From The Vault: First Mockups

Ahoy! I’m Xin, the Kitfox art officer. Today we’ll be digging up some artifacts from the archives, the first mockups created for Shattered Planet in 2013.

May 2: Space travel is cool. Video games need more fish spaceships.

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May 6: Maybe a separate screen for combat?

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May 16: But we wanted to focus on planet exploration!

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These guys are adorbs, but we thought it made our Roguelike look too casual.

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June 7: So we tried out three different aesthetics.

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The last one dates from mid-June 2013. You can see the beginning of the tile-based island formations. We felt a disconnect between the characters and the environment, so we opted for painterly look for everything. Mockups were great for brainstorming the art direction, UI/UX and even game mechanics! Possibly my favorite part of pre-production.

Screenshot Contest: Everyone Gets a Key!

Congratulations to AxL Neo, who submitted the following screenshot to our contest, thus stealing our meme-devouring hearts:

so WoW!

so WoW!

Thank you to all who entered. It was a tough decision. IN FACT…

We’re going to give ALL of the people who entered the contest a free Steam Key!

So, congratulations all around! But, for the record, AxL Neo wins more than all of you, and will receive his Steam key first. By at least 10 minutes probably.

Spring Screenshot Contest: Win a Steam Key!

Calling all photographers! We’re looking for some creative screenshots or photos of Shattered Planet!

You have until midnight EST on May 15th to submit your best screenshot/photo — edited or raw! Share on our Facebook wall, Tweet at @kitfoxgames with it, or send it on over!

The winner(s) will receive a free Steam key for the premium PC version!

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We will judge entries on creativity and appeal. Any captions submitted alongside will be included in judgment.

Limited-Time Event: Spring Gekkos!

If you check out Shattered Planet (whether you’re on iOS or Android), you’ll find your space station has a visitor!

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Meet Dinaxi, who trades in Gekko Credits, which are now appearing mysteriously on the planet’s surface. Although Gekko Credits are unrecognised by the Galactic Union, Dinaxi will take them off your hands in exchange for limited-time only consumables, as well as a special armor, weapon, and gun. This event will end May 12th, so log in and start exploring!

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You can buy the Earthshaker Staff, which causes the ground to collapse under your enemies, or the Deer Mask, which makes animals such as the Nest Guardians and Hatchlings take longer to ‘notice’ you, or a variety of extra-delicious chocolate frogs, symbolising fertility and renewal on Gekk Prime. If you collect all five of the chocolate frogs, Dinaxi will reward your loyalty with a rare seedling companion she calls Sakura.

Will you be able to find everything by May 12th?

Moon Hunters Update: the Dustfolk and the High Tribes

If you’ve already subscribed to the newsletter, you’ve probably already seen all of this! But for the rest of you…

Xin and I have been working on defining the different people and cultures of the Moon Hunters world, starting with the mountains, deserts, and forests.

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The Dustfolk

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The desert tribes are some of the friendliest, relying heavily on Blood magics to detect water beneath the surface, digging incredibly deep wells as needed. Even the smallest children of the tribe can usually recite basic Blood prayers, giving the desert folk a reputation for quick healing and practical wisdom.

Desert priestesses speak of an ancient thirst that draws all of humanity down into the cavernous flesh of the earth, safe from the evil sun. However, two storytellers rarely agree on what happens down there, for those that answer the call and indulge their thirst.

Here’s an assortment of villagers drawn from a few different tribes, side-by-side for comparison with the heroes. The differences can be rather subtle, but you can learn the style and customs of each tribe after spending more time with them.

The High Tribes

The people of the wind-chapped mountains are hunters, not farmers, as there’s neither enough fertile soil nor sunlight to sustain most vegetables. Even in mid-summer, the evil Sun is a distant, pearly figure, not so much brighter than the Moon. Of all environments, the peaks may be the most similar in night and day, seemingly trapped in a constant dusk.

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(The beetle in the gif probably isn’t native to that climate, but it sure does look happy about its travels! We’re not sure whether it’s dancing to impress its reflection or it’s just trying to keep warm. Either way, dance, beetle, dance!)

Most tribes prefer to build in wood, mud, or grass, but the High Tribes legends say they moved to a higher elevation to test their strength and self-discipline. They revel in the challenging permanence of stone and metal, with artisans excelling in Bronze magics and careful stonework. As a result, the finest jewelry, metal blades, and architectural advances tend to come from the mountain folk. In addition to hunting for meat and skins, they supplement their supplies with trading.

The High Tribes’ most profitable export is in weaponry. The Spellblade wields weapons forged by High Tribes on the jagged peaks of the Zaragos Mountains, where winds ceaselessly dig ore out of the very stone. After many years of hermetic study, training, and meditation, a Spellblade fuses his or her own will into the very metal, until the blade can anticipate its master’s whims.

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(Note for the detail-oriented: it’s not a scabbard, the wrappings hold together multiple layers of leather.)

Unfortunately, looking down on the world from their elevated viewpoint, the High Tribes tell themselves that they are closest to the Moon and most deserving of Her power. Most of its leadership are arrogant, possessing very little respect for those with more compassion. There are always exceptions, of course, particularly among merchants and rebellious youth, but the High Tribe culture is dominated by a sense of prideful superiority, valuing strength, purity, and loyalty over other, “lesser” virtues.

Crowdfunding?

A few people have asked whether we’ll crowdfund using the Square Enix Collective, but the honest answer is that we don’t know! Maybe! We haven’t decided yet what the best course of action is. For now, we’re keeping our heads down and working on the game.

At this point, we’re hoping to be ready for crowdfunding in July or August. We want to make sure we put our best foot forward and offer as much gameplay footage as possible. In the meantime, we’re glad to have you along for the journey!

Vote for Premium Shattered Planet on Steam Greenlight!

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Shattered Planet is coming to Steam! Plus, we’re going to be adding three new features, unique to the premium version:

  • Class system – each clone skin will have a different special starting ability
  • Daily Challenge – earn Crystals by trying to beat a daily seed
  • Pet cloning – maintain your companion DNA in mini-clone vats, using an improved Datalog

Plus, of course, any content updates we make to the mobile version will also be in the PC version. The PC version will essentially be prettier, more complex, and require paying up-front rather than making in-game purchases.

We need your votes! If you can share, tweet, and otherwise badger your friends into voting, so much the better!

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FAQ

Q: When will it be ready? Why isn’t it done yet?
A: Well, those are some pretty serious features we want to add! It’ll take a little while to get those working and bug-free. If you’re interested in being a beta tester or Let’s Play Youtuber, you should tell us you want a beta copy and we’ll hook you up!

Q: Can I monetise my Let’s Play video?
A: YUP. Make money!

Q: What will the price be?
A: It’s still up for debate, but a similar price to similar-scope projects.

Q: Why did you make the free to play mobile version?
A: We felt it was the best way to get the word out about the game, and get people excited about Shattered Planet! We’re very grateful to our investors, Execution Labs, for believing in us, and it’s only because of them that we were able to afford to make both versions of the game.

Q: How much money did the free version make?
A: So far it’s made about 10% of the amount we spent to make it. So, no, not enough to live on or make another game, basically. But we’re confident it’s an awesome game and more players just need to hear about it!

Q: Will you be updating the mobile versions at all?
A: Yep! You’ll still get new items and enemies and challenges, just not the shiny premium features.

What is a Gekkian, Anyway?

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Well, we’ve been putting our heads down and fixing bugs while we launch to iOS and Android (by the way, Android users will have a new update today! Yay!), but we thought we’d take a second to talk about the characters and world of Shattered Planet. More specifically, those adorable amphibians that call themselves the Gekkians.

If you pay attention all the way till the end, you’ll get a preview of our next content update!

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When humans first reached beyond the Sol system, they were able to communicate with a few different intelligent species in our universe. However, the only one close enough, in location and in biology, to befriend (or even really understand) were the Gekkians. They share many human-friendly characteristics, including intellectual interests, expressive features, a sense of humor, and relatively similar digestive tracks. Although humans can’t really enjoy Gekkian sports without scuba gear, they share a love of sushi and sitcoms. Gekkians and humans can even breathe the atmospheres of each others’ home planets, though each says the other’s “smells terrible”.

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In historical terms, humans and Gekkians became fast allies. The crucial divergence between the two species’ cultures, and the cause of more than one skirmish, is the human obsession with ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’. Humans concern themselves with right and wrong very often, and perhaps more worryingly for the Galactic Union, they expect all other species to do the same.

Gekkians find un-measurable phenomena generally less interesting, and very few claim they experience emotions similar to guilt or shame. This includes worrying over whether something or someone is “good” or “bad”, but also concern for clothing or gender, both of which are more fluid among Gekkians.

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Although their personalities range across a broad spectrum, Gekkians are generally neither cruel nor self-sacrificing. Gekkian religions (such as they are) tend towards constant learning and living in the moment, seeking joy from small pleasures, with their cultural heroes often taking the form of either charismatic, serene leaders or brilliant, manic scientists. Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, and Buddha have all found fan followings on Gekk Prime.

For their part, Gekkians say that humans are generally fun at parties, but lacking in [SYMBOL NOT FOUND], which translates roughly to “attention span for details”, or “brain-flexible”, depending on how it’s inflected. Dr. Zek is an accomplished Gekkian scientist and much more reclusive and emotionally detached than most, especially compared to the Gekkian you’ll meet next.

In our next content update, we’ll introduce a second Gekkian, who actually wears clothes for the fun of it. Meet Dinaxi, intergalactic trader extraordinaire.

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But the trader is too impatient to stay in any one place very long, so you’ll have to keep an eye out to catch the visit! We’ll let you know when we have the docking schedule ironed out.

Shattered Planet now available on Android!

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If you’re an Android user, here’s your download link! Wherever you are*, you can be shattering those planets! (And if you missed it somehow, here’s the iOS version link!)

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Everyone can also preview the OST and download it for only $3 directly from the talented composer, Ryan Roth. With 12 tracks, it’s a seriously great deal.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in helping us translate our silly jokes into other languages, let us know. We have some French fixes underway, and one brave soul has volunteered to help with Russian, but I’m sure they’d appreciate your help… not to mention the other thousand languages on the planet.

For the Kitfox team, now the hard part begins — juggling bugfixes, updates for the mobile versions and working on the premium PC version for this summer. We have a huge backlog of items and challenges and monsters and features, and we’ll be sure to let you know when we release our next dozen!

Maybe just let us take one minute to drink this one little glass of champagne… cheers!

* We’re not releasing in Japan, Korea, or China Google Play stores until we can localise for those countries.