5LS on weapon progression

There is an interesting thread going on over at the official forum on the topic of weapon progression. A backer has expressed concerns that the weapon progression might be too linear. 5LS developer Mitch has chimed in with the following comment:

We are trying to avoid the scenario where you stop wanting to use a particular weapon because there’s something which is better in every way. While we do have ballistic, laser and plasma, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example (and Chris can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is how it’s going), ballistic weapons are strong against flesh, average on shields, and weak against armour. Laser is strong against shields, average on armour, and weak against flesh. Plasma is strong against armour, average against flesh, and weak against shields.

So, really, the best gun for the job comes down to the enemy you’re fighting. So, one faction might favour armour, and so having a mix of plasma and ballistic weapons would be optimal, while a faction who likes to use shields would be better to take on with lasers, etc.

There will also be further variation on the other aspects you’ve mentioned (damage, fire rate, accuracy, etc) within each category, which you’d vary depending on your personal preference (shotguns and Uzis if you like to get up close and brutal, miniguns and assault rifles for suppression and flanking, sniper rifles for sneaky long-range shots, and so on). It’s going to take a lot of balancing to get right, but we feel this kind of approach helps to avoid feeling like you’ve wasted time acquiring a particular weapon or upgrade.

- 5LS-Mitch

The approach they are taking reminds me a bit of Starcraft, where there is a variety of units but they are all balanced to have both strong points and weak points, so that there is never one unit that is objectively “the best” and that would be the right choice in every situation. Players in Starcraft usually end up using a mixture of units, depending on the situation at hand. If the weapon situation in Satellite Reign ends up something like that, it would really add a lot of depth to the gameplay. It is perhaps no coincidence that MikeD previously mentioned that he is an avid player of Starcraft II? ;)

Metrocide: A Syndicate inspired indie game

Today’s news is not strictly speaking Satellite Reign related, but it is Syndicate related at least: There is a new indie game in the making that is (partially) Syndicate inspired. The game is called Metrocide, and it is being developed by the Australian developer team Flat Earth Games. According to their website, the action takes place in a “retro-futuristic and cyberpunk-inspired” city. The top-down perspective and gameplay are reminiscent of the original Syndicate and (even more so) GTA1/2. You can check out a video here:

Pre-Ordering at Humble Bundle started, Info on Price and Sys Requirements

Apparently, pre-ordering of Satellite Reign has started over at the Humble Bundle website. A storefront for the game has been set up, and besides showing a video (reveal trailer) and some general information about the game, it offers the possibility of pre-ordering. The Humble Bundle webstore furthermore reveals the price and the system requirements of the game. The currently listed prices are:

€20.99 (reduced from €22.99)
$26.99 (reduced from $29.99)

The system requirements is something that backers have frequently asked about. Well, now we know:


OS: Windowx 7/8
Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 1GB DX9 or equivalent OpenGL GPU

OS: Windowx 7/8
Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 1GB DX9 or equivalent OpenGL GPU

OS: Windowx 7/8
Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 1GB DX9 or equivalent OpenGL GPU


Processor: Quad Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM

Processor: Quad Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM

Processor: Quad Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM

Update 14. August
Developer MikeD has left the following comment on the forum about these system requirements:

Hi, re minimum spec, the humble store details [posted above] are my best guess at this time.

If anything I expect the recommended spec may even drop a little, all though its hard to say as Brent is busy adding more and more detail to the worlds.

At alpha the game wont be fully optimised so with the alpha build you will need a better machine than at final game launch. (you might have to turn down a few settings)


Dev Diary #9: Info on preorder, alpha, recent videos and PAX

The ninth developer diary has gone up on the Satellite Reign homepage. It is mostly information that is already known (if you follow Satellite News, at least), but there are a few news bits. The biggest one is that they are now actively working towards an alpha release. As the Early Access release is scheduled for the end of this year, and there will be both an alpha and a beta release before that, it would appear that we can expect the alpha within the next couple of months.

Another new information is that the distribution for backers will be handled by Humble Bundle. Backers will be able to either download from there directly or redeem a Steam key. It seems to me that this is a good choice, as Humble Bundle is an established platform for smaller and medium games, they are experienced with cross-platform releases, and most of all it relieves 5LS of the burden to manage the key delivery themselves.

Finally, we get a few new animated gifs webm video snippets of a scene that was also seen in the recent Good Game video. Main highlight in that in-game scene is a small flying object, which I am guessing is a police drone. It is seen shooting blue laser beams and causing panic in the crowd:

police-drone2 police-drone3

5 Lives Studios featured in Unity Developer Profile

Another new video about 5LS has popped up on the Internet! This time it’s a Unity Developer Profile. In the video, the team members explain why they chose to work with the Unity 3D engine. There’s no actual new information about the game, but it’s still worth watching, even just to see how the epic beards are continuing to sprout at the studio :) Watch it below:

Good Game TV Feature on 5LS

Good Game TV is a a series by Australia’s national public broadcaster ABC dedicated to video gaming. In their latest feature, they cover 5 Lives Studios and their upcoming game Satellite Reign. There is a lot of good stuff in this video, including interviews with different team members, a couple of shots of the tools they use (including Unity, Animation, and Motion Capture), and even some (brief) new in-engine scenes. Watch the video below:

Here are some screen captures:


Chris and Dean designing a character



Running animation


Dean talks about how to create a large city with a small team


A new ingame scene with a lot of pedestrians


Neat detail: a drone is shooting a blue laser

Satellite Reign to be shown off at PAX Australia

The latest news from the forum is that the 5LS team will be at PAX Australia this year showing off a part of the game. PAX Australia will take place Oct 31 – Nov 2 in Melbourne. The entire dev team will be there, according to this forum post by Dean:

The entire team are going down actually and we are intending to have the current progress of a portion of the game with us (warts and all) for people to take a look at. :)


So don’t miss out on this if you live in the area! I won’t be able to make it there myself, but I am already looking forward to some good first hand reports from visitors.

Pledging closed – available soon for preorder

Pledging on the Satellite Reign website has now been closed. The Pledge section on the website has been replaced by a Store, where you will currently see a banner that says “available soon for pre-order!”.

The final count is:

Pledged: $786’185 (in AUD, I presume)

Backers: 16’848

On Twitter, the team let’s us know that there is currently a problem with logging in to their site’s forum, which they are working on fixing:

@SatelliteReign: We are aware there are log in issues with the site and are working on a fix.
Also pledging has now ended, thank you for all your support!

On weapon logistics and ammo

A thread on the forum that started out discussing potential weapon logistics (how to transport large and bulky weapons) then turned to the topic of ammo replenish. The question is whether agents should have “infinite pockets” for ammo. Chris from 5LS had the following to say

[...] the agents have 2 slots for weapons to start with 1) the pistol slot that never runs out of ammo and 2) the “regular” weapons that have a finite amount of ammo … if you want your agents to carry more weapons / ammo you will be able to get augmentations that allow you to carry more… but that is a choice you will have to make..
so its more like “deep pockets” rather than “infinite pockets” :P
at the moment you pickup ammo from the enemies weapons that fall to the ground (click on them and the agent will go over and pickup ammo) but I could set it up so that if you alt + click on them you pick up the weapon and start using that one (discarding the one you are holding) …

- Chris

Later on, MikeD joined the discussion with a response to some ideas suggested in the thread:

I’d like the crazy oversized weapons to have an unfold animation, so they start much smaller then when the agent pulls em out they go through their unfold animation, that could look really really cool. But as ever its a matter of time constraints, its down our wish list rather than an essential item.

@Liuz I like the idea of using car trunks, even more so if you consider self driving cars, you call up a new weapon load out and its deployed to you via a car, (a little like the shop delivery helpers in Dota).


It remains to be seen then whether any of that makes it into the final game ;)

Later on in the thread, the discussion turned to whether the weapons in Satellite Reign should be crazy and over the top, or more realistic. In a comment on the topic, MikeD remarked that Syndicate Wars had fairly crazy weapons, more so than the original Syndicate. Personally, I feel that the weapons could be rather crazy, but they should still be “realistic” in a sense that they should be believable as existing in a future version of our world (unfortunately, the “science” in “science fiction” is often neglected these days).

Furthermore, MikeD hinted at the possibility that the game might support a 320×240 resolution, which would make nostalgics like me very happy indeed :)

Running SR at 320×240, looks kinda cute, might have to put that in as a playable mode :)


Dev Diary #08: Steam Early Access release by end of year

The latest Dev Diary by 5LS is up! Weapons, effects and environments are all looking good. There is also some information regarding release plans: We are looking at a Steam Early Access release by end of the year, and alpha and beta releases before that!