Clones is an upcoming puzzle/real-time strategy computer game to be released for the Windows platform. Clones was created by independent game developer Tomkorp Computer Solutions Inc. as their first game. It features alien creatures named clones to which the player can assign a variety of morph commands which cause the clones to deform their body in order to navigate the terrain. Multiple game types are supported as well as both singleplayer and multiplayer modes.
The core gameplay of Clones is similar to Lemmings but includes several differences such as multiple game modes, networked multiplayer, a world ranking system, simple A.I., and a built-in level editor. The differences are summarized on the developers website via the quote "Clones is to Lemmings as Unreal Tournament is to Wolfenstein". Primarily a 2D game, Clones uses a 3D camera to display the Clones Planet (singleplayer worldmap) and to allow zooming and rotation of the 2D landscape. The player cannot control the clones directly, except for the mutated Light Clone, and must issue morphs to the clones which deform their bodies and allow them to perform 10 different actions to help navigate the landscape:
- Clob - Move horizontally through land.
- Mold - Build a diagonal bridge.
- Nova - Explode clone and nearby land.
- Drill - Move vertically down through land.
- Gulp - Move diagonally up or down through land.
- Doppel - Prevent other clones from passing.
- Puff - Inflate to avoid splat from high fall.
- Spin - Move vertically upwards in air.
- Atomize - Breaks a clone into bits which become land.
- Lop - Clone tosses its head which explodes land on contact.
The clones are grouped into 8 different colour groups with identical functionality. In singleplayer the user controls only one group with the rest being computer controlled (or not available), while in multiplayer every player may control a different group. The objective for each level depends on the current game mode which can be one of the following:
- Corral the Clone - The group which beams up (saves) the most clones wins.
- Capture the Clone - Each group tries to lure a large clone to an exit area.
- Procure the Particle - Each group must direct their clones to pick up a particle and then lead the particle-carrying clone to the particle receptacle.
- Multiverse Match - Every group has their own sealed duplicate level and must race to complete the puzzle in the shortest time.
- Quantum Quarrel - Each group tries to atomize clones of other groups. The last clone group standing wins.
- Super Synergy (multiplayer only) - Co-operative multiplayer. Multiple players can solve puzzles as a team.
- Quantum Loop (singleplayer only) - A level with N groups is played N times and on each iteration the player controls the Nth group and must co-ordinate the morphs given in the past with the currently controlled group.
Each game mode may have a number of options to vary the gameplay such as allowing a single saboteur clone in the Multiverse Match mode.
Most levels include a number of interactive contraptions referred to as traps. Traps can either alter the landscape, or the clones themselves. Some of the common traps are:
- Teleport - Transports a clone to another part of the level.
- Swap (multiplayer only) - Swaps the control and colour of a clone to another group.
- Entanglement - Links two clones so that giving a morph to one will result in both clone performing the action.
- Squish - Crushes the clone.
- Shock - Zaps the clone.
- Size - Either double or half the size of the clone.
- AntiGrav - Alter the gravity of a clone (4 possible gravities).
- Clone Cannon - Blasts a clone to another part of the level.
- Speedup - Multiply the speed at which the clone performs morph actions up to 8 times.
- Bonus Items - Decorations to alter a clones appearance, stamps to tag the landscape during multiplayer, etc.
The singleplayer experience places the player in the role of a new CloneMaster visiting the Clones Planet who is to progress on a pilgrimage to visit and learn from 10 Elder CloneMasters. Each defeated Elder gives the player a segment of a medallion which once restored will unlock a final Elder CloneMaster. Each CloneMaster will present the player with 10-20 puzzles with the final puzzle being a head-to-head battle against the Elder in Multiverse Match mode. Players are encouraged to learn as much as possible from the Elders before engaging in online play, which can be very challenging.
CloneMasters are creatures with poor physical dexterity either due to body size or shape but possess a great intellect. They live symbiotically with the clones who have astonishing morphing abilities but very limited problem solving skills. Some of the CloneMasters enjoy competitive head-to-head matches and so founded the CloneMaster League which is where online multiplayer matches take place. Elder CloneMasters do not play in the league and focus on teaching and passing down their skills to the next generation of CloneMasters, which is where the singleplayer puzzles are presented. The Clones Planet is represented as a 3D object which the player can rotate to select which CloneMaster they wish to train with. Once a CloneMaster is selected their puzzles are displayed as a path on the surface of the planet. This presentation of levels permits a non-linear progression through the puzzles as the player can choose (to some degree) which order to play the levels. Some levels can be omitted and there are hidden levels as well.
The multiplayer experience takes place in the setting of the intergalactic CloneMaster League. Players can host a tournament or view a list of all active tournaments in the universe and join one. Multiplayer matches offer a high degree of replay value and can be much more intense than singleplayer as a result of humans being so unpredictable. Players have the option of registering a one-on-one match with the CloneStats world ranking system which uses a chess-like method for determining a players rank.
Clones comes with a built-in, fully featured WYSIWYG level editor which will allow players to create their own multiplayer levels as well as CloneMaster packs to extend the number of singleplayer puzzles. The editor uses object primitives to build up a level from many small pieces. Objects can be freely rotated, scaled, tinted, and alpha-blended to produce levels with a high level of appeal. Levels can be compressed into level packs and then uploaded to the ClonesGame.com website to share with other players.
Clones was developed by Tomkorp Computer Solutions Inc. which is a two man company from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada that specializes in building customized multi-user database applications. Clones is to be their first released game. Financial support was provided by TeleFilm Canada, STEM, and Fortune Cat Games Studio Incubator.
Funding for the Fortune Cat Video Games incubator comes from Component IV of the Winnipeg Partnership Agreement by Western Economic Diversification Canada. This component is designed to strengthen Winnipeg's innovation system by supporting projects that increase the awareness, capacity and use of new technologies. Component IV will also build necessary infrastructure to promote growth in knowledge-based sectors such as aerospace, life sciences and alternative energy.