Audience:
2 150 000 players
Modern military real-time strategy game with high quality graphics and a dynamic battle system, set on the islands of a tropical archipelago.
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02/04
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Tropic Storm
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A tropical island world

The action of Tropic Storm unfolds on the islands of a once-peaceful Archipelago which is now in the crushing grip of the powerful and cruel Cartel. The leaders of this criminal organization terrorize the islanders, stealing their resources and destroying anything that moves on the islands. Players are tasked with liberating the archipelago from these invaders.

How did
this world
come to be?
Search for a style and setting

While pondering the concept for the game world, we looked at many different options. We wanted to find something interesting for us and our players.

  • A world of floating islands
    • Elements:
    • Islands floating in the air with military defenses;
    • Clouds sailing beneath the islands;
    • Volcanic islands with lava flowing off the sides;
    • Airships (steampunk) or flying turtles (fantasy) as a means of transportation
  • Rock world
    • Elements:
    • War bases built on the flat tops of mountains;
    • Mountain peaks reaching above the clouds and lit by the rays of a setting sun;
    • Birds and airships flying around.
  • Tropical paradise (light version)
    • Elements:
    • An island surrounded by separate rocky peaks;
    • White sand and a general cold colour scheme.
  • Tropical paradise (contrasted version)
    • Elements:
    • Intricate island shapes that can be varied using rock formations;
    • The contrast between dark and light colours creates a fuller, more beautiful picture.
One version: an island with bright white sand. Cliffs standing to the side, like the teeth of a huge shark, encircle the island. One side remains free, which is where attacks will take place.
Another version of the island had soft, warm colours with lush tropical jungle surrounding the player's first structures. We finally settled on this image as it most successfully captured the feel which we wanted to give to the players.
Islands

The player's island is the main location in Tropic Storm. Here the player creates a well-defended military base to hold back the Cartel, free the islanders from slavery and restore peace to the Archipelago.

The technical aspect

To keep the islands varied, we had to put together 400 islands by hand.

To do so, we developed a map editor, which helped us to quickly create and edit maps, and to place and set up base objects.

Player bases in the archipelago
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Technical challenge

Our artists had created a true tropical paradise for our players but it was still only a collection of pictures. The programmers had a very tricky task ahead of them. Using Flash-technology, they had to bring to life a bright and three dimensional world which players would want to keep coming back to.

Island elements

Rocks and other objects in the water are part submerged and part above-water. The multi-layered build allowed us to create the impression of depth and transparent water.

The Ocean

Using shaders we were able to show the depth of the ocean and the dappling sunlight on its surface. The shader mixes spots of light and water texture, which darkens as it approaches the bottom of the screen and gets lighter further up the screen in the shallows.

Establish
a military
base

After deciding on the appearance of the island, it was time to set up a military base on it.

The appearance of the defenses had to blend in with the equatorial background.

Structure sketches

When developing the base defences, we referred to the appearance of real-life weapon emplacements.

For extra depth we recreated the style of traditional Latin-American houses.
Gun levels

Every defensive emplacement was given its own line of upgrades: the higher the level of the structure, the more awesome it would look. This way we hoped to give players a sense of progress while developing their base.

Upgrade
Upgrade
Upgrade
Upgrade
Upgrade
Upgrade

The HQ is the main building in the game and the cornerstone of the base.

The Arsenal is the second most important structure after the HQ, it's where players improve the capabilities of their squads and other abilities.

Level 1 base vs Level 60 base
Defensive structures built
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squads

So, now we have a real military base on a tropical island, itʼs time to look to the main characters — the soldiers whom the player will command.

We wanted our squads to be as bright and memorable as the game world itself.

History of one soldier
Art director
Looks cool! Letʼs spice it up some more:
The rocket launcher soldier has an explosive personality, destroying anything he points his weapon at. We wanted to get this idea across through his pose and appearance. During development we noticed our soldier looked like a guy from the 80's holding a boombox. Thatʼs why we gave him a relaxed pose, thick dreadlocks and a bright white smile.
the whole squad together
Battles fought
0
game
evolution
0 lines of code
have been written since work on the game began
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