They Came in a Rocket Car is a 2D arcade shooter chronicling the story of how xenocidal aliens took Mars, and how we took it back.
Update 1: We would like to inform everyone that we have decided against using DRM. If people really want to steal our game then there is nothing we can do about it, and we would rather not annoy paying customers with that sort of thing. This means that the license keys listed in the rewards will not be actual license keys, but will instead be a key that will give you a free download of the game.
Also, new gameplay video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZHn5jgb3uE
Mankind has terraformed Mars and space flight is commonplace. The human race has expanded beyond earth and is experiencing greater prosperity than ever before, but this peace is shattered when an alien fleet attacks. Mars falls with very little resistance, and the alien fleet is just a few short months from earth.
They Came in a Rocket Car (abbreviated TRC) is an arcade style shooter that follows the only battleworthy ship in the human fleet, the space carrier Argo, and the elite fighter squadron assigned to that ship, the Argonauts. Protect the human race from the alien threat and take back Mars!
Visit our website for more details about TRC and the universe in which it takes place, visit our development blog for regular updates about the development process, and check out Brent Bagley's personal blog (that's me, the programmer) and Shannan Bagley's Deviant Art (our artist and my wife lady) to get to know us.
More About Us
I am Brent Bagley. I am the game designer, programmer, and whatever else we need including writer, sound editor, etc. I have been designing games of all types since I was twelve, but this is the first commercial project I have attempted.
Our artist is Shannan Bagley, my wife. She enjoys video games as much as the next person. She has had a great deal of experience creating character art and she is doing a fantastic job on this project.
We both have had a great interest in creating video games, but only now have we had the resources to get a project off the ground. We decided to start with a modest project that we could do with as little outside help as possible, but as we learned all the extra stuff involved with releasing a game we realized that we could do a much better job of it with just a little help. Even better, if we can get enough support to release the title as freeware then we would be able to concentrate completely on creating a great game.
More about They Came in a Rocket Car
There are two main modes of gameplay: fixed flight mode and free flight mode. Each mode offers unique gameplay and challenges. In addition, bonus missions allow you to take direct control of the Argo and the satellite defense grid. Visit our site for more gameplay videos.
Customize your fighter
Choose between 6 ships, 8 weapons, and 10 enhancements. Each ship has unique statistics and a special ability, each weapon functions in a unique way, and each enhancement provides a passive bonus or new special ability. Each piece of equipment can be upgraded several times.
Because They Came in a Rocket Car is an arcade shooter the flow of the game means there is little room for exposition; anything beyond the most basic storytelling would bog down the game. Our solution is simple: The game manual will contain the important storytelling that doesn't fit inside the game, including information on important events and people, and the website will have other interesting information about the TRC universe that may not be directly relevant to They Came in a Rocket Car.
The SDF Handbook
Our game manual, The SDF Handbook, will be much more than your average game manual. It will be largely written from an in universe perspective and will contain elements commonly found in strategy guides and art books such as concept art, lore entries and information that will help in game. The game manual will be released as a PDF free to download once the game is released. If we make enough money with the kickstarter we will also release a full strategy guide, The SDF Field Manual, and a full art book, The History of the Solar Defense Force. We will reveal more information about these books if we make it to the freeware goal.
Our first goal is relatively small. It is only what we need to actually release the game.
The second goal is to earn enough money to release the game as freeware. Anyone will be able to download it and play it free.
In between these two goals we have placed three content pack goals. Each content pack will contain at least 1 additional ship, 2 additional weapons, 2 additional enhancements, and a random level generator for a mode of play (free flight mode, fixed flight mode, or satellite defense.)
After the freeware goal we have a number of planned goals that will add value to the game, such as expansions, more content packs, and related materials such as a digital art book and story line comics. We will reveal these goals as we near the freeware goal. All content packs and post freeware goals will be free, so as more people back our project it will become more valuable for everyone.
Note: We have setup a donation link on our website for people who are unable to support us through kickstarter. The first goal will not take into account these donations (because we need the money completely through kickstarter for the project to succeed) but all goals afterwards will take these donations into account. Please use kickstarter if at all possible.
Current Goal: Release of They Came in a Rocket Car - $5000
The game will be released and all backers will receive their incentives.
Because we wish to release the game, all of its content, and all related materials for free we cannot offer exclusive content as a reward. Even if the freeware release goal is not met all related materials and additional content will be release free for all, so we cannot offer any exclusive incentives. We can offer our talents to create unique works based on your input, such as creating a character based on your input, and recognition of your support.
We will be giving license keys for the game as part of the incentive packages in case the freeware release goal is not met.
You will be mentioned in the credits of the game, on the website, and in the game manual. Higher supporter levels will be mentioned first.
Next to your name in the credits you can include a small message. On the website this message can be linked to a webpage of your choice. The message must follow these guidelines:
1. It should be short, about one line or a medium sized sentence.
2. It must not contain any copyrighted material.
3. It must not contain any objectionable material (keep it PG.)
4. The linked webpage must not contain any objectionable material.
While decent grammar and spelling are encouraged, they are not required.
Lore entries are small writings about TRC, usually an in universe subject. You choose the general topic, and I will write a short entry on that subject. If you don't have a subject you would like discussed, I will choose myself.
Alternatively, your reward writing can be on a non TRC subject. I would like it be TRC related, but if you would prefer a 2 paragraph story about a toothbrush that aspires be a blender I will do my best. However, there are a few things I will not write and I will refuse if you ask (slash fiction comes to mind.)
The lore entries will appear on the website and will be noted as sponsored by you. You will also receive the writing by email. We may choose to include your lore entry in the SDF Handbook. To get an idea of writing style and quality see the lore entries associated with the weapons and ships on our website.
Different reward tiers offer different length lore entries. These are minimum sizes, there is no maximum size.
- Short Lore entries are 50+ words long (about the length of the Homing Cannon entry.)
- Medium Lore entries are 100+ words long (about the length of the Railgun entry.)
- Long Lore entries are 150+ words long (about the length of the Havoc 7 entry.)
From the rookie pilot forward you may choose to make your original artwork character a canon character. If you do, you may choose to have your lore entry about that character.
Suggested topics - many of these are lore entries I have thought about but don't have time to create.
The Solar War - The first and only war fought between humans where space was the major theater of operation.
The History of the Argo - I lightly touched on this in the Havoc 7 lore entry, but there is a lot more to say about the most important spacecraft in human history.
The Martian Colonies
Notable Pirates, Miners and Bounty hunters
SDF or alien orbital defense systems
The SDF Antimatter Creation Facility
The spectacular failure of early FTL experiments
SDF Ground Forces
Individual Alien Ships
Theories of Alien Origin and Intent
Aftermath of the War
At the SDF Officer level forward you will earn a piece of original artwork. As a default this will be an SDF officer or enlisted man fashioned and named after you, but alternatively it can be pretty much any character drawing so long as it does not contain copyrighted or objectionable material. You give us a theme, the image you would like us to work off of (or a description) and any important details about the character and we will sort out the rest. The artwork will be sent to you through email upon completion, including the sketch, line art and fully colored versions when applicable. We may choose to feature the artwork in game, most likely during the credits, or in the SDF Handbook.
A mechanic working on the Argonaut fighters.
A soldier in the ground forces that retook Mars.
A Scientist reverse engineering alien technology.
There are 4 different types of artwork available, sketch chibi, full color chibi, full color standard and full color standard with background. for more examples, see the deviant art of Shannan Bagley.
At the rookie pilot level your character, made using the image you send, will be made into a canon character named by you. This character will get an entry on the web page and may appear in The Solar Defense Handbook. You choose the theme of the character and we will work out the details together.
A mechanic working on the Argonaut fighters.
A soldier in the ground forces that retook Mars.
A Scientist reverse engineering alien technology.
At the veteran pilot level your character will get at least a half page in The Solar Defense Handbook dedicated to them.
At the Argonaut level your character will be made into a major canon character chosen and named by you. This character will have dedicated page in The Solar Defense Handbook as well as their website entry. You choose the individual, we will sort out the details together.
One of the pilots of Argonauts - In this case you can also choose which fighter they are assigned to.
The Captain of the Argo
Solar Civilian - $10
Without the contributions and moral support of our fine citizenry this war would have been lost long before the aliens reached earth.
You will receive a license key for the game when it is released. Thank you for your support!
SDF Volunteer - $20
Though our actual fighting force is relatively small, the day to day operation of our defenses requires a massive support staff performing a variety of tasks, from clerical work to ammunition inspection. It is a point of pride that despite the huge personal requirement the SDF has not needed to resort to a draft.
As Solar Civilian and your name will appear in the credits.
SDF Contractor - $40
While a great deal can be accomplished with volunteer work many tasks require specially trained individuals in a more permanent position. These contractors range from experienced mechanics capable of the delicate maintenance of our fighters to nuclear physicists brought on for weapons research.
As SDF volunteer and you will be given space for a short message next to your entry in the credits.
SDF Enlisted - $75 limit 50
Ace fighter pilots and admirals are only the most visible members of a much larger force. Enlisted personnel man the orbital defenses and make up the ground forces that forces that will retake Mars.
As SDF Contractor and a short lore entry on the subject of your choice will be written. In addition, you will be given an extra license key to share with a friend.
SDF Officer - $150 - Limit 50
The SDF was designed to be a fluid fighting force. If we are to defeat the aliens we need to be able to adapt to any situation at a moments notice. Because of the vast distances involved in space warfare makes real time communication impossible this adaptability can only be achieved by each officer being prepared to lead in situations far outside their expertise.
All the rewards of SDF Enlisted and a sketch chibi of you as a SDF officer.
Rookie Pilot - $300 - Limit 15
Though our converted cargo ships make serviceable carriers our only truly battle worthy vessel is the Argo. Any other ship would be quickly destroyed in a drawn out firefight. This means that any time we want to bring the fight to the aliens we must do it with fighters. Given that our existing carriers can only deploy around 2,000 fighters at any given time it is vitally important that we have only the best pilots in those fighters.
A huge effort has been made to find the best pilots the human race has to offer. Around a quarter billion individuals have applied for flight training, and millions have been tested in simulators. Those who enter flight training are among the most talented pilots on Earth. Around 50,000 individuals have actually completed flight training, and with only around 2,000 fighters even our rookie pilots are incredibly skilled.
All the rewards of the SDF Officer, your sketch chibi is upgraded to a fully colored chibi, your character made into a canon character with an entry on the website.
Veteran Pilot - $750 - Limit 8
Modern fighters are equipped with excellent ejection systems. There is less than a three percent chance that a shot down fighter will result in the pilot's death; the pilot will usually only be killed if the enemy weapon fire passes straight through the cockpit. Unfortunately, these ejection systems must work with intense speed, putting a huge amount of stress on the pilots body. Compounding the problem is the difficulty of retrieving the pilot after ejection; depending on the situation this can take hours or even days. Nearly every pilot saved by the ejection system will spend the next few months in a hospital and will likely be unfit for active duty until after outcome of the war is decided.
Despite the intense selection and training of potential pilots, simulated battles can only go so far. More than half of all rookie pilots will be shot down in their first mission and forced to use the ejection system. The numbers marginally improve for the second and third mission, but if a pilot is able to make it to their fourth mission the benefits of first hand experience really begin to show and their chances of being shot down drop below ten percent. Pilots that have made it to this point are collectively referred to as veteran pilots.
All the rewards of the rookie pilot, your colored chibi upgraded to a full body colored character, a half page dedicated to your canon character in the SDF Handbook, and 2 more license keys.
Argonaut - $1500 - Limit 5
The Argonauts are the elite fighting force of the SDF. made up of the best pilots the human race has to offer. Most of the Argonauts have a lifetime of experience flying as miners, bounty hunters or even pirates. Many are more comfortable flying a fighter than walking on a planets surface. Furthermore, each has a custom built fighter assigned to them equipped with cutting edge technology.
The experience, natural talent, and special equipment of the Argonauts means they are capable of the impossible. A single Argonaut can successfully engage a fleet of enemy fighters or single handedly take out an enemy command ship. Though they cannot win the war on their own, it is certain that without the Argonauts the war would have already been lost.
All the rewards of the veteran pilot, your canon character upgraded to a major canon character, a background added to your character artwork, a full page dedicated to your canon character in the SDF Handbook, and 2 more license keys.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I have been designing and creating games for over 15 years, from board games to pen and paper RPG's to video games, but up until now all my projects have been for personal use or just as a hobby. Nothing was ever meant to be publicly released. I decided to actually make a commercial project because with the help of my artist wife I could now complete a project that was actually up to the level of quality I wanted.
This means that I have lots of experience making games and Shannan has lots of experience creating art, but neither of us has much experience in releasing a game. Our challenge has been doing everything but creating a good game. For example, I have no experience creating websites. I could learn, but it would time away from actually making games. Figuring out cheap, effective, and efficient solutions to problems like this is the main difficulty for us.
I plan on making blog posts about all these problems I run up against, solutions I looked at, and what I ultimately did about it in my personal blog, http://brentsheldonbagley.blogspot.com/
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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