About this project
InnerSpace Gift Bundle: Give a stunning postcard with a letter from the PolyKnight team to a loved one this holiday season, with an extra copy of the game when it ships.
Note: you can add an extra gifted copy of the game to any pledge for $15. Simply leave a note with your pledge to let us know!
What is InnerSpace?
InnerSpace is an exploration flying game being developed for PC, Mac, and Linux. Set in a world where physics are inverted, explore a setting of interconnected, inverted spheres. Each is an interior world of once-inhabited islands surrounded by water, where gravity pulls outwards, away from the center.
Piloting an agile craft, take the role of an unnamed cartographer to explore the various bubble-worlds, collect relics, and encounter each bubble’s unique patron deity- all in order to discover more about the universe, its history, and its future.
Key inspirations for InnerSpace include:
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Crimson Skies
InnerSpace will be available for PC, Mac, and Linux, and will be distributed both on Steam and The Humble Store (DRM-free).
Nathan Grayson, Kotaku - “Is this one worthy of your precious backer bucks? Or are you gonna save them for some other languidly flowing flight game set on an inside-out planet with battles inspired by Shadow of the Colossus?”
Jeffrey Matulef, Eurogamer - “InnerSpace could be the prettiest aerial exploration game on the horizon.”
Cyril Kowaliski, The Tech Report - “…I could see myself playing this thing in a slack-jawed daze for hours on end. Perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon.”
Marcus Beard, The Bit Pulse - “It’s a game built from exploration, not about exploration – and it looks beautiful.”
Marcus Estrada, Cliqist - “InnerSpace looks to have some gorgeously ephemeral graphics and a soundtrack to match.”
Benjamin Maltbie, Technology Tell - “…I really, really want this game. It could be something beautiful, if people support it and give it a chance.”
In InnerSpace, exploration takes center stage. We’ve found that exploration in open-world games often harbor a tension between stretches of scripted story missions and open exploration. It’s often more interesting to pursue your own interests, sometimes in spite of the narrative. With InnerSpace, we wanted to erase the dichotomy between the two, interweaving the intrigue of a story with the thrill of finding and pursuing new expanses.
To this end, InnerSpace is designed to emphasize novel modes of exploration. The inverted spheres in which the game takes place mean that there’s space to explore in all directions, encouraging you to think about space, altitude, and direction in new ways. Moreover, progress isn’t gated. Levels aren’t distinct, separated areas, but are instead components of the larger environment. What may serve as an obstacle when traveling at high speed may resolve when approached slowly into a multi-faceted tower, studded with entrances and interior spaces. In all, there’s a gradual progression in experience and the areas you explore as you travel, organically.
Our end goal was to create a game that encouraged exploration by the player’s volition, as in games like Proteus, Journey, and Minecraft, while delivering a mechanically satisfying experience. This is done by providing an interesting vehicle for action, the plane, and by bringing you to epic encounters with powerful creatures tied closely to the worlds they inhabit. In this way, InnerSpace feels like a mix between Proteus and Shadow of the Colossus.
As a cartographer, the relics represent the protagonist’s mission to chart the uncharted bubbles. Finding a relic fills the map of the surrounding area with detail. When analyzed by the archaeologist, each relic also prompts a partial description of the history of the bubble. By finding and collecting relics, the history of the area, what happened to the civilizations, and what role the cartographer plays in its future serves to thicken the plot.
Each relic also has a direct impact on how you play. Your travel companion, the archaeologist, offers upgrades in exchange for relics. These upgrades will help dramatically as the story progresses and you encounter mounting challenges, such as more difficult environments, angry fauna, and the mythical beings that inhabit each world. In this way, collecting relics provides an incentive to explore, in case you would rather play through the game in a linear fashion.
Flying in InnerSpace is designed to be fun and never frustrating. When playing, you should be able to observe and learn about the world without ever worrying about accidentally crashing because of frustrating controls. Since the world disregards our own world’s physics, the plane flies free from the rules of gravity, which allows you to focus on the experience of exploring, instead of worrying about staying upright.
To keep the plane agile for easier maneuvering, the plane can stall, which allows you to slow down, turn in any direction, and start flying again. Stalling is borrowed from racing mechanics, and almost feels like “air drifting.” Just like drifting in racing games, stalling lets you face a direction before actually moving towards it, all while retaining momentum. Mastering this mechanic is the key to executing faster and sharper turns, allowing you to traverse tighter and more difficult passages.
Diving allows you to experience the world of InnerSpace from an entirely different perspective. Throughout the game, we emphasize the distinction between air and water, yet as the cartographer, you’re able to seamlessly transition between the two different areas, effectively connecting the two.
Diving can be used as a maneuver to strategically get the upper hand on opponents. More importantly, delving beneath the waves opens a whole new area to explore and can be the key to progression.
A main focus of InnerSpace is the expression of narrative through the interaction between the player and the environment. To this end, exploration isn’t merely a passive activity. Stone formations, weakened structures, and the derelict remains of ancient cities are but some of the elements that obstruct passages and cloak sacred places. To overcome these obstacles, you must take action that has a direct, physical impact on the environment.
Though many of the structures in Innerspace have stood for aeons, they nonetheless have felt the weight of time. Parts of the environment, such as degraded walls or old pillars, can be destroyed in order to open new areas or, perhaps, to confound enemies in pursuit. Like other elements of the game, it’s up to you to seek out such structures and to experiment with the effects of interacting with them.
Though a vessel for exploration, the plane comes equipped with tools that allow you to interact with the environment at a distance.
The plane can channel its energy source into small, super-heated projectiles. The faster the plane, the more energy it expends- and the faster these bolts are generated. While these may do little to scar the more resilient obelisks of InnerSpace, they can be used to interact with the environment from a distance. Cast before the plane itself, they disintegrate loose stones and ablate the impact of a crumbling wall. In other contexts, they can trigger energy-sensitive mechanisms, allowing the cartographer to to activate ancient machinery.
Directing energy to emitters at the base of each wing, the cartographer’s plane can extend the effective reach of its wingspan by extending wing blades. While the guns allow you to manipulate the environment from afar, these tools enable closer, lateral interactions that are tied more immediately to the plane’s movement. In some cases, you’ll encounter gates held shut by a series of cables, or sealed by overgrown vegetation. Elsewhere you may need to fly alongside an ancient generator, using the energy of the blades to kickstart the machine by sustaining a charge. In general, these blade wings allow you to solve puzzles, destroy structures, and trigger events.
Progressing through the world and and experiencing the game’s narrative are one in the same. Monuments, ruins, and time-weathered terrain are but a small part of a landscape that testifies to epochs past and the forces of change. As you master these unique environments and encounter the deities of the spheres, they’ll be exposed to a fragmented history which, if heeded, offers a layer of meaning involving the consequences of player choice in games.
The interwoven spheres of InnerSpace have witnessed many cycles of life and death. In these worlds, life accretes layer by layer like coral. One civilization, long passed, unveiled the secrets of an arcane force and used it to advance their society, growing such that only world-spanning structures could sustain them. Their towers, bleached bones in the tropical sun, were found by the next civilization to arise. This built upon the first, long passed, but suffered a similar fate. By the time the game begins, ruin has obscured and transformed the logic beneath.
Meanwhile, the ecosystems of the spheres continue to adapt and thrive. Flocks dance in sea and sky, making their home in the derelict hulks of past ages. Predators scan the waves, perhaps mistaking you for a glimmering feast. Trees and meadows, once manicured in hanging gardens, grow fecund amidst rusting cables and causeways. Carrying the remnants of primordial, cosmic energy, the gods of each world ensure that life continues to thrive.
Beneath all of this, cloistered hallways and shafts lead to the secret legacy of the ancients. In some, powerful engines lay dormant. Others guard sacred shrines or historical archives interred for posterity- or the skilled adventurer.
As we built our vision for the look, feel, and narrative approach of InnerSpace, the design requirements for the plane became increasingly clear. Fundamentally, the plane had to be a player vessel, not a player character. It supports all of the planned functions and tools available to you, but it’s intended as a conduit into the world rather than a narrative construct.
The plane is designed to contend elegantly with both aerial and submarine environments, and can be switched from flight to diving mode and back when the need arises. Overall, mechanics and feeling weigh equally on the design. The fuselage is aerodynamic and water-tight, but it’s also sleek and even avian. The wings, built of alloy feathers, transform easily into diving mode by folding back. Meanwhile, they help establish the character of the plane as a hybrid of mechanical interest and organic warmth. As a result, the plane is both an avatar capable of sophisticated navigation and a blank canvas for your imagination.
The Bosses/The Demigods
You will organically encounter monolithic creatures during your travels. These creatures were once revered as gods, and because of the locals’ worship, ascended to greater power. At first glance, they may be all that matters in the immediate environment, however, by exploring and observing, the player may find how these creatures behave and why.
Imagine taking notice of a giant, whale-like behemoth swimming in the ocean below. The player may ignore it, attack it, or simply observe it. Eventually, the interaction with it may intensify, but not always through hostility. Encounters with the deities aren’t just boss battles. Instead, they’re the stage for incredible cinematic experiences, in which you come into direct contact with the very pillars of life in the realms of InnerSpace.
Your lone link to home in this strange world, the Archeologist in an NPC that accompanies you in his own vessel on your expedition. Though his ultimate motivations remain mysterious, he came with you into the spheres on a joint mission to catalogue and understand the flora, fauna, and civilizations of this new world.
An eccentric of many interests, the Archaeologist has a keen interest in reviving and analyzing the mechanisms and technologies of dead civilizations. Resulting in sometimes catastrophic experiments, his proclivity for tinkering has made him an academic pariah but a useful companion when it comes to pushing machines further than their design intended. Likewise, his expertise will likely prove a valuable aid when encountering the travails ahead.
PolyKnight Games is an independent videogame development studio based in Dallas, TX. We’re a collection of friends, mostly brought together on the campus of the University of Texas at Dallas. After developing two games in UTD’s Game Production Lab, Castor & Pollux and Shroud, as well as cutting our teeth during multiple game jams, we believe we’re ready to take the next step and develop professionally, as an independent studio.
Nick Adams: @FeuganRa
Nick, co-founder of PolyKnight Games, is a 3D artist, rigger, inventor of particle effects, and organic animator who hails from Dallas, Texas by way of Spokane, Washington. Video games are a major part of Nick's life, as they have provided wonderful memories in good times and helped him cope through the rough times. Some of Nick’s favorite games are Journey, Shadow of the Colossus, Demon’s Souls, the Elder Scrolls games, the Mass Effect trilogy, and Harvest Moon: Back to Nature. It was around high school that Nick first decided with his long-time friend, Eric Grossman, to get into the business of making games. Of course, that felt like just a dream back then...
Eric Brodie: @ericbrodie
Eric, co-founder of PolyKnight Games, is the studio’s producer and community manager. Eric’s currently pursuing his MA in Arts & Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas, focusing on the business of the arts and new media. As a producer, Eric believes his main role is to help the rest of the team make the best game they can. His true passion is helping artists do what they do better, and he takes great pride in helping them achieve their success. When he’s not staring at spreadheets, Eric can usually be found on his bike, reading, or playing Dragon Age: Origins for the thousandth time.
Eric Grossman: @EM_Grossman
Eric is an illustrator, filmmaker, and concept artist based in California’s Bay Area. After graduating with his BA in Film Studies from Columbia University, Eric found himself drawn back into games, intrigued by their expanding potential as an expressive medium. Raised on a heady mix of science fiction film, grand strategy games, JRPGs, and Half-Life, Eric has a love for well-sculpted virtual worlds. Invited by his long-time friend, Nick, to contribute his art to Polyknight Games, Eric is excited to realize his dream of crafting worlds and experiences through unified aesthetics and thoughtful visual design. When he isn’t hunched over a sketchbook, Eric can likely be found admiring the art of Moebius, watching the works of Katsushiro Otomo, or switching between playthroughs of The Witcher, Deus Ex, and Dishonored.
Jeff Harper: @JeffMakesLevels
Jeff is a level and game designer living in Dallas, Texas. When Jeff isn't making videogames, he's playing them. His favorite games are 140 and any of the games in the Halo franchise. Jeff is in his last semester at The University of Texas at Dallas, where he will graduate with a BA in Arts & Technology.
Chris Miller: @xGucciMac
Chris is a sound designer, music composer, recording engineer, foley artist, mixing and mastering engineer, and self-proclaimed voice actor. Currently living in Plano, Texas, he graduated with a BA in Arts & Technology in May 2014, while dual focusing in sound design and 3D lighting/compositing. Chris has always had a passion for audio, and he realized during his career at UT Dallas that making sounds and music for games was the perfect creative medium for him. Sometimes, when he isn’t working on projects, Chris likes to record himself destroying everyday household items in his closet recording studio.
Tyler Tomaseski: @GodJammit
Tyler, co-founder of PolyKnight Games, is a programmer and the director of PolyKnight Games. Tyler began teaching himself how to program in C++ (his first programming language) about 8 years ago, and is now graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Software Engineering. When he isn’t selling his soul to the programming gods, he's usually playing Dark Souls, Dragon’s Dogma, Shadow of the Colossus, or reading the works of Harlan Ellison.
Steve Zapata: @ZappForThat
Steve, co-founder of PolyKnight Games, is a 3D and environment artist, texture artist, and created the shaders used in InnerSpace. Steve first taught himself Photoshop 7 years ago and created digital paintings until college, where he began 3D modeling. He has been actively designing and creating games for 5 years now. When Steve isn’t working, he’s spending his time playing Metroid Prime, VVVVVV, God of War, and learning to make new drinks as an aspiring mixologist.
- PolyKnight Tumblr
- InnerSpace Tumblr
- Steam Greenlight
- E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re currently developing InnerSpace with the tools we have available to us. Most of us are current students and, as such, don’t have the deepest of pockets. Since each of us work part-time jobs, in conjunction with going to school, we quickly found that in order to create the game we’d like InnerSpace to be, we needed to more funds. The scope of the game we would like to make is far greater than what we can do on our own, with our collective finances.
Why is this Campaign Longer than 30 Days?
We're participating in "ATEC Crowdfunding Month," supported by The University of Texas at Dallas. As one of the few projects to be approached by the university to take part, we wanted to ensure that our campaign ended simultaneously with the others. This caused our campaign to extend beyond the standard 30 days.
Risks and challenges
We recognize the challenges of an independent startup. Gaming is like any industry, as the failure rate of new companies within their first few years can be staggering. However, we have full confidence in our ability to succeed. In order to make PolyKnight a success, a mix of personal sacrifices and help from both friends and people like you is required. By receiving funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, the likelihood of our success will increase dramatically. Since a number of our contributors are recent and soon-to-be grads, the days that they can help us out of the good of their hearts may be numbered, as they look for full-time work with the shadow of student loans looming over them. Without this funding, PolyKnight Games and InnerSpace may lose the staff necessary to create the best version of what the game can be. The core team at PolyKnight will stay together and InnerSpace will be finished, but the scope of game that we believe the project deserves may not come to fruition.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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