Force Of Habit
Based in Bristol, United Kingdom
Imaginary friends battle for supremecy in the mind of young Timmy Bibble! Play as Chud - a beast from the mountains; Old Man Ricketts - a prospector driven mad by his lust for gold; Shakey Jake - a ninja, bandit, skeleton... thing; and The Canardinal - a duck from the Vatican!
Friendship Club is a local-multiplayer bullet-hell party-game for PC, Mac & Linux. Pit yourself against your friends (and enemies) in brutal combat, with finely-tuned controls, customisable game mechanics and procedurally generated levels in which bullets bounce forever!
Friendship Club is a collaboration between Force Of Habit (makers of Toast Time and winners of many a game jam) and Clockwork Cuckoo (art and animation contributors to indie magnates such as Size Five Games, Positech & The Tiniest Shark).
Friendship Club was initially developed in 24 hours by Force Of Habit and Clockwork Cuckoo, at the TIGA Game Hack in November 2013. It won the jam, receiving the "Best Game" award. The project lay dormant for a few months as we had other arrangements to complete Toast Time for iOS. We've since gone into full-time development of the game.
Set in an alternate 1950's universe, Friendship Club draws its inspiration from that era. We are trying to build a game that reflects the kaleidoscopic world of a child's imagination.
ART: We're using illustration and animation from the time as a starting point - with it's limited palettes and quirky aesthetics - and then paring back the detail until we're left with visuals that focus on strong shapes and colours, which (hopefully!) still feel expressive, whimsical and full of character. Meshing a nonsensical dream-world with game mechanics and rules allows us to distort all the visual elements to suit gameplay quite naturally - so, in Timmy's unconcious mind, wonky perspectives, random splashes of colour and interchangable heads all seem perfectly normal.
ANIMATION: In order to try to capture the fluidity and range of expression suggestive of the golden era animation that Timmy would see, we have integrated the Spine animation engine, allowing us a huge amount of flexibility in our approach. This allows the game to change speeds without affecting the frame-rate of the animation and means that the game is comparitively small (still under 100meg). We want to cram as much character and humour into each of the imaginary friends as we can.
SOUND: Given that the Friendship Club takes place inside Timmy's mind we want it to sound like a reconceptualisation of the types of things his head is constantly being filled with, with influences from his parents jazz records to the pop and folk music that he hears on the radio and the crunchy, distorted foley recordings and sound libraries he hears in cartoons. To give this hodgepodge a modern(ish) twist we have looked to music of the 90's and are using some of the same equipment that was used on the great sampled music of that era (Ataris and old samplers).
PROGRAMMING: Friendship Club is built in C++ in our own propietry engine, ARC2d, which has been in development for past six years and is the technology behind all Force of Habit games. This means that Friendship Club should run at a steady 60FPS, even on older systems. The animation engine has also been integrated with the audio middleware, meaning that sound events can be called using keyframes - indespensible when your animation has to be able to play back at any speed!