Push the Lane!

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I’ve been working on this game now for over a year. It started as an abstract strategy game that was kind of like bejeweled or something, and then I decided to take it in a D&D Boxing direction with the Battle Blast theme.

Now the design is maturing in a lot of ways. One small example: instead of your attacks dealing random amounts of damage, minions have a random amount of health. So it’s basically just one of the ways to convert the output randomness to input randomness.

Another neat thing: you have stats, like attack damage and items that change that, and the enemies have health and armor and all of that, but health is visually represented as pips underneath a minion that simply “how many of your attacks it WILL take to take down this minion”.

Here’s a rundown.

Theme
It’s an American Gladiators or Nickelodeon’s Guts! type of TV game show. A sport – played single player, against basically an advanced strategic obstacle course, fighting robotic minions.

Above: an actual screenshot. Many things are still transitioning from the previous iterations.

The setting is a world kinda like our own, but about 30-50 years into the future. None of the horrible doomsday scenarios have happened. Technology has advanced at a somewhat subdued rate, so the world isn’t that crazy different. One of the biggest changes it that the world is overall a lot less culturally misanthropic and much more inclusive. That’s sort of the angle I’m going with with this game. Like a videogame theme, but less misanthropic, more inclusive.

The characters all have different occupations and hobbies which determine their abilities in the Push the Lane! competition event. Tennor, seen above and on the title screen, is a rock guitarist in a band called Minuette. (She’s still operating with Norika Jims’ abilities at the moment, but she’ll have a bunch of her own that express something about her.)

The Art

Thematically I’m trying to achieve an “A+” on representation, if possible, in terms of representing a lot of different kinds of people in terms of race, gender identity, age, occupation, body type, and so on.

I suspect that one of the many reasons so many games do not get an A+ on that kind of representation is that they are created, largely, by similar kinds of people (basically, white, western, cishet males). So one of the things that I wanted to do with this project was involve someone who didn’t come from the same place that I did.

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, Fariza Dzatalin. I was really moved by a couple of her pieces in particular. They feel non-misanthropic, and they also feel like something that someone with my background couldn’t, or wouldn’t make.

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

You can check out Fariza’s DeviantArt page here. I’m really happy with the work she has produced for this project so far. Here are a couple other characters from Push the Lane!, which will give you some sense of what I mean about representation and more of a sense of Fariza’s art style for this game.

Mardhi, a fashion designer (also plays drums in Tennor’s band)
Tay uses futuristic art technology to paint the air.
Gameplay
Overall, it really does have the basic structure of a single player, turn based League of Legends, but with even less randomness. Towers are producing minions which move outward until they come across an enemy tower’s lane; then, they turn towards the enemy tower. Basically, you have 3 lanes of minions that are colliding against each other in the middle. There is a base top-left where the player can purchase new items.

Objective is to destroy the enemy towers before yours are destroyed. The difficulty is that the enemy minion spawns are scaling consistently throughout the game, and that enemy Challengers (randomly chosen “commander” type enemies, top right in the screenshot) are giving the minions new powers and using abilities to impair your progress. So it is, to some extent, a race to try to destroy the enemy towers before fifth phase, when things get really crazy.

Current State

You can play the game now, for windows, here. Warning: it doesn’t feel like much to play right now. The abilities aren’t really working, balance is totally wonktified, Challengers don’t work, and it’s generally strange to play. But you know, Auro was kinda like this, for years until it finally clicked together.

If you do download the game, I’d really appreciate it if you could sign up and interact at the Dinofarm Forums. We also just created a discord channel; feel free to stop by there as well.

 I’ve had a lot of mixed thoughts about posting it so early, but I feel like it will help me get it moving if I have some community engagement with it. (Alternatively, if no one shows any interest, it could help me decide to move onto other things.)

With all of that said, there’s actually a lot of infrastructure in this game already. There’s an item system that is much deeper than it look – items are useable and have a system in place for applying complex buffs of all kinds, and there’s code for “recipes” (i.e. League of Legends items) if we end up needing to go in that direction. It’s just that there isn’t that much connecting it all together yet.

You

I’m realizing that I maybe bit off a bit more than I can chew with this project, so I’m hoping that some of you will see something in this and want to help. Here are the ways that you can help:

Play the beta and give me your general thoughts, or better yet, detailed thoughts and proposals for how things should work.
– If you’re a programmer who would want to donate some time to the project, that would be fantastic. I’d also be up for talking about profit share scenarios if that would be something anyone was interested in.
Contribute to my Patreon, which is currently the only way I make back some of the time and money I spend on making games, podcasts, articles and videos.

I really look forward to hearing what everyone thinks of this project so far. Thanks for reading!

  • Bob Raskoph

    I’m a programmer. What kind of engine will you guys be using for this?

  • Email me – keithburgun@gmail.com.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, really disappointed, Keith.

    Using the term “sociopathic” so casually, and implying that it’s a bad thing is really offensive to people with antisocial personality disorder such as myself. I didn’t choose to a sociopath, I was born like this, and you belittling that really hurts.

    I thought you were better than this.

  • You know, while I was making this I had this thought, that I maybe should not be using this word in this way. I really appreciate you listening. I didn’t mean to belittle anyone, but I understand how it comes across that way, and it won’t happen again. Apologies, and thank you for the comment correcting me.