Seeking a Programmer-Designer!

Kitfox is an up-and-coming indie studio with 2 projects underway and we need to grow our team a little.

What is a programmer-designer? Maybe you make your own games and thrill to read good code and to encounter elegant designs. Maybe you work for a big company as a programmer or designer and wish you could have control over both halves of your brain at once. Maybe you’re a were-programmer that was bitten by a radioactive designer. We don’t know yet! But we’d love to get to know you.

This is a full-time position, with a 3-month probationary period. Our salaries aren’t competitive with the big companies (yet), but at Kitfox we believe in a healthy work-life balance, because well-rounded people make better games. If you don’t yet have the skill of figuring out how to have a good work-life balance, maybe that’s something we can teach you.

Please send your letter & CV to info@kitfoxgames.com ASAP if you:

  • Have some experience with programming, especially systems & AI
  • Have some experience with game & system design
  • Have good communication skills in English
  • Enjoy many kinds of games
  • Are legal to work in Montreal, Canada
  • Are eager to learn new things, take on challenges, and work closely with artists & designers
  • Ideally but not necessarily have some experience with Unity C#
  • +Bonus points for an unusual background, work experience, or lifestyle 🙂

What’s Old Blood?

Well, it’s only a week until launch, and I realised this morning that we haven’t talked much about the third mission in Shattered Planet. And I won’t spoil too much! But by this point, you will have (probably) finished The Datalog, chasing a rare species, and The Signal, tracking down a rogue SOS. The third mission, Old Blood, is marked as “Crazy Hard” difficulty in the game, just to emotionally prepare you.

Snow

For this third and final challenge, the Galactic Union tasks you with researching the tribes in the snowy region of the planet, which is quickly interrupted by unprecedented aggression. The cause of this aggression becomes the heart of a new mystery. Why are they less welcoming than in the past? What’s happened?

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As I said, I won’t spoil it. But along the way, you meet all sorts of new critters (final boss not included)!

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You may recognise that cutie on the right from a contest we ran a few months back. It’s called the Chompinstomp, as named by the illustrious Greg Fisher.

Anyhow, as you might expect, you’ll be needing to stock up on ways to combat Cold damage, in addition to all the usual concerns of stabbing, smashing, falling off cliffs, and so on.

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Good luck out there!

Moon Hunters: Traits and Myths

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Although the combat and exploration and art style of Moon Hunters have gotten a lot of attention and praise, we wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the unique glue that holds it all together: building your own mythology.

We’ve spent some time thinking about the best way to empower players to grow their own mythologies in a procedurally generated ancient world. We’ve been spending about the last eight months thinking about it! And finally, we decided to look at it through the lens of heroism and pantheons.

Read the full article on the Moon Hunters devblog.

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.

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!

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.

Friends to the End: Companions

We’re pleased to reveal the Companions feature in Shattered Planet! On the planet, most aliens are either aggressively territorial, or don’t particularly care that a human might wave a tri-corder at them.

Occasionally, however, you’ll have the opportunity to befriend an alien, either through strenuous circumstances or random chance. For example, here’s a randomly accessible storybit that gives you the opportunity to either Attack or Feed a crablet:

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I’ll leave it to your imagination which leads to adopting a pet crablet… but you’ll need a high Wits score to dodge those hungry little claws…

Anyhow, when you’ve somehow acquired a Companion (be they alien, robot, or something else entirely), they follow you loyally until the end! Companions universally hate to see you get hurt and most will literally jump in the line of fire to protect you, whether it’s to fend off a turret or a space-dragon.

We’re in the midst of designing a unique Companion creature and we want your input! Which critter would you rather have following you throughout the planet?

Click the image below to vote!

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Moon Hunters: Character Creation, Monsters, and More!

Hey Moon Hunters!

We’re in our last week on the Square Enix Collective feedback round. We’ve been working on the art and design for Moon Hunters and I thought I’d share a few bits and pieces with you. Most of this was already sent to our newsletter last week, so be sure to join it if you haven’t yet!

First, we can show you a glimpse of a landmark we’re developing.

In Moon Hunters, we want to make things that not only look cool, but also have a reason, even if it’s not immediately obvious. The world is relatively new, with civilisations still rising and figuring out what laws and technology really mean for societies. So the temple of the Crimson Eye, for example, is a site of worship that sprang up in recent years, yet is sealed off from casual visitors. The reason, and method of access, can be found elsewhere in the world…

TempleCrimsonEye

Of course, the Temple is only one of dozens of landmarks, not to mention the dangerous monster territories your personal version of the world. Building up your hero’s mythology will depend greatly on your exploration strategy – are you the type to run amok over the continent, or do you prefer to ensure the safety of an area before you move on?

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Meanwhile, Xin is sketching up a storm, working out different enemies and allies you might find on your journeys. Here’s a few of the wilder denizens of the Moon Hunters world, who may not take kindly to uppity players invading their territory. At least, not without the proper rituals being observed!

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Also, we’ve gotten so many questions about classes and personalities, we thought we’d share our designs for the character creation, to help illustrate what we’re aiming for. Each of the character classes plays quite differently, and you can mix and match your class, personality archetype, and color palettes. The Occultist, for example, is a fast yet fragile character that can slip in and out of attack range, and summon a shadow blade in an emergency. Still, it’s up to you whether her personality is more of an intellectual genius or a soft-hearted priestess.

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That’s all for now! Make sure to sign up for the newsletter for more information on Moon Hunters and how you can help make this game a reality!

The Four Worlds of Shattered Planet

The shattered planet is a varied wilderness. It’s always shifting and re-configuring itself, but it’s still a planet, with all of the ecosystems and climate variance you’d expect from a vast landscape. We’ve hinted at three of the environments available in the game at launch, but we thought we’d take a moment to describe them a bit more in detail, as well as finally show a bit of the all-new fourth environment.

So, not counting a few ‘special’ places you might find, the four major environments are:

Rawhide Valley

This desert is a popular hunting ground for mutant humanoids, due to seasonal nests of both crablets and other, more meaty species. The brush here is quite tough, and has even grown its own defense systems against intruders, but is also dry and flammable.

Known species inhabiting Rawhide Valley:

  • Crablet
  • Crablet Queen
  • Snipeseed
  • Nest Hatchling
  • Nest Guardian
  • Tribal Hunter
  • …?

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New Pampas

This lush grassland overgrown with carnivorous plants smells sweetly, with fungal spores floating on the breeze. Somewhere in the grasslands is the heart of the mutant lands, where territorial chieftains meet. If you’re not careful, the overgrown Snaptrap plants can push you over cliff-edges with their massive jaws.

Known species inhabiting New Pampas:

  • Venomous Crablet
  • Seedling
  • Snaptrap
  • Tribal Guard
  • Tribal Chieftain
  • …?

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Yendor Corporation Labs

The shifting of the planet revealed a previously underground facility. Its security measures remain active, with highly sensitive turrets, lasers, and sentinel robots patrolling its corridors.. but untold secrets locked away in its vaults. Make sure to bring something to jump over or teleport past the deadly turret fire! Strange energy signatures indicate intelligent life may lie deep within…

Known species inhabiting Yendor Corporation Labs:

  • Mechano-crablet
  • Turret
  • Slicer Droid
  • …?

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Contaminaria

This heavily irradiated zone is in the midst of a wildlife rebirth due to high mutation rates. Mutant shamans choose this place as their peoples’ graveyard, though scarce food and toxic water make the fight for resources more deadly than ever. The mutated snow-tunneling crablets often make their homes in what appears to be solid ice, jumping out to surprise unsuspecting prey.

Known species of Contaminaria:

  • Snowtunnel Crablet
  • …?

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More Worlds Someday?

Of course, there’s plenty more interesting (and alien!) environments we’ll keep developing after the game launches, to keep the game fresh and exciting. Jungles, beaches, ruins, tidepools, deltas.. there are so many possibilities! We’ll be sure to ask for your input when we get to that stage. For now, we have to focus on the environments we do have, making sure they’re as rich and exciting to explore as they deserve.

If you have ideas for new worlds, or suggestions on how to make our existing ones even better, you’re always welcome to comment below, tweet at us or write on our Facebook wall!