About this project
Mankind's final frontier is dominated by ruthless corporate interests and the powerful mercenary forces that they employ. In space, this is the one reality: those who can, take. Those who have, protect. Violence is inevitable, and for ambitious pilots with flexible ethics there are always opportunities to cash in.
"Counter-Strike meets World of Warships in Space"
Starfighter Inc. puts you in the cockpit of the future in a hard science-fiction based multiplayer space combat simulator for Windows PC. It features hardcore shooter gameplay in the spirit of X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter, but with unprecedented depth and sophistication. Starfighter Inc. is one of a very select few computer games to have earned Atomic Rockets' Seal of Approval in recognition of our efforts to "get the science right".
Starfighter Inc. combines the lethality and permadeath of Counter-Strike with the technical depth and customization of World of Warships. The key differences are that players operate a variety of nuclear-powered combat spacecraft that could actually be built using known science and engineering, and every aspect of gameplay, setting and storytelling combines to create something greater than "just a shooter". We're building a world of single and multi-crew fighters, reconnaissance ships, strike craft, and support ships, armed to the teeth with a full range of advanced weapon systems such as bomb-pumped lasers, railguns, and missiles, EMP countermeasures, and other electronic and cyber warfare capabilities.
Why Are We Doing This Kickstarter Campaign?
Starfighter Inc. began preproduction more than three years ago. From the beginning we have worked with aerospace engineers and space scientists to create designs for scientifically accurate future spacecraft and weapons and to better understand the realities of combat in a deep space environment. We've devoted thousands of hours to prototyping skill-based gameplay that is fun, deep, and engaging, yet accessible and inviting to new players.
Two years ago we began actual production of the core game and have been perfecting the gameplay ever since. We showcased our single-player tutorial at last year’s PAX East in the Alienware booth, and this year we demoed our first multiplayer demo at PAX East. We are asking for $150,000 to complete the core game, which includes a single-player interactive tutorial and 3v3 multiplayer missions. We have a number of stretch goals that, if met, will allow us to expand the game in several directions to reach our ultimate vision. While it’s true that $150k does not even come close to representing a realistic game budget, it is sufficient for us to complete what we’ve already put years into developing. Your support will help facilitate our immediate goals, and hopefully beyond.
REALISTIC SPACE COMBAT
Great science fiction begins with respecting the science, and great simulator games are faithful to the reality they portray. Starfighter Inc’s setting, ships, weapons, tactics, and even the reasons for conflict are based on believable extrapolations and predictions of what is actually possible in next 150-200 years.
SKILL-BASED PVP MULTIPLAYER
It’s all about facing a worthy opponent and proving who’s best. Players develop their flight combat skills in a variety of combat scenarios that challenge the mind as much as the reflexes. Specialized roles such as weapon systems officer, electronic warfare officer, and drone operator allow players to continuously evolve their tactics and abilities. Players' reputations are based on their combat and piloting skills, their mission success rate, their cost effectiveness, and their adherence to the mercenary code. Players can rise to fame and fortune as they proceed through their mercenary career.
A typical strike / defend scenario might have the attacking side decide to have one player flying a Pegasus in the "Missile Truck" role - armed with a huge missile load, another player flying an Hyperion in the escort role - armed with multiple laser turrets and countermeasures, while the third player takes a Shrike in the ISTAR role (information, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) - configured to detect, track, and target the opposing force's assets. You then enter the battlespace and there's a rock-paper-scissors moment when you discover whether your plan is going to survive contact with the enemy.
Missions are more than just opportunities to prove your skills, make money, and gain a reputation. Mission outcomes affect the balance of power and allow players to drive the evolving narrative. Thus the player community will collectively have a real effect on the corporate power struggles and politics of the Starfighter Inc. universe.
In addition to robust in-game narrative, we will be offering other ways to enjoy the underlying fiction of the Starfighter Inc. world, initially offering digital comics and fiction directly related to events in the game. Players may even find their exploits depicted in our stories.
FULL VR SUPPORT
We have partnered with Oculus Rift, HTC VIVE, and OSVR to ensure that Starfighter Inc. is fully supported on their hardware. VR takes immersion to a whole new level. It’s quite a spectacle to turn your head and see the surroundings change from the seat of your own ship, but it’s quite another to see the world move with you. Players with joysticks will be in for a special treat, as the pilot’s use of the in-game controls corresponds to the player’s real world movements - shift the stick or press a button, and the pilot will do the same.
Every system on the ship is susceptible to damage and each has a unique effect on gameplay. Shrapnel hit to your maneuvering thrusters? Spend the rest of the battle in an unstable, erratic beast. Main sensor cluster fried by enemy lasers? Looks like you’re limited to the old Mark One Eyeball. Missile hit in the cockpit? Hope the Combat Search & Rescue team is on the ball (and that there’s enough of you left to make it worthwhile). Your ship's auto-repair systems can get you out of some tight spots, but it's neither unlimited nor infallible.
All ships are designed to allow for multiple configurations, payload variations, and technology upgrades affecting nearly every spacecraft and weapons system. During the course of their mercenary career, players will be able to modify and upgrade their ships to improve performance and to explore different tactical configurations. A fully customizable Pilot Vehicle Interface (PVI) allows players to set their personal preferences. Custom paint jobs, insignia, and signals allow pilots to express their individuality and aesthetic preferences.
Private hangars are spaces where players can personalize their ships, make upgrades, and purchase in-game items using credits earned from successful mission. If you fly more, you can buy more.
One player specialization is Drone Operator. There is a huge variety of drones ranging from tiny surveillance drones to enormous cargo vessels, and everything in between. Drones are used in a wide range of combat roles as well, but contrary to the fears of previous generations, they have not replaced humans in the cockpit. Drones may be cheaper, but they will cost you when your drones are hacked to fire on you instead of the enemy!
Starfighter Inc. is a project that began several years ago when a few game industry veterans began a collaboration, ultimately formalizing their effort under the title of Impeller Studios. This group has since grown to become an international virtual game company featuring twenty team members spanning seven time zones, and our continued vision and dedication are attracting new creative talent nearly every week. This is a passion project for everyone involved, and the game is evolving daily through the efforts of our highly motivated team of designers, artists, technologists, engineers, writers, and producers.
JACK MAMAIS - Director
As Director, Jack brings over 23 years of game design experience to the team, ensuring that Starfighter Inc. maintains a maximum level of realism and immersion. His games include Crysis, Far Cry, and MechWarrior 2.
DAVID WESSMAN - Lead Designer
David’s our Lead Designer and it is his experience, passion, and skill that keeps Starfighter Inc. going. His games include X-Wing, TIE Fighter, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, Blood Wake, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, and Saint’s Row. He’s even developed award-winning manual wargames. Ask him about the psychotropic mind control drugs in Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil.
RUSEL DEMARIA - Narrative Designer
Rusel is an oldtimer in the game industry and has written 60+ game-related books, is a former national magazine editor and international columnist, author of original Star Wars fiction The Farlander Papers and The Stele Chronicles, written specifically for the X-Wing and TIE Fighter games respectively, and founding editor and former creative director at Prima Publishing. He has also been a game design consultant for several major companies.
TIM HOFFMAN - Senior Art Director
Tim Hoffman is renowned for his visual effects work on film and television projects like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Thor: Ragnarok, Spiderman: Homecoming, Serenity and Game of Thrones. He has also worked in the games industry for many years as an art director and visual effects specialist on games like MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy and Heavy Gear 2. He is responsible for Starfighter Inc.'s overall look and feel.
A note about our reward tiers
Some people have expressed some confusion about our reward tiers. In part that is due to a lack of flexibility in the Kickstarter format. In part, it is because we added digital-only tiers after launch.
There are basically two types of rewards:
• Those with physical goods that require shipping and those without physical goods. What we can call Physical tiers also include various digital rewards.
• Those that are Digital only offer more generous digital rewards.
The two types of tiers work like many other Kickstarter rewards in that all previous rewards are included in those that come after. This is true for all Physical tiers as well as for all Digital-only tiers.
All reward tiers up to $70 are digital only. After the $70 tier, which includes a t-shirt, all subsequent tiers include physical rewards and include all previous reward tiers, with the exception of Digital-only rewards that occur at $80, $110, and $140. These Digital-only tiers include all previous rewards from all tiers before $70 (including the $50 Digital only tier) and any subsequent Digital-only tiers. After $140, all tiers contain both physical and digital rewards and follow the “all previous” rewards of the Physical tiers.
And now to help make this easier to understand, behold - a proper reward matrix chart!
This project is promoted by Jellop, a direct response online advertising agency specializing in Kickstarter campaigns on Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Risks and challenges
Games are complex systems with many components, all of which have to come together seamlessly, or the system fails. The first goal of any game is that it is fun to play. But to ensure that while offering new and original gameplay requires that each of these complex systems works in harmony with each other, and that is very challenging.
Our major challenge with Starfighter Inc. is our self-imposed commitment to plausible futuristic science based on what we know today and incorporating that science into a game that succeeds technically while being wildly entertaining, invigorating, and immersive. We are not making an arcade game, where rules of science need not apply. We are making a hardcore space combat simulator, and we believe that we have already succeeded in our initial implementation. Now is the time when we will refine the concepts and the gameplay, add features, and bring the whole vision together until it is up to our very high standards. That’s what this Kickstarter is about.
Of course there are risks in every major project. We chose to develop this game independently because one of those risks, if you create games for major publishers, is cancellation. A lot of games get far down the development path and are summarily cancelled. We will not let that happen to us, and we will not quit until we have launched the game that we believe in and, with your feedback, we know you want to play, as well.
Right now, our crew is incredibly dedicated and putting long hours into the art, programming and engineering, research, design, and narrative, but we are all volunteers. Several of us have been working steadily on this project for years, making sure that we adhere to our values and our vision while refining the complexities of real space flight. This Kickstarter will allow some of our team to be paid, providing them with the latitude to put more effort into the game and speed up the process of completion. It will also help us afford some of the technical infrastructure needed for a game like Starfighter Inc.
We have been working virtually all of this time, with team members spread across seven time zones. Some people may, quite correctly, surmise that working in such a distributed, virtual team presents problems and challenges. While that is true, we’ve worked remarkably well in spite of those challenges, and having a distributed team has allowed us to find and work with talent all over the world, which we consider a unique benefit to this project. One day we may bring the team under one roof, but even though that may prove more efficient, we have developed remarkable synergy and communications among our far-flung team members.
And this game will be even more successful because we are listening to you, our backers and fans. We take every suggestion and comment seriously. We are doing our best to stay true to our vision while providing the game you are asking for, and we will continue to reach out to you, to keep you informed, and to engage you whenever possible. We will also be providing a lot of entertaining and informative material outside of the game, such as fiction that’s based on the current and future events in the game, graphic novelizations, possibly even a card game, and who knows what else?
We have several ways to keep in touch. First are our Impeller and Starfighter Inc. websites and forums. Also our social media presence, and periodic newsletters. So join us on social media. Sign up for the newsletter. Back this project and become a part of our extended family!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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