Void Destroyer 2
The sequel to Kickstarter funded Void Destroyer. Now a space sandbox that combines sim and RTS elements to give you ultimate control.
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>> KS Finale Trailer
What is Void Destroyer 2?
Void Destroyer 2 is a space sandbox game for the PC platform to be released on Steam. Void Destroyer 2 is a single player game.
The unique control and game play aspects from the original carry over into Void Destroyer 2. Just like in Void Destroyer the player has a blend of control methods - direct (ship piloting) and RTS style control over ships and fleets.
With direct piloting you can be in the front seat of the action and with RTS control your fleet is yours to command. Its not about tiny skirmishes, its about battles, which can be bigger and more brutal. Victory is a reflection of your piloting skills and tactics.
The best part - in sandbox games - its you who decides whether to go at it alone, as a small band, or a huge fleet.
Kickstarter tends to compress the video a bit too much...
Same trailer as in pitch video above in full HD on: YouTube
Video Explainer: What is Void Destroyer 2?
What's new in Void Destroyer 2 is the sandbox environment. You are given free reign to travel the game's living world. Limited only by your ability to out fight or out maneuver those who try to stop you. Work your way up from a lowly privateer, to a pirate, trader, miner, mercenary, bounty hunter, economic titan, or war lord.
A mix of generated missions (scout, courier, escort, bounty hunter, combat and potential others) and custom missions (side quests and story missions).
Upgrade your ship, purchase, find or capture new, expand your fleet of war, utility, trading and mining ships, then conquer.
What makes Void Destroyer 2 unique?
Like in most space sandbox games, the player will start in a single ship and work their way up in the world. In other space sandbox games, once you get beyond the state of basic survival the problems tend to pop in.
Managing your combat fleet or economy ships gets increasingly cumbersome. Void Destroyer 2's answer is a simple RTS style interface for asset and fleet control.
Want a mining ship to mine an asteroid field?
Select it via a left click then right click an asteroid field. It will mine on its own, and return to a base to sell the ore to add to your bank account. You can still mine "on your own" - you can pilot/control any ship in the game.
Want that mining ship to have escorts?
Select a fighter, then right click on the mining ship. It will then protect the mining ship from pirates. Or order several ships to patrol a asteroid field.
What now that I have that awesome fighter?
Another issue with the space sandbox genre - is what happens when you have that ultimate ship. In Void Destroyer 2 - the focus can shift from single ship, to small band, to a economic fleet, to a war fleet, to conquest and base ownership.
Void Destroyer 2 has a unique setting - an asteroid field. A tiny portion of the Oort cloud - the rocky outer edge of our solar system. The scale is manageable, without being empty.
Void Destroyer 2 isn't about complexity, the goal is to create a unique sandbox, not millions of mathematically generated planets.
Too often this is the case - the bigger the pool - the more shallow it is. The goal for Void Destroyer 2 - is to create a small pool, populated with unique bases, ships, factions, missions and opportunities. With a simple interface to manage your fleet and assets - and with a robust combat and RTS engine. My space dreams come true - and I hope yours as well.
The other elements that make Void Destroyer 2 unique are the same elements that made Void Destroyer unique. A "solo dev" style approach to game design. Not having to worry about huge budgets and lively hoods of a big team - means I can take risks and make a more distinct game. Void Destroyer featured unique boss fights and challenging environmental hazards and had a - lesser hand holding approach to victory. These elements will also be found in Void Destroyer 2.
What will the funding be used for?
Although $10,000 isn't a small amount of money, it tends to be seen as tiny in game development terms. The funding raised will be used to pay for art, sound, music assets and outside contractors. Because funding won't be used as a salary for myself, funding raised can go further than other Kickstarter projects. Business expenses are tax deductible, your support won't get 30% of it removed, but instead will go towards the project.
The funds from Kickstarter will be added to my self funding of the project (the proceeds from Void Destroyer's sales).
While making that very simple chart above... it felt unsettling writing out $30k of self funding, and this number will likely be higher at the end. Your support isn't counted just in monetary terms - but also a huge boost to my "optimism reserves." That I'm not doing this alone and that backers have faith in the project, want to see it succeed and are counting on me.
Risking $30k+ is a lot less scary when you aren't doing it alone.
To give you an example of what $10k can add to this project - it could yield 20 to 30 in game objects. Ships, bases, stations, weapon upgrades and other types of objects. For a sandbox game - more ships and bases - translates into more life, variety and scale. These are the ingredients that make sandbox games great. The interactions between the objects that populate its world. Those objects could represent something like a 30% boost, imagine a game with 1/3 less ships.
To hammer this point in even more - with your support - there could be 5 additional fighters for you to chose from as you work your way up in the world. Unique weapons that could be used as upgrades on other ships. Another pirate faction to join or hunt with its unique base and fleet. There could be mid tier mining ship for you to purchase now, instead of waiting longer between tiers to add to your fleet. A pirate base could have a destroyer for additional protection, making capturing the base a tougher fight - and giving you the option for you to add the destroyer to your fleet. The more potential variety of ships in your fleet, the more tactical options available to you.
I'm turning to crowd funding to back up my ability to self fund. Self funding is prioritized to go towards the "necessary" type assets - your support would push us beyond the necessary and into the exotic, unique, towards huge ships that might not be strictly necessary in sandbox games - but are simply awesome.
Ever wish that other space sandbox had more ships for you to buy or fight against? Ever wish that there were more unique bases to travel to? That's the goal of this Kickstarter, to supplement my ability to self fund the project with the support of backers like you.
What is the current state of the project?
Void Destroyer 2 - is being built from the code base of Void Destroyer. The great advantage is that the original game's great combat and RTS elements are already created and battle tested.
- Self funded from proceeds of Void Destroyer.
- Art style - mostly nailed down, but many aspects of it need polish and improvement.
- The conversion from a linear mission based game to a open sandbox game has taken place and has a solid foundation.
- Basic "life" of the sandbox is in. Civilian ships travel the world, pirates hunt transport ships and are hunted by bounty hunters. Military ships patrol space lanes.
- "Overworld" map - sandbox travel basics.
- Basic missions are available to the player. With basic difficulty levels.
- The player can purchase ships for use or store them in hangars for later.
- The player can purchase ships to add to the fleet or have them function as separate entities. For example as wing men to assist in combat missions or escort non combat ships.
- The player can engage in trading and mining, or purchase ships to start an economic empire.
- Walk able hangar (interface for purchasing ships, trading and mission acquisition).
- Simulator (formerly "Battle editor") - a tool to test out ships before purchase, offer training (tutorials) and create custom battles (map editor).
- Modding - Void Destroyer's "mod everything" approach carries over to Void Destroyer 2. Mods can be as simple as editing a Data file (simple text file) or doing a total conversion.
Follow and Wishlist the project on Steam: Steam Coming Soon Page
Project Time Line:
January 2015 -
- Void Destroyer Launch
- Work starts on Void Destroyer 2 after initial launch issues handled.
April 2015 -
- Mini Sandbox launched (free DLC)
- Proof of concept and prototype of Void Destroyer 2.
- Initial feedback on game play and goals.
May 2015 -
- Void Destroyer 2 "official start"
- Art style tests
- Initial Models
- Expansion from the game elements/systems seen in the Mini Sandbox DLC.
--- WE ARE HERE ---
- Kickstarter Funding
- Kickstarter Early Access
January - February - March 2016
- Planned - Steam Early Access
Planned Milestones before Steam early access (during Kickstarter Early Access):
- Initial ship upgrade and customization system.
- More "life" - expanded sandbox (via new assets).
- Improvements to fleet management in Overworld mode.
- Basic piracy for both player and non-player - ransom demands, expanded reputation system (making friends and enemies beyond the basic level).
- Additional generated missions.
- Basic events - pirate attacks on bases, pirate ambushes.
- Kickstarter player feedback.
- Planned - Release
Planned Milestones before Steam Release (during Steam Early Access):
- Expanded ship upgrade and customization system.
- More additional "life" - expanded sandbox (via new assets).
- Scripted story missions - both side and main story.
- Ability to join factions (pirate, bounty hunter, trading).
- Ability to own property - stations and bases.
- Ability to conquer/take over bases.
- Base building (defenses) and base economy.
- More generated missions.
- More events - bounty hunters (in case player has been bad).
- Kickstarter and Steam Early Access player feedback.
--- POST RELEASE - PIE IN THE SKY GOALS ---
- Add First Person Shooter elements (FPS) - as an expansion.
- FPS missions - theft, bounty and assassination.
- FPS base conquest.
Lessons learned from the first time around:
Void Destroyer 2 is an opportunity to not only to pursue my ambitions of creating bigger and better games - but also to implement lessons learned from past mistakes.
Below are some of the criticism (from players and myself) that I thought a lot about.
Issue: Game is overwhelming control wise for some players
Void Destroyer is a mix of two genres - space sim and RTS. This meant that often there was at least two ways of doing the same task. Combining ship piloting with RTS fleets has been a dream of mine and other players, but it came at a cost.
- Solution - limit player to a single ship at start, player expands at own pace - creating a much more gradual learning curve.
- The great thing is that this is the normal aspect of sandbox games.
Issue: Game difficulty spiked at start - too difficult for some players
My goal for Void Destroyer's missions was to give epic scale battles and life or death situations. When play testing - I'd create challenges - knowing exactly what tools the player had to beat them, some players weren't familiar with the game and/or the space sim/rts genres to know that these tools existed.
- Solution - create easier starting area for players needing more time, with more challenging areas nearby for those ready.
- Solution - player chooses to leave when ready.
- The great thing is that the non-linear nature of sandbox games already works towards this.
- Solution: Void Destroyer 2's object scale has been re-vamped.
- Solution: Fighters now much smaller than corvettes, corvettes much smaller than frigates and so on.
- Solution: Additional ship class - gun ship (between fighters and corvette classes).
- Solution: Bases - HUGE.
- Solution: Make a sandbox game! :)
A note about reward tiers:
A lot of Kickstarters tend to have alpha/beta/early access tiers be higher priced than other tiers (including my first Kickstarter). Due to my experience with the first Kickstarter - I think that this isn't the right fit for the second project. So even the basic $10 tier offers early access.
- Kickstarter backers take the biggest risk and tend to be the most invested in the success of the project. A lower priced reward tier means that they aren't penalized for their support.
- The more players engaged in the project and offering feedback - the better. Limiting access to people invested in the project enough to back it early - is counter productive.
- Games tend to release with discounts, or get discounted later on - having a low base tier is good insurance against this. On Steam release - the estimated price for Void Destroyer 2 will most likely be $14.99 - just like the original game. Its a great strategy to launch with a discount to grab as many players as possible. A low base tier doesn't penalize Kickstarter backers.
- Uncertain time line and delays. Giving earlier access to Kickstarter backers helps combat the aggravation.
Note about ship/base designer tiers - the majority of funds from these tiers will go to the 3D modeler with a bit of padding added for the longer time period to create custom models based on backer specs/ideas.
A note about low funding goal:
As both a project creator and a backer - I know that some of you might be turned off by the low funding goal of this project. You might think - that there's no way to create a game of the proposed scope with 10k. I'm in an incredibly lucky situation where I have a steady stream of income from the first project and can even partially self fund the second.
I've done a lot of thinking about the funding goal and here are my thoughts:
Kickstarter and the gaming world is constantly changing. In 2013 when I launched the first project - it was almost easy for a promising project to get 20k of funding. The gaming news media would regularly run stories on Kickstarter projects - big and small - a huge boost. Online communities were more tolerant of Kickstarter announcements. Even back then Kickstarter was cooling from the initial surges - this was still before some horrible outcomes and "Kickstarter" fatigue.
Since then - I've seen other projects fail to reach funding goals for second projects - these tended to have higher funding goals than the first project. And now I see promising projects struggle to make 10k (and in some cases, far less) in funding.
Often you see project creators say that even if they don't reach their funding goals - they'll still continue working on their dreams. This means that getting a lower amount would certainly help. One of the major strengths of indie projects is that they are very scalable.
For the above reasons is why I decided to go with a more modest funding goal - knowing that the rest I'll have to self fund.
A note about stretch goals:
Funds raised from this Kickstarter will go towards art, music and sound assets - this includes funds raised beyond the $10k funding goal. In my first Kickstarter - I made the mistake of putting in some very ambitious stretch goals - privateer mode and base boarding. Luckily the Kickstarter didn't reach those goals.
Privateer mode is basically - Void Destroyer 2 - a game with its own scope - and base boarding is the potential FPS expansion to Void Destroyer 2 - which could be considered a separate game as well. The point is that - stretch goals can be incredibly dangerous to optimists like me. If those goals were reached, I would be facing creating twice the game in the stated amount of time. Worse - I would have had to merge two contradictory games into one (linear campaign driven game with an open world game). Being able to have a released and stable product (Void Destroyer) and then work on the 2nd game (Void Destroyer 2) is also a much less stressful situation. So for this Kickstarter - I'll try to avoid overly ambitious stretch goals.
Meet The Team:
Although often referred to as a "one man" game - Void Destroyer and Void Destroyer 2 are a product of many individuals and teams. Creating games has never been easier due to the availability of tools, information and collaboration.
Paul Zakrzewski - Owner
That's the most professional photo of myself that I have - sitting in front of the PC - making a "menacing face" to turn into an art asset.
There's nothing particularly special about me. I don't have a resume of game industry credentials - but what I can attribute to being able to finish Void Destroyer and Void Destroyer 2 is that I am a combination of extreme optimism, over confidence and stubbornness. With these attributes (that I have to thank my parents for) I'm able to consistently brush away negative thoughts and events, allowing me to focus on the goals ahead.
Creating a large project is never a straight line - it is a constant cycle of success and failure, that I'm able to repeat.
Although game development is a fluid thing - the names below should be significant contributors to Void Destroyer 2.
Rob Fenn - Music and Sound Design
Robert Fenn is a long time contributor to the project (pre-dating the first Kickstarter), supplying music and sound design. His involvement stretches from the very early stages of a new weapon (creating the sound asset for it) to the pre-release aspects of creating the next awesome music track for a trailer (and inclusion in the game).
I have to admit that ever since I've added his music to the game's trailers - they've never looked better.
Lee Ray - Concepts, 3D Modeling and 2D art
Lee has over 20 years experience in Computer Graphics for the entertainment industry. He has a BA Hons Degree in traditional Product Design and started his Game Art career at Rare working on Blast Corps, Donkey Kong Country 3, and Perfect Dark. He was a founder member of Free Radical Design from 1999 till 2004 and worked on the first two Timesplitters games.
Since 2004 he has worked at Krome and IR Gurus in Australia as well as Rebellion Derby before leaving video games in 2009 to pursue a career in designing for Film and TV. Clients have included the BBC and Endemol Productions. He has also had illustrations published in military history books and produce promotional materials for several small companies in the UK. He is very happy to have been recruited to concept and build the ships for Void Destroyer 2.
Addendum: Void Destroyer's (part 1) budget
Addendum: Void Destroyer's (part 1) release trailers
Addendum: Void Destroyer's (part 1) Kickstarter
Risks and challenges
First I'll mention the positives.
Because of the success of Void Destroyer - I am able to work full time on Void Destroyer 2 and not have to resort to eating noodles.
Because of the success of Void Destroyer - Void Destroyer 2 is already approved for sale on Steam (no need to go through the Greenlight process).
The risks for this project tend to be external. I'm unable to create sound, music, and art assets. I have to rely on outside help.
I have a great team of outside contractors. The positive of having outside contractors is that unlike full time employees I don't have to worry about payroll - I pay per asset. The risk is their availability to work on my project instead of others or potentially seek other forms of employment. I've been working with these professionals - in some cases - for years, so I believe that this risk is low.
The other major risk is time delays. I'm an optimist, and this translates to under estimating how long milestones might take. I'm also extremely passionate about the project - this means that if a great idea pops in for another feature, I'll tend to add it at the cost of delays.
The third major risk is bugs and oversights - it is incredibly difficult for me to find bugs and oversights (its similar to proof reading your own writing - and never noticing a simple spelling error). Luckily having a core community of Kickstarter backers to let me know of issues is a great help, and so is taking advantage of Steam's "Early Access" with these two elements - I can have feedback as development progresses. The other risk mitigation here - is that Void Destroyer 2 is built on from the code base of Void Destroyer - which already went through a lot of issues and oversight fixes.
Void Destroyer and Void Destroyer 2 are "labors of love" - I've been doing this for a long time, the initial projects started as a hobby and now evolved as a home business - the risk is extremely low that I would lose interest or release a rushed product. This can be further supported by my delayed release of the first project.
Like above - I respect Kickstarter and crowd funding (I am also a multiple project backer like many of you). I take your support seriously as I do when someone purchases the game - and frequently over communicate (see first project updates). In addition to taking the time to respond directly. The risk of me going dark or silent is also extremely low.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)