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Steam Marines 2

Steam Marines 2 - a steampunk tactics game · By WorthlessBums

Returning Players and the Future (26 October 2016)

A topic by WorthlessBums created Aug 28, 2016 Views: 1,897 Replies: 8
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Developer (11 edits)

"Marines. MARINES."

Steam Marines 2 is going into alpha release within the next few months!

The game currently features:

  • Permadeath - take care of your marines or die trying.
  • Turn-based combat - master movement and fire tactics.
  • Procedural generation - ship interiors and planetside levels.
  • Factions - human, alien, and robot units with their own gear and tactics.
  • Customization - marines with names, portraits, and gear.

What's New For Returning Players?

Some comments for players of Steam Marines 1 who may be interested in differences between the two games:

  • Marine squad size has been increased. Still try not to reach zero marines.
  • You control your spaceship instead of just fighting inside of it. There is a bare bones ship combat system in place (that is not turn-based) that I intend on expanding. Essentially your marines are aboard the I.S.S. Delhi and you can land on planets, moons, et cetera to insert your marines into combat.
  • Marine firing is no longer restricted to cardinal directions. Movement is still based on a square tile grid.
  • Steam Marines 2 separates out Action Points and Attack Points. Whereas in the first game all attacks/abilities used some set amount of Action, the sequel allows more granularity in what each marine can do per turn by separation of resources.
  • Marines now reveal fog of war in a 360 degree sphere instead of just a cone in the direction they face.
  • Tactical combat is a lot less about lining up marines and Guarding and a lot more about line of sight positioning and choosing shots; Marines can now aim for the head or center of mass which affects damage and accuracy bonuses/penalties.
  • Proximity to targets affects accuracy.
  • Marines are now differentiated not only by class/weapons/armor but by personality traits. Traits have chances to trigger per marine per turn that can boost Action, experience gain for the turn, and other effects.
  • Portraits. Lots of portraits.

People love portraits, right?

The Future

As with my roadmap for Steam Marines 1, this list is not a series of promises. It's intended to give you a general idea of where I'd like to take the game. If I try something and I don't like it and you don't like it, I'll take it out. Maybe the game will pivot in a better direction. Game development is like that.

The current game plays like this at an abstract level:

  • New campaign - > generates a new squad of marines.
  • Go to universe view. Fly around, orbit on some space rock, and launch a mission.
  • Marines try and shoot things because that's what marines do.

Things I'd like to add post-alpha launch:

  • An actual story. Steam Marines 1 had a very bare bones plot - you awake from cryosleep and discover your ship is under attack. Ahhh! Fight your way through several decks and crush the big baddie. Huzzah! Because you can now control your ship there's a lot of directions you can go in terms of exploration, warping to other systems, procedurally generated planets/missions, and even potentially building a fleet. Which leads me to...
  • ... building a fleet. This is a bit far-fetched because 1) a lot of code assumes you've only got one ship, and 2) this adds a whole lot of micromanagement/tedium. It may be a better idea to control your original ship and allow automation of any captured enemy ships. Managing multiple squads of marines? We'll see. This isn't supposed to be a 4x!
  • More. More items, weapons, armor, enemies, et cetera. To be upfront my character animator has taken several months off to focus on his own game. It's a bit loosey goosey at the moment but if he's not back on board by the start of 2017 I'll get another artist to continue; That said he does enjoy working on this project and I anticipate he will return - he's done great work so far. Because of this the current number of models in the game is lacking: one suit of armor per marine class, two weapons, and four enemy units. I know this is light on visual bling.
  • My environment artist is currently working on water/fire worlds for marines to fight on. He also made the human, robot, and alien ship models. He's getting ready to make space stations as well. I think a variety of environments is always nice in tactical games.
  • My portrait artist has about (30?) more portraits to make, so added to the current 30 that'll be about 60 illustrated portraits for marines to choose from. Toying with the idea of crossing out portraits as marines die and you can't reuse them for that run afterward.
  • There is (non-turn based) ship combat in the game, but it's far too simple to be considered finished. You basically fire missiles to lower enemy shields then launch marine capsules to board the ship. I have ideas on this but it also needs to jive with any sort of fleet organization that gets implemented.

Steam Marines 2 is currently slated for full release at the end of 2018. That gives me about two years to work with post-alpha release to get cracking on the above list. I'd love to hear any feedback on what you'd like to see in the game, although clearly this is a bit open ended as the game isn't out yet.

But even high level, abstract feedback is good! Things like "I want turn-based gameplay, I don't feel that real time ship combat is a good idea." is valuable!

More Screens!

Action Camera/Targeting


Ship Combat

(Enough people have raised issues with its real time nature I'll be changing it.)

Hulk Suit


(Update 26 October 2016)

Had a bunch of delays, including art because Hurricane Matthew chased one of my artists out of his home! More or less back on track now.

This enemy-repurposed space station is now fully operational.

(Spaceships and space station by Daniel Allen.)

Thanks for reading!

Mister Bums

(1 edit) (+1)

Can I launch a Marine as a torpedo towards an enemy ship? That would be a cool way to board other ships and would make ship combat more butclenching, as in, "Shoot the enemy ship to lower it's shields but be careful because you can run out of Marines"!


Yes, currently this is in the game after you lower an enemy's shields. Although the capsules are simple Unity primitives with no textures atm xD


The only thing scaring me so far is the line, "There is a bare bones ship combat system in place (that is not turn-based)...". I hope this doesn't mean something like real time ship battles in an otherwise turn based game.

Oh, and my biggest odd gripe with the original, I had the darndest time distinguishing walls from hallways, so I can only hope this is more clear in the sequel.


Hi, LordGek.

Yes, several people have now expressed concern about the real time nature of the ship combat. I'll likely be changing this.

Walls and floor tiles should be much more clear this time around. It's fully 3D, you can alter the XZ angle via camera rotation, and you can zoom in and out. While you currently can't alter the Y-axis angle, this should provide people with all the viewing they need.

But let me know if that isn't the case once the game launches! Originally I had free camera orbiting (click and drag to view at any angle) but locked it down primarily for ease of use/return to old viewing angles and to simplify controller/dpad settings.

Please don't completely give up on ship combat! XCOM:EU has both real-time effects and ship combat, and it functions acceptably without adding complexity or confusion. As long as ship combat doesn't have a fail-state (ie: losing combat forces a game over), then having (essentially) minigames to increase play agency and reward (ie: fewer enemies or better strategic entry points).

I like the idea of having the tactical choice of how to damage a ship in order to better breach it or salvage choice selections.


Hi, Threefold.

I haven't! But I do need to take a step back and reassess how I want to implement it as a more traditional tile and turn-based style of gameplay. I also like the idea of being able to target specific parts of ships for tactical advantages >:)


Been making some progress on the polishing and art asset side of things lately. Alpha in late September/early October, hopefully! Been trying to cram most of my assets into my first system to let players know how the overall structure of the game plays out. Still working on two planet side tactical environments.

Unfortunately I don't believe the alpha release is going to have fully fleshed out environments like desks, chairs, lockers, and that sort of thing. Because of the nature of them being interactable I ran into some issues with the level generator and placing them to work well with the core gameplay. Still working on that.

Fire/Lava World

Ice/Water World

I've repurposed the shield shader from the ship combat scene for personal use. Steampunk battery technology is awesome, right? Well, maybe it's actually alien tech. Who knows. Certainly not me.

Repurposed Ship Shield Shader


Hello, 2017! Delayed, but still progressing. Some juicy concept art for upcoming unit assets:

Been revamping the marine relationship system and adding in an ability toolbar that allows all marine to mix and match, with modifiers based on marine class, marine personalities, and gear stats.