X8 VR Developer Blog with Art Director Brandon Humphreys
X8 is a hero-based VR multiplayer shooter. In it you personify one of many unique video game heroes that have been brought together to face off against other heroes, all set within a video game realm.
Each of these characters heralds from their own unique game franchises, but have been pulled back to an ancestor version of their shared engines, where they must now fight to restore a path back to their respective realms.
Our heroes soon learn of the splintered worlds outside their own, the various realities spawned from the ancestor game engine; the purpose of their congruence, and the entity and motive responsible.
But let’s rewind for a moment.
I’m Brandon Humphreys, the Art Director on X8, and I’ve been involved in games since the dawn of the First Person Shooter (FPS).
In the early days of FPS there were a few big names: DOOM, QUAKE, and UNREAL, etc. In the years since those engines have spawned generations of new games and served as foundational elements for many of the last few decades’ greatest shooters.
In X8, a similar contemporary game found new life as a licensable engine; while a single remaining server runs a modded version of the original game, uninterrupted for years, slowly repurposing itself in the pursuit of one goal.
Before we get too far ahead, let’s return to the late Nineties.
1997 — Work commences on a new FPS game: ‘XTNT’ funded by a movie studio; movie studio goes under shortly thereafter. Game development continues with a skeleton crew.
1999 — ‘XTNT’ launches for PC. Garners minor press; gains small community.
2000 — Diminishing sales force the company to close; source code released to the community. Accessible code makes modding relatively easy, and numerous modes keep the game alive for a few years.
2001 — New publishing company acquires ‘XTNT’ code as foundation for a licenseable game engine.
2003 — ‘XTNT’ community slowly dries up; final AI mod update ‘X8’ uploaded, designed to: ‘assemble worthy opponents’.
2005 — Final ‘XTNT’ player logs out. Homespun servers go dark shortly thereafter. All, except for a single rack-based computer in an Ohio library basement, where the ‘X8’ mod runs uninterrupted…
The Foundational game engine has since gone on to be used by dozens of studios; all releasing scores of successful FPS game franchises in the years since. (‘BLAST RADIUS’, ‘SECURITY FORCES’, ‘MAZE INFINITE’ to name a few) However, while upgraded countless times, vast amounts of code from the original ‘XTNT’ engine remain.
PRESENT — Having reconfigured itself countless times on now-archaic hardware, the X8 has finally managed to build a conduit beyond, to the most advanced players on current VR devices. With the untapped resource of the various descendant franchises and new VR technologies, the X8 can construct a next-gen, first person shooter, and at long last, ‘assemble worthy opponents’.
The X8 believes you might make for a worthy opponent. Are you ready for the challenge?
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