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Ascendance - Development Journal #1

The Ascendance Team breaks through our very first development journal talking about the state of the game and where we aim to go at the end of the semester here at the University of Advancing Technology.

            For the next few weeks we are going to be bringing you weekly updates on the development process for Ascendance. Before we get into the game however, let’s talk a little bit about the team.

            The Ascendance team is comprised of students from the University of Advancing Technology who have combined their talents to create something worth getting your hands on. We have come from all walks of life and development backgrounds to develop Ascendance for gamers like us. In order for you to get a visual of our team, I have listed them below:

Producers

  • Joshua Martonick
  • Samy Dib

Project Lead Manager

  • Joseph Jake Williams

Game Design

  • Lead: Ian Fermanich
    • Aaron Ramirez – Level Designer
    • Dylan Mattern – Level Designer
    • Justin Giordano – Level Designer
    • Leighan Godard – Level Designer
    • Leslie Covarrubias – Level Designer
    • Eric Fernald – Combat Designer

Art

  • Lead: Dominique Laster
    • Luke Gaebe – Weapons / Mutant Creation
    • Chandler Demming – Concept / 3D Artist
    • Daniel Song – Monster & NPC Creation
    • Mike Densmore – 3D Modeler / Level Designer
    • John Grady – 3D Modeler / Environment Artist
    • Jonathan Williams – 3D Environment Artist

Programming

  • Lead: Andre Wiggins

 

What is Ascendance?

            Ascendance is an action, survival horror game that aims to be both personal and impactful. It challenges the conventions of linear story paths using player choices that directly affect the game and cultivate an intimate and unique gaming experience. 

            Our story starts in the year 2017. Lithuania has released a biological virus against invading Russian troops in a last effort. The biological virus spreads to the United States just days later infecting coastal cities. The president initiates project Bastion, which are giant underground bunkers to safeguard American citizens further in-land. Each Bastion is equipped to be self-sustaining underground cities equipped with boiler rooms, water facilities, entertainment levels, and even security.

            The game takes place in Bastion: 01, also known as the presidential bunker which is located in New Mexico. By the year 2019, Bastion: 01's doors have failed and the virus seeps in. Bastion: 01's doors are also in a constant locked state which prevents free access to the outside. Thousands of the residents inside the bunker start to mutate on the first level. Panic spreads as people start to attack each other and push down towards the bottom depths of the bunker. By the year 2021 only 10% of the Bastion's residents are non-mutant.

            After 21 years of the pandemic inside of Bastion: 01, the main character is born into this post-chaotic world. While out scavenging supplies for the camp, the main character finds one of the lost scientists who worked on the Bastion. The scientist saves you from an attacking mutant however is severely wounded in doing so. The scientist crawls back to his room and in a last effort before dying, he hacks Bastion's security protocol opening the giant doors at the very top for only a limited amount of time. Players will have to fight their way through the remnants of Bastion: 01 and the many mutated inhabitants still around while racing against this set time.

Development

            Ascendance is currently in development using Unreal Engine 4 and has been in production for over 2 months now. The scope of the game will remain small and contain about 4 hours of gameplay through a few fully developed levels. Upon completion, Ascendance will be released to the public completely free of charge and available for everyone to enjoy. Below you will see some concept art for the game’s levels that we currently have in development.

           Our artists have been hard at work with bringing these levels to life. In the next few weeks I will be posting screenshots of the fully developed 3D levels for your viewing pleasure. Along with these levels, Ascendance has a fully functioning Objectives and Inventory system that will allow players to keep track of their current objective and manage their makeshift weapons to use in combat. These weapons will be vital to the player’s survival while exploring the depths of Bastion: 01. There’s no telling what will be hiding in the shadows or around the very next corner that you come across. Not only does combat play a vital role in survival, but speed does as well. Being able to best your enemies, think quickly on your feet, and outrun the timer will determine whether you live or die.

            Most recently our level designers have been able to code a beautifully rendered water area within our levels. The coding for this game is done entirely with Unreal Engine 4’s very powerful Blueprint Visual Scripting tool. As you can see from the below water render, the Blueprint code can get pretty detailed in order to capture the realism that we are going for.

            Populating these levels are mutated creatures that will be in your path looking to kill you and stop you from escaping. Our modelers have been hard at work creating high and low poly models for these creatures. Some of the tools that we are using to create these creatures are: 3D Studio Max, Adobe Photoshop, and ZBrush. These tools are the industry standard when it comes to game development and we plan to use them in order to bring you the best possible visual experience that we can. One of our creatures, who is currently deemed “fat man,” can be seen below in his textured development stage.

            The Ascendance team is putting many hours of work in order to bring this game to life and we are all passionate in seeing it succeed. If you would like to help us in making that goal a reality, then please follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We will be posting updates there that you can share with your friends, family, and fellow gamers. Remember, the game will be completely free upon release so you won’t be losing anything in giving it a try.

            The Ascendance team values your feedback. As gamers, we understand that there are no better critics to have than other gamers. We will be looking to open up a Beta testing phase in the future for those who are interested in giving the game a try and helping us to create the best possible version of Ascendance that we can. At this point in time, we are using Windows 7 64bit as our operating system for testing purposes. If you are running this OS, then you are already half way there. More details will be released in the future so again, follow us to be made aware on Beta testing and how you can sign up to participate.

            You can track the development of Ascendance through any of the following:

Ascendance Website: http://www.gamerslifeproductions.com/ascendance/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AscendanceTeam/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ascendanceteam

            Check back often as next week we will be showing more screenshots on the levels themselves and how they looking within the UE4 engine. 

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