First Year of Smith and Winston

I posted most of this to TIG Forums but thought I’d reproduce it here for people that don’t want to read a forum.

Smith and Winston is a twin stick shooter for Win, Mac, Linux and PS4.

S&W is Inspired by Ikari Warriors and Heavy Barrel, two great arcade games that are great fun to play even now.

Charlie (artist) and I (dazza the coder) have been working on Smith and Winston for just over a year now. We’ve come a long way in that time and this post is a sort of walk through time to show you where we are in the journey.

Initial Concept November 2013

Concept landscape

Concept Enemy

Prototype in Unity

We started out using Unity. Neither of us had used Unity before so it was a bit of a ride. After a few weeks we had a guy running around and shooting things. We weren’t really happy with the art style though, it just wasn’t coming together for us. Although Unity is great I didn’t really enjoy using it. Lots of crashes and lots of weirdness that as a coder I just wanted to fix.

Change of Art Direction Jan 2014

Different Art Style

Initial 8bit character designs. We started to like what we were doing but how were we going to translate this in to a 3D game. We didn’t want to make it purely 2D like the originals but polygon work is very labour intensive and as a two man team that made us nervous.

Move to Voxels for enemies

Charlie creates these concept baddies using Qubicle (great voxel editor) and we seriously start to think we should make it a voxel based game (March 2014). I think in hindsight I was more reluctant than Charlie to make a voxel game. It seemed quite risky and Unity was already a bit if a risk.

Ditch Unity

I decide we should ditch Unity and run with our own code base so we can voxel this game up. While this seems bat shit it meant that I could say to Charlie what we definitely could and couldn’t do without worrying about Unity getting in the way. We both know it’s a lot of work though but it’s so exciting at the beginning isn’t it?

Start of BSEd

The editor starts and as always it’s a bit shit at the beginning. We really weren’t sure if we were doing the right thing dropping Unity but it seemed like a big risk to me and I knew I could get and engine/editor up and running and realise this game.

More BSEd

After a long few months (that’s coder speak for six months) the editor is starting to come together pretty well and we’re rocking some designs and playing some levels. The gap in writing the Editor and pulling the engine together gives Charlie a long time to pull concepts together and really nail the art style.

Starting to come together

Here is a video showing: how awful it looked in March 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pvriq8puKuU looking better a few months later: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjGY7pV3PUc July 2014 and the editor is coming together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWTFmYu3k6g August and the game is looking quite good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtrimC_TWe4

August - We decided on the Logo and name, set in stone now

Smith and Winston Logo

Vertical Slice - New year Bosses

We started working on a ‘vertical slice’ in the new year. We wanted something to show potential publishers or maybe, if we can pluck up the courage, a kick starter campaign. For a vertical slice we needed a boss so we started to prototype one:

Spider Boss

We want to show the varing terrains that the game will have so far we’ve got desert and jungle plus inside a military base type thing (ok not original but who cares!)

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