Archive for November, 2017

By now if you’re an Alien Arena player on Steam, you’ve probably noticed a fairly significant amount of updates over the past few weeks.  You’ve probably also noticed a lack of players, unfortunately.  Our launch wound up being rather disorganized, mostly due to circumstances out of our control.  Promotional campaigns got delayed, there was some learning curve dealing with Steam, and we had quite a few oversights regarding the game itself that needed addressing.  So, things got pushed back a bit and delayed longer until we got all of our t’s crossed, i’s dotted, and ducks-in-a-row.  It was a bit of a blessing in disguise, as the game updates since then are very significant in several areas.

The feedback was interesting, sometimes quite useful.  The simple fact is that if you want to improve your game, you need to listen to everything, everyone, take it all in, and process into something positive for everyone involved.  It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and you have to swallow your pride quite often.

The two recurring themes we kept seeing was that 1) Visibility was still an issue, and 2) That the game looked dated.  I wondered “how” it looked dated…after all our lighting and shadowing, many other effects are in fact quite modern, but I am not blinded enough to believe that we compare to current AAA engines, so I always wanted to know the reasons people might have a certain viewpoint – so that I could IMPROVE what was lacking.  Alas, a few people, honest people, made comments that when coalated together, it started to make sense – our particle effects were really outdated looking, and dragging the entire experience down(an oversight, due to familiarity of looking at it for so long).  So, a huge part of the first round of updates dealt with revamping the particle and weapon effects.  The flamethrower in particular was one that received quite a bit of love.


The next issue was visibility.  In fact, that has been a criticism of Alien Arena for years, so we had addressed that by adding fog effects to the players the further they got away.  It was a compromise – some, especially those who were looking from the outside had repeatedly requested “bright skins”, something I (as an artist), despised.  I really just am not a fan of the trend of “Tron-like” art in the first person shooter world.  Maybe I’m stubborn(no, not maybe, I AM).  The fog seemed like a decent compromise, but the problem was it didn’t work well enough in some situations.  Something I found firsthand during a match last month, when the map(Dismal) caused that fog effect to blend in due to the fog already in the map itself.  Many Alien Arena maps have fog, and while I’ve endlessly play-tested, it just never seemed to affect me personally as much as it did that evening.  Maybe my computer-eyes are getting worse, but it needed some “oomph”.  I had noticed some games adding an outline around players, but that was kind of ugly/lame I though, so I had a little algorithm for doing some cell-shading that I thought if I increased the brightness of the shading to be greater than that of the fog on the player, it would not only increase visibility, but also look pretty cool, and it did.



Shown here are the CTF effects for players.  (DM games use green).  Getting visibility worked out was a top priority, because Alien Arena and COR Entertainment are returning to dreamhack2017in just a few days!  We will have our own booth, and will be running prize tournaments during the event.  Hourly match winners will receive some goodies(swag and free Steam keys), and the winners will compete at the end of the day for the grand prizes(100 dollar value).  I personally will be there along with other COR Entertainment staff, handing out free stuff, taking questions, and cheering on the players.  Stop by, say hi, sign up to win, or simply sit down and test drive the game out for yourself.

The next major update should occur in a month or two, and this update will focus heavily on content, as well as the team modes.  Tactical has already received some major changes/improvements thanks to some of the reviewer’s inputs, and CTF also has a target squarely on it’s back(this should make certain people I know happy!).  Fan favorite maps are going to be making their way back into the game(Terminal, Stronghold, for example).  During Dreamhack I will be working on Terminal, so come by and see how it’s done if you want, throw in some input/feedback on it’s progress, and help shape something in the game.

Meanwhile, some memories of Dreamhack 2013!

Our booth provided by Intel:dhack4

Team Dignitas competing in Alien Arena tourneydhack3

Winners posing with Team Dignitasdhack2

COR Entertainments Head of Public Relations, Victor Balke posing with Team Dignitasdhack1

Dreamhack is just a few days away, and we are excited to make some new friends and memories, and take part in the World’s greatest gaming convention!




The Martians have landed!

Four years ago we began the monumental task of rebuilding a game from the ground up that had taken twice that long to reach the level it had.  This Friday, November 3rd, at long last, after seemingly flying through an endless starfield devoid of a finish line, Alien Arena: Warriors Of Mars is officially released on STEAM.  With 23 maps, 10 characters, and 10 weapons(each with two firing modes), the game has quite a bit of official content.  Our small team of developers and community members/contributors, showed a dedication and vision and willingness to reach a goal that probably seemed impossible back in the Fall of 2013.  Yet here we are, after countless refinements, do-overs, new ideas, and alterations, a game that we are confident in and proud of.  Indeed, the march to war begins…


The genre of Arena First Person Shooters has been seemingly forgotten in recent years, but with Quake Champions and new Unreal Tournament on the horizon, there was no better time to revive our entry in the realm.  We feel we have our own little niche, our own take on what this type of game should be.  You won’t find load-outs, in-game transactions, or any type of monetary demands that give some players an unfair advantage.  No, Alien Arena isgeneration3_36 at it’s heart an old-school Arena FPS game, it’s what die-hard players in the scene have been clamoring for over the years but constantly ignored by the the AAA companies.  It’s purity is only exceeded by it’s willingness to add innovation without damaging the nature of the beast.  Exciting features like the Minderaser, wild powerups, triggerable hazards, reward system, and duel mode combined with gobs of available mutators push the game into something more than your basic, traditional Arena FPS.  Of course all of the Steam goodies are now part of the game too, such as stats, leaderboards, achievements, trading cards, and the Community Hub.

I won’t go into all of the details of what was overhauled, but suffice it to say, the game (codenamed “Generation 3” by developers) is an entire new generation of the game.  Only the generation3_23historically best maps were kept, and each of them was overhauled.  Several brand new maps, using new technologies were added, and all received an attention to detail that was honed from years of player input.  Thanks to performance enhancements over the years, it also afforded us to go into far more detail than before with all of the content, something that provided the initial inspiration for this new game to begin with.  Allowing for server ops to set tickrates as high as 120fps allowed for ultra smooth, precise online play, and various improvements to the game code for balance, speed, and new features make it an experience that will be well worth the long development cycle.

Alien Arena features a very high skill ceiling for players.  The various movement types and combinations plus the powerful, but balanced weapons make for frantic game play.  Instead of following the trend of weakening weapons to the point of becoming frustrating, Alien Arena retains the power of the earlier games of the genre.  A rocket generation3_47directly to the face will kill you…as it should.  Your health does not just regenerate automatically, you need to pick up health items.  Map control is an essential skill to learn, and if you think you know fast movement, you don’t know anything until you’ve mastered the art of dodge-chaining.  Feeling a bit newbish?  No worries, we have matchmaking stats that will allow you to select servers that best align to your skills.  Unlike some others, you don’t have to sit around, waiting in a lobby for a match.  Just open the server browser like days of yore, click on a server you like, see if your skill matches up(or not), and connect.  Simple. Pure. Fun.

Worried about how it will perform on your gaming rig?  Dont.  Unlike many recent games, we have left the ability to toggle/tweak many settings, and if you don’t know what some of it means, we have a number of factory presets that will do it for you.  You can play the game with dramatic lighting, sun rays, glows, gore, and a variety of post-process generation3_8effects, or you can turn it all off, one-by-one, or all at once.  Want more visibility?  You can practically make the game textureless if you want.  Or you can adjust the contrast, map lighting, or brightness.  There are few limits to what you can alter – if it’s not in the menu, chances are there is a cvar that you can set manually if desired.  However, you shouldn’t have to worry about running the game on the highest settings, as the engine has been made incredibly efficient over the years of development.  If you have a problem with performance on a modern gaming rig, put in a message to our tech support or the Community Hub, or on the official forums, and someone will gladly get you pointed in the right direction with any driver settings that might be adversly affecting performance.

Arena FPS games are not for everyone, but if you’re into them, this game delivers what you would expect, and quite a bit more.  If you like brutal, fast action, and maybe a little retro sci-fi humor/style mixed in, this is the choice for you.  If playing other people isn’t generation3_46your thing, or you’re not quite ready for that, you can practice offline against our computer controlled artificial players.  They have personalities all of their own, you might forget you’re not playing real people!  Then when you’re ready, click the server browser, find a match against some strangers who may one day be friends, or set up a LAN with your buddies.  Besides, what could be more fun than running around with powerful weapons and wasting a bunch of little green men?

Get the game on STEAM and get those lasers firing!