Escape To Earth - Alpha.



Escape To Earth. - Alpha build.



In the year 2245, shortly after the Helium-3 extraction plan on the surface of the Moon begins to suffer a huge downturn in profitability, the Earth Federation signs an order allowing the declining lunar extraction plant to be converted into a prison.

Thirty years later the prison holds eighteen thousand of Earths most violent and notorious prisoners in an entirely automated prison. An army of robots guard the prisoners, maintain and clean the facility and control the Stellar Station on the Moon.

The year is now 2287 and no prisoners have arrived from Earth for three years, with no ships leaving the Moon to return to Earth for nearly two months. Without the annual diagnostic check performed by human engineers a small amount of robots are displaying signs of malfunction.

In spite of the problems caused by the loss of contact with Earth, the robots continue to fulfill their duties in spite of the growing unrest and tension among the prisoners.

In Escape to Earth the player controls a small robot damaged during a prison riot. This robot has dreams of going to Earth, and ignores his programming to find a way to the Stellar Station and leave the moon.

The gameplay consists of the player moving through various areas of the moon base, solving puzzles and overcoming the guards to escape. The player can visit terminals throughout the base to change the loadout of their equipment, upgrades and skills to allow them to solve various puzzles.

If the player wants to climb a ladder, they need to equip the robot with arms and legs, to be able to climb the ladder effectively. If the player wants to go the wrong way along a conveyor belt, they need to fit caterpillar tracks which allow them to move fast enough. If the player needs to climb a wall they need to fit spider legs. If they need to open a green door they need to fit the green key card, and so on.

Features coded in so far;

  • basic robotic upgrades and skills. Fit robotic spider legs, caterpillar tracks or biped legs.

  • Different Keycards and doors.

  • A pistol. (more weapons to come, although this isn't ever going to be Bullet Slug)

  • Hack Terminal abilities,

  • lighting system, that includes the player needing to fit a torch to see in certain areas.

Features will include;

  • Full main quest across 7 areas of the moon base, including hydroponics, med labs, mines and refinery in addition to the Prison Block and Robotic factory.

  • Traverse the surface of the moon.

  • Secondary quests.

  • Many More upgrades, including organic and synthetic-human like upgrades. Jumping, running and climbing are all advanced upgrades as far as a robot is concerned and can be found later in the game.

  • I'm toying with the idea of a crafting system but it seems like a time-sink put in for the sake of it. I haven't figured out the mechanics of it yet and have yet to find a game where crafting doesn't feel like a pain in the neck.

  • I'm going to stuff in as many references to Robots in film, literature and books as I can without getting told off by official lawyer-type people.

Feedback please!

Mostly, I need feedback on the art-style as I'm pretty certain it'll be Art Deco throughout, with the style being more figurative than literal. I want something completely different from the gritty, steampunk you might expect from this kind of genre.

The player finds a new green keycard. {Click for large image}
The Player accesses a terminal to change their loadout, probably fitting biped legs to climb the ladder.{Click for large image}

Basic (Low Quality) gameplay video.

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There's stuff I can tell you right away from looking at the video though. (will try the game later don't worry)

- Seems generally slow, like Robocop slow. Maybe its the intended style??
- Its like there's no way to avoid those shots robots are firing at you. This ends up being what we call "cheap hits". That's no fun, you should find a way for the player to be able to avoid threat.


Yeah it's pretty slow now, but when the player gets the human balance upgrade they'll be able to run and jump and crouch - speeding things up. At the moment I decided to make it slower to show the limitations of the robot. Once I've finished a bit of polish on the little demo, I'll put the link up.

The "Cheap hits" is a fair point, and there's a Shield upgrade the player gets at a later stage, which will allow the player to press RMB and the shield forms around the player for 0.3 of a second, allowing the player to avoid the hits - with a 0.3 second recharge between uses of the shield. I'll just move the shield upgrade earlier in the game to allow the player to mitigate some damage.


if I compile a .exe can I just host the .exe file somewhere? I'd rather not put up an installer.


So in the last fortnight I've been working on some of the more boring stuff, adding in different save points as well as the autosave feature, and putting together the beginnings of a working main menu screen. For now, I've got the Sun and Earth appearing across the sky depending upon what time it is (local time) although they don't actually move. If you open the game at 1pm, they'll be in a different place than 7pm.

I'm also beginning to tackle the localisation, especially before I start putting in hundreds of strings for the speech and tutorials – I really don't want to have to go through and re-do hundreds of lines, so I'm going to have to tackle that next I think. No fun with nothing *cool* to show for all the work. :(

Finally, I'm getting to the point in the game where the player has gained all of the basic upgrades to their robot through the tutorial levels, and can begin putting together more puzzling rooms with a wider selection of enemies.

Digging through some of the documentation I've got my head around how timelines work, but I'm puzzling out how to get the objects to interact with the timelines effectively. I think I'm going to use Finite State Machines to control the AI, triggering the different states via the code in the timelines, but I'm finding it a bit of a pain.

I've also been pondering cutscenes. Although it is nice and sometimes necessary to use a cutscene to tell a part of the story, there are millions of players who have skipped through every cutscene ever, including thousands of lines of dialogue. I think players should be told the story through gameplay, and that almost everything that is show in a cutscene could be shown through gameplay.

Do people watch cutscenes? Would they be missed if they were removed?


Next update, I've reworked the combat mechanics and added the shield upgrade earlier in the game. When the player presses the RMB the shield is active and they can do nothing else, which works fine - but I'd like to add a limit to how many times the shield can be hit before it fails as currently, the player can just hold the shield button down and then flick it on and off to shoot with impunity at the enemies.

As someone mentioned Robocop, I've also redone some of the graphics and animations of the enemy basic security robot, so it spins the gun around it's finger while idling or reloading. The enemy also reacts a bit quicker and shoots faster to offer some more challenge.

Later on there are shielded enemies too, which the player must outsmart to progress rather than simply destroy. I'm coding a method of planting a virus into the enemy robots, causing them to overheat - this upgrade will be in stead of the gun, so you can either have the gun equipped, or the virus.

I'm also working on the basics of a quest system, where the player can select an objective from a list to have a secondary arrow point them in the right direction. This will hopefully allow me to add some quest-givers into the game allowing the player to persue secondary quests rather than just plugging away at the main objective. Although the main objective will always be displayed and will be a simple progression from one objective to the next until the player completes the game, the secondary objective can be changed so the player can target the goals they choose. I'd rather not have simple NPC quest givers (although there will be some of these once the player starts encountering humans) but also the opportunity to fix robots, deliver items etc.

As a personal note, animation makes so so angry sometimes I feel like punching a hole in the side of a mountain.

Here's the vid.