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Posted November 17, 2015 by Joseph Rositano in Feature
 
 

Forts Preview – PAX Aus 2015


At PAX Australia 2015, I was fortunate to spend some time with indie developer EarthWork Games and was shown their debut PC title Forts. EarthWork Games is a local developer based in Brisbane, with the team consisting of just two staff who have been working on Forts in their spare time over the last several years.

Forts is a real time strategy game where the goal is to protect a power core by building a fort around it. You will also compete against rivals, and will ultimately need to defend against enemy attacks and destroy their own power core. At PAX I was presented with a one player vs AI match, though the final game will feature 8-player online multiplayer and a fully fledged single-player campaign.

As the level started, game artist Nick Smith explained that you can freely design any structure shape for your fort. Embarrassingly, sections of my fort immediately collapsed as soon as I built them. The game has a very realistic physics engine, so there’s a high emphasis to not over-extend your structure design and add things like ropes and platforms to support the overall structure. If a fort is too tall, for example, it will begin to sway and eventually topple down like it had been hit by a tornado. Nick was very patient and helped me out by suggesting I focus on making triangular shapes which are stronger. My fort begun taking shape and soon started mining resources. I noticed pre-placed weapons had lit up, indicating they could be used for combat.

forts

Before I could get too comfortable with my design skills incoming missiles from the enemy fort begun ripping me apart. I retaliated with a not-so-effective counter attack. My fort was on fire, and I had to quickly extinguish flames before they exposed my core. Needless to say, the next ten minutes was me focusing on repairing damages and slowly expanding my fort. During this time I discovered the anti-air weapons and became quite adept at shooting down missiles. Within the game’s menus players can build a range of weapons including lasers, machine guns and snipers. These do come at the cost of resources, so there’s always that difficult choice of building that one advanced weapon verses covering multiple areas with something more basic.

Much to my horror the enemy suddenly started firing lasers at me – I had foolishly been so focused on defense that the enemy was gaining a huge offense advantage. I begun placing lasers and missiles of my own, which lead to a pretty intense fight. Everything was incredibly fast paced, so much so that I had no time to make repairs and instead focused on extinguishing flames and countering with my own attacks. The match ended with my fort completely ablaze, though I managed to hit just the right weak spot and annihilate the enemy fort. My victory was complemented by a replay video, which will become handy for those wanting to improve their fort design and overall strategy.

forts2

With its realistic physics engine coupled with challenging, fast paced strategic action, Forts is shaping up to be a real treat and will no doubt cause quite a stir when it’s released in 2016. This is definitely one to keep your eye on.

Rocket Chainsaw would like to thank Tim Auld and Nick Smith for taking time out to demonstrate Forts to us. We’re looking forward to see the final product once it’s released. We recommend checking out the official EarthWork Games website for frequent updates on the game’s development.


Joseph Rositano

 
While Joseph's main hobby has always centered around video games, he's also taken an interest in movies, musicals and traveling around the world. No one quite knows what Joseph's true motivations are, but rest assured he is always planning his next grand adventure!


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