Storm Isle Productions, based out of West Virginia, has taken their love of the real time strategy game NetStorm: Islands at War and are working to expand the mythos in their indie game, Disiples of the Storm, working with Netstorm’s original talents, Jim Greer, Beverly Garland, and artist Morgan Ogburn.
As of Sunday night they have four days to complete their kickstarter but are lacking a little over half of their $50,000 goal. That’s where y’all come in. If you are a fan of the original RTS Netstorm then you will enjoy this game just as much.
Disciples of the Storm (DOTS) is a unique, fast-paced, real-time-strategy game which will have some elements of role playing. DOTS game play takes place on the world of Sonus, shattered by a continuous war among the Tempests of Rain, Wind, and Thunder. The only refuge is on floating islands of the planet’s fractured crust, suspended in the winds of perpetual gales. As the High Priest of your tribe, you must align yourself with one of the Tempests to appease their lust for battle and gain their favor by sacrificing your enemies. Victory will grant you new technology and spells that will aid your tribe in ascending from the storm to the safe heavens above.
Wealth in land or currency, while useful, is ultimately not the key to victory. Like the chess piece King, the High Priest is the linchpin of empire. Lose the priest and you lose all.
A players High Priests is the center of a players faction and acts as the intermediary between his tribe and the Tempests, it is through the Priest that the player is able construct buildings and harness the powers of the Tempests through spells that can turn the tides of war.
Another key important element is through the use of bridges as the building block of battle, flanking and encircling enemy positions and expanding territory to gain strategic dominance.
Bridges become available with the construction of a temple and can be placed from a home island to link up with a resource or to an unclaimed island, another capability of feature of bridges is their ability to have construction built off the sides of them such as attack and defense units which can be placed from the ends of unconnected bridge sections.
DOTS weaponry is unique among RTS games. Each unit is stationary and has a specific range, damage, hit points, cost, and special ability. While some units inflict vicious damage and have superior overall capabilities, this does not make them impregnable. Cheaper, less powerful units placed expertly can dismantle larger, more powerful weapons systems.
- No pay to win: DOTS will be free to download and free to play.
- Save and Load: No starting over from scratch.
- Kongregate Host: The game servers will be hosted on the Kongregate Games site to support a stable, long-term user base. Kongregate is the free games industry leader offering more than 86,000 free games.
- New IP, New World: As a top-to-bottom concept reboot, Disciples of the Storm will use a new IP for long-term stability and to avoid confusion with original “NetStorm”. “Disciples of the Storm” takes place on an entirely new world (from units to spells to effects).
- Priest Customization Option: For die-hard fans, Priest Customization is the only monetized feature of Disciples of the Storm and allows players to uniquely customize their Priest’s appearance, height, weight, and clothing.
- Solo Play and AI Generic Guilds: No guild membership will be required. Disciples of the Storm will feature online solo play and the option of generic AI guilds through which users can achieve ranking via bonuses and matches won, as well as enjoying expanded single player action through random map generation for skirmish and practice.
Here are a few images from their website gallery:
Here is a little Q&A from our email correspondence before the show:
Q: What is the background of the game?
A: Disciples of the Storm in its first original form, before we started the move to creating an independent IP and game world, was retro fan tribute of the old 1997 game Netstorm: Islands at War but done in 3D while keeping the old retro look. We pretty much had to create everything from the ground up on the earlier fan tribute from custom coding the island terrain systems for optimized island generation, to an optimized bridging system to handle the number of bridge sections that could be built, and linking of bridge slots along with erosion system for bridges to crumble over time.
At the beginning of the year, after first trying to move the project forwards as Nestorm II, it was decided by the team that it was best to move the project forward and drop the old IP and move to an entirely new team created world; on this we are getting help on design from the original art team that worked on Netstorm to help shape the new world and give an inspired feel for the game.
Q: What other projects have the developers/artists worked on in the past?
A: I have been very active in the modding community for such games as Half Life and Unreal doing some mods and maps for the unreal engine including leading a RTS project called USskaarj in the Make Something Unreal Contest in 2004MSU making it to Phase 4 Finalists.
Our coding team has been very active in the Unity community working with the Unity3D engine as well as having Longshot studios working alongside us on first the fan tribute and now on DOTS.
Our artist team came both from the original Netstorm fan community as we were doing the earlier build as a fan tribute with our 3D artist, Hendrix, and our GUI interface artist, Grame. As we have moved forward, and past the old game, we are now working on the new art and building designs joined by Morgan Ogburn who has worked on such games as Ultima 9, Resident Evil 5, and TRON: Legacy. We are also joined by Beverly Garland who worked on Wing Commander: Privateer, Crusader: No Remorse, Netstorm, and Ultima IX: Ascension.
Q: What was the creative process for the development of the game thus far?
A: We have been doing overhaul on the development work and changed focused from the creating our core gameplay mechanics in Unity to focusing outlined critical adjustments that need to be made.
Storm Isle Productions in moving forward with the reboot have been taking time going over the elements in the old Netstorm that most inspired us and also the element we felt really needed updating or totally removed.
One big elements in DOTS is we are going over the Priest system and giving it redo, making the priest not just a players unit, but more akin to an avatar of the player that is actually useful instead of just a unit the player sends out from the home island to construct a shrine on a newly taken distant island and hurriedly rushing him back. We aim to make the players high priest be more active in influencing and backing units up in combat, to this end we have been outlining a redo of the priest’s spell system and spells capabilities with better support the priest can cast on friendly units and hostile units.
We are also moving to implement better player management capability in the lobby for player development from victories in MP games and for managing guilds.
On the graphics ends we are moving DOTS moves away from the retro feel that our earlier builds had and making fuller use of the Unity shader, lighting, and particle systems to give the world a much richer environment and look.
Q: What is your vision for the overall finished product?
A: I envision DOTS in its final form will be a growing RTS that will have competitive guilds and tournament play in MP along with providing a game players can launch and play random maps and skirmishes vs AI if they don’t have time to get into an MP game, and be able to hone their skills. I also see DOTS as a game that can expand over time to add more factions to the world of Sonus.
Q: Who are your influences during the creative process of your games?
A: Games that have inspired my creative design and have inspired me over the years?? I would have to say Populous was one of the first God style games that got me into strategy games followed by the original Setllers game. When I first played Settlers all those years back I was impressed by its mechanics and combat system for how one expanded territory and used the road systems for moving stuff around one’s empire, then followed by Netstorm which focused game-play around battling priests and the effort of capturing your opponents high priest while not relying on mass producing unit like such games as C&C or Age of Empire and Starcraft which have a lot of mass producing of units and rushing as quickly as possible. Netstorm relied more tactical use of units in a sorta tower defense meets active tower offense with bridging and placement of units to take territory and gain advantage but still had base construction and resource collecting that in most modern RTS are mainstays.