zeit² comes in the tradition of classic shoot’em up games and adds a time traveling mechanic, which extends the game experience in surprising ways. You can assist yourself by traveling back in time and co-op with your prior playing.
Time rewinding in zeit² is not simply a way to undo things but an essential feature to beat the game. When initiating time travel, rewinding will continue until you either release the button or you run out of time-travel-energy. During that period your player and everything else on the screen is being rewound. As soon as you stop traveling back in time, the game starts playing forward and you are in control of the player again. While you are in the past there will be a ghost or shadow of your player that plays exactly like you did before. You are on the screen twice, as the normal player and a black version of it. Go back in time at the right moments to get the advantage over your enemies by having the doubled firepower that time traveling gives you.
The time-travel-future mechanic lets you speed up the game at any time. While you are in time-travel-future all the points you score are doubled. This feature serves to improve score and pace the game when it feels slow for advanced players.
Different ways of interactions with your time shadow combined with your multi-level chargeable weapon give you an arsenal of tactics to fight your enemies. The additional weapon systems include a chain shot that jumps from enemy to enemy when fired, and a blast shot destroying everything on its path of impact.
zeit² is based on an energy balancing mechanism rather than discrete lives. Every enemy passing you drains life energy from you, and enemies you shoot give you energy back. The dynamics of this allow you to experience a continuing flow of game play. You can feel the excitement of regaining energy after a situation that seemed like a dead end at first. You constantly decide between risky scoring moves and life saving actions.
Fight 20 different enemies and defeat the eight massive bosses, when you go on a journey through 16 chapters of action and variety in “Arcade” mode. Challenge others in scoring the best high score in the additional modes “Chapter”, “Survival”, “Wave”, “Time Limit” and “Tactics”. The innovative “Challenge Me” feature encourages you to discover all modes and strive for new high scores.
Be drawn into a world where simplistic purity meets impressing special effects. Abstracted micro-organisms are approaching you through time and space in a futuristic cosmos of energy fields and colorful nebulas. Unique level styles will keep you on the edge floating through fantastic worlds. Experience the flow of intuitive controls that give you absolute mastery over forthcoming situations. Treat your hunger for tactical depth and skill based action with the enormous possibilities and rich choices facing you in zeit².
Back in 2008 some of our team members took a university class in game programming. Our professor Andrew Nealen, who now is teaching at Rutgers University New York and is an independent game developer himself (look up the awesome game of Osmos), made us develop a game prototype in just three days as a requirement to take part in his class. It was back then when Thomas, our game designer, created the very first version of zeit²: “I wanted to make a shoot’em up game where you could attack a boss at two spots at the same time. If you would simply clone the player he would only be able to control one instance at a time. The next best thing was to give the player the power to go back in time and play through the same part of the game again while his former actions are being replayed. Also great games like Ikaruga and Warning Forever inspired me to bring something new into this genre.”
While developing zeit² we focused a lot on the one major game mechanic “time travel” and explored that for a long time. A game evolved that is unique for its innovative features and some brave design choices, like the energy balancing system, that sets it apart from classic shoot’em ups. While zeit² allows players to improve and perfect their playing for a long time and discover countless possibilities along their way, it stays easily accessible. After a while time traveling into the past and future feels so natural that you instinctively want to use it in other shoot’em up games.
The hardest part in making zeit² is to stick with one project for such a long time and finish it along with your studies. We are still working on improving the game, but I’m sure you heard before that finishing the last 10% of a game is 90% of the work. We believe in the uniqueness of our team and game and draw a lot of inspiration out of the project.
The hardest part in making zeit2 is to stick with one project for such a long time and finish it along with your studies. We are still working on improving the game, but I’m sure you’ve heard before that finishing the last 10% of a game is 90% of the work. We believe in the uniqueness of our team and game and draw a lot of inspiration out of the project.
One of the enemies in zeit² called “Andy” is a tribute to our former professor Andy Nealen. Maybe some more useful information… we probably want to release the game in the second quarter of this year. There will be updated information on the game on our website zeit2.com where you can also sign up for a newsletter and watch a new trailer soon.
Because the game is about time traveling, and Thomas who came up with the idea is German, he just called the game “zeit” which is German for “time”. He added the “squared” because the player is doubled during time travel and we wanted to make the name a little more unique. Since then we kept that name even though sometimes we consider changing the title to make it a little easier to understand for all of us who aren’t fluent in German.
Nichole Kieffer (project manager) and Thomas Bedenk (game designer) are going to answer these questions together.
Nichole: Mifflinburg, PA
Thomas: Schweinfurt, Germany
Nichole: Shippensburg University (graduated 2005)
Thomas: TU Berlin
Nichole: I used to love all the Atari and NES games. I played them a LOT with my older brother. Now I’m more into casual stuff like Guitar Hero or World of Goo.
Thomas: I really like the indie games movement. I used to make some little freeware games back in 1996. It was very similar back then to make little games and give them away for free on your website. What really changed is how much indie game developers are recognized now through competitions like IGC and the media. It’s an awesome time to be a game developer and I love the momentum smaller scope downloadable games with innovative gameplay are catching recently.
Nichole: Thomas and I are a couple and we know each other since we met in Spain, back in 2005. The team as it now consists is mostly formed of Thomas’s co-students and friends. I joined to support them with publicity work and project management. Before that Thomas already had me test his games whenever I would come home from work.
Thomas: Johannes, Volker and I met in a game programming class at university. It was a great experience to work on the first version of zeit² together. So when we got some recognition as Dream Build Play 2008 finalists, we decided to improve the game further and eventually release it for Xbox and PC.
Thomas: Forza 3, Decimation X on Xbox Live Indie Games and a single button multiplayer shoot’em up game that I just made a prototype of.
Nichole: Doodle Jump on my IPod touch and Osmos on PC (go hemisphere games!).
Nichole: So hard to pick, but let´s say Super Mario Bros. I also love the new version for the Wii.
Thomas: Unless you only play for 3 minutes, then maybe Enviro Bear 2000 HAHAHA
Nichole: Pac Man for Atari 2600 since it took all the fun out of one of the best games of that time.
Thomas: Yeah the Atari 800XL version was so much better. Ohh, and my least favorite game that I actually owned maybe Top Gun for NES. It’s the single one of my NES games, that I did’t miss after trading my NES with someone’s SNES (yeah you heard me right, as a kid I knew someone who was so confused by the additional buttons of the SNES that he traded it for my NES *STRIKE*).
Thomas: NES and Atari 800 XL (it had a cartridge slot so it counts as a video console I guess)
Nichole: Atari 2600
Thomas: Xbox 360
Nichole: IPod Touch
Nichole: We really share our passion for video games, but we also enjoy partying, playing basketball, singing karaoke (well, mostly one of our team members for that one). Volker has a black belt in Kung Fu so you better not beat his high scores!
Oct 2nd, 7:34am
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