Indie Games: Dyson, a Real Time Strategy game that has nothing to do with vacuum cleaners

07 January 2009

Dyson, a Real Time Strategy game with a gallon of atmosphere and addictive gameplay has been created by Rudolf and Alex, a duo with a mission. Recently nominated for the IGF Seumas McNally grand prize for 2009 we ask them how Dyson came to be and hear the tale of eyes meeting across a crowded room, obscurity and most importantly: TIG Source.

Dyson Gameplay

Having previously worked at the same company together Alex and Rudolf teamed up to enter a procedural generation competition at TIG Source, Alex having been a past winner of one of their B-Game competitions.

Rudolf:The TIGSource competition was limited to one month development time, and I wrote a basic design in a week or less that was way too big.

Rather then being put off by the short period of time they had to create the game, Alex and Rudolf embraced the fact that everything had to be simplified. Trimming down the components used in Dyson gave it it's own identity.

Alex: The simplicity is something that attracted a lot of people and it really backs up the atmosphere of the game. The graphics were something I spent probably too much time on in the competition time. I spent a long time writing fuzzy line drawing code (most games use a bloom filter to do that sort of thing) and way too long on the tree growing code. Mainly I looked at indie projects with odd art styles. I wanted to use vector art, but I was sick of neon on black. So I looked at stuff like Crayon Physics, Blueberry Garden and Circle. The simplicity is something that attracted a lot of people and it really backs up the atmosphere of the game.

Rudolf: For me the basic principle is about simplicity anyway. I employed a very specific design methodology for Dyson, where I wanted to get as much interesting gameplay from as few as possible factors.

Alex: It also let us get the game out for the competition deadline. Hehe!

Dyson screen shot

With other Real Time Strategy games out there that are switching to multiplayer, for example Multiwinia, we wondered if the same were going to happen with Dyson.

Alex: It?s not in the plan at the moment. The game wasn?t created with MP in mind, so it would be (as Introversion probably discovered with Multiwinia) a pain to put it in over the top of the game as it is. Also I?ve never made a networked game.

Rudolf: I am working on something for my own company which is strictly multiplayer. I don?t want to say too much about it but here is the teaser

As well as having a very delicate but beautiful art style, the music in the game is also pretty unique. Rudolf explains how the ambient soundtrack, created by Brian Grainger, came to be.

Rudolf: I really want to emphasise the contribution that Brian Grainger AKA Milieu made towards Dyson. I think he is a bit of a genius, and he reissued a CD after I mailed him about it which impressed me so much I asked him if I could use some of his music for Dyson. He liked the idea so much he offered to do sound as well and now he is writing a whole suite for the game.

Dyson screenshot

Moving on from working on the game we asked the guys whether they themselves are avid gamers and what sort of games they tuck into when they can.

Rudolf: I consider gaming part of my job, and feel guilty if I don?t.

Alex: For me I game less and less, certainly less than I?d like. Then again even when the pressure?s off I can?t seem to stop coding something or other. I still game a fair bit (playing Fallout 3 and littlebigplanet right now) and have a big backlog of retro games.

Being indie game developers it was interesting to see what they made of the current selection of indie games and if they were currently playing any of the most recent releases.

Alex: Yeah Harvest! Harvest Massive Encounter! And World of Goo of course.

Rudolf: There was also IJI I've been looking at loads of TIGsource stuff, like the demakes competition. Somebody did an 8bit version of Silent Hill o_0. The first part of the game is so awesome. Believe it or not but the game is actually disturbing. I REALLY want to do a horror game sometime. Anyhoo, it shows the vibrancy of the indie scene.

If you want to check out progress of Dyson or better yet, play the game, get yourself over to the Dyson blog where you can see what is going on in the world of Alex and Rudolf as well as all the latest on Dyson.

2 comments ? Permalinkdiggdel.icio.usstumbleupon Written by: Bungle - Categories: Indie Games
TimTam 07 January 2009 at 12:06
I have to say, Dyson looks very original. I hope it plays as well as it looks.

When is it going to be finished?
Lim-Dul 07 January 2009 at 20:32
Actually Dyson is already out and sporting version 1.08. It will be improved in future, I don't doubt that but I find it quite awesome already and done so ever since the TIGSource procedurally generated content competition. It just strikes my taste in a certain type of "asteroid/planet conquest game", of which there are quite a few and I even used to dual-boot with Linux running KDE for the sole reason of being able to play GNUlactic Konquest (now I use GNOME...).

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