Podcast in Space now available on iTunes!

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 12.57.12 pmWe’ve had requests to join the 21st century and get our dev podcast up on iTunes, so we’ve done exactly that! The Podcast in Space is our fortnightly (roughly) podcast about the development of Objects in Space. We cover off what’s been going on behind the scenes and discuss features of the game as they’re going in – sharing as much as we can about the whole development experience with you.

So jump on in and share the link around! There’s plenty of news to go around.

Play Objects in Space in Sydney next Wednesday

If you fancy playing Objects using the Mark II space ship control panels, you should get yourself down to Big Head Mode: Bonus Stage next Wednesday. It’s a comedy variety live show about video games and this month it features none other than our very own Jennifer Scheurle as the special guest of the evening! You can purchase tickets here.

Also, we decided not to try and compete with the noise around E3, but we’re back again with our Podcast in Space this week! This episode, Elissa and Leigh talk about the new sensor and hull damage systems. Meanwhile, there’s a sample of one of the new tracks for the soundtrack for the intro and outro, so give it a listen if you want more of a taste of what music’s in store for the game!

Podcast in Space goes forth

If you haven’t been completely put off by that horrible pun in the headline for this post, the Podcast in Space has just had its fourth episode dropped online!

In this episode, Elissa and Leigh talk about the recent build created as a submission for the PAX 10 – a select list of ten upcoming indie games which get to exhibit at PAX West (formerly PAX Prime) for free by virtue of being awesome. We also update you all on sound, music and art, then get stuck into tackling advanced combat. As many of you know, you’ve got sensors which can ‘see’ 270 degrees with a 90 degree blind spot behind you, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Tune in as we discuss details on targeting, damage, visibility, emissions and more!

Check out episode four here!

Podcast in Space Episode Three is up

We’re back again with another 25 minute podcast covering the development of Objects in Space!

In this episode, we have a brief update on character conversations and dialogue from Elissa and an in-game news articles and star system design from Leigh. Then, we’ve got our Lead Artist Mathew Purchase as our special guest to take us through the art of Objects in Space: from humble 2D pixel art beginnings to now. We’ve been attempting to make a 3D game which still has the look and feel of an old-school pixel art game. Matt takes us through the challenges of making something like that happen, and gets into the nitty gritty of the way we’re crafting our character models.

Check out the podcast here.

Total Biscuit covers Objects in Space

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.25.51 amOn our recent trip to PAX East, Total Biscuit stopped by the booth keen to check out the physical controller setup. To figure out a way to cover the game, he brought with him a Go Pro and a clamp so he could mount it to the front of the table and hopefully capture the whole experience – monitor, controllers and all.

So check out this 12 minute video demo of Objects and if you like what you see, jump on the mailing list.

Dev Podcast Episode Two

We’re back from PAX East and have a brand new, shiny podcast to share with you!

This episode, we have a brief update on camera movement from Elissa and an update on story structure and the game’s trading economy from Leigh. We then join Jennifer Scheurle, our space ship designer responsible for building our now infamous physical ship bridge controllers and who has also worked on our interior ship designs and discuss all things PAX East! We had a great time over in Boston, and have heaps to talk about. It was an amazing show with plenty of weird and wonderful games on display: and Objects was one of them.

Check out the podcast here.

Objects in Space on Polygon

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 8.10.39 amBrian Crecente from Polygon recently visited us down in Sydney and did a huge write-up on the physical controllers for Objects in Space, plus some of the other very cool indie games going on in Sydney (including our Lead Artist Mathew Purchase’s game Unstoppable)!

The article features a lengthy write-up of Crecente’s experience with the game at Sydney’s monthly ‘Beer and Pixels’ event, and has an extensive interview with the co-creator of the physical controllers Jennifer Scheurle.

Also be sure to check out the video embedded in the article, which shows a live demo using the physical controllers.

From the article:

Scheurle sits me down in front of the monitor. Beneath it is a wooden box painted a gray-black that holds an Apple keyboard between two mounted speakers. On either side of the monitor are large wooden consoles, each taller than the monitor itself. The consoles are packed with switches, lights, buttons and meters. Each one does something; each is a replica of a control you’ll find in digital form in the game.

Playing the game without the controls requires clicking into and out of subsystems quickly to manage power consumption, weapons, movement — basically everything.

The game is played as if you’re in a spaceship, one that doesn’t have a view of outside, but instead uses all of its space to show you the controls and monitors.

It’s very doable without the console, but there’s something about toggling switches and pressing buttons that makes the whole thing seem more real.

We’re off to PAX East!

pax_east_2016_mapWe’ve just finished building the physical setup that we’ll be taking to PAX East! It’s a completely functional set of controllers which you can actually play with, and perhaps more importantly: we’ll be releasing the source code for these controllers in due course so you can build your own set at home!

Objects in Space Gameplay Trailer
Objects in Space Gameplay Trailer
Physical Controller Making Of Video
Physical Controller Making Of Video

The idea of making the game work with Arduinos was part of it from a very early stage, but we finally brought this idea to life just in time for PAX Australia in October last year. After seeing the great reception the game and the controllers got, we decided to up the ante and create a much better set for PAX East, and here we are!

The first road-test of the Mark II physical controllers
The first road-test of the Mark II physical controllers

The new Ceres bridge Mark II includes a switch panel for activating/de-activating each and every module on your ship (including a fan which turns on or off with the ship’s main reactor), a P.C.E (Possible Collision Event) Master Alarm, actual working gauges showing your current power consumption/drain and power reserves, jump drive functionality, an updated R.C.S (Reaction Control System) suite and a working speedometer.

The new centre panel also has a spot for the keyboard, a literal physical key which you need to turn for the ship’s ignition, and mounted internal 2.1 speakers so you can hear every engine hum, hull creak and missile launch sound effect better than ever before!

Everything working and ready for PAX!
Everything working and ready for PAX!

We’re incredibly excited to be bringing this setup to PAX East to show everyone what can be done with Objects in Space. We’ve got a brand new demo of the game showcasing stealth-action in amongst nebulae, the engineering section for the hardcore players who want to get into the nitty-gritty of ship customisation, and perhaps most importantly, the jump drive, which turns the whole ship a surreal purple as it bends space-time to move your ship from one star system to the next!

Come say hi at the PAX Rising area of PAX East, or join our mailing list for a full, up-to-date account of how development is going (and to be first to be notified when the game reaches beta).

See you all in Boston!

Dev Blog # 9 – How to Build a Spaceship in 3-100 Easy Steps

Sometimes you start out as a game designer and all of a sudden you wake up and you’re building space ships. Or at least that’s what happened to me when I started working on Objects in Space.

IMG_1693When I first saw the very early prototype of this game, I was immediately infatuated with its quirky nature and boldness.
Working on this project for about 6 months now, I have discovered that there is some serious magic in being bold about your concept. Being firm and clear with what it should be, transporting this vision with every aspect of the game and what we show our audience has sparked a respect and love from the game’s fan base that I have rarely seen in any other project before. In the end, acting as an artist who owns a product seems to actually do something… hooray!

There’s more though. Something that made me go… ‘huh??’

If you follow our progress with Objects in Space, you might already know that the game is a fairly hardcore title. Flying your ship means a lot of micromanagement and getting to know complex systems that look quite overwhelming. When we took the game to PAX Australia in 2015, I was convinced we would attract a fairly niche audience who would love what we’re doing because they are just as much in love with space travel as we are. I was proven wrong…

IMG_1661No matter where we take the game, we are constantly swarmed by people from all kinds of different backgrounds: kids as young as 8, space enthusiasts 60 and older, and casual and hardcore players alike have come to see the game. And while the game itself, once you wrap your head around the complex interface, is actually quite accommodating, I believe there is one very intriguing reason why even people who are more on the casual side of gaming are interested in playing.

The reason consists mainly of wood, nails and glue and has a lot of blinking LEDs and buttons on it: the physical controllers of Objects in Space.

Originally, when we cobbled together the first setup in the two weeks leading up to PAX, our intention was to showcase the possibilities players would have when intending to build their own setup. Instead, many people reached out to us to ask whether or not they could buy the physical setup from us. Something I was not personally prepared for.

“In a world that is so digital as ours, physical feedback seem to enable players to connect better with a product.”

This is how you become a space ship builder and mechanic overnight. All of a sudden my designer brain was very specifically shifted to building physical controllers. My jobs on other games revolved around spreadsheets and mechanics, on Objects mainly consists of splinters, paint everywhere and burns – and I can’t tell you enough how much I love this.

Red AlertBuilding things with my own hands for a player experience has probably altered and changed my relationship with designing games forever – for the better! It has been rewarding to be that close to the experience of our audience andObjects in Spacewill always have a very special place in my heart as a game designer. I have learned something about the people I’m trying to engage and I want to keep this experience in mind for everything I will design in the future.

If I could give you advice for doing something interesting and new to spark fresh ideas and love for your craft, I would tell you that you should try and build something physical, a non-digital experience for people to engage with and watch the magic happen.

And in the meantime? In the meantime, I will keep building space ships…

This blog post originally appeared on Jennifer Scheurle’s personal blog.