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.

100,000 Downloads!?!

Well, we were nervous about how things would turn out, but due to various factors (amazing fans, Apple featuring, whims of Fate), Shattered Planet‘s launch has gone better than we dared dream was possible!

We hit 100k in only 4 days!?!? What the crab-biscuits?!

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Party time …? Nope! We’re focusing on a few reported crash bugs and save-file corruption issues. Thankfully, these improvements will also benefit our Android build, which is nearing release.

If you want to know when the new versions and major fixes are released, either join our newsletter or check the forums regularly.

For now, our best advice to those of you on lower-end devices is to reboot the system before playing and close all other apps while running Shattered Planet. We will unfortunately have to disable downloads to iPod Touches and the original iPad, as they do not have enough memory or processing power.

We apologise if you downloaded it and were disappointed to find it couldn’t run. We hope you remember us, if/when you upgrade in the future.

Of course, we’re only halfway to 200,000

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!

Contest: Name That Alien!

We’ve discovered a new creature roaming the shattered planet and we need it identified by the world’s top exo-zoologists. That’s you, right?

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Send us your best science! You must answer two questions:

1 – What is this creature called? (maximum 3 words)
2 – What are its habits and preferences? (maximum 25 words)

Submit your entry via Facebook, Twitter, or comment on this blog post by February 4th and we’ll pick one to actually go in the game!

For those of you new to Shattered Planet, it’s a planet with similarities to Earth but fragmented from an ancient explosion. Yet life continues, with alien life-forms battling for scarce resouces. As a space captain, you’ll be exploring the planet and cataloguing all of its species, technologies, and strange happenings in your Datalog, for the betterment of the Galactic Union.

For reference, here’s a screenshot of a Datalog entry for the Crablet:

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We’ll also list the winner’s name (if you like) as the identifier in the Datalog.

You can enter as many times as you like, so get posting, tweeting, or commenting! FOR SCIENCE!

The Winner is: Gekkian Diplomat!

The results are in from our little community poll! Thank you to everyone who participated.

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As you can see, the Gekkian Diplomat clearly won out, with over 50% of the votes. We also collected responses on Reddit.com and Twitter, which followed a similar trend. What with already having humans and robots, perhaps it’s only natural that an alien would win out… but of course, everything seems so much more obvious in retrospect.

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We’ll be refining the Gekkian player character’s look further as we bring it into the game, and of course we’ll provide 4-5 different heads to try out with different ear configurations and facial expressions. We may, of course, also re-visit the other designs in the future.

Thanks again for helping us make a tough decision!

Choose Your Character!

Hey guys!

So, now that we’re in the last few months of bugfixing, optimisations, and technical massaging… we’re looking at what new content to add, too! We’d like to involve you in the process.

We already have the Assassin, Renegade, and Explorodroid.

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Currently, all characters are equal in power and abilities, though that may change in the future.

And now it’s time to choose… the next character! They’re still in the sketchy stage, so the details may change in development.

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A: The Destructobot
B: The Exile
C: The Gekkian Diplomat

Which would you play? Why? Would you change anything about them?

Leave a comment or answer our survey!

We’ll be using your responses to decide which to pursue first, so choose wisely!

Much Love From (and To) Death Road to Canada

We’re happy to announce that our friends over at Rocketcat Games have done us the great honor of including Zek, that sassy science-wrangler, in their upcoming “randomised permadeath road trip simulator”, Death Road to Canada!

Zek will be appearing as a random character you can meet and take on your road trip. Check him out in his pixellated chibi glory, as rendered by the Rocketcat team:

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We’re also including a certain iconic character in Shattered Planet. The “Horse Mann” of Death Road will be appearing as a rare action figure you can collect during your adventures:

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Are there any other characters or games you’d be excited to see a cross with?

Field Report: The Life of the Crablet

Dear Galactic Union Science Whatevers,

I heard you are paying frontier explorers in crystals for information on new species and technologies. As the only human to set foot on the shattered planet in sector K, I submit the following:

 

The Crablet

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Suggested species name: Homarus cyclopea

Adult size: 40-60 cm

Adult weight: 10-15 kg

Lifespan: ???

 

As you can see, the adult crablet seems quite harmless. But don’t be fooled! Crablets appear to despise humans and I have the claw-marks to prove it. They aren’t as aggressive to the indigenous tribes, despite the fact that the tribes kill the crablets on sight, even by the dozens. Perhaps the locals have discovered some way of masking their scent, which I haven’t learned yet.

The hard exoskeleton is actually rather fragile, and in fact is no tougher than animal hide — even less, when using weapons that smash and crunch. I wonder whether a crab mallet would, in fact, be a feasible weapon…

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The “crablet” begins as one of dozens in an egg sac. A single egg sac appears to be capable of creating hundreds, possibly thousands of crablets. The sac pumps eggs out at a steady rate, almost like a caviar factory. I suspect this (along with their delicious insides) is a reason why the local folks kill them on sight; otherwise, they’d fill up the whole dang planet!


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Crablet eggs complete incubation in cooler temperatures, signalling to the crablet inside that it is time to hatch. If an egg is picked up and carried, it will never hatch, as if the crablet inside has become lazy from the warmth.

No time is needed for a newly hatched crablet to adjust to its environment — it hatches fully-formed and ready to fight. In fact, I have attempted to surgically open one of these eggs, and the crablet inside nearly took off my nose!

Crablets, like most other native species, are fiercely loyal companions once befriended. I have occasionally persuaded one or two to follow me, usually through the use of food. These often refuse to listen to my instructions, and rush out to defend me against attackers! Despite this adorable ferocity, they do not appear intelligent enough to train.

I haven’t seen a crablet die of natural causes. It’s possible they are immortal, or very secretive when they get older? Perhaps they transform into another creature entirely. Perhaps I’ll discover a massive crablet graveyard. Only time will tell.

 

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On the other hand, if the Blight is permitted to spread unchecked, it appears to occasionally build nodes of power, and these evil-looking crablets crawl out. They appear to want to kill me as soon as they start to exist! There’s no befriending to be done here.

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I have occasionally glimpsed a rarer type of crablet that is capable of spitting a highly caustic venom, perhaps due to a unique diet or environmental factor. Luckily, their distinctive bright green shells make them easy to spot and avoid.

For now, my suggested Galactic Union datalog entry for the Crablet will read:

“Delicious, territorial crustaceans that are highly social, traveling in groups. Rumored to be immortal — the population must be controlled with regular culling. Sensitive to Blunt damage.”

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I’ll be waiting for my crystal payment to be transferred.

– Captain Aurora

Shattered Planet Trick-or-Treating

When Captain Tamara went trick-or-treating on the Shattered Planet, she wasn’t sure what to expect. She handmade a crablet mask, but carnivorous plants and crabs aren’t known for their holiday cheer. With nothing better to do on Halloween, she figured it was worth a try.

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Eventually, she found some candies that someone had left lying around.. the Great Pumpkin perhaps?

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So, she ate one. Or two. Or twenty.

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In her report, Captain Aurora says the candies taste mostly like butter?

(Yes, that gif is directly from gameplay — turning into a crab is not generally recommended, but may get you some new crabfriends.)

Happy Halloween!

Inventing the Inventor

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!

First Iteration
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– A1 and A2 were too goofy
– A5 felt too gangster, so we made a nerdy A4 version
– We need more sketches!

Second Iteration
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– 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!

Third Iteration
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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.

Fourth Iteration
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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?

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