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.

spacegame_mockup2
shipstest

May 6: Maybe a separate screen for combat?

XRL_CombatSysMockup1

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

spacegame_mockups3A

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

spacegame_avatars1

June 7: So we tried out three different aesthetics.

XRL_ArtStyleMockup1
XRL_ArtStyleMockup3Island_compare
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.

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.

BlxeB6nCUAAhqlq

The Dustfolk

DesertVillagePreview

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.

CanyonArea1Animated

(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.

MHChars1

(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!

The Winner is: Gekkian Diplomat!

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

surveyresults

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.

NewCharWinner

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.

originalclasses

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.

NewCharSketch

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:

zekdeathroad

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:

Consum_HorseMann@2x

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

Building Your Captain

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.

PlayerCharsRenegade

PlayerCharsAssassin

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.

UI6_CloningMockup

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.

Which one will you play?

By Popular Demand

We were asked, “Why do you show only the female behind? Why not the male?”

The answer would be long and boring*, so let’s just say, “Fair point!”

Here’s the Renegade, for your viewing pleasure:

RenegadeBehind

Enticed?


(*) The long version: It was an accident. We didn’t remember to share that part of our concept art (since we didn’t share lots of our in-progress shots of the Renegade/male character), and we didn’t notice the asymmetry in our postings. We don’t actually expect any of our characters to be sexualised. Please do keep letting us know if something we post seems strange to you!

Art Style Exploration 2

Initial character concepts & environment tests for a few different possible player classes in Shattered Planet. As you can probably tell, we’re looking at a softer sci-fi angle, mixing in a bit of fantasy for a Star Warsy feel.

XRL_ArtStyleMockup2A

XRL_ArtStyleMockup2B



Next up: stitching together the bits and pieces to form a world worth exploring!