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About this project

This project has been closed out, and the new, improved Kickstarter has been launched. 

Come join us!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digitilus/al-skyjacker  

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INTRO

Gamers have a joke: the next step of modern gaming should be to add a "Watch the game" button.  Do you miss hardcore gameplay with crazy, dynamic, immersive freedom of choice inside the game? If so, you are one of us.

WHAT IS SKYJACKER?

Our first priority has always been to transform a space combat game into the hot action that fills the player with adrenaline - the most important feature, lost in most games today. Playing other space sim. games we were always left wondering "why?":

  • why can't I fly inside of the space station tunnels?
  • why can't I use different methods of flight? 
  • why can't I do controlled asteroid collisions?
  • why can't I destroy separate parts of an enemy ship to disable it?
  • why can't I use other ships’ pieces to create my own craft?
  • why can't I play the bad guy?

And finally, why can't I reach and land the planet in front of me?

Having no chance to fix all these flaws in other games we decided to create our own game - SKYJACKER. This is next gen space gaming, which solves defects of previous games, improves quality and breaks all traditions of the genre of space combat.

SKYJACKER is:

  • LOTR by its gaming atmosphere of space saga
  • GTA by its criminal background and freedom of choice inside the game
  • NFS by its energy and gameplay dynamics, and ability to customize the vehicle

And all of them together, transferred to space.

*** The game plot is based on original IP from the “Abyss Lights” book series.

PLAY OUR DEMO BEFORE TO GET DECISION!

HERE is a list of links to download the demo.

Enjoy!

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THE GAME

SKYJACKER is a 1st person free-roaming space combat game with incredibly high dynamics and freedom of the gameplay, which you‘ve never seen in any other space combat game before! (Don't believe us? Check the video intro above - this is the real gameplay captured video) 

The player controls a space pirate, roaming space in his starship. Game objectives are:

  • Be the real space pirate, flying, shooting, robbing and crashing alien ships all around the Galaxy.
  • Collect the loot to improve your own spacecraft
  • Climb the criminal ladder, getting higher ranks

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GAME FEATURES (in brief):

  • Advanced Physics of Space Combat - The game’s core differentiator is the ability to assemble or to break any in-game objects into their component parts. Attacking enemy ships the player can decide WHAT should be destroyable and precisely HOW it should be destroyable. Furthermore, the player can employ a fragmentation effect of the composite environment demolition to wage additional damage on enemy ships in the battle as well.
  • Vehicle Advanced Customization -The player can enter the hangar before the mission to upgrade/customize his spacecraft. He can switch between several types of armor, weaponry, power equipment and additional devices to adjust his spacecraft for the upcoming mission conditions. The higher a player’s rank, the richer the available details and devices there are in the hangar within his secret lair.
  • Innovative System of Missions Getting - The player should use Pirate Stock Exchange to find "deals" (game missions). Usually he should pay the dealer to get a new deal, but higher ranks let him get exclusive proposals, where the client will pay him mercenary-style – based on  mission results.
  • System of Ranks - lets player grow in criminal community, getting more and more opportunities while progressing.
  • Multiplayer Mode - some deals could be fulfilled by a single pirate, but others require teamwork to realize their objectives. In this case the player can hire other pirates, gathering his own gang or to be hired by other gangs in the Pirate Stock Exchange. Furthermore, one gang can meet another gang, possibly hired to eliminate them.
  • Several Physical Models of the Flight - let player fly as comfortably as suits him;
  • Original Concept - space SciFi in a deep past; the player is the ONLY HUMAN in the aliens' Universe; "Kill'em All" instead of traditional "Save the World" conception; bad guys are heroes.
  • Visual appeal - smooth, flowing shapes of spacecrafts designs, no hackneyed cubic forms; combination of mechanical/industrial parts with organic elements in design; virtual interface (instead of traditional cockpit view).
  • Original Soundtrack - completely reflects an idea of space saga. We tried to make "Lord of the Rings" in space. Most of the in-game music tracks have been realized in epic orchestral style to support space battle atmosphere. Game menu / transition tracks have electronic sound to support the feeling of a virtual interface and online networking.

    Orchestral tracks made by Krzysztof Wierzynkiewic (he also made music for "the Witcher 2" and "Bulletstorm"). Electronic tracks made by Eugene Zhukov (CEO of Digitilus).

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SPACE COMBAT

Space combat is a large focus of the game. This is a place where the player uses all his skills and talents in tandem with battle features of his spacecraft to achieve mission goals. The intro video of this project's head demonstrates real gameplay of space combat in the current version of the game.

Such factors as Flight Model, vehicle physical parameters (mass, type of armor, engines power, etc.) and weaponry settings (number of fire points, types and quality of ammo, weaponry features) have a direct influence on the combat result. The player is motivated to progress in all aspects of the game to win his space battles.

The ability to break any in-game objects into their component parts is the key factor of space battle in SKYJACKER.

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LEVEL OF COMPLETENESS

Being in development, the game passed several iterations, when we improved the graphic design and code base, rejecting poor or inefficient algorithms. The current version of the game has a very good level of completeness.

WHAT'S DONE:

  • 90% of the total art content is complete (including over 300 visual assets for hangar mode; over 80 designs of enemy ships; 12 assets of environment, including several types of asteroids, sky, planets, etc.).
  • We have finished development of principal know-how and features related to the controllable demolition of compound in-game objects, including a system of construction of the player ship in hangar mode.
  • Game design documents includes now all basic aspects of the gameplay, all single player missions description, schemes of game locations,  multiplayer mode balance tables and basic scenarios, etc.
  • Playable demo of the game, which demonstrates all basic technologies, unique features and know-how.
  • Soundtrack (16 music tracks are ready now).

Space Battle Mode screens

Game Menu screens

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE:

  • Remaining art content completion, including several specific assets of environment (such as solar plasma clouds,  asteroid with armored tunnels for inner battles, etc.); more industrial environment parts to enrich locations; remained textures of some of current space ships; etc..
  • Game missions (single player mode) assembled according to their description in the game design document; multiplayer mode balance and testing. These both are the biggest task, for which we need funding!
  • Voice recording and localization (especially to English).
  • Testing and debugging of the final game.

We are planning to finish the game in a period of 10 months. Then we will need 2-3 months additionally to test everything and to fix all possible bugs. And "Boom!" - we will launch the game.

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WHY KICKSTARTER?

The game we have made has been labeled too "odd" or "niche" for most  publishers. Let me show you some answers of world biggest publishers we discussed financing and publishing:

"Our main interest is in innovative gamplay feature and/or technology rather than in game genre. This said, there are indeed some genres and themes that WE do not particularly like (sci-fi, adventure, SPACE SIM)" (UbiSoft)

"Thanks for showing me Skyjacker – it looks like you are fairly far through development – congratulations for getting this far. Unfortunately this would not be of interest to EA, but good luck on moving it forward." (Electronic Arts)

"I'm rather busy at the moment so I can't provide detailed feedback for a couple of weeks. From a very brief glance, I'd say that this probably isn't right for US." (Square Enix)

Take note – not a word about you guys, about gamers! Nobody said: "we doubt it would be good for GAMERS" All they said is: "it's not right for US [publishers]"

In the end, we have come to the same conclusion as many other die-hard game developers  - it's better to deal directly with those who love your game and whose main profit interest would be to get fun from the game itself. I mean you guys, you - gamers. Thus we decided not to  wait for some publisher's blessing to go forward, but we need your help to make it real!

(Game Convention in Leipzig; 2005; Days when SKYJACKER was just an idea in Eugene's mind)

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REWARDS:

"I'm a Backer of Skyjacker!"

This is the motto of our Kickstarter campaign and we're so glad to offer so many prizes to our backers in addition to the game itself. Here are just a part of exclusive physical gifts we offer in our Kickstarter campaign:

Please check the REWARDS BREAKDOWN to orient in each tier's details to see everything we offer to appreciate your contribution! 

* * * If there is a difference between tier description on the right of this page and in the spreadsheet, you should trust to spreadsheet, which we update regularly * * *

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WHO WE ARE, TO PROMISE SUCH GOOD THINGS?

Our professional background was and is the core team of Abyss Lights Studio. It was the first company of Eugene Zhukov (CEO and Producer of Digitilus), where SKYJACKER went from by its program technology, art design and gameplay features.

During 9 years that company served over 100 clients and passed through 400+ projects. You can meet our work in such projects, like NFS, League of Legends, Asterix & Obelix, Batman & Robin, World of Tanks, Penumbra, Aliens in the Attic, Ancient Wars: Sparta, Fire Department 3, etc. Maybe your kids like TV show "Lazy Town" or you played incredible game "Asteroid Storm" in 3D Stereo Cinema theaters there in London (England). All these projects are results of work of the same team, which is working today on SKYJACKER under the umbrella of the new company Digitilus.

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ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

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GAME FEATURES (in details)

The game’s core differentiator is the ability to assemble or to break any in-game objects into their component parts.

The video and images below demonstrate some of the enemy ship’s inner construction. Player can shoot out any of these details in the battle:

The video below (earlier version of the game) perfectly demonstrates such controllable demolition of the big transport ship in battle:

Furthermore, players can use fragmentation effect of enemy ship explosion to wage additional damage on other enemy spaceships.

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Composite Environment (such as asteroids, solar panels and signal beacons) - their demolition can be used in the battle as well. By using small debris and dust to increase the damage radius, the game makes it possible to damage large static objects, such as ship-repair docks or space stations.

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Advanced Customization of the Vehicle - The player can customize his spacecraft using construction elements and devices of aliens’ ships, which have been captured in his previous missions. Such deep customization of the ship lets player create an “ideal configuration,” which would be well balanced for the upcoming mission conditions.

As a result of such customization, the player gets a completely unique visual design of his battle craft with a feature set that includes, mass, speed, physical model of the flight, set of weaponry and other important attributes. 

Combining of several armor shields, weaponry, power equipment and other devices lets him balance his ship and adjust its parameters for each mission unique conditions.

For example, if the battle will happen in asteroid field, the player can use a light armor (employing asteroids as a natural shield) and not powerful engines (just to jump quickly between asteroids), but he should use the type of wings which gives him Duplex flight model (check Flight Models chapter below) to have a possibility to move forward and backward between lumps of broken stones or to dive into holes and tunnels there inside of big asteroids. Moreover, there is a reason to add a powerful energy shield generator in combination with short range/rapid-firing weaponry, which is effective in close combat. As a result, the player will get a very light (by mass) and maneuverable spacecraft, which will let him wriggle between asteroids and realize short but massive close-range attacks.

On the other hand, open space requires a craft armored with heavy armor, long range weaponry (ray gun), auto-targeting smart missiles. It's suitable to have Direct or Strafe flight model together with powerful engines - to fly straight and fast, using inertial tricks to avoid enemy fire.

The higher the player’s rank, the richer a set of details and devices there in  the hangar within his secret lair.  

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Innovative System of Missions Getting - Unlike other games we have no static sequence of missions in SKYJACKER. Being related to piracy the player looks for "deals", which come from tip-offs and rumors from criminal dealers. The player uses the Pirate Stock Exchange to contact the dealer and has the freedom to choose a deal depending on his rank and capabilities..

Having lower rank (such as Newbie, Thief or Robber) the player has to pay for his deals (i.e. to get information about best time and place to rob trade convoy, cargo ship or weaponry storage). Then he goes there trying to complete the deal (Space Combat). 

With higher status (such as Saboteur, Assassin, Professional, etc. ) he starts to get exclusive proposals, when the client will pay him for ideal results. Depending on his rank it could be an offer to mastermind sabotage (to destroy space shipyard or to explode asteroid mining camp), to assassinate some military VIPs or ... something even more interesting ;))

In this way the Pirate Stock Exchange is a social network of pirates, where they look for deals, meet partners and share rumors.

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Flight Models (i.e. physical method of the flight based on advanced physics of the flight) - players can change flight model of their spacecraft by switching parts or devices (like wings, engine drives or turbines).

Most of Space Sim. games normally use only one model of the flight, which we call the "Direct" or "Classic" model. Using this model the player can  only fly forward, turn to the left/right/up/down (yaw/pitch), roll and use a booster to speed up his vehicle.

In SKYJACKER we have implemented FOUR (!) flight models: Direct (classic), Duplex (it lets fly forward and backward), Comby (it lets fly like an aircraft) and Strafe (inertial model, which enables the use of helicopter features during  flight, such as drifting, several inertial tricks, sidewise skidding, etc.).

The video below demonstrates comparison of "Yaw" function in different flight models:

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Player ranks - The player begins his career as a newbie, flying a rusty space junker, equipped with an old weak gun. Progressing, he climbs the criminal ladder, changing his status in the criminal community and getting more and more new ranks (Thief, Robber, Saboteur, Assassin, Professional, etc.)  

Each new rank opens new opportunities for him, that were unavailable at the previous stage. Ranks are directly related to the system of missions getting on the Pirate Stock Exchange.

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Alien Races - the player interacts with ten alien races. Each race rose from  different planetary conditions, has unique biological features, social structure and employ their own set of technologies in their spaceships’ construction design.

Globally there are two leading races: Yatagooshee (intelligent reptiles) and Aspirogans (the silicon-based creatures). They are the main rivals for Galactic domination. Other races either participate in their coalitions, or stay apart, keeping neutral position (TLD, TRSK).

But there is a race, which is ready to serve any party for good benefits - the Balagores.

They are nomads who lost their native world thousands of years ago. Well-versed in piracy and thievery, they are also the best scouts in the Galaxy.

Their spaceships are a patchwork of stolen, captured or scrap technologies, assembled into sophisticated constructions. Being made up of all that they can steal or find in space, each of their ships is unique and inimitable. 

We play for a human, who was raised by the Balagore and who is a pirate, like his tutor (learn the Storylinebelow). Most of our friends and partners are Balagores. Other races are generally enemies.

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Original Visual Design- a radical difference of SKYJACKER from other space games is the visual design of alien spaceships and technical constructions. We  DON'T USE (!) any rectangular or cubic forms to create details of spacecraft or industrial objects. We prefer to use flowing, smooth shapes, which combine natural organic forms and industrial design.  Our goal is to show the world of aliens, which is fundamentally different from our ordinary world.

Some races prefer to use heavy armor and pure mechanical elements to build their spacecrafts.

Others prefer to combine mechanical and organic armor elements.

Furthermore, some of races employ biotechnology to "farm" their spacecrafts right in space.

Finally, there is a race of aliens, who has no spacecrafts, because they are a race of bio-techs, who live in space. Their bodies are their spacecrafts.

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Original Concept - The story happens in the future (really? No!) ... in the deep past of the Earth, in its Ice Age. You play a good guy ...(ehm) ... actually a very bad guy, who was taken in age of 8 from the wild Earth aboard an alien spaceship. Raised by noble super-hero (oops, sorry) ... by cruel space pirate, he left his tutor acquiring a home and family ... (sorry one more time!) ... skyjacking a spacecraft to become a military space fighter pilot ... (damned! I'm wrong again!) ... to become one of the most ruthless pirates in the Galaxy. He earned glory by saving the World ... (No! No! No!) ... infamy by robbing trade convoys and being engaged in sabotage for hire all around the Galaxy.

In SKYJACKER you play this wild dude flying, shooting, robbing and killing aliens, crashing their ships all around the Galaxy. Your passion is pirating new devices for your starship, to promote your status in the underworld community and actually to do all you want, shaking this respectable world of alien fops.

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Original Soundtrack - the music of SKYJACKER completely reflects an idea of space saga ("Lord of the Rings" in space). Most of in-game soundtracks have been realized in epic orchestral style to support space battle atmosphere. Game menu / transition tracks have electronic sound to support feeling of virtual interface and online networking.

Orchestral tracks made by Krzysztof Wierzynkiewic (the Witcher 2, Bulletstorm). Electronic tracks made by Eugene Zhukov (CEO of Digitilus).

Here you can hear some tracks samples.

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THE STORY LINE

During our Ice Age, a young human male named Ael was taken from the wild Earth aboard an alien spaceship. Raised by a space wanderer, he left his teacher at age 16 to become one of the most ruthless pirates in the Galaxy. He earned infamy by robbing trade convoys and being engaged in sabotage for hire all around the Galaxy.

The chaos of global interstellar war turns him from small-time pirate into high-priced mercenary. When the war ends, he’s forced to escape from the prosecution of justice into the dark unpopulated Galaxy regions, where he undertakes several bold missions, earning acclaim and protection from several mystical races.

New troubles arise when the race of hostile invaders called “Shaarkarians”, approach from the dark abyss of space, devastating inhabited worlds and killing all life they meet on their way. They exploit the telepathic abilities possessed by most of the galaxy’s inhabitants, using psi-controllers to enslave them. Capitalizing on the well-known fact that humans are mentally deaf, the Galactic Society hires Ael and other such “freaks” to stop the ruthless alien onslaught. And - check this - some of them are human, like Ael!

The book series reveals more details ...

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THANK YOU!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    ALL EXTRA MISSIONS ADVANCED COLLECTION CO-OP BUNDLE includes: 2 copies of the SPECIAL EDITION of the game (DRM-free digital downloadable version) on PC or Mac, with movie intro, multiple video-cuts during the game, and other aesthetic in-game add-ons +both WALLPAPERS and common set of additional missions from ANTIPIRATE EDITION and from PLANETARY CAMPAIGNS EDITION (the number is a subject to change, but NOT LESS than 25+ missions overall) + T-SHIRT level-1 + second T-SHIRT with emblems of your most favorite race of your choice (including Balagores!), designed exclusively for the Kickstarter campaign (check examples of the art to the left - RACE EMBLEM T-Shirts) + a limited edition print of the game POSTER in full size (36" x 24") + special thanks in the form of game’s credits + Digital soundtrack and PDF version of the SKYJACKER Art Book
    (These items are exclusive to the campaign and will be shipped for free in the US. Please add funds to your pledge for international shipping according to the price calculator at http://ircalc.usps.com/)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Do you prefer to feel the gift in your own two hands? Get the DELUXE PHYSICAL BOX BUNDLE containing SPECIAL EDITION of the game DVD and the soundtrack CD + T-SHIRT level-2 (check the art to the left) + previous reward tier with the exception of the T-shirt level-1.
    (Please don't forget to add funds to your pledge for international shipping according to the price calculator at http://ircalc.usps.com/)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Heh, heh, we guessed that you are a different breed of backer! You are a collector that can recognize an intrinsic value! Get the Hardcover SKYJACKER Art Book similar to its digital version (PDF in the ALL-DIGITAL REWARD BUNDLE tier), signed by Eugene Zhukov and the rest of the team leads + T-SHIRT level-3 (check the art to the left) + previous reward tier with the exception of the both previous levels' T-shirts. (Please don't forget to add funds to your pledge for international shipping according to the price calculator at http://ircalc.usps.com/)

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    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    Are you here because you would like to leave a personal footprint? Get the AWESOME PERSONALIZED BUNDLE: We will create PERSONALIZED T-SHIRT "I'm a Backer of SKYJACKER" level-4 (check the art to the left) with YOU as a character there (head area only!), painted by the game's artist, + previous reward tier. Furthermore, you will get any 3 T-shirts of your choice from the previous reward tiers (level 1,2,3 or any of the race emblem) in addition to your exclusive personalized T-Shirt level-4! Don't worry about the shipping cost even if you are outside of US! You do so much for us and we appreciate your contribution. We are glad to offer you a FREE shipping internationally, as a token of our utmost appreciation.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    It’s not enough for you just to play the game? What do you think about a chance to be a part of the game? In the end of the story Ael-Skyjacker meets other humans, who are space pilots too! So we have an open position for such in-game characters - very limited proposal by the way!
    Get the EXCLUSIVE CUSTOM BUNDLE:
    We'll create in 3D and animate YOU as a subject for an EXCLUSIVE CUSTOM PLAYER CHARACTER. This includes a 3D-model of YOU (including your face, body proportions, etc.) dressed in the original space suit; your personal logo will be located on your spacecraft; your name will be fixed in the list of space pirates inside the game; your character will have the highest category of criminal community rating. Only YOU can play this character (we'll give you a secret code to activate it). Other players can hire your character in their team missions, so they'll get to see it too! + you will get previous reward tier for sure + FREE shipping internationally, as a token of our utmost appreciation.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    You prefer to play for high stakes? Everything or nothing? We-e-e-ll ... You are here because you possess a balance of unique qualities such as recognizing a hidden gem that with your help and wisdom blossoms into a treasure everyone else would like to possess… WE would like to have an opportunity to ask your permission and let us use your CUSTOM CHARACTER during our promo campaigns: posters, trailers, other official types of media (such as video trailers), etc.
    You will also get the previous reward tier included. Furthermore you are invited to the lunch with our team leads when game will be finished. You must be able to travel to the Los Angeles, CA, USA. Please contact us directly in order to make personal arrangements before the end of the Kickstarter campaign.

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Funding period

- (30 days)