Cletus: Cletus Clay - what is it?

20 November 2008

Editor's Note: Cletus Clay is a rootin', tootin' platform brawler created and animated entirely in clay. Being developed for PC & Xbox LIVE Arcade, it is the latest independent game from acclaimed game designer and animator Anthony Flack (Platypus) - author of this blog.

Anthony, over to you...

Screen mock up of in game action

Firstly, I should point out most emphatically that this is indeed a clay-animated game. Which means that all the graphics in the game are made from real clay models - they are NOT CG renders made to look like clay.

There are a number of reasons why I decided to work with clay and not CG, and I'll try to explain my reasoning in more detail in a later post, but basically it comes down to this: I like to experiment with unconventional methods. And also I think clay models are really neat.

There have been other clay animated games made in the past (my own previous work included), but this is the first clay game of the next hardware generation and with all that lovely new power available, we've been able to do some nifty new things that take it to a whole new level. But more about that later.

Cletus Clay Modeling shot

As far as genres go, it's an action-platformer of the old-school side-scrolling variety, so if you think of games like Contra and Metal Slug you won't be too far off the mark. I'm a die-hard action game fan and I like those kinds of straightforward, fast-paced games where you get to run all over the place making everything explode without having to worry too much about learning complex rule-sets, managing inventory items or getting hopelessly lost. So expect to find plenty of running and blasting, racking up high scores and trying to beat your best time. Lots of things will blow up. There will be armies of baddies, giant robots and grenade launchers and bosses the size of buildings. It's that sort of game.

It's not quite a straight-out shooter though - the players have no default weapon, so you have to fight with your fists and feet and grab whatever weapons, explosives, hay bales or passing farm animals you can make use of along the way. The weapons don't last long either, so you'll have to keep changing tactics and use whatever is at hand.

The idea is to keep the gameplay quite fluid and dynamic, and open to experimenting with different tactics. The two-player co-op should be especially chaotic, as each player is able to poach weapons off the other and you're encouraged to play dirty to beat your partner for the end-of-level bonuses, or when going head-to-head in the bonus rounds and mini-games.

And in case the artwork didn't give it away, it's not a game that takes itself too seriously. Cletus is a loudmouthed hillbilly and he's fighting an army of dimwitted spacemen. If you're looking for the kind of game where you get to throw a pig at a flying saucer, then this is exactly that sort of game.

When I showed it to my Nana it made her laugh.

15 comments ? Permalinkdiggdel.icio.usstumbleupon Written by: Anthony - Categories: Cletus
hofus 20 November 2008 at 15:46
Real clay?

You guys are incase but good luck :-)
hofus 20 November 2008 at 15:47
Oops, I mean INSANE!
Keith Weatherby II 20 November 2008 at 19:50
Awesome, Mr. Flack. Curious going on xbox and pc, are you still doing the pc version with blitz?

I own blitz3d, and have been around the blitz forums (known as Uhfgood, as I am everywhere, but you probably don't remember me), but I haven't been playing with blitz for a couple of years now.
sillytuna 21 November 2008 at 05:11
As one of the programmers I can answer that. The game is mainly C++, but with some C# tools and also some Blitz tools from when the original work Anthony was doing. It's a cross platform project so we really have to be working in one language for the game itself.

Anthony is still very much a Blitz fan though!
papamook 21 November 2008 at 06:46
I'd like to pontificate that if you were using fake clay techniques your games would begin to lose their freshness. The clay here looks as fresh as it did the first time I saw Bert on Div-Arena (or even the font animation you posted!), only more masterful.. ;D

I'm looking forward to having a laugh with this one. Despite Bert's short length it was filled with humour, I laughed gleefully as a soldier was split down the middle head to groin and pealed apart :D

One request I have is that you include a Flack Cannon as a weapon.

I'm like a female teenage Beatles fan in the sixties when it comes to your games. Please please please include me in a beta test or i'll..! (the end of this msg was inaudible due to the fact i began squealing uncontrollably)
sillytuna 21 November 2008 at 06:53
Papamook, only real clay here - at least when we can get the right type...

We've just set up a thread for people who'd like to beta test so please post there so we can get you on the list:
svero 21 November 2008 at 08:59
Nice to see it coming along. I hope it retains your level of excellence now that you're working with a team. Don't be soft on those guys!
Richard Davey 21 November 2008 at 11:02
Great to see this progress, always loved the visuals of your last game and doesn't look like this will disappoint! I posted your blog entry on the intranet where I work (Aardman Animations, home of just a few classic animated characters!); figured some of the animators there would appreciate it :)
Bungle 21 November 2008 at 11:52
Thanks Richard, that means a lot to the Tuna team! You made me squeak in glee.
Eric Hardman 21 November 2008 at 15:41
Nerd questions...

Do you use an armature for the characters, or just straight clay?

Femo, Sculpy, Super Sculpy?

Do you have to work in a cold room to keep the lights from doing a slow melt on the figures (and leaving fingerprints?)

Great stuff! Super fresh look, fun and inviting!
MonsiMonsi 22 November 2008 at 12:16
I love the idea. It is a bit crazy the concept of fast clay characters, very intriguing.
I can't wait to throw a pig at a space ship... how cool is that... I'm not a gamer, but I'm definitely having a go at this one.. HEHE
Anthony Flack 22 November 2008 at 17:19
Oh, some old names here! People who remember the first animation tests I posted on the DIV-Arena site, my goodness. And sure I remember you Uhfgood.

Hey Steve! Sorry I've been out of touch lately.

Eric - I copied your questions to the forum and replied over there:

Richard - you work at Aardman? Wow.
Joshua Dallman 24 November 2008 at 05:36
Xbox? Awesome! I played your original clay game a while back and it is inspiring to see indies experimenting with new (albeit old) techniques. Great stuff, and good luck on the production and publishing. --Josh
Psyco 25 November 2008 at 07:22
Hole-e-crap I haven't seen this stuff since it was posted on the "blitz coder" forums....a very, very, very, very long time ago.

Best of luck with the game!

I'll keep an eye on the xbox store for it ;)

(I got linked to here from another site, was like "NO WAY!")
Dan (the RocketGnome) 30 November 2008 at 22:11
Anthony! You and your dev team have a lot to be proud of.

I'm also someone of your BlitzBasic past. I think it's safe to say that we've all speculated the day we'd see one of your games on the consoles.

You will definitely have my MS Points on the day you release. I bet you guys can beat Braid :)

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