Big changes in project’s future! What happened?

Big news, much wow. The view I had for the future of this project has completely changed. Some people may not like it, especially ones that wanted a complete remake but I’ll try to explain my reasoning behind this huge change as well as what to expect from now on. If you are not interested in the history of things, skip right into “What to expect” heading. Otherwise, without further ado, let’s start with what happened since around 2-3 months ago.

What happened

For slightly over a year I was coding along with Pix, we made huge progress even with limited time we could make. I’m really thankful to him for sticking around for so long and believing in the project(You are the best!). We were both university students but that came to an end, Pix was studying for master’s degree and I had to do my last internship then get into a job. At that point we were both very busy and that started to become a slight problem. One solution I wanted to do most was finally reaching out to more people. We already progressed well so far and we were okay with showing it even though it was still unfinished. But before that we did a last attempt to add more developers from our friends, which worked out(Hello Elaina!). With that we had one more person who could help out on backend and server. Still, a dedicated unity dev was missing and we had no luck with that one since everyone had their own projects and/or were busy.

At that point we finally went with the video and uploaded to YouTube, shared on a few places and started to wait. I had a successful interview around the same time and was about to start working in a few weeks. In the meanwhile there were feedbacks and people interested in helping out. An old friend of mine called Shanzenos, who is probably the best when it comes to modding S4, joined us shortly after seeing the project. Sadly, that didn’t happen with anybody else. None other got further when it came to Unity. There were people willing to learn but everyone had their own circumstances and frankly covid-19 wasn’t helping any of us. However something out of my expectations happened, a publisher reached out to us. I started talking with their CEO and thought of a brilliant way out. This person I was talking with, Achim, was the same guy who brought S4 into Alaplaya back in the days. He was willing to give it a go once again for us and strike a deal with Neowiz games. This would both make everything completely legal and let me work on it as my job instead. But again, we were just merely talking and we didn’t decide on anything yet.

As I started focusing on my day job, I started to see how it became impossible for me to work on Zin… Work hours and public transportation was taking a huge chunk of my day and I had no energy to do work on something else when I was back home. Some of our teammates, while with some doubts, were getting more and more excited with the news regarding the publisher, including me because it had the potential to save the future of the project. So we decided to give it a go with Neowiz, waited for around a month I guess but we didn’t trust on that and started to think of alternative scenarios. One of them was creating the game with our own assets and everything, getting out of the whole intellectual property of S4 League. Some more time passed, we started to talk about the details and everything looked okay. This was a hard decision but I needed get a job for sure, we couldn’t find someone to fill all my tasks in the project and they were offering a solution to both with the cost of losing S4’s materials at hand.

After a serious time spent on considering things, hearing what others had to say and deciding what would happen if we accepted this offer, it was finally decided. This is now officially the direction Zin has evolved into. I call it as evolving but we lost something quite important as well. Though one thing for sure, I will keep the core of initial thoughts. One of which, was modernizing the game and we are going even further on that one.

Now coding wise I’m alone once again but now at least we can spare some budget to backend for scaling for huge numbers instead of writing everything ourselves. On another note, we got new people working on the project on various parts we didn’t even have before. Earlier work done so far had to be thrown aside, sure I’ll recycle some stuff but current Zin is becoming something completely new, not a remake. And so this brings more questions to table…

What to expect

So first thing is that we don’t have a license over S4 League and got no rights over any of S4’s assets, we cannot use them. We also didn’t use any of their code before either so that means project no longer has any direct connection to S4 League. So we are going for a whole new game here, inspired by S4 League, or a spiritual successor if you may. Because of that “Project Zin” became the temporary code name and “Reboot” is thrown out. Though I won’t change the domain name for the sake of keeping the older URLs alive.

What exactly needs to change? All of the textures/images, models, animations, sound/music needs to go. Basically anything directly ripped off S4. So any map, clothing and weapon is also getting trashed. With the exception of their “ideas”. There is nothing holding anybody back from making yet another weapon like Hand Gun or Plasma Sword for example.

All of these leads us to creating our own assets from scratch, without depending on someone else’s license or anything. As we came to an agreement with that publisher, we decided to combine our teams and join them. We will be owning Project Zin ourselves fully as Giiku Games from now on.

Now you might be curious about the “ideas” part when it comes to weapons and as such. What I mean is that we can go for similar designs and move-sets that already makes you familiar with the game. However if you consider that we are now even more independent and not working on a remake, there is no need to limit ourselves too much. Sure we will make swords, rifles, skills and more inspired by S4 but we should use this freedom for the better by making more improved things. There were a lot of debates over what was good with them and what was bad, not everyone shares the same ideas but it is surely something completely worth trying. After all we are still planning to do alpha and beta tests, we will have a lot of time to acquire feedback and rework them directly as well.

Okay but what about the maps you might be wondering. Completely new stuff basically. We can do inspired ones of course and we want to do that first off with Neden but that doesn’t mean this map will be a copy of Neden-1/2/3 or anything, just inspired with the general theme. And speaking of theme, so far artstyle for the environment is not clear and we still have quite some time until we start creating textures maps. In the early phase of development what we need is blockout maps which helps see how the map layout plays out, and makes it easier to test the gameplay.

A blockout map example from the game Shooty Squad. Made by twitter user @BlazeDillon

In case you saw the image and directly wondered if that’s from Zin, sorry! lol. We didn’t even complete the first month of work on the “new” Project Zin yet. We weren’t planning for this whole direction before and so it will take some time. I’ll try to keep you up-to-date with my blog posts in the future too though so no worries!