7Smoke Tennis 2018: Red Edition - Development Update!
By Mauritsio & noam 2000

The crew behind 7Smoke Tennis 2018 has been working hard on the second and last iteration of the project.

The Red Edition is slated to be a 10-level campaign mod for the Serious Sam Fusion 2017 game.

Just two weeks ago, we entered the Alpha stage and we're already heading towards Beta!

After we finished creating the basic maps, we did everything we could to polish them - as well as add in fully-fledged voice acting, and a whole lot of other features.

We're excited to share a few more details as we're building this mod, and have compiled them in this "development update"!

First, I'll answer the pressing question that I know is on everyone's minds:

Why is it called 7Smoke Tennis 2018 when we're already halfway through 2019?
If FIFA can release their games with the number a year in advance, we are surely allowed to release with the number a year behind.
Okay, now, for the less important questions!

Is this a sequel to 7Smoke Tennis 2018 Blue?
It isn't! 7Smoke Tennis 2018 Red is, story-wise, its "own thing". The Dream Wanderer, our favourite yellow skull artifact Stefan, and the rest of his pals aren't around this time. There's going to be a new setting this time around - which, as you could infer from the trailer, is more leaning towards a sci-fi theme - you can liken it to if Serious Sam 3 actually felt like it was set at the end of the 21st century, but removing all the dust and grey slums.
I can't promise there won't be any sand, unfortunately.
As you could also hear in the trailer, we've got a new cast of voice actors to go along with the story. You listened to RowanTree as Hudson, the main protagonist and player character, Leader Looi as Amelia, and Benj_P as Par, who's also playing his brothers Tar and Var. Of course there's more characters to be voiced, and we've done our best to select the best of the best, as you'll find Tennis Red will be much more story-driven than its blue counterpart.
You may also hear some more... familiar voices, in the finished product. :)

Okay, but I'm not in it for the story. What's it gonna play like?
Much like Serious Sam, you pick up guns and shoot monsters and bad guys. The rest is much the same you experienced with Blue - once again we've got a fully self-made arsenal of weapons available for your usage. In Blue, you might have found that the weapons all stuck pretty close to archetypes already defined in Serious Sam 3, with some deviations. In Red it'll be much the same - there's still an assault rifle (but ours is a lot cooler than the HK416 from Sam 3!) and a rocket launcher, but some of the weapons you saw in the trailer, like the automatic pistol and the "Lightning Gun" are a bit of a breath of fresh air for those used to Sam's arsenal. There's some other surprises when it comes to weapons, too. I think you'll find the Hands much more useful later on in the campaign.
As for enemies - you saw some recognizable, recoloured enemies - there's a story reason for that, of course, and you'll also meet a new faction with a bunch of futuristic tech like battle mechs and floater drones.
There's also one level straying away from the traditional format - you might have noticed, in the trailer, the level where you're piloting an airship of sorts. This is of course, NSKuber's entry for Tennis Red, and his scripting magic has allowed him to insert this almost arcade-like level into the campaign. It's a different kind of fun, and we're still polishing it to make it even more enjoyable!

What's the music from the trailer?
I'm very glad "you" "asked"! While the second main theme of the trailer is from a Borderlands 2 soundtrack which we borrowed, the first theme is a Tennis original! One of our mappers, namely bench, is also a hobbyist music composer and where he might lack mapping skills, he makes up for it with an original soundtrack, appropriately themed to the campaign in which it plays. You've already heard him compose the credits theme back in Blue, and this time he'll be scoring the credits / main theme music for Red and the music in his own level. Something small to be excited about, for sure. :)

When can we play it?
Well, if there's anything we've learned from the development process, is that we never even know this ourselves until some weeks in advance.
We're currently in the Alpha stage, and if we look at the pattern that Blue took for its release - the Alpha and final release were three months apart. If we work at the same pace, that means we'll see Red come out somewhere in October of this year. However, it could just as easily come out in August. We are moving at a much faster pace thanks to our experience with Blue, and for an Alpha build, it's honestly very complete. It won't take long to move into Beta. That said, nothing is set in stone! We're tackling this the Serious Sam 4 way.
It has been an incredibly long journey, developing Tennis Red. Officially we started making it in July of 2017 - yes, it's been over two years in development! The tricky part is that around February, we had to restart development as our original first mapper, LADMan, had troubles realising the full vision of his map idea. Sly then proceeded to take the helm, and after a long process of map creation, voice acting and lots of all-around improvements, we are finally in the middle of making a playable Beta build! And we (or at the very least, I) can't wait to share the final product with all of you.