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System Shock is a faithful reboot of the genre defining classic from 1994 built by a team of industry veterans. 

Remember Citadel.
System Shock is a faithful reboot of the genre defining classic from 1994 built by a team of industry veterans. Remember Citadel.
21,625 backers pledged $1,350,700 to help bring this project to life.

Common Questions and Patch #1 Preview

Posted by Jason Fader (Collaborator)

Happy 4th of July!  Jason here again.  What an amazing week this has been!  Thank you all so much for your continued support.  Once again, you folks are great! :-D 

As most of you have seen, the volume of feedback we’ve been getting has been HUGE. We’ve all been reading through a lot of your questions and concerns, and we’re doing our best to keep up with all of it. In case we missed your question or comment, please go to our Reddit forums and post there if someone hasn’t already asked your question. That’s the best place for us to organize and respond to feedback right now:

Common Questions

Before getting into patch stuff, I’d like to quickly answer the biggest questions I’ve been seeing:

  • Pixelated / low-res textures - In the current demo, some textures look “pixelated” up close. This actually has nothing to do with their texture resolution. Before video cards became commonplace in the late 90s, textures did not get filtered. We’re doing the same thing to have a bit of a retro touch. In the next demo update, we’ve switched from no filtering to trilinear. Some screenshots are below in the patch preview section
  • Orchestral vs. electronic music - We’re going to have an audio update written by Jonathan, our audio engineer and composer, to go over this stuff in more detail some time this week. Until then, the short answer is that the final score will definitely be more cyberpunk than just straight orchestral. Also, the full orchestra stretch goal will not change the music style. It will make all orchestral elements crisper while maintaining the electronic pieces.
  • Story / plot changes - We won’t be deviating from the main story or plot from the original. We will be rewriting most of the text (well, when I say “we”, I actually mean my good friend, Mr. Chris Avellone). The overall story will be the same, but we might change some details/wording here and there for the sake of consistency and pacing.
  • RPG elements - We understand this is a pretty vague term and has been confusing to backers. The original System Shock was ahead of its time and introduced a lot of new elements to gaming. We want to preserve that innovation and present a game we feel modern gamers will enjoy. Our goal is to have the gameplay somewhere between System Shock 1 and System Shock 2, with sprinkles of BioShock on top (rich melee attacks and ranged weapons, vending machines, upgrades, and damage types). If there’s enough of a demand, we’ll add a “Classic Mode” to one of the stretch goals that disables all RPG stuff as an option.
  • Engine - Our pre-alpha demo is in Unity, and that is the technology the team has been using for the past several months. However, we are familiar with other engines and are open to exploring options that make sense. Changing engines during a project is a pretty big risk and not a choice to be taken lightly. At the end of the day, we will use the technology we feel is best suited to deliver the highest quality game with the resources we have.

Pre-Alpha Demo Patch #1 Preview

In a few days, we’ll have a patch out for the demo. Here are some things you can expect:

Trilinear-filtered textures

As mentioned above, the current version of the demo is using point-filtered textures. In the next patch, we’ve switched this over to trilinear to see what our backers think. Here are some before/after shots:


 Here's an album with higher-res images and more comparisons.

Grenades and items

All consumable items should be usable in the next patch. The item that looks the most interesting to use is the grenade :-D

Animated gif of grenades
Animated gif of grenades

We’ve also improved the responsiveness and feel of melee combat.

On top of that, we have lots of fixes and some performance improvements. We’re hoping to get the patch out within a few days. Once it’s out, we’ll post another update with some patch notes.

Kickstarter Launch Party

Stephen, Corey, and several other members of the team in the Portland area threw a Kickstarter Launch Party with our fans.  They had the demo on a huge projector and even had a fan drawing contest!  Here are some photos from the event.

I think that’s it for now! Let us know what you think about things. We’re always looking for feedback and want to make the best System Shock game for you folks! :-)

 - Jason

Joseph Martineau, ossi, and 123 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Greg Trone on

      I like how the textures look nice, yet have the classic pixilated feel.

    2. Grimm_Ninja on

      oh and yeah I agree with other comments the default mouse sensitivity is not pleasant at all, i put mine up to 0.6 and it felt much more fluid. might want to find out what the standard mouse dpi is, because 0.1 was unplayable slow on my mouse.

    3. Grimm_Ninja on

      I preferred the Nearest Neighbor/non-filtered. If it's divisive I hope you just put it in the menu as an option, (hopefully off by default). It actually took me awhile to notice it was pixelated, and thought it was a nice throwback, i played it on windows last week and linux this week, and actually started to ponder if what i considered to be the "nod to the original/retro stylings" was actually a bug until i read this haha :)

      I definitely think it is a nice subtle nod to the original, and also personally like the crispness it brings to the aesthetic. it looks a tad on the blurry side filtered after seeing it in all it's crisp texelated glory

    4. jorlinn on Linux on

      My vote is for the solution that 3noneTwo suggested. Such prominent jaggies have no place in a game that requires a Top-of-the-line GPU to run the demo for it.
      The Tri-linear filtering removes any texture from the walls. The only thing it improves are the diagonal lines of an antiquated texture while throwing every other detail straight into the bin...
      You need to decide if you only want to please the nostalgics or if you want to attract new gamers as well, not by lobotomising the plot and introducing DLC, but by having modern controls and and at least an option for modern textures..
      I would already be pleased if I could start fighting mobs instead of the controls. Even the enhanced version had controls that made it look as if your character was on a pivot wheel rather then on two legs, with a turning speed of an aircraft carrier plowing through treacle.

      On VR: Only after you have met every other available stretch goal please. As it is now, VR is more of a gimmick than a mainstream solution and I cannot see it gain much traction with the current state of affairs. If the barf factor is not going to be fixed, VR will remain a niche product.

    5. Missing avatar

      Eetu Kontinen on

      My vote for the point-filtered textures.

    6. Rondar | AoUA on

      @ Mirko Sainz. I agree, I think the $600 to $800 VR price tag and the lack of games and good game interface not to mention the barf factor is going to keep the majority of gamers from buying into VR. Best to make a great game and focus on the stretch goals before wasting money on a fringe project.

    7. Missing avatar

      Mirko Sainz on

      @Paul: VR is not really common. It should be the last feature to think about. First let's think about the game instead.

    8. Missing avatar

      Carlos Avila on

      Point filtering is truly effective in matching "how I remember" the game. Of course the reality is that the original looked much worse. Good nostalgia. I'm a supporter of having the option to switch between options. Point, billinear, and trillinear, it's all quite trivial to implement really, this is Unity after all.

      Not sure why is this even an issue. The real conversation is in the game mechanics. The sweet spot between the classic and modern game design will be hard to find.

    9. Missing avatar

      Andrew Porter on

      FWIW, I prefer the unfiltered textures much more to the smear of the alternative

    10. Missing avatar

      Paul on

      VR has been mentioned by the team but not in any detail. They really should seriously consider it. The people that played the original back then were probably aware of VR during the craze of the 90s. I know I was and dropped piles of cash at my local Virtuality arcade. Now, those of us that were along for the ride back then now have better incomes (hopefully) and have jumped into VR. I own both the Vive and Rift and would love to help them test VR.

      Imagine actually being aboard Citadel Station vs staring at it on a monitor at a distance. To be there among the chaos, the mutants, and... Shodan.

    11. Missing avatar

      Bansheedragon on

      @Christopher Waling.
      Have they said they actually said anything about adding VR at all?
      Its possible I missed it, but I cant remember them say anything about adding it, only backers who has talked about wanting it.

    12. Missing avatar

      Christopher Waling on

      They have yet to address whether VR will be scrapped in favour of better stretch goals or other tiers/rewards to appeal to a wider audience and thus get more backers than you otherwise would for this fairly niche title

    13. Missing avatar

      Florian Kanngiesser on

      Is there a way to buy system shock merchandize? Would be awesome to have a shirt like that :D
      Anyway great explanation, great communication.
      As it looks right now you guys are thinking about just the right things to make this a great game!

    14. Radon on

      Go name the filtering option "Retro Texture Filtering" and everythings fine.
      Anyways, as others already said the game could need HighResVersions of the textures anyways.

      BTW: Awesome explosions.

    15. Lollie on

      I dig the idea behind using point-filtering for textures, but I have concerns about the execution — The before/after shot in this post demonstrates a huge example of what I'm concerned about. The yellow/red stripes feature a lot of ugly "jaggies" and anti-aliasing artifacts in the texture itself, making the model feel as though it was textured like a single flat plane. For most players, those sorts of diagonals will make it look like a low-resolution texture, and no amount of texture filtering can hide this.

      There's an easy way to address that though: Avoid large prominent diagonals in the texture. Use straight edges on the texture wherever possible, and use the UV map to achieve diagonals instead. As long as the texture's features are straight-edged, they will *always* look clean and sharp on the model, no matter how they're mapped. Low-poly models take advantage of this all the time, and it looks great with point-filtering.

    16. Samuel Blakeslee on

      I am personally for classic mode as an option, though I think it's fair to relegate it to a stretch goal. It can take a lot of work to make one seemingly small (or obviously large) change to the game-play just simply not exist. Though, then again, considering the stretch goal is to add RPG elements, it might be a good idea to include "classic" within that same stretch goal.

      The texture filtering should be an option, too. If Unity allows, it'd be good to make it hot-swappable via. in-game settings. Too many games nowadays require restarts for stuff like that, for some reason. It might just be the new generation of games, but PC games as of recent... I used to be able to change texture, model, lighting, and shadow quality, as well as texture filtering settings, ambient occlusion, depth of field, etc, without restarting my game, and it feels choppy to restart in order to apply those changes nowadays. This obviously isn't really a point on any of the above points listed in the Kickstarter, it's kind of a tangent, but regardless the "hot-swapping" would be a plus for me.

      I'm glad to hear the orchestral music is not going to be a full replacement of the electronic vibes, but a hybridization of the two. Deus Ex: Human Revolution did this wonderfully, notably in a way this game won't be, by- if I remember correctly- carefully shaping and evolving the synths across the soundtrack to make it feel like a synthetic, synth-driven orchestra. It was breathtaking. Hopefully something similar will be achieved with this method of hybridization, except blending the orchestral and synthetic together.

      I expect that most if not all of the story will remain intact- changes being made to the script aside. I feel it's appropriate that "filler" information, while sometimes necessary for full understanding of one's situation, is not always necessary for atmosphere and immersion. Edit away! Clarify / mystify information! Make "useless filler" information "useful filler" information! Or not! I don't know, I'm not writing this. :)

      Also, assuming you guys are using Unity 5, I think the game will turn out just fine on it! Just be sure to optimize the hell out of it, just in case- which I've definitely seen talk of happening already.

    17. Missing avatar

      Eetu Röpelinen on

      I prefer the point filtered textures over the trilinear filtered textures.
      An graphics option for texture filtering would be best though, don't know how much extra art work it would be thought so that textures would look good in both filtered and non-filtered

    18. Missing avatar

      Johan on

      @Hoebelix - The stretch target $1.2M includes localization (multi-language support for French, Italian, German and Spanish). Go the the start page and scroll far down for source.

    19. Missing avatar

      Johan on

      I read about the retro look on the textures and I must say that I prefer filtering. The game itself, with all the feeling of the original game, is retro enough for me :) If I want the old school retro feeling then I play the original game that you released on steam/gog etc. (there we can talk pixels on 2560x1440 screen ;) ). IMHO, the whole point with a remake using modern technology is to get the same feeling of the game but with the current technology for audio and visuals.

    20. Missing avatar

      Hoebelix on

      What about localization into other languages?
      You didn't mention anything about that - also didn't answer my message about that yet.

    21. Missing avatar

      Luc Engelen on

      omg omg omg omg System Shock! That demo was amazing! It really bought back memories, from when I first played the original demo and was bummed out when I got to the 1st elevator and the demo ended. That was sad face time. So was this.. going to have to dig out my original CD copy right now and figure out how to get it working again.

    22. Missing avatar

      Bansheedragon on

      I'd like to add my vote to the classic mode here.
      While I don't have anything against RPG elements, I just dont think they fit with this game, so a classic mode would be great.

    23. Dracostar on

      My own input or overview of the remake is this. So far the game has stayed somewhat true to the original. Around 85%, but the visual changes to stick with more modern gamers to me makes this remake a nice juxtapose mixing modern with classic. Although yes I agree some features/mods/implants should be brought back into the game. And the music from the original to be brought back into this game I agree with also, but maybe with a modern twist and certain zest that modern style electronic maybe glitch step music has too could make for a good go between.

      I also agree that keeping the pixelated look is as very nice homage to the original game. However maybe within the games "Options" screen allow for a Trilinear option for those who want to play the game with smoothed filtered textures instead. That way it pleases both sides of the coin.

      All in all guys, I think your making really good head way. I wanna see this thing come to fruition ^_^

    24. Missing avatar

      Michael Taylor on

      I'd like to add my vote for a Classic Mode - System Shock CD version was one of the first games I bought for my 486 SX25 (which had a new-fangled CD-ROM), I've played it through a few times since, most recently last year when the Enhanced Edition was released, and there's good reasons classic games are considered so. The graphics may be primitive by modern standards but the tension and atmosphere have rarely been matched in my opinion (Alien: Isolation I think came close, provoking similar feelings, I was surprised how much it reminded me of SS).

      I'd be wary of trying to over-egg the pudding, as it were :)

      If you're going to add Classic as a stretch goal then I'd hope it'd be at the same level as the RPG stretch goal.

    25. Patrick on

      Please keep the pixelated, unfiltered textures, at least as an option. I instantly recognized them as a callback to SS1 (and other games from the era) and think it gives the game a bit of extra character. As for Unity, I was surprised how good the game looked and moved, performance could use a bit of tweaking (though my GTX 285 is starting to show it's age in general).

    26. Judicator on

      Finally some clarifications albeit a bit vague, but there's still time to elaborate further I guess.


      I'm in for Classic Mode!!!!

      Looking forward to read more on RPG Elements.

    27. Missing avatar

      Robbie on

      To me, the textures with trilinear filtering applied just kinda look like low quality textures, while without the filtering, it's clear that there's an artistic reason why the textures look the way they do.

      Either way, I'm not a fan of the 'retro' look. It's a cool idea, and it was quite striking initially, but it's also distracting; a constant reminder that I'm playing a video game.

      Everything else sounds great to me - it's clear that everyone at Nightdive is working hard. Looking forward to trying out some 'nades

    28. AKDM on

      Count me in for 'Classic mode' switch

    29. João Melo on

      Even with texture filtering the texture work still doesn't look very good. The base textures certainly could be higher res.

    30. Missing avatar

      Dietmar on

      This is not BioShock! If you really want to add RPG elements, vending machines, weapon upgrades etc, then add the "classic option" to the first strech goal, that introduces one of these things! It didn't need those options to become a classic back in 1994 and it doesn't need it now.
      If we can't opt out of those things, it would make more sense to buy the System Shock: Enhanced Edition.

      Another question about the music, especially the "the final score will definitely be more cyberpunk" part. Will it be the original score? Or something new? To be frank, I'd prefer the original there as well...

    31. Missing avatar

      Ferdinand von Schenk

      Don't let the angry purists here influence your decisions to much!
      More options are always preferable to less options.
      The plot exposition and pacing in SS1 was sometimes not perfect.
      So if you - together with Chris - just round up the edges a bit, probably add some more logs that explain everything a bit better it will be great.
      If you add some additional rooms, so the levels are more logical - even better !
      To be honest the demo level just makes little sense ... where are the toilets, why is the chamber you're awakening in shaped that way ???
      So I see definitely some room for improvement here.
      It's also fine if you add more shut doors - they'll add to the feeling of hugeness of the space station and the player's paranoia ...
      I have nothing against RPG elements, but you should have a strong vision on what you do want to achieve with it - just increase options - reduce player effectiveness for balancing reasons - to incentive players to search every inch of the game ...
      The vending machines really are a thing to think about.
      They make only sense when you plan to change the resource distribution in the game, or if for RPG leveling reasons players are more bound to use one specific weapon or to influence difficulty.
      It would be nice if you can tell us your plans in more detail.


    32. Shaun Gupta on

      @Banni Ibrahim, not all of us. It's clear Nightdive LOVES System Shock and I'm personally (as are many others I've seen posting) good with keeping an open mind to the vision the team thinks best. I'm sure I'm going to enjoy whatever they decided to do. I think considering feedback is healthy for them and the backers, but I also think they need to go with the vision of what they feel will make the best game (especially since they already released Enhanced Edition, so few people know the original like they do). I also think they have to be careful about "too many cooks" - you can't make everyone happy with something like this, but I'm pretty confident they know what they're doing and can make something most of us will enjoy immensely.

    33. Banni Ibrahim on

      Wow, not gonna lie, seeing people's reactions here kinda makes me regret backing this game if this is the mentality. There is a difference between turning System Shock into another Call of Duty... and completely and utterly refusing any and all advances in gaming design in the last 22+ years.

      At this point if people seem to be refusing any and every change, it's not even a remake, it's just a graphical update.... although some are against adding some filtering to the graphics as well.

    34. Daniel Jewell on

      @Brian Kirkpatrick Because it was an FPS, not and RPG. There were no things like levelling up, stat points or skill trees to be seen anywhere in there, the only way you "levelled" was by finding cyber upgrades in the game world, similar to something like Metroid. And the cyber upgrades didn't make you tougher they just gave you new abilities.

    35. Missing avatar

      ChrisPi on

      Don't waste time with the demo. What I have seen is enough for me completely. I'm very glad about that. Greets from Germany!

    36. Nicky Byloo on

      I loved point-filtered textures from the beginning. It still looks amazing over-all and has that unique but retro look. Please keep that in place or at least have it as an option in the settings if you do decide to go the trilinear route.

    37. Missing avatar

      Brian Kirkpatrick on

      System Shock was an RPG, though. Why are people talking about it like it was an FPS?

    38. Missing avatar

      Reupel on

      Frankly speaking the RPG-part makes me want to back out. To me it seems the defs don't understand why system shock 1 is so good / a classic. System Shock 2 and Bioshock are also great games, but they have different design philosophies. If you want to change/enhance shock 1 you should rather look into what made it great and expand on that: an open simulated world, freeform gameplay, item-based advancement with real tangible impact on gameplay. For some reason you seem to think that system shock 1's design is antiquated and modern gamers cannot cope with it but in truth I think that shock's 1 design is pretty timeless and especially today with the rise of open world survival experiences gamers are actually more than ready for it.

      Also adding a "classic-mode" will not do it. You cannot put two completely different games into one and just press a button to switch between those two - a game has to be designed from ground up in a certain way.

    39. Sirio Martini on

      Wait, let's talk for a minute whether a "cyberpunk score" should or shouldn't have orchestra, because one of the most iconic post-cyberpunk soundtracks, Ghost in the Shell, mostly consists of orchestral music.

    40. Missing avatar

      Magmarock on

      I think the filtering is a good option for uses. I didn't mind the point sample filtering. I thought it looked pretty interesting. I do think you should have something in the options though that emphasizes what it does rather then just have Trilinear on or off. Add something that describers what point sample is and why you might want it.

    41. Missing avatar

      Connary Fagen on

      Leave the point-filtered textures in! Or leave it as a graphics option. I assumed it was intentional and I love the look.

    42. JC Denton on

      Build your own system shock! I made a poll for /r/systemshock, reposting here. Vote for what you want in the remake:

    43. Missing avatar

      Vladimir Machat on

      Please don't get any inspiration from Bioshock games, there is almost nothing good in these games and I don't really understand why people keep talking about them like if they were somehow connected to System shock. Apart being fps and having the 'shock' in name, they have nothing else in common.

    44. Jesper on

      I'm excited for the patch! :D I'm hoping the berserk effect looks fantastic in this version, haha. I could also definitely use some performance improvements, because my GPU is getting old, but I kinda want to say alien isolation has higher system reqs? And I run that maxed 60 FPS. This I run at about 20-25 FPS. :C

    45. Missing avatar

      Matt Harmon on

      "rich melee attacks and ranged weapons, vending machines, upgrades, and damage types"

      Yes,no,depending on what you're talking about, and didn't the original already have that? I guess I wouldn't mind seeing it expanded.

      Vending machines done even slightly wrong are a surefire way to break the resource economy of the game. A survival focused game's biggest strength is making you feel like you don't have enough resources to handle a situation and then forcing you to deal with it anyways. You should always barely be scraping by. Vending Machines would have broken Shock 2 if that game wasn't already a complete mess. Best to just not even try when the mechanic can, at best, not ruin the game. Upgrades could also potentially be a bad idea. Shock 2 is a great game, but in terms of systems and balancing, it's a disaster. If you're talking about weapon upgrades and more implants to mess around with and choose from that's good, if you're talking about skill points and needing level 3 Energy Weapons to use the Magpulse, that's really bad.

    46. Zangdaarr on

      I do not know if I am doing something bad, but in the demo I cannot set any option. Resolution stays at 1440p, cannot change controls assignments .... , and my HUD look really big and overlap my inventory. like if my screen was in a really small res, but still not pixelized

      I'm the only one having trouble to set the options ?

    47. Anthony Harrington on

      I would definitely opt for the trilinear-filtered textures, the on-wall text is much easier to read for one :)

      My fingers are tightly crossed for the Linux release stretchgoal in time!

      Would you also consider adding to any of the rewards (perhaps set more levels) some signed merchandise (artwork etc)? t shirts? :)

    48. Shaun Gupta on

      Great update!

      Happy with choice as far as music - I think there's plenty of room for both types. I like the pixellation for the retro look, but I'm sure I'll like the sharper textures of trilinear too, so I honestly don't think it'll make a big difference to me. Both versions look fantastic to my eyes.

      If the team is comfortable with Unity and can produce a whole game that looks as good as the demo, I'd urge you to stick with it instead of moving to another engine. IMO, that would only serve to delay things and take a ton of work/resources to do that could actually be better put into the game world itself.

      All in all, super happy with how things are going! Thanks for updating us, especially on a Holiday!

      @Christopher Wheat, XBONE definitely. They're in talks with Sony because of demand but haven't announced anything yet.

    49. Christopher Wheat on

      Might have been answered previously. But

      Will the final game be supported by Mac for the backer steelbook tier?

      Also will the game be released on any home systems such as the WiiU, PS4, XBONE, and PSVita?

    50. Missing avatar

      neSu on

      In general it is so very promising!

      But as for me, pixelated look kind of deafeats the purpose of remaking it. It's keeping me out of the story.

      I finnished SS2 in 1999/2000-ish, and again in 2005 or something around that year. At that time, I also finnished SS1 (in 1994 I was too young). And I already struggled very much with the graphics. I thought "damn, it is great, but it would be so awesome if it was done with modern graphics". Since then I'm returning frequently to Von Braun, but couldn't go back to Citadel.

      And now finally dream is coming true, SS1 is getting remade. It's my chance to go back to Citadel.

      Or so I hope. Please, don't try to make it look retro. There already is a retro one for anyone who want that. Consider making it as graphically modern and immersive as it can get, keeping it faithful to the story.

      Or empower us, players, to choose retro or not :)

      I really hope that trilinear will look better!

      Regards and respect for bringing it up!