We speak to Zhen Wang about his solo-developed game The Drained Goddess, available in Early Access on Steam now.
Out now in Early Access on Steam, The Drained Goddess invites you to find clues, solve puzzles, and discover nightmarish secrets in a tense indie horror adventure with multiple endings. As you unravel the dark mysteries of a mountain village, you’ll be confronted by supernatural enemies in your quest to expel the evil and understand the unfolding terrors around you. Developed by Carpelock, founded by Zhen Wang, The Drained Goddess is a fantastic showcase for what a one-person development team can achieve with CRYENGINE. We caught up with Zhen, an active member of our friendly and welcoming CRYENGINE community, to find out more.
Hey Zhen! So, how did you get started with CRYENGINE?
I tried the most popular engine options out for months when I decided to make the game. In the end, I chose CRYENGINE because it provides a mature and reliable solution for any serious project. Although The Drained Goddess is not based on the CRYENGINE GameSDK, the GameSDK acted as an excellent example for a fully-featured game. Some engines only provide limited-size samples, which has shortcomings. When I want to implement new features, but I’m not sure how to achieve them, I can always find examples in the GameSDK.
All the CRYENGINE source code is available on Github with commit history, which guarantees that the development can always proceed independently from official engine updates. It is crucial for unique game design as I often modify things here and there for any special requirements.
What inspired you to create The Drained Goddess?
The Drained Goddess is a projection of some of the nightmares I have had and stories that I heard when I was a child, which I combined and expanded to create the story. It’s a supernatural horror game where evil entities infest a remote village. Players will have to discover secrets and solve clues to push the plot forward, decide whether to fight against the game’s many unique enemies, or sneak away after finding what they were looking for. I am proud of the story, but in terms of gameplay think my favorite moments are when you find clues that lead you to hidden enemies that suddenly reveal themselves. There are also some challenging decisions to make. For instance, you will have to decide whether you have enough health and resources to attack an enemy or whether you should flee and fight another day.
What CRYENGINE features helped you during this production?
The programming of this game is based on the entity component system. With about 60K lines of game-side custom C++ code, the entity component system has proved to be reliable and able to communicate with other sub-systems in a very efficient way.
I was lucky that the official CRYENGINE Discord channel was established when I started diving deep into CRYENGINE. So many Crytekers and developers in the channel helped me and showed a lot of patience too! It would be impossible for me to achieve The Drained Goddess without their help.
Now you have launched in Early Access, what are your next steps for The Drained Goddess?
First, several more unique enemies are on their way. Like most enemies in this game, they might only appear after players discover certain secrets. Combat scenes for these new enemies will also be refactored or improved. Then I will focus on developing new chapters, so more secrets and unique enemies will come along until the story is completed. At the same time as developing new content, the current art, audio, puzzles, and AI behaviors will also be improved and updated.
Have you got any advice for other indie developers?
The most valuable thing that I learned from the development experience of The Drained Goddess so far is that one can always do so much more than you initially thought. I was not sure if I could achieve and release a serious game project, without even considering its quality bar, three years ago. But now, when I look back, most of the features I considered as ‘very risky’ in my original design have already been implemented in the game!
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