Ion Maiden, a Build Engine-Powered FPS, Releasing 2017

Jul 26, 2013
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Developed by Voidpoint, a studio comprised of EDuke32 vets and Duke Nukem 3D mappers, Ion Maiden was formally announced on a recent Duke4 livestream. It will be published by 3D Realms and is releasing in 2017.





First, a bit of background. The Build Engine powered Ion Maiden is a FPS prequel to the poorly received Bombshell, an isometric shooter from Interceptor Entertainment, a studio which declared bankruptcy last year. A new team called Slipgate Studios was founded earlier this year with many of the same team members.



The game's developer, Voidpoint, is an independent venture founded by TerminX and Hendricks266 when creating the Hail to the King Collection ports for iOS and Android. Work began on Ion Maiden (working titles "The Washington Project" or "Project Washington", and later "The Washington Incident") in early 2015 as a stand-alone project, with the team working on both projects in overlapping fashion until HTTKC was shelved. The game was quietly announced on a poster back in July 2015 as an extra for the digital deluxe version for Bombshell. Since then, however, the scope has expanded considerably and the game is a full commercial product. The developers' chose the name Ion Maiden to distance themselves from the negativity associated with Bombshell (2016). The game is running on EDuke32, built in 2004 by Richard Gobeille and continuously developed over the following decade with a view to preserving the original developers' intent of Duke Nukem 3D and to make it playable and enhanced on modern hardware.

This is a shooter that's coupling truly retro gameplay with truly retro tech, using the original engine and its ideas, with 20 extra years of development--replacing code, but rarely throwing out ideas. The team has created a brand new 8-bit palette, which all assets will use, essentially turning the era's original aesthetic and creative techniques up to 11 (think Mega Man 9 and 10). The score's being made by someone from the European C64/Amiga demo scene who has been making mod tracker music for about 20 years.

Voidpoint's 256 color pallet (Cage is easily one of the most talented pixel artists around):



There's some seriously talented mappers involved (including DavoX of DNF 2013 DLC fame), with the levels being made with the hallmarks of classic shooters in mind, including interconnecting areas, interactivity, and secrets. All of the weapons have either an alt fire or an alternate ammo type which you switch by pressing alt fire. The team's currently working on a demo (which won't feature the alt fire stuff) much like the FEAR demo, the maps in the demo are redressed samples of portions of the registered version. The team recently showed a video behind closed doors at E3 so I hope we'll see more soon, but in the meantime here's some more screens!









Note: the face in the HUD is temp art just cut from a random promo image for Interceptor's Bombshell game. The final game will have a face in the HUD, in much the same way as Doom.
 
Likes: OSC
Oct 19, 2011
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#13
As I've mentioned in the Steam thread, I'm not sure about the title. I can see they don't want to make people associate it with Bombshell (although it's still a prequel), but this would work better as a subtitle IMO.

Looking forward to it, tho.
 
Jul 26, 2013
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#14
I'm all over this. Relatively recently I've been really enjoying Build-engine games like Duke and Shadow Warrior. I tried Blood but couldn't really get into it. Are NAM and Redneck Rampage worth it?
Just out of interest, what made you bounce off Blood? If it was the poor performance on modern systems, BloodGDX, a reverse-engeneered source port, is worth checking out.

I didn't like the original Redneck Rampage very much, but Rides Again was pretty decent (though I prefer Powerslave, Shadow Warrior, Blood, and Duke 3D). Xatrix were a super talented studio though, and they definitely knew how to exploit the Build engine (mixing Build's shading system with shading/lighting directly applied on textures to give a feel of dynamic lights, etc...). While the SOS and architecture was top-notch, it was a kind of a mediocre experience, with the moment-to-moment gameplay frequently feeling cheap and unfair.

After Kingpin shipped, they shutdown and reformed as Grey Matter and developed the RTCW campaign. After Activision cancelled Trinity, they were folded into Treyarch.

Never tried NAM, sorry.
 

RedSwirl

Junior Member
Mar 29, 2009
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#15
Just out of interest, what made you bounce off Blood? If it was the poor performance on modern systems, BloodGDX, a reverse-engeneered source port, is worth checking out.

I didn't like the original Redneck Rampage very much, but Rides Again was pretty decent (though I prefer Powerslave, Shadow Warrior, Blood, and Duke 3D). Xatrix were a super talented studio though, and they definitely knew how to exploit the Build engine (mixing Build's shading system with shading/lighting directly applied on textures to give a feel of dynamic lights, etc...). While the SOS and architecture was top-notch, it was a kind of a mediocre experience, with the moment-to-moment gameplay frequently feeling cheap and unfair.

After Kingpin shipped, they shutdown and reformed as Grey Matter and developed the RTCW campaign. After Activision cancelled Trinity, they were folded into Treyarch.

Never tried NAM, sorry.
I guess I just couldn't figure out the "core" of the game, or how I was supposed to play it. the main reason is the weapon selection is just really weird. The shotgun isn't effective like it is in most other games and they seem to want you to use the dynamite a lot, but you also take damage with it if you aren't careful.

Enemies are reactive as fuck too. I ended up having to peek around corners like a modern shooter or something, or just memorize where enemies were every time I retried. This went especially for those tommy gun monk dudes who would bring my health down to like 30 in two seconds.

Blood just wasn't as immediately fun as Duke and Shadow Warrior were.
 
Sep 6, 2012
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#16
I really dig the character of Bombshell as a cheesy 90s throwback (and a female analogue to Duke), but her game itself just wasn't good.

Hopefully this goes someway to redeeming Shelly. It looks really neat from what we've seen.
 
Jul 26, 2013
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#20
Love that carpet pattern from The Shining.
Good eye!

Bombshell was bad. Like, really bad. Engine looks cool though.
I really dig the character of Bombshell as a cheesy 90s throwback (and a female analogue to Duke), but her game itself just wasn't good.

Hopefully this goes someway to redeeming Shelly. It looks really neat from what we've seen.
Given the pedigree of the people involved, I think Ion Maiden will surprise a lot people with it's quality.

As I've mentioned in the Steam thread, I'm not sure about the title. I can see they don't want to make people associate it with Bombshell (although it's still a prequel), but this would work better as a subtitle IMO.

Looking forward to it, tho.
I really like the name. It feels just tongue-in-cheek enough to be a 3DR name.

I guess I just couldn't figure out the "core" of the game, or how I was supposed to play it. the main reason is the weapon selection is just really weird. The shotgun isn't effective like it is in most other games and they seem to want you to use the dynamite a lot, but you also take damage with it if you aren't careful.

Enemies are reactive as fuck too. I ended up having to peek around corners like a modern shooter or something, or just memorize where enemies were every time I retried. This went especially for those tommy gun monk dudes who would bring my health down to like 30 in two seconds.

Blood just wasn't as immediately fun as Duke and Shadow Warrior were.
Ah, that I totally understand. I think I have some lingering muscle memory, but as a little kid I died whenever I used the dynamite. Only tip I have is to throw it far away from Caleb, lol (not much help I know)! The weapons are incredibly powerful and satisfying to use, but there's more of a learning curve than the other Build games. If you use the alternate firing modes on the shotguns and sprint full-speed ahead you can just clean-up. When you slow down the pace, I can see it sucking for sure. I still think it's closely tied with Duke as my favorite shooter ever.
 
Jul 26, 2013
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#24
Can't wait for this.
I don't think you'll be disappointed.

This looks so good visually, I'm loving the art. Also dig the name, the whole thing feels very authentic aesthetically. Looking forward to it for sure.
Yes, the people working on it are seriously discerning when it comes to Build-era shooters. They're like shooter historians who happen to be talented engineers and designers. This project's in good hands for sure!
 
Jul 26, 2013
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#27
Looks interesting, but I'd like to see some gameplay. Is it gonna be like Duke Nukem 3D, just new levels and weapons?
I believe you'll be able to play a demo soon. I would definitely expect something of comparable quality to Duke 3D or Blood. It's completely stand alone. They understand the tone and mechanics that made those games so memorable all those years ago.
 
Jun 21, 2014
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#28
More shovelware from Fresch and Co.

I believe you'll be able to play a demo soon. I would definitely expect something of comparable quality to Duke 3D or Blood. It's completely stand alone. They understand the tone and mechanics that made those games so memorable all those years ago.

Lol, no.
They wanted to do that "gritty" DN3D remake which wasnt the tone of the original game at all.
 
Jan 12, 2012
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#33
Wish I kept in contact with some of those people, would have loved to do pixel art in a project like this. Ah well.

Look's awesome. For a second there, I thought this was that BombShell Prequel FPS that is also being developed for the Build Engine, but with the name removed. But this is another new retro FPS, with a custom version of the TerminX EDuke32 Build engine? If so, that is pretty cool.

It was such a shame hearing that Gearbox screwed over Richard, but it is cool that he found something to make a little money.
 
Jul 26, 2013
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#34
Wish I kept in contact with some of those people, would have loved to do pixel art in a project like this. Ah well.

Look's awesome. For a second there, I thought this was that BombShell Prequel FPS that is also being developed for the Build Engine, but with the name removed. But this is another new retro FPS, with a custom version of the TerminX EDuke32 Build engine? If so, that is pretty cool.
It is the Bombshell Prequel FPS, but I believe the scope has expanded considerably since the project was originally conceived.
 
Jan 12, 2012
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#35
It is the Bombshell Prequel FPS, but I believe the scope has expanded considerably since the project was originally conceived.
Ah, I should have read the main post completely... yeah, it explains everything.

So they dropped Bombshell from the game? I thought those gun sprites looked familiar. But this is still cool, and it is high on my purchase list.



Raycaster shooters are up my alley.
Build is is not a raycaster engine. Wold 3D, and even the original Rise of the Triad are Raycaster games, those games are limited to 90 degree walls, and walls and floors at the same heights. Build uses a sector based engine (like the original Doom), and can do a lot more varied map design. But then again, this one is EDuke32 with Ken Silverman's Polymer engine, so it will be using real polygon rendering as mentioned in the OP. But all the same, I still love the Build engine, as well as making maps in the editor.
 
Jul 26, 2013
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#36
Oh, so they dropped Bombshell from the game? I thought those gun sprites looked familiar. But this is still cool, and it is high on my purchase list.
You play as Shelly, but I would imagine the character's going to be a different interpretation from the one you saw in the 2016 top-down shooter. The team has access to all the old 3DR design docs, and were pretty open and honest about that particular game's shortcomings.
 
Jan 25, 2009
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#37
I'm not the hugest fan of Build in specific but I am a very big fan of FPSes from the era of Build and I'll definitely be checking this out.

As others have pointed out, it looks great. Really impressive stuff.
 
Jan 12, 2012
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#40
But will it have co-op? It's not a proper retro FPS without co-op.
EDuke 32 handles networking pretty well at this point. So I would imagine it is possible. But yeah, co-op is always welcome in these types of older games.


You play as Shelly, but I would imagine the character's going to be a different interpretation from the one you saw in the 2016 top-down shooter. The team has access to all the old 3DR design docs, and were pretty open and honest about that particular game's shortcomings.
ah, neat. 3D Realms went through quite a few different Bombshell designs before dropping the character from Duke Nukem Forever.
 
Aug 19, 2010
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#47
Finally some real signs of life from this game! Been checking up on in periodically ever since it was announced.
Really love the fact that we're getting a new build engine game in 2017. Looks great so far!
Wish there was a trailer, so curious how it looks in motion, how everything animates.

Can't wait to try out the demo. Hopefully it's really good and gives the game a helpful word of mouth.