Arizona game devs design indie esports title

A team of Arizona game developers is hoping to bring esports back to its roots with an indie title aimed at local tournaments and modding communities.

The game is RMF, a movement-based 3D arena title for PC developed in the Unreal Engine and aiming for a fall release. Project manager Austin Shamp said it plays similar to a competitive game of tag.

“The players will be playing high-stakes tag, where one player will be chasing everybody else,” he said.

RMF‘s main game mode has no weapons, which Shamp said emphasizes precision in movement. While team game modes are planned, the primary game type is free-for-all.

“Focusing on movement makes it a lot easier to balance,” Shamp said.

Shamp is working on the game with Alex Reiss – Shamp designs the levels while Reiss handles the programming. The team is looking for at least one artist to handle textures, models and animations, as the game is still using default Unreal assets.

RMF is still in development, Shamp said, and the movement mechanics are taking the most time to perfect. Because there is such an emphasis on movement as a “strong base mechanic.”

Shamp said he is focused on making each level unique in play style. Vertical movement, precise controls and variable terrain are all important, he added.

“The point is to have a lot of choices for vertical movement,” he said. “That’s something that’s not in a lot of shooters today – they’re all on one plane of action.”

One level Shamp described is a power plant with numerous pipes and platforms spaced throughout and a lowered, flooded area in the center. Every so often, a power surge will electrify the flooded area and force players to adapt their play.

The goal for after release is to promote the game with local circles and modding communities – Shamp called it a “grassroots” effort.

“We looked at how DOTA and Counter-Strike blew up and saw what they were doing,” he said. He added that he plans to reach out to Endgame Bar to host a demo once the location opens this fall.

RMF will be released on Steam as a standalone title but the team also hopes to make a version of the game as a mod for Unreal Tournament 4.

Shamp also recognizes the importance of regularly updating content in order to stay relevant. He has plans to release additional content packs after release – but nothing that impacts gameplay.

“Having that kind of content available helps keep games going before losing players’ attention,” he said. “But transactions have to be something that don’t affect gameplay.”

While the team has examined the possibility, Shamp said RMF likely won’t use the free-to-play model. Its release price, he said, should be around $10.

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