This page is our living documentation of the Flowstorm project!
You can read about its history, the game, the editor and other bits and pieces.
If you feel that anything is missing from this document, feel free to make a suggestion in the forums or drop us an e-mail!
This page will be updated continuously.
Note that everything written on this page is subject to change as the project develops!
To expand each section, press the little ► button.
Web vs. Standalone versions of Flowstorm
The web version is playable for free on the Flowstorm website! Your scores and replays are saved for the levels you play,
meaning you can log in and play on another computer and still see your replay ghosts.
Web Alpha wa.4.0.0 features:
• 9 levels total; 5 racing levels, 3 target race levels and a local 1v1 multiplayer combat level!
• Score and replay saving
The standalone version is not browser based, so it will run smoother and has, and will definitely get lots of more features.
This is the primary game, that will eventually have network multiplayer, a campaign, and much more!
To get access to the standalone version, you can either support us in our Kickstarter campaign,
or enter one of our irregular contests where you can win access!
Standalone Alpha sa.3.0.0 features, in addition to the web version:
• Level Editor
• Play custom levels
• Level Center upload and comment access
How it started
Once upon a time, Joachim Holmér created a little game called Rocket Prototype for a 2-day
school assignment at the advanced vocational education in Game Design at Futuregames in Stockholm.
You can try the original game right here.
Since then, it has been rewritten, renamed and vastly improved.
Flowstorm and history of the genre
The primary source of inspiration for Flowstorm comes from games of the so called “Thrust-clone” genre, in particular the Playstation 1 indie title "Gravitation" by James Shaughnessy.
The Thrust-clone style games go far back in gaming history, here’s a little summary of the development:
This was a much more fast paced action space shooter, while being based on the same code as Lunar Lander. This added the shooting mechanic, opening up a new set of skills required, not only to land the ship, but to also aim and shoot at the same time.
Gravity Force was based largely on the gameplay of Thrust, but had additional features, such as a two-player mode, and more advanced graphics.
What seems to be unique (but correct us if we’re wrong!) about Gravity Force is that it had a timed racing mode, which is a large part of what Flowstorm is and will be.
Thrust and Gravity Force both contributed to a wave of indie freeware projects, citing both Thrust and Gravity Force as their prime source of inspiration. However, many of those games are unfinished and now abandoned.
Gravitation is an indie lightweight Gravity Force clone for Playstation 1, released on a demo disc along with other titles. This is the game that inspired the first version of Flowstorm called Rocket Prototype.
Flowstorm aims to bring back the genre properly, fully equipped with multiplayer, online and offline, a level editor, community features, and much more.
Flowstorm has also been partly inspired by several other games, to name a few:
• Trackmania (Arcade racing, short respawn & refine loop, level editor)
• Super Meat Boy (Difficult, skill-based gameplay, short respawn & refine loop)
• Liero (Aimed gravity weapons, aerial multiplayer 2D combat)
A while before Greenlight, we both had plenty of projects on the go, but soon realised that it would be easier to finish them if would focus on just one project. Luckily, we could quite easily agree on which one to keep developing; the extremely challenging, simple but so satisfying little game then called Rocket Prototype. It just around that time when Valve announced an upcoming feature called Greenlight, and so we started figuring out how and what we should wrap up in the game to be able to put it there. We wanted see how people would react to the game - does people on the internet like this game as much as we do? Will anyone play it? The answer was; Yes!
116000 deaths the first 42 hours and a total of 226000 spawned rockets 20 hours later.
Nearly half a million spawned rockets during the first two weeks!
Web & Stand-alone Alpha 2 & 3
It didn’t take long before a little community was formed around the game. We were mostly active on the Facepunch forums, the Steam group and IRC, but also did some streaming and posted bits and pieces on the Unity forums and TIG.
A few players became really good at the game. The cool thing about that is that each had their own playstyle, their own timer category. These people were incredibly important for the project, us as a team and for defining the core of the game. They made video guides of their techniques and put them on YouTube, they made drawings of what they wanted to see in the game and Let’s Plays.
"Flowstorm to me is the Hannibal [Lecter] of video games: smart, clever, well dressed and containing much depth however it is also insane! It is the latter that really gets you as the animation is very nice and the levels have been lovingly crafted but the gameplay is actually insane and what some people have managed to do on this game is a whole other matter entirely (just look at the scoreboards in wonder)."
"Like all games that take the brutally unforgiving approach the overall concepts are very easy to pick up and play with, however the true skill comes from the competitive side of the game, being able to beat levels in record time whilst amassing fantastic bonuses, this is the true challenge."
"You need to use the world around you to gather momentum to complete the game. It may sound strange but in Flowstorm it works really well"
Postive player quotes
Just a few of all the positive comments we’ve had;
"This is one of the most addictive game i have played in a long time."
"This is easily a cult classic that is very addicting. To a first time user, the mechanics and levels may seem very difficult, but to cross that finish line for the first time.. it's very rewarding! (took me 40mins and I was sweating; on the Pilot map)"
"Awesome implementation, everything is so satisfying!"
"This editor is so straightforward and easy to use, I love it."
"What a AMAZING game, this is easily going to be on the 2013 unite awards as this is a masterpiece."
"This game looks awesome!"
"Love it! Great game concept! Cant wait to see it on steam."
"This is incredible."
"Loving it so far.. just blew about 3 hours when I should have been coding. haha"
“My team are too busy playing your game to finish ours. Simple and elegant. Just how we like em. Good stuff.”
“This is amazing.”
“This look just fantastic!”
“Love love love the game. The level editor is utterly amazing and genius, it looks fantastic. There is no stretching and it looks super simple to make unique levels since it has bezier curve handles.”
“Your game is seriously fun, can’t stop playing it.”
“Must.. Stop.. playing..
Must.. get back to programming!!
Addictive as hell with a charming aesthetic style!”
“My team are too busy playing your game to finish ours. Simple and elegant. Just how we like em. Good stuff.”
“Really loving this! - simple concept, and excellent execution, it really scratches my Super Meat Boy-itch”
“Perfect, I don't know what to say, just "Perfect"”
“I believe "Easy to learn, hard to master" is one of core phrases you'd find in a lesson book for game development if there was one. And if there was one, it would use this game as an example”
“This game is awesome. Can’t..stop..playing..”
“Damn I really, really love this art style.”
“Oh god this game <3
Last night I actually stopped playing WoW (of all things :P) and got into it, jumped on it again this afternoon and I've got the 10th race time :D
I'm so inappropriately proud”
“God damn it. Every time I load up this game I can't stop playing until I've beaten my last record.”
“jesus christ this game is addictive”
“This game is amazing. [...] I always loved games that have simple and intuitive controls and gameplay, but while being difficult (as fuck). Best examples I can think of are Bullet Hell shooters and Hammerfight. And now this!”
“I fucking love that level editor.”
“Wow. Such a simple and old concept made brilliant, addicting and fun.”
“I love it. It's like 2D Trackmania.”
“This is really addicting.”
“Best game ever.”
“the best thing.
“I love how slick this editor is”
“It's neat because it's like a puzzle, and you can do stupid tricks like flinging yourself off the side of the spawner for speed” (Regarding fuel time)
“Haven’t even beaten my own level yet”
“Difficult, rewarding and very addicting.”
“This game is so hard and for some reason not frustrating at all. So simple, and so completely addicting. Even in alpha stage, it's already one of the most fun arcade game I've ever played. Seriously.“
“Addictive and rewarding gameplay.”
“This is so awesome. I can't for the life of me sit down and play this for just a few minutes. I get hooked up every time.”
“This game is so fricking fun and really unique.”
“Thumbs up! Lots of fresh twists; nothing generic here at all!”
“Looks fantastic, love that it is skill based, hope there are leaderboards and player rankings!”
“This is amazing. I would totally play this game. Multiple game modes that all look fun and a versatile editor make this title a keeper.”
“Fucking awesome! I've been playing for more than an hour, and this is just one level. Can't wait for the release.”
“The first couple of days playing the online level I almost destroyed my keyboard...I took a break, and now its almost as if my brain and fingers needed a break to figure it all out, I now mastered all different modes with quite good results! 1<3”
“Loved the demo and the alpha versions! Everyone needs to try this game out and see how fun it is themselves.”
Negative player quotes
So far, we’ve also had around 3 negative responses, across all channels we are active in or have been mentioned in;
“This has no place on Steam, it belongs on a site like Newgrounds.”
“I can't even get to the 3rd checkpoint... Anyways, this looks too much of a flash game for me.”
“Ugghh...what a joyless game. Asteroids control scheme sucks. Asteroids control scheme + gravity (Nimbus control scheme) sucks even more. Nimbus control scheme + hyper-fragility sucks the most.”
"looks like it should be a tablet game. no thank you."
We can’t wait to prove them wrong! ;)
The game wasn’t instantly Greenlit, but we weren’t surprised, knowing how much work was left. But just looking at the amazingly positive feedback we got, we knew that we had to finish this game. We fleshed out the rest of the game design and made a plan for the rest of the production. This is where time started to really become a problem.
We both work in the games industry, which in our (and lots of others’) case means plenty of overtime, crunch, crunch and more crunch time. In combination with tending the little 3-year old lady of the household, there was little time left to work on our dear Flowstorm. But what are earthly problems when there is passion for a project? Night time became work time and so we tried to keep up as best we could. We knew that it would take a long time to finish the game like this though. Something needed to be done.
This is where we are now.
• Keep it skill-based
As little randomness as possible in gameplay, no achievement for starting the game, no pay-to-win.
We have a soft spot for games you actually need to learn to play, as opposed to being guided throughout the whole game.
• Always listen to the community
Although we cannot grant every wish made by the community, we want to always at least hear everyone out.
• Flowstorm is an indie game
We will have no publishers, no venture capital, no angel investors or similar financial backing.
This is to ensure that Flowstorm will stay true to its nature and close to its community,
as well as to make sure that as much of any money that the game makes goes to us,
so we can keep making games for you in the future!
Flowstorm is a highly skill-based game where you control an agile but fragile rocket,
where the skill lies not only in how fast you fly or how many bullets you fire,
but how well you control yourself in the air and charge your shots!
The gameplay has evolved from the old school genre called "Thrust-clones", where you control a triangular rocket by accelerating,
rotating and shooting.
With Flowstorm and you, the community, we want to revive the genre and take it to the next level, making it even more skill-based,
open up online multiplayer modes, add a complete set of community features,
as well as a level editor for everyone to use and share their creations in.
You control your rocket by turning left, right, accelerating, and depending on the level, shoot grenades.
Grenades are fired by holding the fire button to charge, and release to launch with a speed proportional to the charging time.
Another twist to Flowstorm is the sliding mechanic, where the underside of the rocket is invulnerable and can slide along surfaces.
This adds an interesting tradeoff that the player needs to consider whether to slide or not.
You can currently play with your keyboard or gamepad (Xbox 360 gamepad recommended).
You can find the specific keys and controls for each game mode by pressing H for Help in-game (or click the Help button).
= Return to menu
= Disable gamepad acceleration (Hotfix when your rocket is constantly accelerating due to a bug)
= Rotate left
= Rotate right
= Hold to charge, release to fire (Only available on Target Race levels)
Local 1v1 combat,
= Rotate left
= Rotate right
= Hold to charge, release to fire
Local 1v1 combat,
= Rotate left
= Rotate right
= Hold to charge, release to fire
The game will feature different types of rockets, all with unique behaviours.
The rockets available depend on the current level you’re playing.
For example, some levels may not even allow the default rocket and only lets you play with a specific rocket,
while other levels may allow multiple types of rockets, so that you get to choose which one to use.
Across all game modes, online or offline, you get to choose rocket while you’re either dead, or has spawned without having started the timer.
This means you can switch rockets when playing multiplayer race and combat as well, as long as the level support multiple rockets.
Each rocket may also have multiple recolors - skins - which can be unlocked with certain achievements.
A few Rockets on the drawing board
• Can fire grenades
• Smaller wings
• Extended landing gear
• Moves using a grappling hook (Similar to the Ninja rope in the Worms series)
• Cannot accelerate without being hooked
• Lighter (Accelerates/Decelerates faster)
• No landing gear
• No gravity while sliding
• Turning while sliding will result in sideways accelerating/strafing
Timers, Scores & Replays
Flowstorm has a twist in that it runs 6 different timers independently in parallel,
as opposed to most games which only use one timer. These timers encourage different ways of playing levels,
and some of them require an almost entirely different skill set.
This is about completing the levels as fast as possible, just like most racing games.
Here you need to figure out the quickest route and the most effective execution to score a perfect run.
This timer only ticks while accelerating, making the game more of a puzzle game,
where you need to figure out where to efficiently spend your fuel.
Finding every fuel-saving trick on the level often takes time and patience,
and you need to be very accustomed to how the rocket handles.
Usually a combination of rotating the rocket in the right places, and shooting grenades to gain momentum.
Race without releasing the acceleration key.
This is by far the most difficult mode.
It’s all about constant compensation and velocity cancellation to remain as in-control as possible,
while planning your path of motion carefully.
It can be extremely difficult, but is possible in most levels, given enough practice.
Race without turning right.
When you’re under the restriction of only turning in one direction makes some
previously easy turns much more tricky to pull off quickly.
The restriction tends to put the player in unexpected situations where there’s no way out, other than turning the other way.
Race without turning left.
Race without touching anything. This is the most retro timer,
as it’s most similar to how most thrust-clones handle collision.
When playing for the air timer, you’ve got to go dangerously close the walls when cutting corners.
This timer really makes you learn how to properly control yourself in the air.
Flowstorm is planned to have a replay system, so you can easily save your best moments, and share with others. Replays are also saved in the database, so if you want to watch someone’s replay, who sits right on top of your score, you can!
We’re also considering having a replay layering feature, so you can watch multiple replays on the same level, play at the same time.
We also want to integrate an export feature, so you can record and save to your computer, or be able to easily upload to YouTube from the game.
Each level with the Racing game mode has a unique scoreboard for each of the 6 timers. This also applies to user-created levels.
A single scoreboard entry should have the following information:
• Rocket used (Not shown in the preview below)
• Player name & avatar (Clickable to see user account page)
• Time (Clickable to see replay)
The scoreboards are very central to the game, and motivates players to improve their technique and skill.
It’s vital that you can both see the top 10, as well as your current position.
Letting the players know how they are doing and how much they improve over time is equally important,
as proper feedback is something you both want and need.
For this reason, the scoreboards will show 13 entries per category.
The first 10 are the top 10 scores, the bottom three are you and your neighboring players.
For example, if you’re in 46:th place, the scoreboard will show 1 to 10 and 45 to 47, in the following order:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 45, 46, 47
If you’re 12:th or better, it will show scores 1 to 13.
In order to avoid spoiling tactics and methods players use to get the top scores,
all scores better than yours will not have a viewable replay,
and you will not be able to see which rocket was used when setting the score.
However, the one *directly* above your score is viewable, so if you’re in 55:th place,
you can view the 54:th place replay and rocket. This is to motivate players to improve their play, without spoiling too much.
Each level has 4 medal limits for each timer type, as defined by the author of the level.
- Finish the level
- Finish the level quickly
- Finish the level very quickly
- Finish the level faster than the author
The Racing game modes works just like most racing games.
It’s all about going from point A to point B as fast as possible,
or finishing a certain set of objectives as efficiently as possible.
Flowstorm has checkpoints in the levels, allowing you to check part-times compared to earlier runs,
as well as a finish line. Some levels also feature targets you need to destroy,
either by shooting them or by crushing them with your landing spikes. When at least one target is present,
you can fire grenades with your rocket. These grenades are affected by gravity, and needs to be charged to be fired a greater distance.
Each level will specify the starting amount of grenades.
There will also be ammo pickups placeable on the level, which can create interesting branching choices in levels,
especially when playing for the fuel timer, as you can use the grenade recoil to gain speed without spending fuel.
The levels allow any combination of these objectives.
For example, a level might have checkpoints only, which means that the map is finished when all checkpoints have been passed,
rather than the standard finish line approach, these are called freeroam levels.
Objectives aside, the levels will also feature elements such as radial magnets and directional force fields.
The campaign will serve as a more controlled and linear experience to guide you through everything that game has to offer in terms of rockets,
game modes, environments etc.
And a few extra bits that we won’t talk about here. So, nothing to see here, folks! Move along to the next chapter!
When racing online, you play together with other people on the same level,
sharing a scoreboard, but you cannot collide with other players.
If you're familiar with the Trackmania series multiplayer; this is pretty much the same idea!
Multiplayer racing has two sub modes. You can either play Time attack or Rounds.
Time attack is all about executing the best run for as many timer categories as possible in a set amount of time.
Depending on the server settings, it can either calculate the winner by summing together scores in all categories, or declare multiple winners, one for each timer category.
When playing Rounds, all players start at the same time, and cannot respawn until everyone has finished or crashed. The level is played in multiple rounds. The winner of the match is the one who had the best average position in all the rounds.
These combat game modes are exclusive to network multiplayer, where you play in two teams.
This is one of the most prestigeous modes, where you're put to the test by the other players.
There are currently two combat game modes being considered, Decay and Payload.
Common to all combat game modes, you can fire a grenade used to destroy enemy rockets.
Destroy the enemy Reactor with Energy Cores.
Each player spawn with 1 initial Energy Core.
Collect Energy Cores, which players drop on the following conditions:
• If players are destroyed by an enemy player, they will drop all their cores
• If players crash into a wall or suicide, they will not drop your initial core, just the collected ones
• If players are destroyed by an allied player, no cores are dropped
Short respawn times (2-5 sec).
A bar will show how many of the cores are currently held by Team A, Team B or no one.
When a team's Reactor is destroyed, they can no longer respawn, making the final stage of the game a deathmatch.
This enables the losing team a final chance to win against all odds.
If you're familiar with the Team Fortress 2 gamemode of the same name, you probably know what this is!
One team is set to defend, and the other is set to attack.
The goal for the attackers is to push the payload into the enemy base before the time runs out.
Push by being near the payload.
Defenders can stop the payload by being near it.
Played in two rounds; first team A attacks while team B defends, and then the other way around.
A winner is decided on the second round. The winner is the team who performed the best.
The team who pushed the payload the longest distance, wins.
If both teams pushed it all the way to the enemy base, the team who did it the fastest wins.
When hosting a Flowstorm server, it generally cycles a set of levels in a map rotation. Servers can also choose scoring mode, if it’s across multiple timer types or if it’s just the race timer, and whether it will sum all the player scores into one, or calculate multiple winners across the categories, or if the server would only allow a single timer type.
As with the levels, you can set filters for allowed rockets. Some servers might only allow the default rocket, while others allow all rockets.
The server rocket filter and the level rocket filter is multiplied into one, meaning the server can only restrict rockets, not permit rockets.
We want to join the trend of allowing the PC to hang out in the living room,
which means we’ll go for full controller support, as well as a local multiplayer modes, and even a unique 1v1 combat mode!
Local multiplayer will support the same race modes as the network race modes, Time attack and Rounds.
Local 1v1 Combat
1v1 Combat can be played with just a keyboard or with one or two gamepads.
(The latter is recommended unless you have a keyboard that can deal with Keyboard Ghosting)
Both players spawn in an arena, with rockets that can shoot grenades. The goal is to survive, and make sure the other player doesn’t!
Each player has a set amount of lives per round, and the winner is declared once a player has lost all their lives.
The 1v1 combat might grow in the future, with pickups/powerups, multiple weapons,
more players, and more, depending on how much time we’ll be able to put into it.
The Flowstorm level editor is one of the main parts of the game,
as it invites the players to create and share their levels with the eachother,
making sure that as long as the community is alive, you won't run out of new maps to play!
We're putting a lot of effort into making sure that it's as intuitive as possible,
without cutting features that would otherwise allow more creative designs!
User guide - Standalone Alpha 3 & 4
= Camera movement
+ = Scroll to zoom (new in Alpha 4)
= Hold to toggle grid snap for movement and rotation. (Scale snap is new in Alpha 4)
= Delete selection
= Hide GUI
= Exit to menu
The editor is split into multiple tools for creating and modifying different parts of the level.
Here are the 4 tools plus the play mode:
The spawnpoint tool is used to simply set the spawnpoint of the player.
= Set/Move spawnpoint
The Spline tool is used to create the main geometry of your level.
In this tool, you create, move, bend and connect segments that shape the level.
• Connecting a loop of segments will make either the inner or outer geometry fill with a wall.
• Nodes snapped to the same point will auto merge
= Create segment. Hold
to create a segment between a selected node and the cursor
= Select/Deselect/Box select. Hold
to add to selection. Drag nodes to move. Hold
to ignore tangents when moving
= While hovering a segment, toggles linearity, linear becomes curved and vice versa
= Merge selected nodes
= While hovering a segment, divides it into two
The trigger tool is where you place the checkpoints and finishlines
= Spawn trigger, hold on trigger center to rotate trigger
= Move trigger
= While hovering a trigger center, toggles between checkpoint and finishline
The prop tool is probably the most versatile. You place models that you can move, rotate and scale.
Some props are special props, such as targets and hazards.
Props are of different depths. Some are in the same plane as the rocket,
which means you can collide with them. Some are meant to be placed outside the level boundary,
in front of the player plane, while others are designed to be placed behind the player, in the background.
Currently, the prop selection list is incredibly unintuitive, but it works! Later on, it will have proper categorization.
= Spawn prop
= Select prop / Drag gizmo handles. Hold
= Scroll in the prop list
= Toggle between relative & absolute snap
Play mode is the mode you enter when you want to try your level out in the editor, allowing you to easily test parts of the level, making sure it’s as polished as possible.
= Switch to the Rooket
= Switch to the Storm rocket
As the game expands, the editor will expand with it!
Apart from the current bugs and the unfinished interface, here are a few features we've planned in future versions:
• More assets/props/models
• Dynamic level elements (Fans, hazards)
• Other types of splines
• Team combat level creation
• Singleplayer adventure level creation
To share your levels with other players, you can use the Level Center of the Flowstorm website.
The level center allow you to publish levels for others, and it will have its own scoreboard. Other players can also comment on your levels, giving you ratings based on what they thought of your level.
Finding and playing
You can easily find and play custom levels in the level center! Currently it's mostly just a list of levels. Later on it will have filtering and more properties shown in the list. If you click the name of someone, you'll see their profile page, where you can find more levels from the same author. You can also add levels to a list of your favorite levels, so you can easily access them again, and compete together with other players on the scoreboards!
Note that you need to have standalone access to play custom levels.
Commenting and rating
You can comment on levels, give them feedback and ratings, depending on what you liked on the level. The ratings are in the form of small icons you can award the level. Here's the list of ratings you can give:
Given to levels that show high quality in gameplay, feeling very refined
Given to levels that stands out of the crowd and provides a unique experience
Given to levels that are extra fun to hunt for better scores on
Given to levels that show outstanding visual quality and attention to detail
Given to levels that are unconventionally insane yet entertaining
The forum is the place where you can talk to the community, including us developers, about anything!
There's a forum for Flowstorm General talk, a Creativity Corner forum for posting and taking a look at what people have created, a Technical Support forum for anything technical, and finally, an Off-topic forum to casually hang out with the community!
We want to have support for players to create and join persistent teams, so it’s easier to organize team tournaments, or simply play with a group of friends. Teams would have their own team page, with statistics and a collection of player statistics, as well as a global team ranking.
As one of the core principles of the game, Achievements will have to be actual achievements, ones you're at least a bit proud of getting, or learned something along the way. Getting an achievement shouldn't be the sole reason for wanting to get it, you should enjoy the journey and challenge to get there.
Below is a list of example achievements.
• Complete all singleplayer race levels
• Complete a specific timer type in all default levels with at least a specific medal
• Complete a level achieving both ccw and cw at the same time
• Download and score on 10 custom levels
• Complete the campaign
• Complete all levels with a total race time below <Some time>
• Complete all levels with a total fuel time below <Some time>
• Complete all levels with full acceleration
• Complete all levels only turning left
• Complete all levels only turning right
• Complete all levels without touching anything
Online Multiplayer Combat:
• Win an online multiplayer combat game without dying even once
• Collect and hold at least 50 energy cores
• Destroy a rocket carrying at least 25 energy cores
• Kill an enemy with a grenade that has been in the air for more than 2 seconds
The more prestigious achievements will unlock skins for your rocket to use when playing online, some will even have special effects.
We’re considering having some form of experience or reputation system throughout the game and its website, but it hasn't been designed properly yet!