Overload So Far

One thing to realize about indie games is that the teams behind them are small and lean.  Often their primary skills are coding, and everything else gets pushed to the back burner because, hey, they’re trying to build a game.  They rarely have a dedicated PR/marketing person, and they definitely (and by definition) don’t have a publisher to do this for them.  This explains why things have been relatively quiet from many of the games we’re really looking forward to, like Overload, Quasar, and many of the titles we saw at PAX.  Thankfully, Cathy and the rest of the team at Revival Productions (the indie studio behind Overload) have been bringing monthly tidbits via their blog, and because I’m such a huge fan of the currently-only-in-playable-alpha Overload game, I’ve compiled them here!

Moving up in the world

Revival Productions Overload Office

Revival Productions has a new office!  Not bad for an indie gig, huh?  Too bad it’s in Illinois, or I’d come stalk offer to lend my marketing skillz!  I was glad to see this though because it means that hopefully productivity will go up, which means Overload launches sooner….

Along with the new office comes a new plan of attack on the development front.  It looks like they’ve set down a firm(ish) path for development, which includes ensuring weapons and other facets of the game are potentially “easier to edit” – which I hope means that they’re keeping modders in mind.  Here’s the list they posted last month, with my thoughts in italics:

  • Created and refined list of weapons and robots for final game – hopefully does not include a ‘mass driver’ like instant-hit weapon
  • Prototyped all weapons and weapon upgrades
  • Pre-loaded items and effects to improve performance and reduce stuttering
  • Switched weapons to be more data-driven, easier to edit – hoping for modders to take advantage of this!
  • Prototyped some temporary-effect powerups (invulnerability/etc)
  • Prototyped some level design elements (forcefields/etc) – cool!
  • Created prototype challenge mode level
  • Started new song “Driven” – the Descent series had epic music, here’s hoping Overload will too
  • Formally signed Allister Brimble to create music – ok the music will be awesome, he’s from D1/D2 music
  • Started on automap – Let’s hope it’s better than the D3 map 😉  Sublevel Zero did it right with this
  • Refined level editor – WTB easy-to-use, very WYSIWYG friendly
  • Worked on and refined high-level story concept – Wonder if they have the rights to ‘Material Defender’ 
  • Changed most pathfinding to use paths created on demand as opposed to using pre-computed static array – Means even spookier AI, most likely
  • Made pathfinding aware of obstructions like 3d decals and doors
  • Fixed pathfinding bug causing slowdown when it was impossible to create a path
  • Conducted environment theme studies
  • Created prototype robot sketches
  • Worked through player ship concepts to narrow down design – Although more is usually better, I  do agree with their choice of just one ship for multiplayer balance purposes
  • Implemented first-pass cockpit

May Q&A Session

Demo coming next month!

The demo, available to those who backed the kickstarter at the $90 or above level, is apparently targeted for a July release, according to Cathy’s latest June Update on the Revival site.  It seems the team has been hard at work with weapon, robot, and map concepts this month, and intend to build levels based around the bots and/or weapons that inhabit them.  I think that is a neat idea and will be interesting to see because it might lend attributes such as personality to the bots.  Speaking of bots, they also posted this nifty concept art:

Overload Bot Concept Art

That’s about all we have for now, but I’ll definitely be bringing you all plenty of content once the demo’s released.  In the meantime, if you’re not already familiar with Overload, take a look at our first look here.

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Michael Maddox is Editor-in-Chief at Fists of Heaven, and can be reached at mike [at] fistsofheaven.com

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