As a mind-refresher, the Kitfox Krewe took a weekend off from Shattered Planet and decided to do a game jam! If you’re not familiar, the purpose of a game jam is to make a game within 48 hours. And so… we did!
Behold, the glory that is Sculptorgeist:
The official game description: “In Sculptorgeist, you are a poltergeist haunting a clay house. You can only effect the inanimate objects, not the easily frightened clay people that are trapped in the house. Try to get the highest score! Happy haunting!”
Pro tip: Click and drag for maximum scaring… and if you are a MASTER OF FRIGHT, perhaps you’ll earn a secret ending!
From the start of the project, we knew Shattered Planet was about exploring. And when we first implemented a protagonist, we were often asked, “So who is this guy? What’s his story?”
It was a fair question. The protagonist we chose was a distinctive character design. Internally, we called his initial sketch “the Renegade”.
But when I tell my friends about my accomplishments in Brogue or Minecraft or Binding of Isaac, I don’t talk about what The Hero or Cubeguy or Isaac did — I tell them what I did. And not everyone can or will relate to the Renegade as themselves.
So, we’re adding some basic character customisation, which you can access from your space station at any time. We’ll be launching with three character types, and we’re ready to show off our first two.
I haven’t decided yet whether there’s any significance to choosing your type — maybe being a Renegade could give higher Wits but lower Strength, for example. But we love the strategic depth yet initial simplicity of games like Brogue, which always start you out the same way and let you build your strategy as you go, and quickly re-start a new run when you die.
However, you can rename your character at the cloning vats, all the better to have a hilarious obituary to share with your friends… even if when you tell stories about Shattered Planet to your friends, it’s all about your strategy, the crazy levels you found, and the bizarre set of circumstances that lead to your death.
The Inventor is an important character that the player interacts with on a regular basis, so we made sure to dedicate some extra love to creating its concept.
Here’s a glimpse into our creative process for its character design!
– A1 and A2 were too goofy
– A5 felt too gangster, so we made a nerdy A4 version
– We need more sketches!
– We did a quick survey of 15-20 developers and B2/B3 were tied as the most popular.
– B4 now looks like old grandpa, which we decided was undesirable
– MORE SKETCHES!
After a bit more sketching, we definitely preferred the friendlier, happier faces and decided it was time to narrow down on the design. The white arrows point to our internal favorites.
At this point, we’re pretty satisfied with the design of the head, and the yellow-green one is our favorite color scheme… so this is what the good doctor will look like in the game. What do you think? Did we make the right decision?
Section 62, paragraph B12 of the corporate policy guide dictates that we must subscribe to Space Fancy magazine. Otherwise, I wouldn’t touch that thing with a ten-foot lightsaber. I mean, just look at it.
And if that weren’t bad enough, then the crew saw a “Replicator Device” in the catalog section, which claimed it could create ANYTHING … weapons, armors, even delicious Thanksgiving dinners!
After some weeks of begging, I had to admit that the crew had some money leftover in the social budget… so we ordered one.
Unfortunately, the assembly instructions were written in some interplanetary gibberish, and Zex failed mechanical engineering, as it turns out.
Our first attempt did not look like the machine in the catalog. So we took it apart and tried again.
Closer this time, but it seemed to warp time and space to evade assembly.
Finally, we have it mostly put together… I dread the day the crew figures out how to turn it on.
Out of Character lesson of the day: Always talk to your artist about how your assets have been put together before trying to put them in the game!
Look to your right. No, not in real life — on our website!
You should see a mailing list sign-up. Why would that tempt you?
1. That’s where we will send our first playtest invitations.
2. That’s where we will announce any major release details first.
3. That’s where we will announce contests to win prizes, from Shattered Planet swag to possible iTunes gift cards!
4. We’re super-nice and not spammy. At most, we intend to only send something every week or two, and maybe a bit more frequently in the week around launch, but that’s it! We haven’t actually sent a single mail to the list yet, because we didn’t feel there was anything important enough to bother you with… but pretty soon… there might just be something interesting in your inbox…
5. The larger our mailing list, the more likely we will be able to launch Shattered Planet successfully and keep going as a company!
As four people, we’re aware that our core team is larger than the usual solo or duo company. This is a bit of a risk on our part, since we rely more on sales and income than smaller teams, but we think that the “indie scene” is ready for slightly more beautiful and polished games than are currently on the market.
If you want to support professional-quality indies.. join the mailing list, and spread the word!
We made some improvements to the exploration feedback recently and we thought we’d share them with you!
Exploration is the core of Shattered Planet. Yes, there’s combat, and yes there’s silly choices to make and crazy items to use, but to us, the important thing is that no matter what you’re on the hunt for, everything is fun to find. So we prioritised improving the way you explore, and a few small, relatively simple changes made a big difference.
First, you might have noticed that in previously posted screenshots and gifs, the “fog of war” had a harsh black edge. We took that out, and made the nearest tile half-transparent, so you can see what might be around the corner. If you’re really observant, you might also notice that the fog clears away from you, which feels much better than the old shrink-fade.
Then, we added instant feedback to the pathfinding, via a line pointing to your destination, following the path that the hero will follow. Sometimes this means you can tell when your hero is trying to go somewhere dumb, or makes bad decisions, but overall it gives you a better sense of where you’re going, and gives you a chance to change your mind.
On the shattered planet, extensive laboratories lie beneath the fragmented soil, their pre-programmed defense systems intact after all these years. Lasers still hum, turrets still fire, drawing power from an unknown source.
But on the surface, the lack of resources has caused a degradation in civilisation. The territorial aliens roam with hatchets and strict hierarchies within their tribes. They appear to entrust weapons only to proven warriors and adorning only their leaders with decorative feathers and headdresses. I have yet to meet a spear-thrower, but I suspect it is only a matter of time.
At first, I thought it strange that I never saw one without their mask, not even in sleep.
I do not think it strange any longer.
I befriended one of the creatures. This was a mistake. I have looked beneath and I will not — cannot — describe the horrors that lay underneath. It is not a mask. It is an… integrated part of their physiology, some kind of bone structure to hide the creeping madness that is their sensory organs.
But hey, if you find one lying around, it fits like a dream and smells like cinnamon!
We don’t often like to think about death. But with the miracle of cloning, and video games, we can envision a bright new future in which death holds no sway over us!
We are in the midst of implementing our new “Obituary” feature, which pithily summarises what you accomplished during your run through Shattered Planet. Our goal is to keep them short and not overly sweet.
These are mostly taken from your choices during Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style events in your run, but may also change depending on your behaviour as a player.
Did you kill EVERYTHING you came across or sometimes avoid unnecessary fights? Did you clear ALL the fog off of each map, or race through? Were you teleporting around like Nightcrawler, or did you eschew the use of consumables entirely?
We’re constructing each obituary from your (semi-randomised) “top 3” accomplishments, but the 3 most “interesting” or unusual, not necessarily your most impressive.
We’re only in alpha and we already have over twenty possible accomplishments, which can be combined into over six thousand possible obituaries. We hope to have closer to a hundred when we launch.
Do you have a good descriptor you’d like to see in your obituary?