• Project type: Video game
  • Tags: first person shooter, arena shooter, bullet hell, punishing, survival, online leaderboard, competitive, surreal environment, horror, fantasy, scifi, adrenaline-inducing
  • Start date: April 2020
  • Steam store page: Here
  • Youtube videos: Here
  • Discord: Here


I started working on the foundations of the current iteration of Necromancer back in 2020, when Auckland / New Zealand was having its first large-scale lockdown. I was reasonably okay with the idea of having to be at home and segregate from other people to a pretty decent degree. So I, in a sense, was actually thriving and in a state of flow that a lot of other people were not experiencing. I decided, however, that I didn't necessarily want to spend that time simply messing around and trying to fill the time, so what I decided to do was teach myself 3D modelling, which was a skill that I didn’t have that much experience in except for a few CAD courses here and there.

The first iteration of Necromancer began around the middle of 2019, and the initial intention was actually for this to be a 2.5D dungeon crawler, which had decent inspiration from games like The Binding of Isaac from the roguelike genre.

I had a lot of other dreams and aspirations of games that I would like to make, but especially wanting to start a more achievable game development project, especially as my first major game development project, I wanted to try and make sure that I was setting the scope of the project as achievable as possible. However, when I began development on the first iteration of Necromancer, I found that the 2D environment was actually causing a reasonably heavy workload in the sense of art and animation, especially considering that I was doing the art and animation myself. There were a lot of mistakes made and other things that had been set up which made the development of this project far more work than I had anticipated.

When I taught myself 3D modeling in 2020 by learning Blender, the workload in terms of art and animation actually dropped significantly when making the switch from 2D to 3D. As a result, I decided to start making a game that had some sort of 3D context instead. I was heavily inspired by first-person shooter games like Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal, which came out at the very same time as the first lockdown. I also found a game called Devil Daggers, and once I started playing this, I realized that this was an extremely good example of how to get a lot done with a very minimal framework. This gave me a lot of inspiration to be able to do something that had a very pleasurable outcome as well as limiting the scope and making the completion of the game project a lot more achievable.

I decided that I would use a very similar gameplay framework for my own game, considering that it wasn't a particularly unique framework in some ways, as the idea of an arena shooter, or a time trial, or games that are particularly punishing and arcade-like are not new concepts, but perhaps have been forgotten over time with the advent of game companies wanting to make games more accessible and, as a result, having to dumb down how games are played and make them a lot less punishing so as to attract wider audiences.

However, I don't particularly agree with that approach, as I find that the nature of making games that are more punishing and challenging are far more rewarding in the long run, and even have more lessons and applications that can be used in other aspects of life. Therefore, I decided to use the basic framework of an arena shooter or time trial in an arcade-like setting, but I decided to do as much as possible to go in my own direction and not directly copy Devil Daggers. I figure if they've done such a masterful job of making a game, there's no point in me treading the same ground, and the experience is far better for everyone involved if I'm creating something more unique.

After that, I decided to start exploring my own ideas of how I would want to make a game, and rather than making a game in a custom engine like the team that made Devil Daggers used, I decided to simply use an existing game engine and settled on using the Unity game engine. That has been the engine that we have been using ever since, and we have continued to develop that project from that point on.

Initially, this was a solo project where I myself was working on the programming, the environment, the enemies, 3D modeling, animation, music, and basically everything that you could think of in terms of getting this game working for about 3 years or so. I was able to achieve some reasonable success and make an early iteration of the new format, which I was reasonably proud of. As a result, when I was able to show it to other people, I got a decent amount of people interested, and people seemed to agree that the game held a lot of potential.

I started also approaching other people eventually to be on the team, and that leads us to the point where we are at now, where Void Productions is working as a team to create this game, and the quality of the work that we have been able to produce is something very, very impressive. I'm proud of myself and the team for being able to achieve that.

The game has no confirmed release date yet, as we are intent on making sure that the game will be released when it's ready and when we have a quality standard that we can all be proud of. But we are also aware that we don't want this project to go on forever, so we would be hoping to release this game by the end of 2025. However, lots of external factors may change this date, so if this date needs to be revised, then we'll have to do that if it's necessary.

In the meantime, the demo is playable and is already quite a fun experience, and a good indicator of what the final product will be when it comes out. So give the playable demo a go and have fun. Let me know if you have any comments, and also feel free to join us on the Discord and be part of the community. Looking forward to seeing you there!