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Feb 11

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Brain-bending Shooter Inversus Coming to PS4

Ryan Juckett's Avatar Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 // Programmer, Designer, Artist, Creator, Hypersect

Hi everyone, I’m Ryan Juckett and I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that Inversus will be launching on PS4 this spring! Let’s start this off right with a trailer and get everyone up to speed. Turn up that volume and hit play!

The Premise

Inversus is this unique mix of an action-packed arcade shooter and a territorial strategy game. Movement is constrained to either the black or white side of the board and tile colors are flipped by shooting. My paths are your walls and your paths are my walls.

This results in a space that shifts with every attack as players try to open corridors, trap the enemy, or block incoming fire. Whether you’re competing with friends of trying to break the world-record against the computer, the always-changing play field makes every match a new experience.

Versus

Let’s chat about versus mode first (it is called Inversus). This is where you and your friends can duke it out in 1v1 or 2v2 matches. It was important to make something playable again and again without getting stale. A large chunk of that burden is carried by the level design.

Each one of the maps has a specific, discrete purpose. It would be easy to just swap around some blocks and make a thousand random maps, but they would start to bleed together. They wouldn’t hold your interest. Switching to a new board needs to challenge you in new and unfamiliar ways. Rather than just discussing theory, let’s look at a small subset of the levels in store for you.

Inversus on PS4

Welcome to Alley — see those four red dots along the open alleyway? Those are hyper-shot pickups. You want them. Trust me. If you own the tile when they spawn, you can pick them up. That’s the primary reason to hold the alley, but even without the pickups, holding the alley lets you divide the map. In turn, you control where your opponent can move.

Inversus on PS4

This is Bomber, the first map that tries to break your brain. The screen seamlessly wraps on all sides. See those four white player ships? That’s actually the same single ship. When it starts to move up into the corner, it wraps around and appears in the other corners. To excel on this map, you need strong omnidirectional awareness. Learn to look at the whole screen.

Inversus on PS4

Pipes is all about single cell corridors. There is nowhere to dodge and blocking is your only defense. See those rings of dots on the player ships? That’s your ammo count. It can and will run out, though it’ll come back with time. Winners of this map keep a close eye on their opponent’s ammo. You can’t block attacks it you don’t have enough ammo to shoot back.

Arcade

Like playing solo? Are you addicted to cooperation? Enter the arcade. At its core is a traditional rule set: shoot enemies for points, build up a multiplier, don’t run out of lives, brag about your spot on the leaderboard, etc. Once you add in the black and white spatial mechanics it’s a whole new ballgame.

Inversus on PS4 (GIF)

I like layering in subtle elements of depth for seasoned players to aspire towards. I also want to expose some variability without making the game random. One of the fun quirks of arcade mode is that enemy behavior can actually change based on your play. Doing a lot of charge attacks? The enemies might learn the same. Earn six lives? Enemies with shields might enter the ring. Control most of the map? I hope you like aggression. Details like this make it fun to enter the ring again and again.

Idea to Reality

This is my nights and weekends indie passion project. During the days I work on bigger games with bigger teams. I started out surrounded by skateboards at Neversoft, and for the past five years I’ve been making the action gameplay of Destiny.

In contrast, Inversus is a solitary creative outlet and was hand crafted out of nothing. There is no licensed engine, no sound effect library, and no texture package. It all started with an empty source code file, a white canvas, and a flat sound wave. That said, I’ll admit to needing help with the music (I can’t compose… yet) and Lyvo came to the rescue with a soundtrack.

Building games from the ground up becomes rarer by the day, but for me it fosters a level of craft and satisfaction that doesn’t exist elsewhere. When you pick up the controller and feel that snappy response, that je ne sais quoi that can’t be described as much as it can be felt, all the work will have been worth it.

I’ll see you on the leaderboards later this year!

//Add Your Own

13 Comments   4 Replies

1

+ tusunami on February 11th, 2016 at 8:13 am said:

This is something unique that’s for sure. Hopefully people can handle something such as this. Not everyone is open to change.


2

+ KidCommando on February 11th, 2016 at 8:32 am said:

Looks pretty fun and competitive. Is there online multiplayer? Didn’t see it mentioned in the article.

If there is only couch co-op and online leader boards, unfortunately I will have to pass. I need some human minds to play against…and I’m too old to have video game parties on my couch.


     

    + Juckett on February 11th, 2016 at 8:54 am said:

    Thanks! It’s shipping with couch multiplayer and online leaderboards for arcade play in both single and cooperative modes. I just had some friends over for a video game party on the couch last night. You’re invited next time :)


     

    + KidCommando on February 11th, 2016 at 9:22 am said:

    Thanks for the response Juckett, it is appreciated.

    Let me know when and where…I’ll bring the drinks!


3

+ sethisthegoat on February 11th, 2016 at 9:35 am said:

The trailer and write-up have me intrigued…though I agree about the online co-op thing. (Granted, I know I can do SharePlay, but I’ve not been successful with setting that up yet. #MidWest)


4

+ plaztiksyke on February 11th, 2016 at 10:02 am said:

will the single player aspect be release on Vita? if you wrote your own engine from scratch, it should be more straightforward than it is for developers who use Unity but don’t have a Unity source license.

will the music be 24-bit FLAC assets, 320kbps Ogg, or..?

I appreciate that getting stable networking code going on a green field, solo-programmer project just doesn’t have the ROI given SharePlay. I hope other gamers eventually realize that stabilizing network play can add 6-12 months to a dev/cert cycle, which can either mean a bankrupt developer or a buggy release.


     

    + Juckett on February 11th, 2016 at 10:32 am said:

    PS4 is all that’s announced for consoles right now and all I can confirm, but I’m very much interested in exploring more options like Vita in the future!

    Internally the game stores Ogg files for the music (16 bit stereo) and you’ll likely be able to get the soundtrack online in mp3 at the time of release :)


5

+ veryhoudini11 on February 11th, 2016 at 11:43 am said:

This game looks like alot of fun. Couch co-op is always appreciated by me.


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    + Ryan Juckett on February 11th, 2016 at 12:27 pm said:

    Thanks!


6

+ paulogy on February 11th, 2016 at 1:13 pm said:

I love the easy-to-comprehend / difficult-to-master quality this game seems to showcase. Also, that it supports local multiplayer, too.

For solo play, might you also have a puzzle-type mode that is less time sensitive and more about making key moves that don’t box yourself in?


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    + Ryan Juckett on February 11th, 2016 at 1:50 pm said:

    Glad to hear the depth comes across. A puzzle variant is very interesting and is something I’ve put a bit of thought into for a more portable and touch based spin off of the game. Gotta take one step at a time though :)


7

+ Kid_Loser on February 11th, 2016 at 1:36 pm said:

Probably the most unique and original game I’ve seen in awhile. Looks like loads of fun and will be in my radar.


8

+ Ernestinacgarcia on February 12th, 2016 at 3:41 am said:

I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… Earnmore9.com


9

+ cusman on February 12th, 2016 at 6:53 am said:

This looks like it could be uniquely fun. I just hope the characters and action on 55″ tv screen 9 feet away aren’t too small to be able to track and play well.


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    + Ryan Juckett on February 12th, 2016 at 9:56 am said:

    That sounds almost exactly like the setup at my place, so you should be fine! I’ve actually had to design around this specific issue a couple times with level sizes as I experimented with how far I could push it.


10

+ TheHerbinator75 on February 12th, 2016 at 3:39 pm said:

What will the price point for the game be? If it is $9.99 I might check it out.


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    + Ryan Juckett on February 12th, 2016 at 5:25 pm said:

    It hasn’t been announced yet, but I suspect you’ll be interested ;)


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