UPDATE #3: What is at the core of gameplay in Pangenic? Scientist + Equipment + Landscape = Strategy
UPDATE #2: Check out our new video on Emergent Storytelling in Pangenic.
UPDATE #1: Pangenic will be released for PC, Mac & Linux at the main funding level!
Imagine a world coated in disease. Where plants and animals are corrupted by a genetic pestilence and surge forth like a tidal wave upon the last bastion of human civilization. Pangenic charges you, a surviving member of university scientists, with curing the ills that have turned nature ravenous. Guide your team of doctors, botanists, and other scientists into randomized battles to combat the beasts and viruses therein. Take turns exchanging blows with AI in a tile based landscape. All the while, harvesting specimens to improve your biological arsenal and synthesize an effective cure.
Inspired by games like X-Com and Final Fantasy Tactics, Pangenic brings to the classic turn-based tactics genre not only a fresh new setting and premise, but an entirely new element in its emergent journal based storytelling engine. This first episode of Pangenic is the initial entry into a crafted Steampunk universe.
In Pangenic, players take control of an elite British university town besieged by an unknown disease. Cut off from the outside world, the scientists inside face what may be humanity's last stand. A virus has corrupted nature in vast swathes. Grass has grown into knife-like blades and flowers explode into pestilent showers of disease. Vile, infected beasts rage against the town gates and mutated wolves stalk with an unnatural malice.
However, the situation is not entirely hopeless – the world is in a new era of intellectual enlightenment. Enormous leaps in science are just waiting to be discovered, and the rabid mutations of the virus offer whole new avenues of research. Players must use their scientists as both researchers and soldiers in a coordinated effort to stem the plague before the world is entirely overrun.
Gameplay in Pangenic consists of attacking the plague directly in close quarters combat, managing the town to create new weaponry and equipment, and coordinating squad movement on a strategic scale. Players must achieve success in all three areas to save their town and ultimately contain the spread of the epidemic:
The Overworld Map presents players with an overarching view of the infected countryside in the form of a Victorian era map. Gauge your progress as your teams drive the virus back, or watch as it slowly overtakes the landscape.
The Townscape gives players an intimate view of the scientists' base of operations through specimen research in laboratories. Here players can manage their squads, assign new research tasks, and undertake missions.
Tactical Combat puts players right in the heart of the battle, commanding squads on a random, tile-based landscape against the infected enemies. During each battle, the game injects story events tied to your characters and decisions. This emergent storytelling is recorded in the character journals, and gives gameplay a deeply human sentiment
• Pangenic is designed to give players a deep sense of pathos for every one of their characters and their experiences. In a broad way, Pangenic seeks to strip the spreadsheets and managerial aspects of X-Com and replace them with genuine, emergent, emotional content.
• The flavor and feel of Pangenic are dark and tense, bordering on tones of survival horror. However, you as a player eventually rally enough power to become significantly more powerful than what you once feared. The spirit of Pangenic is in ovecoming insurmountable odds through ingenuity and cooperation.
• Pangenic is designed to be a semi-randomized and highly replayable experience. Emergent gameplay is a core concern, with a primary goal being to give the player a sensation of creating an individual and personal story with every game. Pangenic strives to leave an impression upon the player that they are never having their hand held through a preconceived plot.
We're proud that Pangenic is an indie game from the ground up. Your funds will give us the opportunity to devote the time and intensity to make the ultimate Victorian steampunk tactics game we envision. Without your support creating this game would simply not be possible.
We believe that our passions for sword canes, top hats, and Tesla Coils are not unique, and we want to make the right game to serve that well established audience. We feel strongly that the core concept, design, and artistic approach embody the spirit of Steampunk. We are truly excited to forge this title as a handcrafted work of art, and an addictive and one-of-a-kind strategy game.
Our Previous Work:
Robot Pinball Escape: Robot Pinball is an action platformer that places you in the shoes of Tilt, a scrappy robot stuck inside a futuristic Pinball machine. Robot Pinball was made in the University of Utah's EAE Masters program with a 10 person team over the course of two semesters (lead design: Alex Johnstone).
Catball Eats It All: After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011 the Broken Compass Team created Catball Eats It All, an iOS title featuring the art of Yis Goodwin. Released in December 2011 the game has been featured as an Apple App Store Staff Pick multiple times. (lead design: Matt Anderson)
Render @ The Leonardo: Working with the Leonardo since 2010, The Dada Factory designed and developed the concept and components of the Render exhibit. Render puts classic and cutting edge digital animation technology in the hands of every-day visitors. From original Zoetropes, Stop Motion Animation, to a Motion Capture Stage (powered by Organic Motion), visitors can get creative and leave Render with a short animated film.
The Deep: The Deep follows the thoughts of a solitary character in the heart of a future dystopia. As he journeys deep underground he tends to the machines that fuel the city on the surface. His jobs are precise, almost compulsive, and he is unable to stop, even though his actions may be meaningless.
Produced by The Dada Factory, The Deep premiered in the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.
Risks and challenges
THE RISK: Right now Pangenic is a game on paper. We're at the end of the pre-production phase, ready to move full steam into production. The production process is the bulk of the work, it's where the game is built, so we have a long road ahead of us. We're committed to keeping the team small and the timeline short (just over a year is a very short time to develop an indie game with a small team). We've built games before (both shipped and shelved) and we know what it takes to make one from start to finish. This game wouldn't be a job for us, it would be our passion night and day for the next year. There's always the chance that the project could fail miserably, but we love the idea of keeping our backers engaged in the development process with updates, polls and prototypes, so if we veer off course, you can keep us on track. If you want to be a part of that journey, now is the time support this project.
Alex Johnstone: Design & Art
My background is in Film, Art and Game Design. My day job is developing exhibits for The Leonardo a new museum in downtown Salt Lake City. I recently graduated from the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering Masters program. During the program I was Design Lead on a 3D action platforming title Robot Pinball Escape. Recently the game has been featured on indiegameblog, and in the September 2012 issue of PC Gamer.
Matthew Anderson: Design & Programming
I’ve been developing titles over the last 10 years. My most recent iOS game, Catball Eats It All has been featured as an Apple App Store Staff Pick several times. I'm a recent graduate of the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering Masters program, and was named one of the IGDA scholars of 2012.
We're building our next video update now to explore the coolest gameplay features of Pangenic. In the mean time, chew on this:
Pangenic puts you in the predicament of being of inferior power, but with superior strategy. Your scientists alone are no match for the viscous infected virus mutated creatures. Through research you'll unlock advanced steampunk equipment that brings firepower to your side of the battle. But this alone isn't enough to secure your victory. While the virus may make an animal un-naturally powerful, it fills them with a blind destructive purpose. Your superiority will be secured only if you use your intellect as a tool to defeat the enemy.
The core of the in-battle gameplay revolves around the strategic use of distinct weapons in the right situations: balancing long range & close combat tactics, laying traps, and using terrain to your advantage.
We actually have a fantastic animation pipeline set up with free use of a motion capture stage! But unfortunately just the sheer work of animation adds about 30k to our production budget, so we went in favor of cutting it for the Kickstarter. If by some twist of awesome fate we make our funding level, we'll likely add animation as a stretch goal.
ADA LOVELACE: All Previous Rewards + Become a Pangenic Science Advisor: Cast your vote on design decisions, give us feedback in first-round beta testing and enter to have a Pangenic scientist named after you!
LOUIS PASTEUR: All Previous Rewards + Original late-Victorian or Edwardian novel (featured in the background of the video) with personally inscribed Thank You note (please add $15 for international shipping).
CHARLES DARWIN: All Previous Rewards + A hand-inked portrait of you, or person of your choosing, rendered in the style of the Pangenic scientists. Printed on canvas and mounted in a vintage wooden frame (please add $25 for international shipping).