Super Thrustforce: Orbital Meat Police (STOMP) is based on the classic 8-bit game Thrust, and also the great Amiga game Gravity Force (hence the Thrustforce in the title). Aliens have abducted all Earth's cows, and you must infiltrate the alien mothership to get them back. This mainly involves blowing everything up, but you'll need to master control of your ship, which is affected by gravity.
The game will feature 8 levels of frantic action, with a total play time of under an hour. (It's a skill-based game and I want you to replay it over and over, to hone your skills, and that ties well with the stretch goal of making it procedurally-generated, so that you can keep on playing it for ages.) There's a demo available for PC, Mac and Linux, so I'd love for you to give it a go (see below).
A quick disclaimer: the main video is a little out of date and many things have improved since. So below is a quick video of the gameplay as it currently stands with an incomplete run of Level 1 as it currently stands. It features a much improved player ship and some new features. The game also has many extra features not seen in the videos, such as underwater areas, mechanical crushers and much more.
The video also doesn't mention the prospect of procedurally-generated levels, which is one of the key aspects of this campaign (see below for details).
I've always loved games that are about mastering tricky control schemes, and that's why I'm making STOMP. However, they can be hard to get into, so one of my key concerns was providing a range of difficulty levels to allow people of all ages and abilities to play it.
The demo below contains 3 difficulty levels Easy, Normal, and Hard. These affect how much damage you take, how quickly enemies react and so forth, so greatly change the nature of the game. These aren't fully balanced yet though, so please bear with me - that's part of the final push.
I'll also allow you to toggle invincibility so you can play without fear of damage or fuel constraints (but without entering the leaderboards too). It's quite fun to rattle around with no consequences, and it means anyone can have a go. (Currently, you can press "i" in-game in the demo to toggle invincibility on and off).
Most importantly, here are links to the various demos. These are work-in-progress, so bugs are to be expected (there are known issues with the visibility of fuel and health bars on Mac and Linux for example). I'll work to get these fixed ASAP, and update accordingly.
The game is maybe 85% complete (regarding the basic goal), and requires a little more cash to get across the line. Ideally though I'd love to make the first stretch goal, and properly implement procedurally-generated levels to the game. See below for more information.
The demo shows off my first attempt at procedurally-generated levels - they're simple but I'd love you to give them a go. I can do much better. It'll take a bit more time (it probably needs re-doing from scratch), but I can make this so much better. I've already got a rudimentary daily challenge level in there, which is the kind of thing I adore. But I'd like to push this further with new ideas (I'm thinking specifically of a potentially infinite, but increasingly-difficult daily level generator for example - that would be cool). The demo has a really basic implementation of procedural-generation with a small subset of the features of the main game to prove I can do this. Given the budget the procedurally-generated version will be as close to the main game as I can make it with all of the features, branching pathways, hidden secrets and so forth.
Also, I've got literally hundreds of cow puns written and ready to be used as level names for generated levels, and nowhere to put them otherwise.
A FULLY-FEATURED AND EASY-TO-USE LEVEL EDITOR
The second stretch goal is the level editor. The approach I've used to make procedural-generation possible also means I can make a level editor for the game. However, creating a level editor sounds like a whole heap of no-fun-whatsoever to me, so I'm somewhat wary of this one. Seriously - coding this is probably not too tricky, but probably time-consuming and not really my kind of thing. There are also a few unknowns (I've no idea how I'm going to allow you to share levels, but it's solvable). So I've priced it quite highly. For this price I'll make the best level editor I can, and make it as simple to use and fully-featured as I'm able.
These stretch goals will take time to implement, so my current plan is to complete them in order- releasing the basic game when it is complete, then adding full procedural-generation, and finally the level editor (if these goals are met).
Please note, I deliberately haven't put stretch goals for additional ports of the game. If it makes commercial sense to me to port it then I will - I'd love to see it on EVERYTHING with enough buttons and horsepower to run it basically, but the idea of asking other folk for money to open up another revenue stream for me doesn't sit well (even though it does cost money to make it happen).
I've chosen not to offer physical rewards such as T-Shirts - these seem to trip up other projects occasionally. I'm a one-man outfit, and I make games, so I think I should stick to what I'm good at.
I also want to make sure that anyone who pledges to receive a copy of the game gets all of the game, so that ruled out bonus content for paying more. I suspect most people who pledge larger sums of money are doing it because they want a project to succeed, rather than for the rewards offered, so my main additional rewards are to give lots of credit to them by letting them appear in the game as a captured human.
Along with all the cows, the aliens have grabbed a few human beings for analysis. One human will be found in each level. Their details - a rank or title, name, and a short bio will be featured on an info-pad in the game. Also, when rescued their name and rank/title will be prominently displayed, in a colour of their choosing, as thanks for being super-generous. All this info can be utter nonsense if you wish (you can be Wing Commander Bobbin Sideways who invented the rainbow and has a pet lobster called Trevor as far as I'm concerned), but it is subject to approval, so I do request that it's kept nice. To that end it also all needs to be in English, so that I can approve it.
You can also leave any, or all of the info blank if you wish, and I'll make something up for you (you might end up being Wing Commander Bobbin Sideways though...).
If I get 8 or fewer pledges for this reward, each will be placed in a level of their own. Otherwise the game will cycle through each in turn, ensuring everyone gets the same exposure.
I'll have to pay 20% tax, Kickstarter will take 5% and credit card fees will take another 3-5%, so if I just scrape the target I'll actually get around £2800. Much of this is simply to pay rent and bills and buy food so I can finish the game. A little is needed to set up a company. The game also needs some music which I'll probably need to pay for too. Any excess over the initial goal will go toward extra assets such as more/better music, and maybe some 2D art work (which isn't one of my strengths, particularly).
Risks and challenges
Videogames are tricky beasts to finish, and there are a few unknowns for me (getting on to Steam would be my goal for example, but I've no experience of integrating Steamworks) so estimated delivery dates are hard to get right. However, I've got 20+ years of game development experience, and have helped drag games kicking and screaming over the line many times before. It's a little trickier being a one-person developer, but with your help I'm sure I can get this thing sorted.
Also, there's the issue of compatibility. I'm trusting Unity to do much of the work of getting the game running on the vast number of configurations of hardware and software I'm targetting. I think it does a pretty good job. But please try the demo on your machine before pledging (and if it doesn't work, I'd love to hear from you so I can try to fix it).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)