By Michael Sagoe (mikedot)
Slowly emerging from the dark depths of the galaxy, the space combat genre is slowly making a comeback, and a new indie development group named Nine Dots Canada is looking to create a revolutionary space combat game for the modern age, and they call it “GoD Factory: Wingmen”: a 4 vs 4 competitive space combat game in which the goal is to destroy the enemy's carrier ship while defending your own. Through the power of the Unity engine the game features ships from four difference races, fast paced action and hardcore gameplay that is solely made for fans of the genre.
In order to drum up support for their currently ongoing Kickstater, the development team is letting people try out an alpha version of the game RIGHT NOW absolutely free, which is a pretty solid plan, if you ask me. I haven’t played a space shooter game since I was a younger lad, back when I had very little friends, no money and a computer that looked like THIS:
Man, PCs back then sure looked weird, huh?
Still, space shooter games were mostly all I had to play on a computer that had only around 300 MHz of CPU speed and less RAM space than my 2GB thumb drive. The kind of space shooters I played were Terminal Velocity, Hellbender and a popular favorite at the time: Star Wars - X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. These games were fairly relentless and frustrating to play on a Keyboard, but they were a whole lot of fun. Now with this new space shooter title being focused directly towards the hardcore and old-school crowd, I felt it was worth a try, and to see if I could rekindle my old passion.
So after downloading and updating the client, the game recommends that all players should participate in a tutorial session first, which I desperately needed, since the last space combat shooter I played was Terminal velocity on MS-DOS, and that was over 15 years ago!
Those were the days…
The tutorial explains all the basics of flying, shooting and general objectives for winning matches. Getting a handle on the controls was a lot harder than I thought it would be, since I am so used to FPS style movement. Movement in GoD Factory is handled way differently: While moving the mouse up or down steers your ship up and down, moving the mouse left and right will roll your ship rather than turn it. Strangely enough, the WSAD keys act as your ship speed controller and turning, essentially acting as thrusters. You can also use the spacebar as a speed break in order to perform movements like drifts, somersaults and more. It took me at least three replays of the tutorial mode just to get the movement down.
After completing the tutorial several times, I hopped over to the hanger to check out my ship, and was instantly astounded by the amount of customization that the game already presented. There were literally hundreds of ship parts available including hulls, cockpits, wings, thrusters and more, each with their own positive and negative stats. Not to mention that the parts I picked were only for the “Human” set. There’s four different race types for ships, each with their own distinct visual style which includes Humans, Guantri, Ar Blossom and Chorion, and each of those have their own unique and varied parts, which easily quadruples the amount of customization available.
The kind of ship that I wanted to build was going to be sleek and fast. With the options I picked, my ship would be able hone-in on targets quickly, but at the cost of having very low shields and defense. I decided to name my ship “Clothes Pin”, because with the way it looked, it reminded me of those little plastic colored clothes pin I used to make toy space ships out of when I was younger…
So once I got my ship created and ready to fly, I waited for the next play session to start up, where members of the development team came out to play with alpha testers. The developers weren’t just coming in to blow us novices away but actually offered advice on the ins and outs of being a pilot. Granted they still blew us away with ease but they were nice enough to include one dev team member on each team to help balance things out.
As I started a match for the first time while leaving the docking hangar, I took a moment to really take in the game’s impressive visuals. It was almost hard for me to believe that all this was made using the Unity engine, which is known for making browser-based and mobile games. If the Unity engine is capable of all this, then I am certainly impressed by how far the engine has evolved, as well as impressed by how much the development team for GoD Factory was able to do with it.
As the match progressed, the dev player on my team sent out a quick message to all team members, stating that we should start attacking the ammo depot of the enemy’s carrier ship. I didn’t look too much into the importance of destroying specific parts of carriers beforehand, but as I played, the dev player quickly explained that destroying certain parts of carriers will affect enemy pilots, and destroying the ammo depot would limit their ammo respawn rate. With that in mind, I and my team went straight for the depot without worry for resistance, since the enemy team was attempting to attack our carrier at the same time. Obviously, it wasn’t much of a smart plan to begin with, but little did I know that enemy carriers also have auto targeting turrets around crucial parts of the ship. As soon as I moved in, I was attacked and my shields were dropped below 30%. I quickly flew back to my carrier in order to dock and repair, but unfortunately the enemy team was waiting for me, and I was gunned down in a flash.
With my first ship taken out, I had to rely on a second back up ship that was a premade Guantri model. While it wasn’t as fast as my Clothes Pin, it had much better power and defense.
Rushing back into the enemy territory, I spotted enemy ships circling around the carrier’s hull. I took this chance to break off from the team’s current objective to see if I could take one out. I ended up chasing the enemy around for minutes, just trying to get a lock on the guy, but as I gave chase, my piloting skills slowly got better and better, and eventually I was able to out maneuver him and dwindle his shields down. Sadly, I wasn’t able to finish the guy off, as a teammate swooped in and got the kill instead. At least I got some assist points for it, though.
Back onto the objective, my teammates had already destroyed quite of few parts of the enemy carrier, but so did the enemy team on our carrier, and they were quickly moving onto destroying our core, so we rushed back to defend it. A dev player on the enemy team had their sights on me, and I was doing everything I could to shake them off, but I ended up getting trapped and was obliterated. Now I was down two of my ships, and thought I would have to sit back and spectate for the rest of the match, but then I found out that players are given one extra ship when their main ships have been destroyed. It was a simple Human Drone ship, and while it didn’t have any distinct stats or features, it was still better than nothing.
Heading back into the fray once more, we started to gain an edge over the enemy and managed to take out most of their main ships. We only need to eliminate one enemy ship in order to win the match, and trying to catch that one ship turned into a high-speed chase all over the map. In the end, we managed to corner and destroy the enemy ship to win the game. While I didn’t get a single kill on any enemies, I managed to pick up a fair amount of assist points.
For what the game already offers in the alpha stages, GoD Factory: Wingmen is an incredible game. I have no doubt in my mind that this game will entertain space shooter fans for hours to come, and with the promise of more customization options, maps and even Oculus Rift support, this game has a bright future ahead of it…