It’s hard to believe no one has made something quite like Drone Strike Force yet. We’ve had shooters offering free movement in the vertical axis before – Descent blazed that particular trail over 20 years ago – but DSF brings this third dimension emphatically into the modern multiplayer era. It’s a third-person multiplayer arena shooter, with post-Modern Warfare conventions including customisable loadouts and perks, and game modes inspired by COD staples such as Domination.
Appropriately enough, then, the main inspiration came not from classics like Descent, but rather “from trying to push the envelope on vehicular PvP combat and making it work as a shooter,” the devs at Odisi Games tell us. A simple yet radically transformative idea, like giving players free movement along another axis, fit the brief perfectly. “Using the Z axis gave us a lot of room for experimenting with gameplay, while challenging us to introduce the complexities of a competitive shooter within that framework.”
Given its long pedigree in multiplayer arena shooters – the game series with which it shares its name practically founded the genre, along with Quake III Arena – one might think that Unreal Engine was the obvious choice all along. And indeed “it is true that UE4 gives you multiplayer support out of the box, as well as a character movement component for traditional games,” the devs tell us. That would be a component in the engine that handles the movement of objects – UE4’s includes logic for walking, falling, swimming, and so on.
It was a great place to start, but “for a drones game that required movement with six degrees of freedom, we had to make several modifications to allow such movement,” the team says. “One of the biggest challenges was for the drone’s movement to feel fluid and as real as possible, while ensuring anyone who has played a shooter in the past will feel right at home with the controls.”
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