The Making of “Deadly Rain”
See behind the scenes of “Deadly Rain” game development
“Deadly Rain” is an indie wave-based survival horror game inspired by several great games such as: “Left 4 Dead”, “Call of Duty Zombies”, “Silent Hill” and “Resident Evil”. But what isn’t disclosed is that it took me almost 2 years to develop it without funding and a team, and that’s the story I’m here to tell you about… (warning: contains game spoilers)
Before starting, I think it’s good to tell you a little about myself so that you better understand the context of the story. My name is Gabriel Jacintho, I’m 20 years old, I’ve been a game developer for a few years, I’ve published games on Play Store and Steam (apart from “Deadly Rain”), I never went to college, I learned how to develop games online, and I’m passionate about horror and survival films and games, my favorite horror game is without a doubt “Outlast” (seriously, I must have finished 3 times this game haha).
When I first thought of “Deadly Rain”, I hadn’t imagined it as a wave-based survival horror game set in an abandoned village, but rather as:
“A hardcore first-person survival horror game where a shipwreck leaves you alone in a toxic, abandoned archipelago filled with dark mysteries, dangerous beings, and toxic rain. Now to escape, you will need to learn how to kill, run and hide yourself.” – Story, Level Design and Enemies – Deadly Rain (Devlog #2)
The initial idea for the game also considered features such as: stealth gameplay and collectible documents that would tell the story of the game, inspired by “Outlast”. However, I discarded many ideas to reduce the scope of the project.
But one idea that has never changed since the beginning was: the audio needs to be amazing. You might disagree with me, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned after many years of watching horror movies and playing horror games, it’s that sound is one of the biggest sources of fear for people (if not the biggest), want proof of that? Try watching a horror movie or playing a horror game without sound, I highly doubt you’ll be scared.
After a lot of brainstorming, testing and research, I managed to create a viable game concept that could be developed with the resources I have, giving rise to “Deadly Rain” that today we can find on Steam, with the following description:
“Deadly Rain is a survival horror FPS game that puts you in a terrifying fight for survival against hordes of scary mutants in a rainy, abandoned village. Find and manage resources to stay alive in the worst and most unexpected situations.” – Deadly Rain on Steam
Fun fact: The unlockable areas feature was an idea received from a member of our official Discord server, and was included in the final version of the game.
Since my beginnings in the game development field, I have always made games with Unity. I am very grateful to have free access to this powerful and affordable game development tool. I recommend it to everyone who wants to develop games one day.
However, even using Unity and drastically reducing the scope of the project, developing the game was still a difficult and complex job. During development, I had many technical challenges, and the first version of the game was unplayable due to realistic graphics that caused a very low frame per rate (FPS). Watch the first gameplay of the game during its early stages of development below:
From the moment the previous video was recorded until today, I worked hard to improve the game experience, and among the features that I changed the most throughout the game’s development, the level design was without a doubt the one I changed the most, I redid it 4 times until I reached the final result that is in the game today. See below the images of one of the discarded maps:
Soon after finishing the level design, I rewrote the game’s story taking inspiration from the Soviet regime, with the aim of simply contextualizing the game and leaving room for the players’ imagination, which could be deepened in future games and comics from the same universe.
First Person Shooter (FPS)
I consider the FPS mechanics of “Deadly Rain” (with more than 13 different weapons) one of the strong points of the game. I’m proud of how well it was done, because I dedicated many weeks developing it, and it will certainly be reused in future games from the studio.
To develop it I was inspired by “Call of Duty”, I had to play the game several times during development to feel how it should be done.
Enemies and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Initially the enemies should see or hear the player to detect him and start chasing him, but I realized that this could hinder the fun of the game if the player hid too well, so I programmed the enemies’ AI to just chase and attack the player, regardless of where he was (spoiler).
And I made sure to create a good variety of enemies for the game, but you won’t see all 6 enemies if you don’t survive for at least 12 rounds, because they appear as the game’s difficulty increases 🙂
As you already know, I consider the audio in one very important horror game, so during the development process of “Deadly Rain” I made a point of studying audio for games in depth, and implemented the audio in the game using FMOD, a powerful audio middleware. I’m so grateful to have learned about game audio from Thiago Adamo, a great professional in this field.
If you have ever explored the Unity Asset Store, you may have already recognized the assets I used in “Deadly Rain”, yes, I bought them ready-made, but I assure you that the game is not an asset flip, but rather a unique wave-based survival horror experience.
But you might wonder… “Why did you buy ready-made assets?”, and my answer is: Have you seen how much it costs to hire a good realistic 3D artist? Sorry, but I don’t have that much money hahaha.
I thank everyone who collaborated with the development and dissemination of the project!