Astrobase Command, 1 Year On

The Ant Farm view: your astrobase at a glance.

What a year!

Just about a year ago, we were excitedly watching the numbers rolling in on our first ever crowdfunding campaign. Even though we didn’t manage to pull in the funds we were hoping for, we promised you all that Astrobase Command would go on.

And go on it has. The project is currently moving along at a good speed, and the team has grown since the early days when Adam and Dave were feverishly working on the project in the back of an Samorran deep space freighter.

Space is a dangerous place

The art has certainly come a long way since Adam’s early space-nouveau designs, with Daniel bringing a keen Swedish sense of design worthy of the finest offerings of the Spacekea catalogue.

Build the space station of your dreams

 Some new stuff

In addition to improving the heck out of everything you saw in our campaign pitch, we’ve been hard at work developing some awesome new features that will let you truly experience a new game every time you play.

Daniel has devised a procedural face generator that will piece together a unique face for every crew member. It is still very early on, but the results are already quite promising. Improvements will include hair, facial hair, more variations in eye and skin colour, as well as variable positioning of the features.

Face, the Final Frontier

Dave has also made some tremendous progress on our most exciting feature, the AI Storyteller. It builds sentence-by-sentence, and in some cases phrase-by-phrase, stories that link several events together. Each of these are threaded together to follow a story arc that will allow you to really get to know your characters, particularly since the results are generated as a consequence of the character’s traits and abilities. This means that two characters presented with the same situation will see it play out completely differently. As an example, here are two scenarios that were generated entirely by the Storyteller putting two different characters through the same situation:

Chief Blahuta

Chief Blahuta began to worry he was getting lost out in the middle of the frozen lake. He started to reprogram a portable probe to act as a locator beacon, but the circuits couldn’t handle the power differential and it caused a minor explosion. (2 Energy Damage) (Character has died)

Crewman Zezelic

Crewman Zezelic neared the completion of his journey through the frozen lake. He paused to admire a shimmering effect and realized a fine powder of naturally occuring ceramics was storing heat from the red sun. His mood changed for the better. (Collected 1 Ceramics)

find out more about the storyteller at: http://astrobasecommand.com/?p=3488

What’s in store?

We’re pushing hard towards a closed alpha test that will begin soon(TM). If you’re interested in taking part, make sure to swing by our forums to find out more when the time comes.

As most of you have probably heard, we were successfully greenlit on Steam Early Access before the end of the Kickstarter campaign. After talking with other devs, we’ve come to the conclusion that we need to make sure that Astrobase is sufficiently polished and developed to give players a decent play through before putting it up. Once we’ve had the chance to fix the problems our testers find and make sure everything is shiny enough, we’ll be putting it out on Early Access, so you’ll want to keep an eye on our Greenlight page for updates, too.

We need your help!

We are trending upwards on IndieDB (currently 45 of 20K+) and there is a vote going on for Indie Game of the Year. We’d really appreciate if you could take the time to pop in and vote for Astrobase Command.
That’s it for now!

Astrobase Command Character Design Update

The Astrobase Spring 20,114 clothing line melds stylish and utilitarian to make you the most popular sentient being on your block.

This week’s Astrobase Command blog update discusses some of the character design ideas we’re knocking around. Swing over to the Jellyfish Games developer blog to read it in its entirety.

The Dark Sorcerer: Quantic Dreams E3 Demo (not suitable for younger audiences)

If you haven’t caught it yet, here’s Quantic Dreams’ demo of the Dark Sorcerer. It is a technology demonstration being used to test out some next generation capabilities for the PS 4. With any luck, games will look like this in real time in the (relatively) near future.

Even if you’re not into the technology of game development, it’s worth watching the video for the humour that has been profusely laced throughout its twelve fantasy-packed minutes.

Equity Crowdfunding, highlights weird and wonderful nature of investment

Crowdfunding has by now emerged from obscurity and is garnering mainstream awareness as the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo begin to churn out record-setting projects that have gained the attention of major media outlets.

A new development I was completely unaware of until reading Frank Cifaldi’s article on Gamasutra is Equity Crowdfunding, a European service which appears to be gaining steam as a platform for Venture Capital (VC) investing in game development. When I first started using Kickstarter, I recall thinking that it would be great to have the ability to establish such a cooperation mechanism, as I really have no use for extra USB keys or a new fanboy mug. Cifaldi efficiently explores some of the pros and cons associated to the concept.

What I did find interesting, and wholly unrelated to the article’s game development aspect, are the issues relating to VC in North America. In order to take part in such investment, one needs to be registered as a “qualified investor“. Key criteria for a Canadian to be deemed as such are:

  1. an individual who, either alone or with a spouse, beneficially owns financial assets having an aggregate realizable value that before taxes, but net of any related liabilities, exceeds $1,000,000; or
  2. an individual whose net income before taxes exceeded $200,000 in each of the two most recent calendar years or whose net income before taxes combined with that of a spouse exceeded $300,000 in each of the two most recent calendar years and who, in either case, reasonably expects to exceed that net income level in the current calendar year; or
  3. an individual who, either alone or with a spouse, has net assets of at least $5,000,000; and
  4. a person, other than an individual or investment fund, that has net assets of at least $5,000,000 as shown on its most recently prepared financial statements.

Basically, one needs to be rolling in dough to be deemed capable of funding an activity with the hope of making money from it. This certainly reinforces the adage that it takes money to make money.

I guess I’m going to have to up my game at the lemonade stand this summer.

The Beautiful Design Direction in ‘The Last of Us’

The Beautiful Design Direction in ‘The Last of Us’.

This video from “The Last of Us” is a wonderful find by the Gaming Grad. Work like this highlights game development’s inexorable move towards an art form and demonstrates that one can find beauty even in the deepest of horror.

Lost in Thought – an awesome game design blog

I came across the Lost in Thought game development blog this evening.

If you’ve got the slightest, mildest case of interest in game development, this blog is for you. A small development team is giving us a running insight into the creative process behind the design of a 2.5D platformer.

Here’s one of the shots from their site:

’nuff said.