The Breed

Game Design (1996)


In the waning days of my time at Presage Software a group of programmers and artists got together to contemplate a spin-off venture from the company. This nebulous venture was called HareBrain Development, and served to teach me some skills about not only what it takes in order to start a business, but who you choose to start a business with. That experience was to prove invaluable when I did start a business with some fellow programmers: Buzz Software.

The Breed was the principal design generated by HareBrain's group of developers. Together, we worked through the design of a real-time strategy game based on a concept of genetically-engineered creatures whose DNA was interchangeable through battle and capture. Success or failure would not be simply measured by tactical dominance, but by daring forays and random mutations. As the principle designer, I refined the ruleset down to the point where we were able to create and play a board-game version that tested all the mechanics and especially the genetic recombinations. As a programmer, I put together an "infinite" 3D world that allowed the player to fly around on the back of one of the aerial creatures.

By the time we truly became serious, the cracks in the foundation of HareBrain had appeared. We decided to disband our venture before any ill came of it, but we each took the design with us into the future.

The Game Board

The DNA Chart

The Breed : Game Design Concept

The Game

The Breed is an exciting real-time game combining dizzying first-person action and compulsive strategy elements. Players vie for control of a mysterious planet by commanding an army of genetically engineered creatures-"The Breed"- and using them to conquer their enemies. Fly or ride a Breedling into first-person battle against your enemies. Choose from an extensive arsenal-your personal weapons, weapons mounted on your Breed, or your mount's native abilities. Use tube rockets, chemical lasers, slug throwers, net projectors, flechettes, concussion bombs, swords, spears, claws, talons and teeth to defeat your opponents. Command strategic action on the battlefield as you order your forces of Breedlings to more, attack, defend, and rebuild. All of your orders are carried out in real-time by your forces. Your actions in the battlefield and your high-level strategic decisions blend into a single exciting game experience.

As you lead your forces into battle, upgrade your fortress of towers and command posts to extend your control of the world. At the same time, design and breed new creatures, using genetic manipulation to design better creatures and exploit weaknesses in your enemies' strategy.


  • Real-time, first-person combat between multiple players and their armies of creatures.
  • High resolution, true 3-D environment.
  • Battle on the land and in the air with "Mad Max" style weapons.
  • Genetically design creatures to achieve a battlefield advantage. Evolve better creatures.
  • Build up your fortress of buildings to command the battlefield.
  • Flight and ground movement models are intuitive and reflect the diversity of the creatures being controlled.
  • Your mounts will respond intelligently to varying combat situations-shying away from overwhelming odds, avoiding collisions, pursuing evasive maneuvers-allowing the player to concentrate more freely on combat and tactics.


Design Index

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