Spaceflux turns arena shooters upside down with Portal, Minecraft Inspirations

This year has been a busy one for fans of the old first-person shooters (FPS) franchises thanks to Call of Duty: The Vanguard, Battlefield 2042, and Infinite halo. The arena shooter subgenre has also been active with legacy titles such as Quake remastered and more recent indies inspired by classics like Loss, including the Early Access version Forgive me father. Spatial flow Developer Calin Ardelean said he’s seen an “increase in enthusiasm” for retro-style shooters since he started working on his game in January 2018.

Ardelean has always loved shooters, and a great influence growing up has been Halo – especially the 2010s Halo: scope. He is also a fan of the puzzle-shooter Portal, and decided he wanted to do something more engaging than a simple puzzle game by combining its elements that “captivated” him with other inspirations like Minecraft in an online multiplayer shooter. Game Rant spoke to Ardelean about Spatial flow‘s “weird” about retro shooters using impossible geometries and destructible environments.


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The origins of Spaceflux

interview calin ardelean november 2021

Based outside of Canada, Ardelean graduated from the University of Toronto with a BS in Computer Science in 2019. He said he had a long history of playing around with projects using different game engines, but fell in love with it. ‘Unreal Engine in 2017. “Once I tried Unreal I was hooked,” he said. “I thought it was the best thing ever.” He tried to come up with a few different ideas using Unreal before he landed on the familiar idea of ​​an FPS with portals – inspired by one of his favorite games – which has evolved over time.

During his studies, Ardelean did an internship at the telecommunications company Qualcomm as a software engineer, and in 2019 he spent a brief time with a start-up called MentallyVR developing a prototype virtual reality application. in Unreal which would place users in places like beaches to perform guided meditation as part of real-time therapy sessions. This professional experience helped his skills somewhat, but Ardelean said his main focus has always been game development, and Spatial flowThe basic concept of was already there.

Ardelean is the main programmer and designer on Spatial flow, but soon after work began on the trippy arena shooter, he teamed up with his good friend Raymondd Parisien, who offered him to do art and sound design. In collaboration with Jenny Gu, a graduate in UI and Graphic Design from the Ontario College of Art & Design University, the trio had Spatial flow prepared for its Early Access launch in September 2020 and launched a Kickstarter campaign in August to help build the hype and let Ardelean work on the game full time. He raised Canadian $ 5,117 of a goal of $ 2,000.

“The Kickstarter has really succeeded beyond my standards, and the launch of Early Access hasn’t been as good. However, I’ve noticed over the past year that the game has been gaining ground bit by bit. small.”

Portal-inspired puzzles and impossible geometries from Spaceflux

In his heart, Spatial flow is a basic shooting game with ideas taken from Halo: scope like abilities to help differentiate the game alongside its weapon types. What makes the game really stand out is the way its voxel-based maps are altered by impossible geometries that create different kinds of symmetries. There are currently six of these geometries that Ardelean divides into three categories: fractals, looping modes, and mirror modes.

  • Fractal mode: In which the map is contained, meaning that each player’s character model can be found in multiple sizes at different levels of the fractal.
  • Fractal mini maps: In which a smaller model of the map exists somewhere that players can jump into so they can land in new places.
  • Horizontal loops: In which the map repeats, or tesselate, in all horizontal directions across an infinite expanse.
  • Vertical loops: In which the map repeats on top of itself, so that players can fall eternally and build up speed similar to a Portal momentum puzzle.
  • Mirror mode: In which everything that happens on one side of the mirror also happens on the other.
  • Portals: In which there are instant connection points between two areas in some maps.

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“Some strange things” happen as a result of these impossible geometries that impact Spatial flowof FPS mechanics. Originally, players could shoot themselves, but Ardelean disabled it after receiving comments about the frustration of dying after finding what they thought was an enemy. Due to the infinite planes in either fractal or horizontal loop modes, Ardelean said it’s not uncommon for players to chase each other behind their backs or try to find larger fractals for better line of sight. “It’s quite chaotic, but also dynamic.”

There are a lot of ideas for the planned modes, and Ardelean said he wanted to keep developing Spatial flow similar to the way Minecraft has been updated for 10 years. However, while the work is still manageable for someone in their early access state, Ardelean said he is looking to streamline development because it is “tedious” to add new content that works with all geometries and Spatial flowdestructible environments.

The destructible and constructible environments of Spaceflux

interview calin ardelean november 2021

Having levels with fully destructible environments was one of Ardelean’s initial ideas for Spatial flow, and he wanted to create more “emergent and dynamic gameplay” by allowing everyone to place blocks equally. While this destructibility is apparently the biggest obstacle to impossible geometries working, the idea has helped create dynamic games combined with abilities like Cube Cameo that allow players to blend in and hide.

“The two things that came together, level repetition and destructibility, were sort of the ultimate nightmare for me. Especially networking in an online game… But after a lot of frustration, somehow another, it worked. I just hope I didn’t have to do it again. ”

Fans of Spatial flow have influenced development through media like Discord, where they can offer suggestions, report bugs, and participate in gaming sessions and tournaments that Ardelean and Parisien want to host each month. It was through these tournaments that the main developer saw emerging interactions like melting into a sea of ​​cubes. For those who want to try the game, a free demo is available on Steam, and the next tournament will be a joint venture with slap the city – a title made by Nickelodeon Star Brawl developer Ludosity – throughout the weekend of November 27. The “Slapflux” tournament will have a prize pool of $ 100 for the two days, with Spatial flow‘s event taking place on Sunday.

Spatial flow is now available in Early Access on PC.

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Source: Slapflux tournament

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