Constellation Distantiais an upcoming VR title. We had the chance to sit down with Valtteri Pihlajamäk to discuss his game. Here is what he had to say.
Mike:Since you said how you think the game was getting Ill Compared could you talk about that for a second and what you wanted to game to be vs what it is being compared as?
Valtteri Pihlajamäki:It's always a risk when creating a cross genre product. Constellation Distantia is first and foremost an adventure game, with action game mechanics and quite a bit of features borrowed from open world games and survivals. So it's understandable that some players who are looking for a serious open world / strategy think it's too simple.
Constellation Distantia is a story driven adventure game, for adventure genre fans who are also willing to try mechanics other than point-and-click. The story aspect is the main feature where we have been putting in the biggest effort.
Mike:In your mind what should the balance of Sci Fi games be when it comes to casual vs. Hardcore?
Valtteri:I'm not sure if I understand the question 100%, but I know there is an audience for the hardcore sci-fi strategy games etc. But I also know there is an audience of people who don't want to spend hours on studying the game, people who want to enjoy sci-fi atmosphere and a good story.
Mike:Do you feel that Sci Fi is starting to become an overplayed genre or is there still room for it to grow?
Valtteri:I think there is always room for a good sci-fi game, the same way there's always room for a good rock album. Of course the comptetition is hard, but it's one of the most popular genres for a reason. People love sci-fi. We love it too.
Mike:How hard was it to make a big story while focusing a straight forward game?/p>
Valtteri:Coming up with a story like that with our team of 2 full time members and a couple more working late hours on top of their regular job was pretty tough. We have an entire book written inside the game and it's never easy to come up with content like that and integrate it inside a game, especially with such a small team. But it was most definitely worth it, we love the characters :)
Valtteri: The game mechanics and visual design fits well in VR, and Constellation Distantia brings deeper content to the VR market. I'm often switching my campaign to VR with certain types of missions, like bossfights, and doing some other parts of the game on desktop. I find it rather cool actually.
Mike:Do you have any advice for people who want to make a game like this?
Valtteri:Cross genre games are tricky. Try to gain traction as much as possible as early as possible before launch to get good initial sales and reviews during the first couple of days.
Mike:What was the number #1 thing you learned post this game?
Valtteri:Well, the biggest thing is related to my previous answer. In 2017 it's rather difficult to survive as an indie without a big pre-launch fan base. It wasn't actually a surprise, but still an eye-opener when experiencing it first hand.
Songbringer is an upcoming PS4, Xbox One, PC game that mixes up the roguelike formula with the art and action-RPG influences of the past. We had a chance to sit down with the sole developer, Nathanael, to discuss his Kickstarted success. Here's what he had to say:
Mike:Where did the idea for Songbringer come from?
Nathanael:I've always wanted to play a Zelda-inspired action RPG that was procedurally generated so that surprises are around every corner.
Mike:What are your major influences for this game?
Nathanael:The original Legend of Zelda, Secret of Mana, Crystalis and other classics.
Mike:Since they are preciderally generated dungeons, do you see advantages to limiting the amount in a play through instead of people going forever?
Nathanael:Yes, there are lots of advantages. Limitiing the procedural bit by using six-letter world seeds means that speedrunners and other players can share worlds. When someone finds a particular world seed they like they can share information about it.
Mike:The art style is really beautiful, what made you guys really want to focus on it over putting more in the game compared to improving the
graphics, basically how do you control the balance of look and content?
Nathanael:Well, this game is a solo project. It's just me making it. I love making the art but programming takes most of the time. Most of the beauty you see comes from nice lighting that is achieved through shaders, which is programming. The pixel art and the music take the least time because they don't have to be tested and debugged.
Mike:How hard is it to put this game on basically all major platforms all at once?
Nathanael:Very difficult. I'm lucky to have a publisher, Double Eleven, that is helping get the it onto Xbox and PS4.
Mike:And our resident Vita lover would get mad if I don't ask, since this is on PS4 will this be on the Vita ever?
Nathanael:I don't know at this point but will check.
In the latest episode of Games You May Have Missed we sat down to play Defect: Spaceship Destruction Kit. I enjoyed my time with the game and reached out to Three Phase Interactive to discuss some of the ins and outs of the game as well as the creative process. Here's what they had to say:
Mike: Hey Drew, could you explain your role on the project?
Drew: I'm Drew Morrow, the artist and designer of Defect. So you can blame me for the bad jokes and movie references?
Mike: Where do you start, development wise, with a unique game like this?
Drew: We started about 3 years ago after we wrapped up Stunt Star (our first game). We wanted to carry the player customisation theme forward to our next game, and I'd had the spaceship construction game idea bouncing around in my notepad for years. I'd actually made loads of art for it before it was an official project, so it gave us a good head start on pitching it to people.
Mike: I really did enjoy the combat as a whole but the ships were hard to control at points, was this on purpose?
Drew: The ships you build can have a pretty wide spectrum of difficulty, depending on if you focus their designs on agility or not. In hindsight, we probably should have gifted players with some easy to control ships near the start of the game, so they'd have a baseline for building their own speedy and agile ships. As it is, you have to do a bit of experimentation to come up with a good ship that's easy to control. Focusing on an all round ship that is equal parts weapons, armour and engines will definitely give you a slightly difficult to fly ship. So specialization is the key.
Mike:From the start was the plan to have a ton of parts to customize your ship?
Drew: Definitely. The initial goal was to have 200 ship components, and we got pretty close to that. There should be enough stuff in there that you can build almost any ship that you can remember from sci fi tv and movies. Part of the core of the game structure is that you always have some new components to play with at the end of every mission, to help you mix up your designs and take on your defected crew. It also changes the way you can play the game as you progress. Some of the larger ship weapons require direct control to function at all, so you gradually have to micro manage your ship more and more as the campaign progresses.
Mike:How did the team figure out the balance of difficulty as you go on?
Drew: Balance was especially difficult. Most of the missions, even the 'hard' ones, aren't that difficult if you've figured out the right ship design for the job. But if you go into a mission with a ship that isn't suited to it, the objectives will be nearly impossible to achieve. We try to telegraph what the solution to each mission is in various ways, but it's pretty tricky for us to guess exactly what a player will try to build. Having said that, it doesn't usually take long for people to discover what the really useful components are. After that, the real difficulty is in defeating your own ships when they come back to fight you. The player is creating their own balance with the mutineer ships, which is the central point of the whole defecting game mechanic.
Mike:Was Balance really important to you guys?
Drew: We treat balance in a bit of an unusual way, I guess. There are weapons and components in the game that could definitely be considered unbalanced. They're super powerful and give you a big advantage for their relative cost. But thats to tempt you into using them. When your ship returns as a defector, you suddenly have to face your overpowered and unbalanced ship design and learn some harsh lessons about balancing the game for yourself.
Mike:If you had to recommend this game to anyone, what type of player would it be?
Drew: Spaceship nerds, like me. If you want a game that you can use as a modelling kit to build the most obscure SciFi references you can think of and fight them against each other, then Defect is the game for you. And if you want a bit of a challenge that doesn't solve every puzzle for you by itself, then give it a try.
Defect allows you to build the ultimate ship piece by piece, from a single-pilot fighter to a space station the size of a small moon. Create devastating spacecraft capable of obliterating your foes, but keep in mind that your crew will defect, forcing you to face your own creation in battle. Offering unprecedented freedom of creation, players can build the most powerful ships in the galaxy with an easy to use building system. The game features hundreds of parts across three stylistic themes referencing a wide range of sci-fi culture.
I sat down to talk to the developer of Dammerlicht and such here is the following.
How long will the full game be?
Personally when I buy games I tend to have a little policy :
for each dollar I spend I should have at least an hour worth of gameplay.
I'm planning to sell the game for a dollars. So I'm aiming for an hour worth of gameplay,
but it's hard to tell cause the game is a bit like a puzzle game,
it'll depend if people have difficulties finding each different endings
or if they can figure out what to do really quickly.
There should be between 20 to 25 playable levels, but this is not final yet.
Is there branching paths in the narrative?
The main story is the same in every path, but each paths have different endings,
due to the short development time that I have, I had to cut short a lot of content.
But each path have really different event, stories and different endings
(some endings are similar while other are totally different)
Will there be controller support?
I wasn't planning it on release, mainly cause the game isn't really based around it's combat mechanic
and I don't think the dialog system would work very well with a controller, it might be added in a future update,
since there's not too many controls in the game, it shouldn't be hard to implement.
When can we expect the game to come out?
It's a really short term development.
The game will be released at the latest on the 25th December of this year. So between the 20th
(the end of the kickstarter) and the 25th (Christmas) Ideally it would come out on the 22 or 23.
Will there be different weapons to chose from:
Sadly with the time left for development, no.
I did plan on adding some special attacks,
but I'm not sure they'll be present the day of the official release.
What games do you enjoy to play?
I play many different games, but the one I played lately and kinda inspired me for DämmerLicht is Dark Soul.
As well as Realm of the mad god (which I don't play anymore). As for what I enjoy playing right now, I mainly play
Eve Online, World of tanks, Dungeon of the Endless, Nuclear Throne, Metro 2033 and many mores.
Does the story revolve around this one character?
The player controls Sir PastryFork inside the TableWorld, the story in general isn't centred on this character.
But the player see how this mainly affect that one character(his point of view). But he isn't at the center of the story.