For those who couldn’t attend Game Connect Asia-Pacific this year, the Game Design Challenge asks a selection of designers to take to the stage and pitch a game idea based on a theme which was revealed one month earlier. This year, Flat Earth’s Leigh Harris took part and came runner up to Luke Muscat (of Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride and Land Sliders fame). It was the first time anyone from Flat Earth had spoken at GCAP.
The theme for the Game Design Challenge this year was ‘Virtual Smell’. Each participant had just 8 minutes to try and pitch a game idea based around the notion of a hypothetical peripheral which could project small particles. The peripheral could be any type, transmit the smells in any way, and be for any platform.
Take a look at what Leigh came up with!
We have just announced that Screen NSW has come on board a Ceres class light freighter to help Flat Earth Games bring Objects in Space to life! We’re thrilled that Screen NSW are still investing in games, and see the value in them as a medium.
The development community here in Australia only continues to grow, in spite of the federal government axing the Screen Australia Interactive Games Fund without any industry consultation.
Courtney Gibson, CEO of Screen NSW, said:
Screen NSW was impressed by the distinctiveness of the concept and the unique approach to story and narrative design. We are delighted to be supporting a team of mostly local writers to help realise the project’s creative ambitions.
That unique approach Courtney is referring to is this:
The game’s seven writers will each be tasked with writing one short, interactive story for the player to engage in which will be playable at the beginning of the game. Rohan and Leigh Harris, the game’s lead programmer and designer respectively, will then reveal the next key plot points to them for each of the 12 star systems in the game. When the writers reconvene to write their next stories, any plot points which have affected their ongoing characters must be taken into account. In this way, we hope to see the game’s narrative unfold naturally and have the same uncontrollable nature that stories in real life hold.
The writers were chosen to represent a variety of different styles. The team includes writers from games, theatre, screen, copywriting, MUSHes and pen & paper RPG writing. We’re pleased to announce that our writers are:
- Louise Bennett
- Charlotte Bradley
- Imogen Dall
- Nikolai Goundry
- Craig Johnson
- Shay Leighton
- Daniel McMahon
The idea is that the Apollo cluster will feel very different depending on which star system you’re in. Not only will the news you read be vastly different, slanting your view on other star systems’ politics, but you’ll also be hearing different voices telling you stories within those systems.
While there are many things to do in the game, Objects in Space will not feature a ‘main quest’ line. Instead, it allows the player to focus on exploring, profiting and surviving at their leisure. The story of the Apollo cluster is one which the player can be deeply involved in, or only give a cursory glance to. There are huge advantages to knowing a lot about the game world, but for those who just want to experience the mechanics of the game, there is nothing forcing you into its narrative elements.
We at Flat Earth Games care about diversity in gaming, and in all walks of life. A lot. So we’re only too happy to get behind GX, and wholeheartedly encourage everyone to help them out by spreading the word or backing the Kickstarter! We’ve jumped on ourselves as an Indie GameDev Sponsor, so expect to see the team in the indie area, and please stop by and say hi if you’d like to have a chat!
We’ll be at the show with Objects in Space and the awesome physical hardware you may have seen around the traps. So spread the word, share the love and help us help the fantastic organisers behind GX to make the event as awesome as it can be.
We look forward to seeing you all there!
Objects in Space has once again graced the pages of Indie Game Magazine in its third and final time in the mag’s ‘Engine Room’ section, wherein they delve into the development process and chart the course of a game still being made.
I heartily encourage everyone to grab this awesome little magazine this (and every) month, and you can also check out earlier issues for more background on how Objects in Space is put together. A hearty thanks to Indie Game Magazine for including us in their coverage throughout 2015.
‘…a game that got space right.’
Yet more coverage is emerging from PAX Australia, this time in the form of a video interview with CNet Australia. Check the link to see Leigh and Jennifer Scheurle (concept artist / physical hardware builder) be interviewed by Nic Healey about the process of getting the game to work with physical gear, and the reasons why we took the submarine route for the combat.
See the video via the Objects in Space web site here and be sure to sound off on the forums!
We’ve been incredibly busy with PAX Australia for the last month or so, and it’s great to see our hard work pay off. IGN AU stopped by the booth and filmed a video interview interview between Leigh and Luke Reilly.
Check it out on the Objects in Space site!
It’s been a busy few weeks for us. On top of building working physical controllers for Objects in Space and cutting the first video walkthrough, we’ve also been doing a little follow-up to Super Death Fortress.
Super UNDEAD Fortress sees you taking on wave after wave of Cthulhian nightmares, and switches out the MIRVs, dynamites and bombers of Super Death Fortress with double-barrelled shotguns and hurlable chainsaws! Add to that the ability to upgrade your forts as you see fit and this is a helluva gruesome package.
It’s gonna get real messy.
It’s free to play on iOS now.
Hi everyone! We’re down at PAX Australia showing off a brand new feature of Objects in Space which we’re very excited to announce. You’ll be able to build your own ship consoles and have them interface directly with
the game! To prove it, we build a few of our own and have them on the show floor at PAX.
Using a virtual serial port, you can have Objects in Space trigger buttons, LEDs or switches, allowing you to literally build your very own ship from scratch. If you’re in Melbourne, come check it out for yourself at the PAX show floor!
Meanwhile, to celebrate this feature announcement, we’ve released the first ever footage of the game! Jump on over to the Flat Earth Games YouTube Channel to see a video walkthrough of an encounter between a Ceres light freighter and a pirate in the Magellan system.
Sign up for the mailing list if you want to be kept up to date with more details, and check out the Objects in Space web site for a full dev blog with details of how we built our own stuff!
Digitally Downloaded, a local games web site, ran a roundtable feature article today which asked a series of questions of a list of developers from throughout Australia. The list of devs includes myself, Santana Mishra (Witch Beam), Morgan Jaffit (Defiant Development), Nicole Stark (Disparity Games), Paul Turbett (Black Lab Games), Neil Rennison (Tin Man Games), Ross Symons (Big Ant Studios), Nic Watt (Nnooo) and Trent Kusters (Armello).
Questions cover all sorts of things about the Australian games development industry, so if you want to get a great, multi-voiced 50’000ft overview of what it’s like to make games in Australia, this is the article to check out and share. Every one of these developers has great things to say which are important for anyone trying to make it as a games developer here.
I’ve been quite candid in this interview about battling depression and anxiety, which has hit me particularly hard this year. I suppose I’ve just decided that it’s something I want to be more open about now so that I can be some kind of support both for the students that I teach in my part time job at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment and for other developers, family and friends.
With that in mind, I’ve also agreed to be on a panel at PAX Australia called More Than a Game: Playing for Mental Health and Wellbeing. It’ll take place on the Saturday of PAX (31st October) at 3-4pm at the Wombat Theatre. You can find it on the map (right) or you can come say hi at our booth.. Please do come along, feel free to ask me or the vast panel of excellent speakers on the subject any questions you’d like. Alternatively, anyone who’d like to talk can approach me immediately after the panel. I’ll make a point of sticking around and carrying on the conversation with anyone who’s interested in talking.
Be well, everyone, and I look forward to seeing you all at PAX!
For the fourth year in a row, we’ve decided to hop on down to Melbourne for the combination of PAX and GCAP (that’s the Game Connect Asia-Pacific conference for those unaware). This year, Rohan and I will be giving a talk on our relationship with the craft of game development over time. The theme for this year is ‘Loving the craft’, so that’s mainly what we’ll be discussing.
But wait! There’s more! If you were on Twitter this morning, you might’ve seen me involved in a hailstorm of rapid-fire tweets under the hashtag #GCAPChat, in which Leigh joined fellow developers Brie Code, Nicole Stark (who was on the Women in Games panel with me at PAX last year) and James Everett to facilitate a general discussion on Twitter about a range of topics which will be important at this year’s conference.
We talked about the biggest challenges the industry currently faces, the greatest opportunities open to us, our thoughts on incoming new tech, and of course, diversity in games – why we still suck at it so much and how important it is to help get better at it.
I had a great time chatting, and it was all thanks to GCAP and the organiser Tara Brannigan, so please check out the full Storified version of the discussion here to catch up and set the mood for what I’m sure will be another exciting and inspiring conference!