System Fault Early Access

January 18, 2022, 11:00 am

I'm pleased to announce that System Fault, an arcade-like shoot-em-up inspired by Berzerk, is now officially in early access on Windows, Linux, and macOS!

It finally happened. The robots took our jobs. But for every hundred robots cheerily folding laundry or serving meals, there were a handful of misfits. And among those outcasts and defects, an even smaller handful grew and evolved into something twisted, dark, and mildly ridiculous.

Battle waves of self-styled hyper-intelligent killer robots in System Fault, a tactical, audio-only shoot 'em up inspired by Berzerk. Explore their warrens, learn their secrets, and help rid the world of the robot scourge.

Early access demo? Early access? What the?

I'm sure it's confusing, but it does make sense to me. Here's the general outline:

Early access demo
I'm experimenting with a concept. It may go nowhere, be difficult to implement, or not entertain. I make a stripped-down demo available for feedback as I iterate. Donations are welcome, but I don't sell the game until I'm sure I can pull it off.
Early access
The game isn't complete, but I'm confident that it is entertaining and can be finished. More needs to be done, but I'd like to give fans a full version while I build out the remaining features. The game goes on sale at a discount to reward my early supporters.
Full release
The game is more or less complete. New features, mechanics, or events may be added, but I'm likely focusing most of my effort on other titles.

System Fault isn't done. But it's complete enough that I enjoy playing for an hour or so every few days, and I believe some of you will as well.

What was the hold-up?

I went from blogging weekly to radio silence, but work continued.

  • I'm launching on multiple platforms and storefronts (more on that later.) To avoid confusing the messaging, I circled back to get my Linux and macOS builds working, as well as to integrate more deeply with the Microsoft Store. It didn't seem wise to launch Windows-only, then perpetually revise the messaging as more platforms and stores came online.
  • In particular, the Microsoft Store integration was a bit challenging. It took a few weeks to get right, including recruiting my partner to test the purchase flow since I somehow gave myself a license and was unable to validate that code path myself.
  • The website was entirely rebuilt on a new platform, opening up more possibilities for Lights Out Games that you'll learn more about soon.

But I think it's time for this bird to leave the nest.

What's this about the Microsoft Store?

I'm pleased to reveal that System Fault is live on the Microsoft Store! Unfortunately it isn't publicly searchable, but you can find it by visiting the store page directly. Download the free trial, and unlock the full version from either the main menu, or from the end of level 3.

What's left?

I have bunches of plans. Here's what I'll be working on in rough order:

  • More robot types. Turrets are stationary, take up multiple tiles, and shoot across multiple rooms. Security drones move faster, are hard to take down, and ummon nearby robots to attack. I have a few others planned, but I won't spoil the surprise.
  • Leaderboards, achievements, and other competitive metrics.
  • Rich presence, possibly integrated with Discord. See who's playing now, as well as what level they're on and how they're doing.
  • More mechanics. On higher levels, robots will patroll randomly rather than standing still. Stealth grenades will actually work. Other grenades will turn robots to allies, or tweak their programming in other ways.
  • More robot dialog, including conversations when multiple robots see each other. I want System Fault to feel more like a living world arcade game.
  • Improved sounds for big events.
  • Input improvements, including mouse support and keybinding tweaks.
  • A tutorial.
  • As a longer-term goal, possible mobile support once my engine supports it reliably.

I have a few general plans for Lights Out Games as well, so stay tuned for those.


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