For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.
Welcome to the "Inside the Ready Room - Starlight Inception Edition!" At least once a month (except for last month), we intend to take you 'behind the scenes' for a glimpse into the preproduction and production process of the game. The Ready Room is the area on a carrier where pilots are given briefings and sent off onto missions; thus the name for this series of blogs.
We promised big news for the end of September update, and so let’s get started…
We are more than 75% of the way through our concept art list, and the pieces that we’ve been receiving are excellent. We’ve been working with an art house called Conceptopolis, and their brilliant team has been supplying us with everything from fighters, bombers, transports and capital ships to civilian spaceliners, enemy bases, enemy structures and weapons. Instead of just writing about all this great concept art, I wanted to show a little this time as well.
We’ve created a gallery on the forums for concept art, and this month we’re featuring the SF-61H Palomino Mk3, a USF Resupply Ship, the SF-16 Space Falcon, and an enemy Fighter Bomber of the Olympus Empire faction of the Non-Aligned Nations.
We’ve included final art here on Kickstarter for these four concepts, but at the exclusive Starlight area of www.eheforums.com, we’ve also included the whole genesis of these designs.
SF-61H Palomino MK3 -
USF Resupply Ship
SF-16 Space Falcon
Olympus Empire Fighter-Bomber
There are somewhere around 200 concepts in this game – the concept art book that we’re putting together promises to be very cool.
The art team has been making short work of those concepts over the past few months, first building a representative of each class of asset in the game (friendly fighter, enemy fighter, friendly capital ship, enemy capital ship, etc.) then moving forward to flesh out the entire USF fighter fleet. October should see the completion of most, if not all of the USF fighters, and we will be featuring at least one of these finished models next month as part of the next update. We are making lots of effort to make each of these models live and breath – working parts are everywhere and respond to things you do with the controller of your choice. The models also hold animations for many of these actions – things like braking thrusters deploying, afterburners, missile doors that open and close, in addition to a “storage” state when the fighter is in the hangar bay.
We are still holding firm to our budget as we continue in full production. Still matching the Kickstarter funding 2 for 1 with our own production funds.
No major risks have cropped up as we move forward to our delivery date in August 2013.
We’ve been enhancing and expanding the UI in the game, while still not at final look. We have a complete single player front end interface now, minus the patrol mode (tower defense game). We also have a large part of the multiplayer front end in place. In addition, the in game HUD is coming together nicely – you can pick your weapons through the HUD, adjust power flow, launch missiles, target enemies, see cinematic communications on your TachCOMM, and monitor ship’s systems, and not interfere with the view of your starfighter in the process. There’s a lot of information on screen for you to gain situational awareness, and to control your ship’s systems. Also, flying the fighters is pretty effortless, but still needs lots of tweaks. We’re playing around with different buttons and directional pad assignments to find the best arrangement, although in the long run, players will be able to set this stuff up for themselves in most cases.
On the level design front, we have been tapping retired members of the Air Force, Navy and Army to read our script, make sure our missions are sound and make sense, as well as looking for corrections to terminology and situations. We want this to feel real, and take that seriously, though the reality will never get in the way of the fun of the game.
We have almost completed laying out the first scenario, 00_Certification, where you are in the middle of a training exercise, and all hell breaks loose.
And a lot of work has been done on implementing AI states for the enemies in the game, to make the single player scenarios feel realistic and deadly. Turrets are now working in space (which will really help with the tower defense mode), as well as on capital ships.
We’ve also worked out a way to load information from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to make creating levels easier and quicker to tweak. This promises to keep the iterations coming quicker on the levels.
Lots of progress has been made on the features specified for the game. There has been a lot of effort made to make the space milieu feel different and BIGGER than games that have come before. In addition, we’ve been working with the Vita to make sure that the experience is not a compromise from the PC version, as previously promised.
So far, we are blown away by the capabilities of this device – it really has a lot going for it under the hood. We can go from playing a game at 1920x1080 resolution on the PC, then pick up a Vita and feel very little difference in the look or the overall experience.
We’ve been able to prove the game works both in Adhoc mode on Vita, and in PC multiplayer Host and Client mode. The good news is that we are working to increase the number of players possible at one time on PC. More on that in coming months, but we should have a pretty cool announcement coming up about the size of the squadrons possible in this game.
We’ve also been busy tracking down sync bugs to make sure that the multiplayer experience is rock solid and fun.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT - ADDITIONAL PLATFORMS
Ok, so here’s the big news: we are going to be on Sony Playstation 3 as well as Vita and PC. The success of the Kickstarter as well as the early views of the game have garnered us a spot on PS3. Because we haven’t yet sent out the questionnaire from Kickstarter related to what platform it is that you will choose, we are going to include the PS3 version as well as one of the choices. If you chose two versions, you can pick two of those platforms. In addition, we will have PS3 available on our website as another choice for preorder, and extend the same pricing from the Kickstarter campaign. We are really excited about the addition of this platform. The early tests we’ve done show a really cool experience on PS3.
More on this in coming months.
In addition, it is still early in our tests, but we are asking a Mac/Linux company to take a look at our game to see what would be involved to get it to run on that platform. We’ve been waiting until we get a large amount of features implemented to do so, but we are almost at the point where we can send them a representative demo of what we’ve been doing.
As stated before, we’re going to be expanding the offerings in our online store (go to www.eschatch.com and click on the merchandise link to check it out) in the coming weeks and months with Starlight and Escape Hatch items, some of which weren’t available during the Kickstarter campaign. We’ll let you know when new items become available through the forums and on the Kickstarter page. We have added the aforementioned PS3 version to the preorder page.
Also, we are looking at more physical items to become available on our website.
Spambots continue to be a major nuisance on our forums, and so if you sign up and get rejected, please send us an email and we’ll make sure you are able to join. We are getting hit with hundreds of false requests a week, and so it is getting harder to delineate the real humans from the bots. So far, that hasn’t resulted in any new spam subjects or posts, so we are definitely controlling the problem, but we just want to make sure that people who want to get in do – please email us at infoateschatch.com if you get rejected (replace the at with a @ symbol to make this work).
Thank you again for participating in this process, and for backing this game. We have lots of exciting news and art to share in the months to come!
Kindest Regards, Garry, Melissa and the Starlight Inception team
INSIDE THE READY ROOM - STARLIGHT INCEPTION 7.30.12 POSTED ON EXCLUSIVE ESCAPE HATCH FORUMS AND KICKSTARTER
Just wanted to let you all know that we just posted the newest backers-only update on the game's progress at our Escape Hatch Entertainment forums, and here on Kickstarter. If you missed being part of the Starlight Inception phenomenon, you can still take part. We have preorders available on our merchandise page at www.eschatch.com/merchandise - preordering the game grants you exclusive access to the beta and to the backer-only forums.
We are also putting up new items all the time, so be sure to check back often.
Garry and the Starlight Inception Team
INSIDE THE READY ROOM - STARLIGHT INCEPTION 7.30.12
Welcome to the second edition of "Inside the Ready Room - Starlight Edition!" At least once a month (and more frequently as we get closer to our estimated release date of August, 2013), we intend to take you 'behind the scenes' for a glimpse into the preproduction and production process of the game. The Ready Room is the area on a carrier where pilots are given briefings and sent off onto missions; thus the name for this series of blogs.
We’ve been seeing lots of deliveries related to the art list put together last month. USF fighters, capital ships, enemy capital ships, enemy fighters, and civilian vessels have all been coming to life in concept drawings. Last month, I spoke about the process, and within the next few months, I’d like to show you the process of going from thumbnail to concept drawings, to final concept art. You’ll see a lot more of this process in the concept art book (and over the next year).
The USF (and enemy) drydocks are now open for business and humming along! In the past month, we’ve seen creation of the USF Destroyer “Colin Powell”, as well as an enemy interceptor and the beginnings of an enemy carrier. Each of these models, along with the already existing “Lightning III” fighter (remember fighter “E” from the Kickstarter campaign?) represents a class of asset in the game, each with their own attributes. The two fighter models, friendly and enemy, allow us to rig up the configuration attributes for all of the friendly and enemy weapons and tweaks that we allow, as well as the beginning tweaks for flight and AI states. This is most important, because the devil in a video game is always in the details. Will the thruster augmentator throw off the balance when used in combination with a Lightning fighter and an enemy Tse-tse fighter? What amount of afterburner thrust feels correct on an EagleClaw Fighter? When we transfer power from shields to weapons to thrust, does it upset the balance of the game? Does it feel like a real difference, and hence an interesting decision? All these questions and about a thousand more can be answered by having a single asset that we can wire into the engine and take through it’s paces. That asset assumes the role of all the different fighters and other craft in the game, and gives us a window into where the issues are as well as helping us early on to achieve a reasonable balance in the game. Capital ships are important now because it gives us something to defend / take off from, and to attack / destroy in interesting ways. Our cap ships won’t just blow up in one big blast – they will take damage like real ships, losing sections and parts of the ship as they are hit by the enemy’s weapons. We are now at the stage where we can begin realizing this design goal. We are also working on realistic planets and moons. More on that in coming months…
We have been well within budget as we continue into full production. For those of you who were worried about the Kickstarter money not being enough for this game, we have been matching the Kickstarter funding 2 for 1 with our own production funds as we had planned from the beginning. So, for every $1 of Kickstarter funding we spend, we are throwing in approximately $2 of our own company funds. Combined with Melissa and I not taking a salary for the game, it is helping the budget to go a lot further. Also, we are moving forward well within schedule to deliver a game by August 2013.
Much of the front end interface has been built for single player campaign mode, and is fully functional (but not final in terms of art assets). Lots of placeholder assets, but we are on the cusp of having a complete single player front end interface, and we are really working on making it as streamlined and quick for pass through, if a player wants to fly quickly, as well as giving enough deep content to make it compelling to explore the various menus before entering a fighter. Next up will be fleshing out the multiplayer configuration options and the tower defense casual mode (promised from the Kickstarter campaign) for the game.
Not much has happened on the Level Design front – but that will change over the next two months. We’ll start putting together detailed plans for the levels, as well as fleshing out the first one, which introduces the game world and its story.
We’ve seen great promise on the implementation of new features by the lead programmer on the project. We have some really cool stuff working that we’ll be sharing over the next few months, and we have expanded the feature list that we’re asking for based on the extreme speed that features are getting accomplished.
We’ve been able to play through a multiplayer game of four players in splitscreen (all flying the same fighter, but with different color schemes) and blast each other into bits without serious bugs. This is a really good thing to have working early because it greatly helps with balancing and tuning the game. And the fact that the game is already really fun doesn’t hurt. ☺
We’re going to be expanding the offerings in our online store in the coming weeks and months with Starlight and Escape Hatch items, some of which weren’t available during the Kickstarter campaign. We’ll let you know when new items become available through the forums and on the Kickstarter page.
An unexpected benefit of doing the Kickstarter is that I’ve gotten so much better at being a moderator on the forums! My spambot awareness has gotten infinitely better since the forums started. We get 10-12 requests from spambots every day, and filtering those has gotten easier as our experience has grown. With that said, we know it’s early, but the activity on the forums has slowed. There just isn’t much information flying around to get people going, and we fully understand this. However, we’re making a special effort to read the posts and where appropriate to offer answers and comments. We’ve also opened up a new forum just for the public to talk about Starlight – we’re going to be doing a public post on Kickstarter, Facebook and Twitter to let non-members know that they can still become part of the process through our www.eschatch.com website if they want. Thank you again for participating in this process, and for backing this game. We have lots of exciting news and art to share in the months to come!
Garry, Melissa and the Starlight Inception team
pledged of $150,000 goal
seconds to go
Apr 3, 2012 - May 8, 2012
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A set of three high resolution desktop wallpaper images from the game.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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A copy of Starlight Inception™, distributed digitally on PC, via Steam for PC, or distributed digitally on Sony Playstation Vita, exclusive access to the Beta, and access to the private discussion community.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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Special Edition of Starlight Inception, including digital game soundtrack, all future DLC, and all previous reward tiers.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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Special Edition of Starlight Inception, including digital game soundtrack, all launch DLC, and all previous reward tiers.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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Special Edition of Starlight Inception - includes both PC and Playstation Vita versions, includes digital game soundtrack, all future DLC, and all previous reward tiers. Please note that adding $15 to any reward tier also will get you a copy of both versions - you just have to send us a note saying that you would like both.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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SPECIAL PROMOTION: A copy of Starlight Inception™, distributed digitally on PC, via Steam for PC, or distributed digitally on Sony Playstation Vita plus all launch DLC, exclusive access to the Beta, and access to the private discussion community PLUS the Starlight Inception T-shirt (international shippers, please add an additional $15 for shipping) This is a Special Promotion only for people who want the t-shirt and game, and does not apply as a "previous reward tier" for higher pledges.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $60 or more
SPECIAL PROMOTION: A copy of Starlight Inception™, distributed digitally on PC, via Steam for PC, or distributed digitally on Sony Playstation Vita plus all launch DLC, exclusive access to the Beta, and access to the private discussion community PLUS the original Starlight Inception poster (suitable for framing) (international shippers, please add an additional $15 for shipping) This is a Special Promotion only for people who want the poster and game, and does not apply as a "previous reward tier" for higher pledges.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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PDF of the Starlight Inception Book (filled with 50+ color pages of concept art, original photos, developer bios, the game's script, secrets of production) and all previous reward tiers.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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Starlight Inception T-shirt, original Starlight Inception poster (suitable for framing), special thanks in the game's credits, all previous reward tiers. (These items are exclusive to the campaign and will be shipped for free in the US. Please add an additional $15 to your pledge for international shipping).Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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SPECIAL PROMOTION BOX SET: Limited edition Boxed version of Starlight Inception includes printed manual and physical media of game (only available for the PC, and does not count as a previous award). ADD $100 for each additional version of the game and box. International shippers, please add an additional $15 for shipping.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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SPECIAL PROMOTION: A copy of Starlight Inception™, distributed digitally on PC, via Steam for PC, or distributed digitally on Sony Playstation Vita plus all launch DLC, exclusive access to the Beta, and access to the private discussion community PLUS the Starlight Inception hoodie (international shippers, please add an additional $15 for shipping) This is a Special Promotion only for people who want the hoodie and game, and does not apply as a "previous reward tier" for higher pledges.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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SPECIAL USF FOUNDERS REWARD: Your name on a special USF plague which hangs on the bridge of every capital ship on the fleet that lists you as one of the founders of the United Star Force plus a special code which grants you extra command points (prestige) in the game, and thus earlier access to extra ships and ship parts.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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Starlight Inception Poster autographed by Garry M. Gaber and the rest of the design team, a special Starlight Inception Mug, Starlight Inception hat and all previous reward tiers. (Please $15 to your pledge for international shipping.)Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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A Starlight Inception Hoodie -and- your name on the side of a fighter, plus all previous tiers. (Please add $15 to your pledge for international shipping.)Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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A hand-painted (by a local Austin expert miniature painter) plastic replica of one of the signature Starlight fighters, plus all previous reward tiers. Each miniature will be individually numbered.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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2 backers Limited (38 of 40 left)
A PS Vita preloaded with the game. In addition, a pilot in the game will have your likeness and name. Includes all previous reward tiers.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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3 backers Limited (17 of 20 left)
Become a senior ranking military officer (either USF or NAN) in the game. We'll use your likeness, and help you create a backstory for your character, and will find a way to integrate it into the story, immortalizing you as a figure in the campaign of World War IV Also includes a PS Vita preloaded with the game. Includes all previous reward tiers, except the pilot ($1500 reward)Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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0 backers Limited (10 of 10 left)
Lunch with Garry Gaber, David Arkenstone, and other members of the team, a Sony Playstation Vita preloaded with the game and all previous reward tiers - you'll just need to choose between being a pilot or senior ranking military officer in the game. (Includes deluxe hotel accommodations for two nights in Austin, Texas, and a limousine to and from the restaurant)Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
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0 backers Limited (10 of 10 left)
RECORDING SESSION: Come out to our recording session and hang out with the stars - we'll fly you to the location of our recording session (international people pay difference between domestic and international fare), set you up in a deluxe hotel for two nights, and ferry you to the recording session in limousine style, where you'll get to watch a star record lines from Starlight Inception. A once in a lifetime opportunity. In addition, you'll receive a Sony Playstation Vita preloaded with the game, and everything from the $1000 tier. ADD $15 for each additional version of the game of either format.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013