Push the Lane

Push the Lane is a unique, endlessly replayable single-player turn based strategy game that combines elements from DotA, Rogue-likes, and puzzle games into something totally new. The game is currently in early alpha development. Check out the Push the Lane forums (at Dinofarm Games) to get the latest updates.

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Waves of gems crash into each other in the middle of a space platform. Push and throw the gems, maneuver around the platform, and construct buildings to power up your gems, push the lanes, and emerge victorious!

 

Features

  • 8-12 characters with their own unique abilities (at launch, more later on)
  • 8-12 buildings that do different things, like produce gems, move gems, power up gems, move the player, and more.
  • A single-player campaign that tells a story about success, failure and friendship
  • A new “discovery” system which lets players find secret characters, buildings, and more
  • Endlessly replayable with procedurally generating elements and a single-player Elo system
  • Memorable characters and charming portrait artwork by Fariza Dzatalin
  • Deep, interesting and challenging gameplay that will be frequently updated to manage gameplay balance
  • A full original thematic rock soundtrack, including songs from other indie composers

Story

Push the Lane’s single player campaign tells a story about of group of friends whose dreams never materialize. How they cope with that reality leads them to find something better than they could have previously imagined.

Push the Lane takes place in the year 2057. The growth of physical technology such as computers, AI and space travel has massively slowed over the last thirty years. In response, humans have shifted their focus to studying the arts and social sciences, and have made massive advancements in those areas. The world’s nations have come together to reduce global inequality and improve the environment, and there hasn’t been a large scale violent conflict for the last 20 years.

Tennor is a 21 year old guitar player who, since she was a little girl, wanted to go on tour and play in a rock band. For years, she worked so hard to get her band into the world’s top rock band competition, but a few months ago, they tried out, and didn’t make the cut. Band morale was extremely low since then. Soon, their keyboardist (and Tennor’s best friend), Lemon, left the band to try out for the Push the Lane competitve game show that takes place on an orbiting space station.

After a few months of feeling completely lost without her band, as well as betrayed by her best friend, Tennor decides that she will also try out this Push the Lane thing. Maybe if she wins it, she can use that fame to propel her band to victory. And maybe she can show Lemon how mistaken she was for leaving the band.

Above: Lemon

When she gets to the Push the Lane competition, though, things quickly change. The tournament is huge — the most popular show on Earth, whose population has risen to 12 billion. Tens of thousands of contestants train on multiple platforms to even have a chance of getting on the show itself.

Lemon is nowhere to be found, but Tennor meets many others from across the globe who challenge her and change her forever. Tennor also finds herself rising through the ranks surprisingly quickly. Seems like she has a knack for this Lane-pushin’ stuff.

What will it be like when she meets Lemon? Will they still be friends? Will they get the band back together?

Gameplay

Push the Lane is a tactical strategy game that revolves around the idea of, as the name suggests, “pushing lanes”. There are three horizontal lanes that gems travel across. If a gem reaches all the way across, the colored tiles “push” one tile in that direction. If a gem reaches all the way across when the tiles are pushed all the way, that team (either you, or “The House”, an AI run by the show) gets a point. First team to 30 points wins!

Sounds simple, except The House is cranking up the power of their gems over time, producing horrifying BIG GEMS and going into Red Alert Mode. Whereas, your gems stay small and weak, unless you can do something about it.

So what can you do to counteract the powerful gems of The House?

Characters

Push the Lane will ship with 8-12 characters, each of which has their own unique set of abilities. Some are good at throwing gems around the board. Some are good at maneuvering quickly. Some are good at using Buildings, which we’ll talk about later. Their abilities reflect their personalities and abilities as people – the fashion designer can change their appearance on the fly, the programmer can modify buildings, and so on. Each character has a distinct, unique identity and offers its own tactical possibilities.

Tay uses futuristic art technology to paint the air.
Mardhi, a fashion designer (also plays drums in Tennor’s band)

Buildings

While characters offer the player short-term tactical options for how to move around and directly manipulate things, buildings allow the player to set up long term strategies. Here’s some example buildings:

  • Reactor – Powers up gems that are adjacent to it
  • Gem Factory – Produces new 1-value gems
  • Vacuum – Pushes gems above it downward until they hit a new lane
  • Grinder – Grinds gems into Crystals (money)
  • Fan – Speeds up gems nearby
  • Wall – Slows gems down and then powers up a gem
  • Launcher – Bounces gems to another lane
  • Shop – Allows you to buy items from the shop while you’re adjacent to it (rather than having to go back to the base)

Each building on its own has a somewhat small effect (although there are some expensive buildings like a Super Gem Factory that produces lots of gems), but the real effects come when you combine buildings. Design a little “system” where a Gem factory creates a gem, the gem gets pulled downward to a fan which speeds it up and then a launched which bounces it to a lane you’re working on, and it lands next to a Reactor, becoming more powerful, as an example.

Throughout the match, you can collect crystals left behind from crashed Gems and use the crystals to buy Buildings at the Shop.

The Art

For Push the Lane’s art, I had a rough idea of what I was looking for, but I also wanted to find something that challenged me. I didn’t want something that looked like the kinds of stuff I was used to. I searched around for awhile before I found my artist, an Indonesian woman named Fariza Dzatalin. I was really moved by a couple of her pieces in particular. They feel strangely non-misanthropic to me, and they also feel like something that someone with my background couldn’t, or perhaps wouldn’t make.

One of Fariza’s works that struck me most for its rendering style and content.

I’ve had Fariza do art for about a dozen characters, and I have more planned too — if I can get the funding.

Thanks for reading! Follow Push the Lane on Twitter and Facebook for more updates. Email pushthelane@keithburgun.net with inquiries!