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Finally, four years after beginning this massive project, Alien Arena: Warriors Of Mars has reached Beta stage!  We will be releasing it via our website very shortly, and are requesting as much feedback as possible in order to make this the very best game it can be.  The amount of work put into this game since December, 2013 is astounding.  Forget what you knew about the game, everything is updated..I mean everything.

I believe that we have created a really fun arena FPS game, that plays fast and smooth, has unique and interesting nuances, and is visually/aurally immersive.  There are many things about this game that I hope hit the mark for both competitive and casual gamers, and there are a variety of reasons I strongly believe that Alien Arena: Warriors Of Mars can be a successful game:

SIMPLICITY

There is nothing terribly complex about Alien Arena fundamentally.  It’s your classic arena FPS game, without loadouts, forced matchmaking, waiting in queues, or any of the annoying things that seem to alienate(no pun intended) the hard-core aFPS player.  Ammo is basic, armor is fairly simple to understand, weapons are easily recognizable generation3_46and useful, and you won’t spend half of your energy trying to learn complex map layouts.  The game possesses much of Q3’s sensibility, while adding a few nuances that are unique and fun.  Joining matches is as simple as clicking on the server you want to join – there IS matchmaking – but it only advises you of the overall opponent skill level rather than force anything on you.  Whether your preferred game is Duel, Pub FFA, or CTF, Alien Arena has a mode to suit you.  While you(or server ops) can configure various mutators to customize any game/gametype, you cannot configure weapon or physics balance – meaning you know exactly how the the game is going to be when you join.

HIGH SKILL CEILING

While the trend of newer aFPS games has been to “dumb down” the learning curve, Alien Arena has done the opposite.  The physics are based on Quake 2, arguably the best, yet trickiest physics in the genre.  However, Alien Arena added quite a bit to that, primarily generation3_23the ability to do UT-style dodges, as well as leaning around corners and “sneaking” silently.  The dodges can be “chained”, a technique that requires a lot of precise timing, but can reward the player with almost insane speed gains.  Weapons are designed with trickjumping in mind, and nearly every weapon can be used in this manner with a variety of methods.  The overall speed of the game is noticeably much faster and crisper than what you find in more recent attempts to revive the Arena FPS genre.

WEAPONRY

Alien Arena deviates from the traditional aFPS weapon set a bit, while retaining many of the favorites, such as rocket launchers, chainguns, railgun clone, and blaster.  There is no shortage of weird alien guns, and some things that are very unique to Alien Arena such as the Minderaser, a weapon that every two minutes spawns in place of a respawning standard weapon.  The Minderaser fires two different alien robots, which not only kill their targets, but erase one of their frags along with it.  When the signal of a spawning generation3_3Minderaser is heard, players will scramble to where they may believe the last weapon picked up was in order to get it, adding a really cool dynamic to the game.  While the trend over the years has been to weaken weapons overall, Alien Arena bucked that trend wholeheartedly!  Weapons are powerful – a rocket directly to the face results in DEATH, as it should!  Health does not regenerate, and this combination of strong weaponry results in game play that is very, very fast paced.

ARENAS

We included 6 Deathmatch, 2 Capture the Flag, and 1 Tactical map in the beta.  The full version includes 23 maps overall!  That is far more content than any other of the new aFPS games.  There is a large cross section of themes, layouts, and sizes of these levels, generation3_36but all have a unifying style of Alien infestation, destruction, and artistic feel.  All levels have at least some degree of vertical, circular, dynamic game play.  You won’t find expansive “corridoritis” maps in Alien Arena any longer, everything is compact, fast, and smooth.  It’s been said that Alien Arena had previously felt “cluttered”, and that was true – so the clutter has been pushed to the sides and clipped out, or made into something useful for trickjumping.  Out of 40 maps, only 23 made the final cut, and each has a unique flavor to it.

THE BOTS

A lot of effort was placed in this game, historically, into the bots.  This continues to be the case even now.  Our bots are among the most human-like you’re going to ever see in an generation3_51aFPS game.  They strafejump, circle strafe, retreat, sneak, crouch, bunnyhop, and do trick jumps like rocket jumping.  They make a beeline to a base when they get a flag, and they know when to plant and detonate bombs in Tactical Mode.  They will taunt you, humiliate you, and really piss you right off.  Playing offline against the bots is an incredibly fun and satisfying experience that will help you learn the game in order to play real foes.

PERFORMANCE/SCALEABILITY

I can tell you without hesitation that Alien Arena will run faster, and on many systems that new aFPS games simply cannot.  This doesn’t mean that we have watered down anything visually – at least nothing you’re really going to notice in a game this fast paced.  4096×4096 textures are wonderful for taking great screenshots, but you’re simply not going to notice that fidelity in-game, if you can even run said game at that type of texture generation3_54.jpgquality.  Alien Arena’s CRX engine is the model of efficiency, and still manages to add in quite a few cool, modern effects to make the game visually pleasing.  Visibility factor?  Well, we use a technique to make players more visible at distance, and it’s very easy to pick them out, and far more pleasing than eye-cancer brightskins or “tronifying”.  Players are “fogged” by distance, making them easier to see without the use of bright skins.  While they do have their share of glowing bits, it’s not totally overwhelming.  Lastly, you can pretty much make the game look anyway you like, as we retained all of the picmip, brightness/contrast, and other tweaks that allow you to customize the look, and, performance.  Our netcode is tried and true, simple, and unlagged.  If you’ve got the network horsepower you can run the server at a tickrate of 120 fps for amazing precision, if not, you can go as low as 10 fps.

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CONCLUSION

Download and play the beta (http:red.planetarena.org).  Beat on it mercilessly, and most of all, give us some feedback!  We may not always agree on critiques, but we most certainly always listen to them, and if it makes sense, we implement changes.  Our goal is to make this the most streamlined, fast-paced, fun, and furious frag-fest in existence, and this is your chance to help shape the final product that is set to be released on November er 3rd.  Enjoy!

 

 

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