Disciples of the Storm Brings a PC Classic into the Future

Classic PC gaming has always been a bit of an enigma to me. I didn’t get a chance to spend time with Doom, Mech Warrior or Starcraft. Even during those times, PC gaming was more of a niche than it is today. Pirating was super easy and a norm for the culture. Players would often have access to the code and create mods or whole new games. While this culture has waned a bit, several servers are still active for these old games. Whole communities are still playing classics like Unreal Tournament or Quake. Lucky for gamers, these communities hold many talented people, which sometimes leads to full-blown independent game development.

Even though Halo and Call of Duty rule the multiplayer scene, Unreal Tournament still sees regular play. Gotta love PC gaming.

Even though Halo and Call of Duty rule the multiplayer scene, Unreal Tournament still sees regular play. Gotta love PC gaming.

Kickstarter has been the breeding grounds for indie games. Many success stories bolster overnight funding with plenty of cash to use for even greater development than before. Usually, the titles that pay homage to older, well-loved franchises see the highest donations, such as Shovel Knight or Bloodstained. Following this trend, Storm Isle Productions hopes to keep its passion for the 1997 PC strategy game, Netstorm, alive with its newest title, Disciples of the Storm. It’s even working with some of the original developers of Netstorm!

NetStorm - Islands at War_8

Players use a bridge system to create connections to other islands to capture, attack, and defend. Its widely interesting.

To truly understand where Disciples is coming from, I had to dig into Netstorm, a game I hadn’t even heard of until recently. After a few hours of playing it, I can understand why Storm Isle chose to revive it. For starters, the interface is silky smooth which is a must in these competitive strategy games. Each motion of the mouse, each placement of units, everything just feels modern. Mechanically, there are many interesting things at work; plenty of depth for each unit type and faction. Players must build bridges to the enemy floating isles to attack, while keeping their own island safe from invasion. However, bridges take time before they are sturdy. Players can be quick with their bridge building, but it leads to cracked designs that crumble over time. This creates a flow to matches that I haven’t witnessed in any other title.

Luckily, the game is free since it is abandonware and I can attest that it works smoothly in Windows 8, which means I’ll be looking to sharpen my skills soon.

Playing Netstorm really gives Disciples of the Storm new life. The amount of detail being put into each unit is astounding, considering the basic graphics of Netstorm. For instance, the golems were once lifeless blobs that called me master, but for Disciples, they take on new life.

Rain Golem Concept

Yeah, I don’t want this guy touching my priest.

What’s even better than this guy stomping over to capture enemy units? Each of the four planned factions will be getting unique designs, making them easy to distinguish when in battle. Each unit from Netstorm is getting a glorious upgrade, making them fit their faction’s theme and being a better fit for the game’s environments.

rain power

Raining rain! From a lacerated raindrop!

The developers of this title have obviously spent a lot of time on Netstorm, judging from the amount of joy being put into each aspect of the game. These are players who not only remember a classic game, but they also want to share this experience with a new generation. I can’t wait to see how players use the bridge system to creatively attack and defend. What sort of crazy strategies will come out of it?

Either way, its sure to bring a smile to old and new players alike.

Disciples of the Storm is accepting support on Kickstarter.

I discovered this project while searching for people interested in the gaming industry who are active in my home state of West Virginia. I found a little group of folks who discussed and traded games, but one user stuck out. Nathan Hunt trumpeted constantly about this exciting project he was working on, often showing models, environments, and the like for Disciples of the Storm. This lead to our connection, as there is very little to note for the game industry going on in WV. Since then, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the project, counting down the days til the Kickstarter. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me, as I thought game design was merely a hobby in WV. As I’d hoped, there are developers making awesome games everywhere, even WV.

Because of this, I challenge everyone to find local game designers, writers, video producers, and gamers and make a connection. Community is what makes being a gamer so awesome. We make lifelong friends through sharing these wild experiences that no other medium has.

Go forth my fellow Giga Geeks! Make connections!

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