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.

New Trailer is out for Objects in Space!

Objects in Space RTX Aus setup 2As you may know, we’ve been taking Objects in Space and its physical controller setup to shows around Australia. We’ve been to Haven in Mackay, QLD, AVCon in Adelaide, SA, PAX Australia in Melbourne, VIC and Big Head Mode: Bonus Stage and RTX Australia here in Sydney, NSW.

Next up is GX Australia, Australia’s first ever queer gaming convention, also happening here in Sydney. We jumped on as an indie dev sponsor to support this very worthy cause, and will of course have Objects in Space there as well as a new iOS game Unstoppable on the Saturday.

To celebrate, we’re launching our second trailer for Objects in Space!

You can play the game yourself by coming along to GX Australia at the Australian Technology Park. I’ve heard there’ll be over 50 indie devs there, making this one of the largest expos of indie games in the country! You don’t want to miss it!

The new trailer for Objects is a montage of footage of us building the physical controllers and taking them to shows around the country, just to give a taste to anyone who hasn’t had a chance to see them in action yet. Stay tuned for a second gameplay trailer soon, and for anyone who missed the first one, you can check it out here!

If you’re keen to stay in the loop on all things Objects-related, jump on the mailing list. Exciting times!

Happy 2016, everyone! Come play Objects at RTX Australia!

IMG_1847It’s a new year and the Objects team is hard at work on the game once again. Well, we didn’t really stop. Holidays are a great time for really knuckling down and getting in some good, solid dev time!

To celebrate the new year, here’s a 3D-printed model of the Ceres freighter – the iconic ship from all of the screenshots we’ve released so far – created by our concept artist / physical console builder extraordinaire Jennifer Scheurle.

So progress is good, and we’re attacking 2016 head-on, but not without a few public stops along the way for people to check out Objects in Space in person.

This year, we’re pleased to announce that as well as GX Australia, we’ve signed on for a booth at RTX Australia, which is happening in just a couple of weeks’ time here in Sydney! For those of you who don’t know, RTX is Rooster Teeth Expo. That’s that video empire over in the States who started out doing Red vs Blue machinima for the original Halo. Nowadays they’re kind of a big deal(tm), and this marks their first ever time in doing one of their massive expos  down under. The show is already sold out, so consider this a courtesy to let those of you who’ve already bought tickets know that you should stop by the booth, say hello and find out what all the fuss at PAX Australia was about.

We hope to see you there, and happy new year everyone!

Screen NSW will help fund Objects in Space

We have just announced that Screen NSW has come on board a Ceres class light freighter to help Flat Earth Games bring Objects in Space to life! We’re thrilled that Screen NSW are still investing in games, and see the value in them as a medium.

The development community here in Australia only continues to grow, in spite of the federal government axing the Screen Australia Interactive Games Fund without any industry consultation.

Courtney Gibson, CEO of Screen NSW, said:

Screen NSW was impressed by the distinctiveness of the concept and the unique approach to story and narrative design. We are delighted to be supporting a team of mostly local writers to help realise the project’s creative ambitions.

That unique approach Courtney is referring to is this:

The game’s seven writers will each be tasked with writing one short, interactive story for the player to engage in which will be playable at the beginning of the game. Rohan and Leigh Harris, the game’s lead programmer and designer respectively, will then reveal the next key plot points to them for each of the 12 star systems in the game. When the writers reconvene to write their next stories, any plot points which have affected their ongoing characters must be taken into account. In this way, we hope to see the game’s narrative unfold naturally and have the same uncontrollable nature that stories in real life hold.

The writers were chosen to represent a variety of different styles. The team includes writers from games, theatre, screen, copywriting, MUSHes and pen & paper RPG writing. We’re pleased to announce that our writers are:

The idea is that the Apollo cluster will feel very different depending on which star system you’re in. Not only will the news you read be vastly different, slanting your view on other star systems’ politics, but you’ll also be hearing different voices telling you stories within those systems.

While there are many things to do in the game, Objects in Space will not feature a ‘main quest’ line. Instead, it allows the player to focus on exploring, profiting and surviving at their leisure. The story of the Apollo cluster is one which the player can be deeply involved in, or only give a cursory glance to. There are huge advantages to knowing a lot about the game world, but for those who just want to experience the mechanics of the game, there is nothing forcing you into its narrative elements.

Hands-on Preview in PC Authority

SDF Team Photo - HeaderA big write-up on Objects in Space has just graced the pages of PC Authority, courtesy of Jason Imms. It’s based on Jason spending time with the game at PAX Australia, as well as a series of follow-up interviews with Rohan and Leigh. Check it out for some cool nuggets of info about the game mechanics and story!