Okay, I should’ve spent longer on that post title, so let me clarify: The Formicide UI needs a bit of improvement. While the aesthetics of it could certainly use a boost, the real problem is communication. At Otakon, there were several systems we needed to explain in detail, as the UI didn’t make them clear (alternate fires, specials), and were are some systems that didn’t clearly communicate things to players even once they understood the mechanics (reloading, energy availability).

There’s some new tech involved to get in everything we want, but the most work is going to be spent on iterating through ideas until we’re happy with things. Things will inevitably change even after we think everything is solid, but that’s all for the best!

We’ll have some screenshots in the next couple of weeks once we have some good ideas implemented, but this week has been mostly post-con R&R and day-job stuff for Michael and I.

Post-Otakon Thanks

Thank you to everyone who came out and tried Formicide at Otakon, we had a blast!

If you’re looking for more Formicide action, be sure to hop on the public server for our weekly Formicide play sessions Wednesdays 10-10:30 PM EDT!

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The day has come, and Otakon is about to officially be underway! Our booth will be in the huge video game hall (hall B), right as you walk in from the Charles St entrance. We’ll have some systems setup for people to come and try it out, so come on down and get to blastin!

We are proud to announce that we’ll be presenting Formicide at Otakon this week, August 8-10, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland! If you’re coming to Otakon, stop on by! Stay tuned for booth details.

This new version features mostly bug fixes and some visual updates. We didn’t want to change too much with Otakon coming up, so anything related to the actual demo build is fairly minor. A few of these bugs were pretty annoying though, so we still feel like it’s worth putting out. No more getting stuck in terrain with the Shock Trooper special Jaunt ability for one, and no more suiciding while using the Fire Ants Flame Dash and Fire Axes together! Well, unless you dash INTO them after you throw them. Don’t do that.

The next patch (v0.15) will be a bigger one and feature some significant UI changes that have been a long time coming. We’ll be posting updates on our progress for that, but for now, go ahead and pick this patch up!

Full details on all of the above are available at the download page, as well as the actual game itself: http://formicide.net/download.php

Formicide Quick Start

Since we’re still in need of an in-game tutorial and more helpful UI, here’s a quick and dirty guide to get Formicide up and running as fast as possible.

Joining the Public Test Server

  1. Download the Formicide demo here and install it.
  2. Launch Formicide.
  3. Click “PLAY”.
  4. Click “PUBLIC”.

That’s it! You’re now connected to the public test server (PTS).

If the public button is disabled, that means the PTS is undergoing maintenance. Try again at a later time and it will be back up.

If you try to join the PTS and get the message “Unable to join server. Reason: Server is newer than client.”, that means the PTS is running a newer patch than your client. You should see a “NEW PATCH” button in the bottom left corner of the screen. Click that to go to the download page and install the newest patch.

Controls

Key
Action
A
Move left.
D
Move right.
Space
Jump.
Mouse Left Click
If alive, fire equipped weapon primary fire. If dead, respawn.
Mouse Right Click
Fire equipped weapon alt fire.
W
Reload. You’ll also auto reload if you try to fire and are out of ammo.
Left Shift
Use special ability.
Mouse Wheel Down
Equip next weapon.
Mouse Wheel Up
Equip previous weapon.
1
Equip weapon 1.
2
Equip weapon 2.
Tab
Show/ hide leaderboard.
F1
Choose new class (only available while dead).
F2
Suicide.
S
Dig.
Enter
Chat. Press once for allied chat. Press twice for global chat.

Tips

  • Your ant aims at your cursor.
  • Most weapon primary fires use ammo. Most weapon alt fires use energy. Some use both. Some use neither.
  • Every class has a special ability that can be activated at no energy cost by pressing Left Shift. You’ll know your ability is ready when you see trails behind your ant.
  • The energy bar has notches to let you know the cost of using alt fires for weapons. Press Mouse Right Click to unleash the pain.
  • Still alive, but want to change your class? Press F2 to blow yourself up.
  • Collect blue powerups to charge up your energy bar. Collect green powerups to heal yourself. Collect purple powerups to get a temporary shield.
  • Enemy names are visible if you mouse over their ant. That also might be a good time to start shooting at them.
  • Different classes have different movement speeds, jump heights, health, weapons, and special abilities. If the class you’re playing doesn’t fit your style, give another one a try.
  • Hold down jump (Space) to jump higher. You can also jump while in the air.
  • Pan the camera around the map while dead by moving the cursor to the edge of the screen.

Team Point Control

  • Click to spawn once you see arrows pointing at control beacons. You’ll spawn at the one closest to where you clicked.
  • Cap control beacons by standing near them and flipping them to your team color.
  • Points are added every few seconds based on the difference in beacons controlled by each team.
  • Win by capping/ defending beacons and getting your team to 100 points first.

Team Deathmatch

  • You automatically respawn a few seconds after dying or choosing a class.
  • Win by getting your team to 20 kills first.

Class Overview

    Soldier

    Weapons: Shotgun, Rocket Launcher
    Special: Overcharge

    The soldier may be slow, but he has the hit points and firepower to make up for it. His overcharge ability increases the power of his next shot in dramatic fashion.

    Hunter

    Weapons: Bloodseeker, Widow Rifle
    Special: Blink

    Armed with both a long range rifle and deadly melee weapon, the Hunter’s speed and versatility makes him dangerous on offense. His blink ability teleports him forward a short distance and provides brief invisibility from the enemy team.

    Fire Ant

    Weapons: Fire Ax, Flamethrower
    Special: Flame Dash

    Unfazed by large groups of enemies, the Fire Ant works best against tightly packed foes. His fire axes not only cut through enemies, but can be ignited as well. His flame dash ability launches him through the air, dropping napalm over the ground as he travels.

    Shock Trooper

    Weapons: Taser, Thunderclap
    Special: Jaunt

    Able to pass through solid ground in the blink of an eye, the Shock Trooper is unpredictable, quick-hitting, and dangerous in close quarters. His jaunt ability allows him to quickly teleport to any location he can see.

I swear the closer we get to finishing this game, the more it feels like we have left to do, like some Escher staircase or something. Fortunately, we still feel like we’ve made it a long way with what we’ve accomplished – it’s just that the finish line keeps moving. I’ll take it!

There isn’t a whole lot of tech left to add for release fortunately, which has a lot of exciting implications. For one, the game itself will be a more stable state mechanically, so new and modified content will be easier to test and get feedback from. That, and we can finally implement and test new ideas. On the design end of things, I’m focusing on new maps, new classes, and polishing old content that we haven’t been happy with for awhile. On that point, we’re working on redoing some of the lightning effects, which I think are a big improvement:

New Lightning!

As you can see, there’s still some work left to do to clean things up, but it’s nice to finally clean up some effects that have fallen behind the rest of Formicide’s visual development. More to come soon!

We released a huge patch yesterday and now we’re excited to try it in a public game, so we’re having a playsession tonight at 10 EDT on the public test server!

v0.13 has a ton of new stuff, including a new game mode: Point Control. The mechanics are similar to those in TF2: 2 teams battle for control of several beacons throughout the map. Controlling these beacons gives you points, as long as you control more than the other team. This game mode takes advantage of a revamped class system, which is host to a number of balance changes, new skins, team colors, new effects, and some sweet, sweet bug fixes.

Download the Formicide demo at www.formicide.net/download.php. Hope to see you tonight!