Acythian – 2015 cyberpunk project

Hello dear reader!

This is an archive thread for a test project where I have tested the game guru engine and have attempted some new styles and texture techniques. I have ultimately discontinued this project as it was far too big for me to finish and less appealing than other projects I had going on. Maybe someone working on a similar project can find some inspiration in it or maybe someone into scifi and cyberpunk finds it an entertaining read.

What follows are copies of the posts from the development thread.

Note: This thread might include adult content. Viewer discretion is advised.

To the community
In this segment I reply to feedback. There is none yet so have a bloated block of text:
Most of you either read or partook in the recent discussion about game-guru and where it is heading and you might have thought that after all the concerns I raised I’d either not use GameGuru anymore or use another engine. I won’t do that for the following reasons: A) any other engine requires either to have a team or to invest way too much time and energy to get anything even close to what I can do in guru or FPSC. Anyone who gives you the “invest more time and you will get a superior game” line never actually invested that time and had to deal with the frustration of actual hard gamecoding. I do this as a creative outlet and for reasons I don’t understand myself all too well  but I don’t have the resources to play one-man gamestudio. B) FPSC classic is very fiddely when it comes to shaders and tends to combust under its own weight even if my project is minimalistic and dumbed-down. I can do simple but not FPSC simple. Even something as simplistic as “Shavra-Black November” didn’t build (one level did, but that was it) C) I like this community. You guys are fun and I genuinely care about your feedback.
No, I stick with gameguru for a while until the game-making aera is over and I move on. Maybe to jewelry.

Special thanks to rolfy for making the design of alien terrain a walk in the park
To the developers
In this segment I bring forth some feedback I might have or questions that raised during development. I don’t believe they’ll follow my thread this thightly but if they stop by, please check out this segment!
Being able to adjust the values of ambience and other settings via the sliders is great and well done! What would make it even better would be being able to save them as default or even as a preset! As of now I have written them down per hand but having a “save to file” function that spits out a .txt would be neat too .
I’m impressed with the FPS I am getting on my maps by the way, the times of FPSC are definately over!

About the game

Acythian is a pretty straight-forward shooter. None of my ambitious ideas like Shavra ever took flight so I rather stick with something smaller in scope that will get released in the end. Only small projects for uncle wolf!
The game relies on well designed maps with multiple engaging points, survivalist gameplay with a somewhat realistic “behind-enemy-lines” flair to it and a strong dystopian atmosphere.


Science Fiction with retrofuturistic and dystopian influences

The united solarsystems have lost a barely terraformed planet to the oligarchy. You’re a fighterpilot being shot down behind enemy lines upon retreat. You crashland (more crash than land ) in a worn torn, EMP distorted sector where most structures have been destroyed or rendered unusable. Enemy stragglers are still holding out and reinforcments are to come soon so you must find means to escape. Alone, facing tremendous opposition you will need to hijack a communications relay and find a way from the planet Acythian.


Empires are rarely vanquised by external force, they tend to crumble from within once their lifespan has …expired. The interstellar federation was the empire that allowed us to colonialize 14 solarsystems in a remarkably short amount of time. The courts where just, the education was flourishing and the people where free and healthy. Poverty barely existed, crime decreased and society reached its peak in empathy, tolerance and blissful coexistance. A large portion of humanity prospered in this environment yet an even larger one became lazy and uninspired. First signs of decadence, self indulgence and the vitriol fight for causes that where none or trivial in nature started to redivide us. It was the beginning of the end. Soon after our unity was broken and fractions started petty arguments. Planets forced independence upon themselves and soon after racism began to thrive. Few decades later the first interplanetary wars where fought. The conflict was brutal and forged to opposing parties. The oligarchy and the remnants of the federation now called united solarsystems. If no ways to coexist peacefully will be found soon humanity will soon be on the brink of its destruction and might soon again be restricted to a single blue planet in the sol-system.

Proof of concept / first screenshots

The acythian moon

Purification rigs in an almost dired out lakebed on an alien world.

Pretty ambience 

I’m going for a look inspired by some scifi illustrations I saw as a child 

A weapon work in progress. The guns won’t be anything too wild as they will be rigged to the stock animations or a set of EAI’s modernday guns. This one is something I’m not all that happy with.

The marketing for this will be this: The demo will be free (obviously) the full version will cost 4 USD while the stellar-edition will cost 40 USD and include all the assets I make for this project (wether or not the guns will also be included is not yet decided)

Please leave some feedback or comments! Its, as always, warmly appreciated!
Advice for fellow developers
There is a free batch conversion tool available for Quickly convert all your textures in .dds!

So! Whats new? Well!! Nothing…what follows will likely be incredibly dull and uninteresting to you…in fact, the content of this post will most likely be completely removed after I made the transition to the newer, better concept for acythian. The truth is: making a dull, low quality shooter isn’t fun and there are already thousands to chose from. So onward!!
….To prototyping land

Here are some leftovers from the original design and color pallette.

This is an android working on a deceased soldier…and there is also a pile of bones on the floor. None of that matters though because this scene is not in the final game

You might wonder why I show screenshots of an already discontinued design…the reason is simple: For this project to be entertaining for me I decided to double the quality of my old FPSC work and make it a really cerebreal game. This means that there won’t be an update for a while and I don’t want to leave you people hangin and have the thread die down.
It took a while until a story and idea hit me that I could tell mostly through environment and notes with only occasional characters that isn’t pretentious scrap like most first person adventures…but when it did hit me, it hit hard and I’m very motivated to make it my game project of the year.

Acythian is now a first person adventure…like all those projects FPSC didn’t let me do. (Speaking of FPSC projects…I dug out the first one I EVER released on the TGC boards…it will be on the youtubes soon!) I have faith that guru will eventually let me make my little short stories and that would make and old Wolf happy.

The tagline of the project is “the divine law” so you can guess that its going to be heavy handed…however, its also going to be creapy…a lot more than my previous horror games and there will be the usual hidden humour.

You will now look at a nonsense prototype map I was clicking around in when I was forging the new game idea in my head.

I’m also modernizing and importing the FPSC classic stock assets for this game. They aged phenomenaly and require very little renovation.
The return …….To prototyping land

I wasn’t working as much on this the last couple of days but what I was trying to do was increasing the resolution and rewrapping the stock entities. Especially the architectural ones. I also made sure they fit in my colorpallette and that the normalmaps are decent. I found that guru handles quite a few highres textures! I want this game to look very vivid and decided to go with a fully shaded, high resolution look. Wether I can maintain that for all props is yet to be seen. This is the exact opposite of Spyra’s prototype where I was working with very low-res textures to fit everything in FPSC’s memorycap.

These are from wizard of ids stock media, slightly updated for acythians look.

Another thing I was attempting was architectural design without the conkit. This might help to enhance my experience with the conkit later.
The result was simply that while I can model the levels architecture entirely or partially in outside software, I just don’t reach a sufficient level of accuracy and so far it really is a pain to do anything indoorsy with guru.

Here are some failed attempts that the lightmapper screwed up even more (I’m having all the issues rolfy has already noted):

Something that worked pretty well is the player body! Big shoutout to DVader for the basic script that I use for now (uncertain wether there will follow a built in function for this). I’ll just have to add straving, crouching and jumping and its alright for alpha testing. This is of course a feature that goes into polish much later. The model has been a gift from the great gunsmith EAI and it has a ton of animations that might just do some serious first-person magic with the right use of LUA…I hope to achieve some cool environment interaction. …hope!
s4’s FPSC version of this had a feature to remove the limbs whenever the player equipped a weapon. This worked pretty seamlessly and I’m hoping to achieve something similar in guru. I’ll also replace her hands with ones resembling the HUD handrig once I know what that rig looks like
The player-shadow is a nice plus! when I had this feature in FPSC, it was a planary projected one, now its a dynamic one.

This should remind some older gamers of the terrific survival shooter “Trespasser”

This whole update should have been here before 2016 and polished but lots of things got in the way. I don’t like to present halfbaked content but hey! We are all developers here and you all now that none of this is in a final stage. This isn’t a promotional thread either but a work in progress.
I really wanted this to be out before Lee is releasing any major update so people know that I have been suffering the roughness of Game Guru just as much as my fellow dev!

Little miss Murder here is the heroine of Acythian. I’m not sure yet wether I’ll make this a third or first person game. The character, which Errant AI generously provided, has a large set of animations so third person wouldn’t look bad at all. Plus I could use my own weapon designs. The downside is that it is less immersive and with VR sets coming up having it in first person with a good player-body would be great. I’ll experiment around and let you know once my decision is final. The weapon she is holding is a placeholder and will not be in the game. Her look will be slightly altered as well. Depending on how guru develops I might rig some more equipment to her but only if we’ll get an inventory system and if I can swap out character meshes “on the fly”.
Everything else you see on here is still pretty early in development, except for the car meshes which will likely not get any more polish. (cars are outdated in the lore of Acythian an litter the streets of poor districts.

Whats this going to be anyway?

Bugsy recently developed this gem of a cyberpunk game. He was almost unable to release it because the built FPSC game gave him a plethora of crashes and errors. He pushed through though… luckily. I did so too with earlier titles but my later titles just didn’t work in FPSC. They’d eventually crumble under their own weight (runtime error…subscript out of bounds…random crash. Something along these lines would ensue). This is an effort to resurrect some of the content and ideas from these dead titles.

This for example! – I would have loved to finish it but it just overloaded FPSC’s Memcap. No matter what. (and many more problems aswell.) Same with Black November. Half a dozen levels done and all I have to show for it is a video of the first level.

I believe that my sci fi games have a distinct tone and style to them and I’d really like to finally get that tone and style on some players hard drives.
Acythian will be a story driven cyberpunk action game filled with atmosphere. It will redefine and recombine old ideas and have them all in a neat and hopefully entertaining 15 level package. This is what I try to do. This is my game project for this year.

There is little design work that is actually at a stage where it can be presented. What I show you here is mighty unpolished but you’ll get an idea where some of it is going. Almost all of it is in real time lighting. the baking system does not seem to like scaled or rotated meshes…and some meshes just for their attitude I guess  .

Note: The game start with our heroine being washed up ashore on a littered beach. With a towering skyline in the background…this should send the tone. With the current water shader and all… you can only see that there are plenty of carwrecks underwater from a distance. SCREENSHOT

I have yet to convert most of my trash and litter models to get the beach done. this is busywork though. Many of these models date back to ancient projects of mine

I think that add there looks misplaced and will be swapped with something else soon. I added the lensflare in post as I had to edit the image because the Mega Pack Version of my Cyberpunk-pack billboard doesn’t have the _I map set.. so I got carried away. Don’t judge me!

I tried to craft a somewhat authentic rocky coast. The result is okay … so far.

So! There are plenty more things I wanted to write about, but they slipped my mind  So please! If you have questions, air your thoughts here. I’d be happy to answer. 


…is being slow. I’m convinced that in 2 or 3 months (provided I have the time) I’ll plow ahead much faster. Right now I am still updating, redesigning and importing my media (from a collection I have amassed in 9 years of GD) including modeling new stuff.

I was however trying out how well dynamic objects behave in Guru and I am more than pleasantly surprised. I might easily have very dynamic and destructible environments in Acythian’s action sequences. That the levels will be interactive is a given. I even tried to provide a lot of interactions in an engine as static as FPSC’s.

I managed to import all my trash… I mean trash and rubble models for the polluted beach level. Its spiffing now but I won’t show progress of that map again, maybe later, maybe never. Otherwise it won’t be interesting to explore in the final release. But then again, this IS a developers forum not steam-greenlight. We’ll see!

This however:

Shows minor progress.

Its not at all the level I would liked to get on the forums in January but its something!! I made a new years resolution: At least 2 updates per month!

The reason why there is so little new to show is because I don’t want to keep showing you levels you already saw and because getting my media up and running takes way longer than I ever expected. I’m also experimenting a lot with gameplay and what can realistically be done. Being able to shoot things apart and see them breaking down is already pretty neat!! Lets take it further.

I hope I can show you the test map where I’ll prototype the shooting and (I dearly hope so) stealth elements of the game in february. I will however be out of the country for a while.

What you see above is a mere scene showing some media. Again…just a sign of life!! Its not baked and has tagged on light effects… but I won’t rant about the lightmapping again. ..I hold myself back!‘d like to start this update with a big shout out to a lot of present and former community members. All the artists who’s work I use in this project, without you I couldn’t do much of a game in any reasonable time span and you all add to the look of this title.
Its tedious and takes patience to convert my model library for guru but I can finally say that I have a solid foundation. I have such a great library of content from you guys that I accumulated over the years, its just amazing!

I’ll have a lot on my plate the upcoming two months so I won’t have as much time to put in this project as I had the last couple of weeks. In that time I did however manage to get stuff done for this. Not as much as I wanted but its noteworthy. The list:

– a new NPC rig. EAI’s Task Force characters are very well rigged so I don’t have much trouble modifying them and adding new accessories.
– plenty of converted and retextured media
– breakable glass
– a bit of early mapping

On a semi related note, I made this drawing. Its cyberpunkish as well and I’ll likely use it as a graffiti somewhere in the game

I’m pretty sure about where I want to take this game visually and its starting to look alright!! I have faith that one of these days that big bad update will hit that lets me light these levels.

I’m still experimenting on how guru will handle this but it looks like I’ll be able to have reasonably large levels that connect in and outdoor areas. In the level I present you now you have to question folk at a market, to gain access to an apartment where you are then again looking for a way into an illegal hacktivist outpost. (here this level will end) Its paramount that my indoor scenes will at least have as much detail as they had in FPSC and so far…it seems to work just fine  Big compliment to the developers for getting us this far!

A look at a middle class living area

NPC holding McGuffin (as entitie) (scene from a test map that will not make it in the game) I’d wish for a way attach dynamic lights like this to moving characters in the future  She is wearing a chest plate that didn’t work out as well as I hoped


All feedback welcome
I, of course, wanted this update to be rather large and show a lot of progress simply because of how long it has been since I updated anything on here but I must disappoint once again.
Getting my media up and running is seemingly a herculian task but I will also not opt for unpolished, shaderless relics of the past.

To add to my uncertainty as to what working on next rather than importing new media is the state of game guru itself which is kind of hanging in the air at the moment.

I can’t start working on media that require a shader different from the default entitie or char one because I don’t know what shaders we will get later.
I can’t work on the levels yet because the …whatever segment thing we are gonna get… is not included in the package yet so I’d have to stick to cyberpunk city areas that, again, look rather brown and washed out in the current rendering engine.
Working on the more advanced gameplay would be unwise because I can not tell what will be added by default soon that might be far superior to my own attempts at implementing them.
I have a lot of custom media for this game, yes, but none set up for these reasons. Well, almost none. In an experiment I was getting some very ancient lowpoly stuff up and running and imported old DarkMatter and Modelpack 5 meshes. Some of these look good enough to be in the background of the black market gun stores or even on a third person viewed character!

So far I am willing to make this a TPS, not just because of the gorgeous mesh I have from EAI but also because I have released about 5 FPS games already and worked on many more that didn’t get as far. It would be new.

Now I’d have to wait on a better implementation and more TPS features from TGC and see what can be done with that, but it will take a while until we reach anything like that. Then there is of course the possibility that EAI will sometime in the future release guns so good that I have to use them and drop the TPS concept.

Here is how I envision TPS view…at least for the shooting:

TPS Shooting Concept

OTS Shooting Concept

I wonder if we ever get that kind of freedom to set this up as seen above without breaking a leg but I guess we have to be patient and see.
What do you think? Any of the above mentioned hindering your development? If not, how do you cope with it?
I agree with you guys…but sometimes its not game guru…sometimes I am simply incompetent

Game guru does many things right but so far most games have looked blurry, hazy and muddy simply because they where lit horrendously bad. Kind of like the first FPSC games where grey and desaturated everything about my game guru games looked off… almost everyone else had the same problems and someone even released survival horror games on steam without proper lighting effects (using game guru). I suppose not everyone has to care
I digress… my point is that I have been messing about with game gurus lighting system and after a lot of trial and error and a few funny bugs I got the lightmapping system not only to work but also found out that, while its still in a rough state, its exactly the kind of lightmapping system that I always wanted to have in FPSC.
I can have fully shaded objects that don’t look off, correctly displayed transparent objects and I don’t have the memorycap rendering anything larger impossible.
I owe Lee an apology and will later make a thread about this.

Note that plenty of these have been scaled etc. and none glitch out like in previous GG versions.
Bugsy mentioned that his work-in-progress looks really good and that I should post it on the thread. Who am I to question his judgment:
Thank you for reading!

About serygala

Who really has time to think about a summary of himself on the internet? I like art, women, gamedesign and I love coffee. Everything else is too much information.
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