Starstorm Report #6: Stretchgoal reached, AMA Going on right now, map info!
Break out the party hats once more, because we've reached the first stretch goal in this Awesomenauts: Starstorm campaign! With all the donations that we've received through the off-site Humble Store widgets added to the total that has been pledged here on Kickstarter, we edged past the $200,000 mark yesterday evening! Thanks for all the support, we're super happy that you all seem to be just as excited for Starstorm as we are!
Now that we've reached the stretch goal, the new map WILL happen! I sat down with Fabian, who will be designing the map, to talk about what the map and you can read what he had to say further down in this update.
First off though, we have something very cool going on RIGHT NOW: an Ask Me Anything over on Reddit! I'll be over on Reddit for the next couple of hours together with Koen (an Artist), Machiel (a Programmer), and Thijs (another Programmer) and we'll be answering all your questions! So if you'd like to talk about anything related to Awesomenauts, Starstorm, the Kickstarter, or some other random stuff, just head over to the thread on Reddit and join the conversation. You can find it over here, and our user names are Ronimo_Robin, Ronimo_Koen, Ronimo_Machiel, and Ronimo_Thijs.
The four of us will be starting at 17:00 CET (11AM EST, 9AM PST), and will stay for a couple of hours!
So, about the stretchgoal we just reach: it's time to talk more about the map and how it's going to be different from the other four that we have right now. We've already shown you some ideas in a previous update, but it's time to talk business with Fabian, who will be designing the map!
This was actually meant to be video, but the audio wasn't too great so we've decided to type it up instead. Aaaaaaanyway:
What's the story behind the map ?
The new map will play out on the Starstorm, the spaceship for which the expansion is named. It was inactive for hundreds of years following the First AI War, in which it was built as an ultimate weapon that could devour complete stars with a single shot. Nothing happened for a long time after it was deactivated, but Skree recently reactivated its systems by accident. With such a powerful weapon mysteriously activated, and floating around the galaxy without somebody to control it, the Awesomenauts are sent out by their employers to investigate. Now they're fighting, because that's what they do.
So that's the backstory of the map, but how will it look? If it's a spacestation, will it look like AI Station 404 or have the years not treated Starstorm kindly?
It's nothing like AI Station 404. The Starstorm isn't doing too good, and over the many years that is has been drifting through space its hull has been severly damaged by meteorshowers. Now, almost everything onboard is broken. The hull is even stripped away in some places, the dormant robot-army once contained within is scattered all around, and many of its weapons are rusted and not functioning properly anymore. Also, with Skree having made the station his home for a while, building shrines and statues out of the junk he could find amongst the ruins, it has really turned into a junkyard. All this will form the background for the Starstorm map, and the ideas so far look really awesome!
Sounds cool! So what kind of map will it be anyway? Is it like any other map that we've released so far?
Basically, the gameplay will be a little similar to Ribbit IV and Aiguillon: a big map, with a have a big jungle and 2 lanes.
We have loads of ideas for doing unique stuff with this map, and something we really want to do revolves around the main weapon of the spacestation: the Starstorm itself. Every once in a while, the weapon will charge up and fire at the nearby star. This causes a huge damage-dealing wave of fire to flood the level through cracks and holes in the hull, and players will need to avoid this by seeking shelter. You'll get some warning in advance, as a heads-up that things are about to go down. This will force players to adapt to these events, and it could potentially separate players for a short time. You can also try to use it to your advantage by forcing people into the exposed areas, with the Hyperbull, Throw, Lightning Ball, or Admiral Swiggins' Drop Anchor.
Will that be something players can activate themselves, by pressing a button, or is it going to happen at an interval?
It will probably be at an interval, but there might be smaller areas on the map where hazards like that are controlled with a button. As shown in the concept art that we posted recently, we're also thinking of including neutral turrets on the map as well, that may or may not be controlled by a button. It's still really early, so anything can still happen and all ideas are subject to change. The idea is that we want to make this map focus on environmental hazards though.
Alright, so what about critters? We know that Skree used to live on the AI Station, but is there anything else inhabiting the Starstorm?
Yeah, every map has had a unique critter so far, and Starstorm will be no exception. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we're thinking about small, dog-like creatures that eat metal. Seeing as the entire ship and the robot army contained within is made out of metal, they've been doing pretty well for themselves. I think that'd be pretty cool!
Space dogs that eat metal... sounds like a plan! Will there be anything special about the map due to the fact that it's in space? Do we still have the droppod sequence, or do we just get a smooth landing in a hangar for once?
You'll still drop into the game, and we'll have yet another layout for the Solar coins here. Maybe there will be some anti-gravity parts as well, as we'd like to explore vertically-oriented gameplay. We still need to experiment with that, to see whether it's fun, but we already have a lot of horizontal maps so maybe we can do something unique. We'll have to see whether it works, and if it doesn't we'll cook up something else.
Does that mean there will be more flying droids?
Maybe, we'd like to do something a little different but the flying droids are pretty powerful and have a different role than the regular Saw-droids. Maybe we'll have a combination of the two.
When will we be starting on the map?
We'll be starting with the pre-production soon, as we've already reached the goal, and we'll be doing some experiments and prototype to see what's fun. I'm already working on Ted McPain right now, so I'll focus on that first.
So those are the first real details about the Starstorm map. There will be loads more to share over the coming months, once we actually get started with it (Fabian is really busy with Ted McPain right now). As you probably know by now, our work is quite iterative so we might end up with something that's nothing like we just described, kind of like the Solar Tree map eventually turned into the Aiguillon we know today. That's just a heads-up, and I'm sure it'll end up fun!
We'll share a Beta as soon as we've got something that we think you'll like!
For now, thanks again for all your support and I hope to see you over on the Ask Me Anything over on Reddit!