Armored Bits

Mech Enthusiast ($5)

For those who want to help out a little.

Your name listed in the game credits as special thanks.

Closed Beta Access ($25)

Gain exclusive access to our closed beta when it goes live.

Special "Beta Backer" game community title.

Your name listed in the game credits as special thanks.

Closed Beta Access (Buddy System) ($45)

Gain exclusive access to our closed beta when it goes live for both you and a friend.

Special "Buddy Beta Backer" game community title.

Your name listed in the game credits as special thanks.

Limited Alpha Access ($50)

Gain exclusive access to our limited weekend event alpha tests, as well as the beta tests.

Join our private chat channel, ask questions, provide feedback, hangout.

Special "Limited Alpha Backer" game community title.

Your name listed in the game credits as special thanks.

Full Alpha Access ($125)

Gain exclusive access to our private internal alpha tests, as well as the beta tests. Beware! Things could be horribly broken!

Join our private chat channel, ask questions, provide feedback, hangout.

Special "Full Alpha Backer" game community title.

Your name listed in the game credits as special thanks.

You May As Well Be A Game Designer ($250)

Collaborate with us and help fill out the history and events of the game world. Name mechs, component manufacturers, the works.

Gain exclusive access to our private internal alpha tests, as well as the beta tests. Beware! Things could be horribly broken!

Join our private chat channel, ask questions, provide feedback, hangout.

Special "Game Designer Backer" game community title.

Your name listed in the game credits as special thanks.

Maybe an Angel Investor

You have money to burn and you want to help see us succeed.

Please reach out to us!

A Programmable Multiplayer Mech Simulator

Armored Bits isn't your standard video game. Rather than pilot a mech with standard joystick/mouse/keyboard controls, the player spends their time writing scripts which control every behavior of their mech from moving and rotating, to aiming and shooting. Nanosecond decisions can be the difference between victory or defeat.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the top buzzwords of our day. We wanted to take mech game simulation to the next level by removing the player from the cockpit and in their place adding complex algorithms they've designed themselves to control their mech and compete against other players with. We wanted a game where the goal was to actually perform legal botting as the premise for the core gameplay.

While we greatly respect the skills and reflexes it takes to be competitive in most games, we also believe that another solid and under-represented way to compete against other players in the video game industry is with the intellect. Targeted at both advanced and novice programmers alike, we want to give players the tools to coordinate with teammates and crush their enemies using advanced algorithms and programming techniques.

Some of our major inspirations were an online programmable mech game described in the novel A.I. Apocalypse, book 2 of the Singularity series by William Hertling, classics such as Mechwarrior® 2, Earthsiege® / Starsiege® and the numerous other mech games since, and long forgotten online programmable games such as Droid Arena.

Armored Bits is being developed by Brian Jones and Chris Johnston under the Uncanny Works flag. Upon release the game will be freely available and playable through our game service, however, to help with development costs we are currently accepting payments from interested backers in return for various rewards.

It's All About the Mechs

Our goal is to give players as many options as possible so that they can build the perfect mech.

  • Highly customizable mechs.
    • Various mech chassis, weapons, ammo choices, computers, communication suites, sensors, counter measures, armor choices, reactors, engines and more.
    • A massive gun boat can either rule the battlefield or get pummeled by a well coordinated team. Do you take the biggest mech onto the field and load it with armor, or do you take the fastest mech and help your team coordinate with a sophisticated communication, sensor, and computer suite?
    • Use communication devices to coordinate with team mechs over radio or slightly delayed satellite. Will the community come up with a standard communication protocol? Top secret team security? The enemies can see all radio traffic as well!
    • Higher grade sensors can not only detect enemies, but work with your computer to give a detailed analysis of their capabilities allowing for more fine grained combat decisions
  • Fully programmatic game interface.
    • The game starts in the configuration phase. Your scripts will have the chance to programmatically build your mech.
    • During the game phase your scripts will then query the state of your mech, which gives back information about the various components. Disabled components won't be usable. Computers will give back a list of targets they are tracking. Sensors will tell you which targets they've pinged. Weapons will shoot. Mechs will move.
    • Your scripts will be able to process all of this information and then (hopefully!) make a decision as to what to do. Run at the enemy? Circle? Fire all weapons? Conserve ammo? Swap to armor piercing rounds? Coordinate fire with a team mech based on a communication burst they sent?

As the environment gets more complex the player written AI has more and more decisions it needs to make to be effective. We think that's awesome! Imagine the algorithms people might develop to effectively win games!

Ranked Multiplayer Team Combat

Armored Bits is strictly an online multiplayer game. Players will have the opportunity to build teams, play in ranked games, and climb through the league system to prove that they can write the best artificial intelligence code possible. Seasons will remain short (roughly 3-4 per year), and top teams/players will gain recognition for their programming prowess. As the community grows we may even host tournaments with prizes!

In order to keep the scene regulated, player code will execute on our internal infrastructure inside CPU and memory constrained containers we call Slugs. While it would be absolutely amazing to see what some high level AI code hooked up to a supercomputer might look like, for the sake of maintaining a controlled competitive environment we cannot allow any kind of remote code execution or communication.

However, players will be able to connect to the running game match via a 3d game client and watch the battle unfold in realtime! How cool is that?

Programming Language of Choice

Do you prefer C? Are you a Brainfuck masochist? Maybe a dynamic language like Lua is your thing? Or are you a novice that needs a little guidance towards how to get started programming?

Our game API uses Google Protocol Buffers and communicates over TCP. Almost any language available should be able to run against our game servers, and we'll do everything we can to help make sure our Slugs support them all.

The first two official SDKs we will be releasing are written in JavaScript and Haskell. The first because it's a widely used and fairly well documented language which is easy for people to get started with. The second because the core game server has been written in it which provides a lot of existing boiler plate the client SDK can leverage.

We'd definitely like to help the community implement new SDKs in their favorite programming language of choice. Giving everyone a chance to experiment with languages they may have never otherwise touched can be quite the learning experience!

Official Unity3d Client

Our game client (match viewer) is written using Unity3d, however, we will also be publishing the specificiations for how it interacts with our service should people be interested in writing unofficial clients. This is a programming game afterall, and creating as many opportunities for the community to explore seems like a powerful thing to us!

Recruitment

We're attempting to organize a large community of programmers which have the ability to use whichever language they please and competitively climb a ranked ladder system to prove that they are the best. What better way to find your next employee, or prove to your new employer that you have advanced coding chops?

We hope that Armored Bits can prove to be a valuable recruitment tool. While it may not cover every aspect of an IT job, it definitely is a good way to showcase your algorithms and application design should you be willing to share your code.


About the Backing Tiers

For the record the final game will be free to play with micro-transactions for in-game cosmetic enhancements to mechs and the environment. By backing us you help guarantee that we can bring this game one step closer to release. We sincerely appreciate your consideration should you choose to back us.

We are currently a two man studio working on this project with as much vigor as we can muster. A few bucks here and there would go a long way towards helping us with our caffeine fueled indie dev coding sprints. More importantly, three of the primary places we will be utilizing backer money are:

  • A 3d artist or two to help provide us with detailed mechs and environments which go beyond the nice-but-limited placeholder art we've purchased.
  • A 2d artist to help us make beautiful UIs for our visual game client and web services.
  • Our audio engineer buddy who has time and again made some of the most amazing sounds and background music for our previous projects.
  • The server infrastructure required to run and support the whole game service.

Each tier basically corresponds with when you'll have a chance to get a sneak peek at the game.

Alpha Tests

Internal alpha tests are when we turn on a server, and everyone manually connects their SDK and visual clients up to see how things go. These tests can be incredibly buggy, broken, and definitely frustrating. The API is still changing as we add more features to the server, and SDKs aren't stable as they try to keep up with the changes. You may want to avoid this tier if you prefer consistency and stability. Alternatively, this could be a good chance to become a forerunner and develop a community SDK in a language that interests you.

We will run the weekend alpha tests when we have a little more confidence that our code is functional, somewhat stable, and won't break. These are limited events which are focused on getting a decent number of people playing the game simultaneously in a controlled environment. We still haven't settled on the maximum team sizes, so you could see games ranging from 5v5 to 25v25 as we continue to experiment.

Beta Test

The closed beta test event will occur when we're sure the game server API and SDKs are solid, and we've got the core game service components in place (login server, match making server, Slug coordination, etc.). The goal will be to stress test the system and find any remaining bugs in the entire stack.

Chat Server

People who sign up for the alpha test tier levels will be able to join our private Slack chat. We'd be happy to hear your thoughts, feedback, and generally hangout and shoot the breeze with you.

Schedule

We are reluctant to adhere to any specific schedule. However, we'd like to start alpha testing by the summer of 2016, and beta testing by winter. This is currently arbitrary and subject to change!


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