I sat down this weekend with The Amiable’s David Laskey and Peter Sheff at C2E2 to play around with and talk about their upcoming game, Tetrapulse.
Tetrapulse is a 2-4 player, single-screen co-op game that throws players back to the heyday of sitting on your couch, playing games with your friends while sharing one screen together. The game started out as a student senior project at DePaul University, and the group just kept going on with it after that. They crowdsourced Tetrapulse through Kickstarter, and it was successfully funded in September of last year. In the game, you must protect and deliver an ancient artifact called the Heartstone to a specified location. Success relies on collaborating with the rest of your team to move the Heartstone, protect your teammates, and outsmart swaths of robo-bug enemies. The game utilizes twin stick controls: move your character with the right stick, aim your weapon with the right stick, and shoot with the trigger. One catch though: your weapon’s ammunition is your life source. The only way to replenish your life and ammo is to stay near the Heartstone, and grab it for recharges when needed. You and your friends must navigate the randomly generated maps to deliver the Heartstone to a defense beacon and power it up without being overrun by enemies.
The group really focuses on the cooperative nature of game. The guys at The Amiable feel that many modern games aren’t very cooperative at their core: the single player campaign has very similar elements to those of the multiplayer option, which really means you only rely on yourself to win. So these guys wanted to design a game in which you really rely on your teammates to accomplish your tasks. Even though the game is online in order to make it more accessible to gamers, the players’ screen is shared: rather than focusing on individual players, the screen is always centered on the Heartstone. This way, the game requires players to focus on the artifact and stick together instead of going off and doing their own thing, organically keeping the players together without making them feel constrained. While Tetrapulse is still in early beta, they plan to add in player classes for individuals to use in order to augment the cooperative nature of the game: medics could heal the team independent of the Heartstone, tanks might throw the Heartstone across the map, etc. They are also thinking of adding in progression-based buffs for each class, as well as temporary power-ups as players make it through the levels. In addition to adding more features, they are taking current player feedback into account through a closed beta on Steam for their Kickstarter backers.
Tetrapulse is very focused on playing along with your friends, whether that be together on the couch (like in the old days) or through the internet, it’s really meant to bring back the feeling of playing together. As such, the game will have no true single player, although it will be networked online so you can play with random gamers if you aren’t able to sit down with a friend. The game will initially be available through Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux computers, and will support PlayStation Dualshock 4, Xbox 360, and even Dualshock 3 (on Mac) controllers for use. Tetrapulse is scheduled for release later this year. For more information, feel free to follow the developers on Twitter at @amiablegames. David Laskey, along with another member of The Amiable, David Finseth, were also part of a panel over the weekend discussing the methods they went through to publish their indie game. We covered this panel as well, so make sure to check it out if you are interested in learning more!