessarily finished. I'm still playing around with the idea to create a few more controllers and cleanup any skinning issues. But it is close to what the final will look like.

http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volt_rig_01.gif
http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volt_rig_01.gif

I've got more coming, stay tuned.

http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volley_anim_01.gif
http://andrewhelenek.com/shotone/gifs/volley_anim_01.gif

How do I post gifs here?! I threw links in the captions of the images for now. That should get the job done.

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Sirio

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#21  Edited By Sirio

@katpottz Well, Andrew (the animator) signed up and tried to answer your question yesterday and got autobanned for using the word 'facial' when referring to the characters face rigs (which is hilarious). It looks like the post is back now and the admins cleared it up. Looks like he'll be sharing his progress on here too.

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katpottz

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Redhotchilimist

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That looks great! I hope you manage to capture what makes the original so cool and improve upon it, even though it's a tall order.

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Onemanarmyy

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#24  Edited By Onemanarmyy

I wish you the best of luck. This looks promising and Windjammers is an amazing game to be inspired by. I think the sense of speed is vital to come ahead of the competitors. It's totally fine to have discs coming at you that are extremely hard to return.

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Sil3n7

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Best of luck to you. Thanks for sharing.

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Sirio

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Happy Monday. :)

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Today I wanted to announce the next character we're working on. The first of the 'High power, low speed' roster. I just wrapped up the concept for Czar (Potentially just codename for now)-And we're going to start modeling it soon. Czar also plays into the idea of the 'Nemesis' system we'll have, which is basically the lore based interaction system we hope to have. Similar to Street Figther when certain characters match up, we'll have a little interaction that goes into lore-This could be expanded on if we have the ability to create a full story mode as well. Czar himself is a true 'chaos' aligned character. Mercenary for hire - sent to track down a loose end that escaped an offworld illegal colony purge. He'll be slow but pack a punch-Probably be one of the characters that can knock agility characters back with a well placed shot.

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Giving these characters life and personality is huge for us so we've spent the last two years brainstorming ideas, backstories and motivations for each. Obviously delivering all of this in a substantial matter in a story or arcade mode will be a challenge, but we know the lore will be there to give each character something unique to work off of. Coming up with all the ideas is something I took my time with, as I didn't want to rush into any concept I didn't believe in. I am hopeful we'll be able to infuse the characters with life, rather than treating them like some dull avatars. We're passionate about these guys.

As of now we have a full 8 character roster designed on paper. 3 have been modeled and rigged. Czar will be #4. We've had some setbacks on the programming side so we have continued working on art and design assets regardless of delays on that front.

That looks great! I hope you manage to capture what makes the original so cool and improve upon it, even though it's a tall order.

I agree with you on tall order but I'm confident we can make a really fun game. We're going to start with the foundation that made the original so fun and build on top rather than reinvent the wheel-So from that front we appear to be on the right track.

I wish you the best of luck. This looks promising and Windjammers is an amazing game to be inspired by. I think the sense of speed is vital to come ahead of the competitors. It's totally fine to have discs coming at you that are extremely hard to return.

I absolutely agree with you 100% on that. The game will retain the speed for sure, and there might be some unique new systems that play into disc speed and skill level as well. (Think a timing based Street Fighter III 'parry' successfully speeding the disc up on return). Still need to test this.

@sil3n7 said:

Best of luck to you. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you! Look forward to continuing to share.

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Sirio

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Pre-Thanksgiving update!

We've been busy, mainly working on getting the initial pieces together for the prototype.

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Animation systems are currently being tested as we get the first characters up and running in game. We're using Volley as the main test subject. Tests going good so far! Been working on building all the systems to recreate the same conditions as Windjammers in regards to movement, disc behavior and other attributes. As of now we just about have all the stats to set the foundation up and start tweaking.

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We've been working on refining the initial arena, ignore the scale of the disc and character, they're not final at all. The training arena will be where we train players on all the mechanics, and be able to undertake VR challenges. This'll help folks get a hang of the core mechanics and practice.

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Last but not least a little work on cleaning up the textures of Kyu, one of the more out there characters. We'll be revealing her soon, animator is currently working on her rig and some test poses. Anyways, work continues as usual. This is not a drill!

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andrew_helenek

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#28  Edited By andrew_helenek
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The rig for kyu has finally been completed. This character was one hell of a beast to assemble since when you break it down it's basically three different characters in one. I want to say this will be the most complex character we have in the works, but that is sadly not the case, ahah! I can't wait to get these guys moving around, they're certainly going to be interesting to watch in action. I believe this character will be one of the midrange statted characters similar to Biaggi, somewhat agile but packing a bit more of a punch.

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Wow, this thing's got style! Good stuff!