Skywanderers is a sandbox game set in a procedural galaxy, with a heavy focus on exploration and creative freedom.
I have been creating this game as a one-man passion project. Let me show you what it is about and why I need you!
It will be distributed via Steam for Windows.
To watch the trailer + video with HD quality, go here!
You can build many things in Skywanderers. My vision is to create a building experience that feels intuitive and tangible, as if you were actually playing with real bricks.
The game uses the one-meter voxel block that we all know and love. In addition to blocks, I created the brick system in order to build smaller details and mechanisms. The player can use a wide array of bricks of many forms and functions. They can be combined using stud connections:
Mobile user: if the gif does not play you can access all the gifs here!
There are no prefabs in Skywanderers, you have the complete freedom to design everything from scratch. Let's say you want a cockpit for your fighter: you get to create your own custom seat, build a canopy, an opening mechanism, and design the command layout.
Now you can create custom doors, ramps, cozy interiors, weapon mounts, retractable landing gears, or anything else you can imagine! The game offers a comprehensive choice of logical gates and various rotators and sliders.
You can also paint anything: blocks, bricks, weapons, engines, commands, even lights!
This means you can create a lot of very cool stuff, from big warships, to little shuttles or small fighters, or anything else you can imagine!
I also added mechs! They are really easy to setup, you can choose your stance: eastern (Gundam like) or western (mechwarrior like) style, and soon multi-legged crawlers will be added.
I have just added hovercrafts, and one day you will be able to create cars, tanks and monorails!
All my testers really enjoyed building in Skywanderers - and we are just starting to tap into the potential of the brick system. It is a really fresh and new way to build, I am sure you will enjoy it too!
Exploration is a major focus of the game. From mining rare resources in order to craft a unique technology, to venturing in the lawless outer rim to hunt a wanted pirate. Or just simply for the sake of exploring! I am dedicated to creating a rich and immersive galaxy for you to explore.
You start your journey using the holomap, where you can select your warp destination, or scan for nearby ships, stations or points of interest.
Then punch it and warp to a new system!
With Skywanderers, I want to go beyond the simple generic random skybox formula and have the player truly immersed in the galaxy. So everything from stars, clouds of dust occluding the galatic core, or nearby nebulae are accurately computed using their mathematical representations and your relative position in the galaxy. This means that when you look into the sky each feature of the skybox is really there.
Explore truly volumetric and procedural nebulae: each system gets an accurate view on them depending on their viewpoint.
Warp inside a nebula, and you will get a truly stunning and colorful vista!
Fly inside and mine planetary rings.
Land on and explore ring space habitats. Some being over one thousand kilometer wide! This still is a very early Work in Progress, the terrain's look especially will be improved.
I've spent a lot of time creating a robust and fast procedural technology that allows you to transition seamlessly between all the various locations of a system.
Soon I will add more stellar objects and hazards including: black holes, pulsars, large asteroids and comets… Check the FAQ for the plan about planets.
Until now my focus has been on crafting the hard tech behind the voxel building and the procedural generation engine. It was a lot of work! But it's getting there so now it's time for me to focus on three aspects:
- Polish, bugfix and optimization of existing components. There are some key refactorings I would like to do on top of the bugfix and polish phase expected in every game development cycle.
- Multiplayer functionalities. Although multiplayer is already a part of the game it needs more attention. Multiplayer is notoriously harder to test!
- Traditional gameplay other than building and exploration. I want to give the player a sense of purpose that will push him/her to build ships and explore the galaxy. This means systems design including weapon balancing, power systems, shield or armor balancing. But also mining, crafting, trading, or missions like bounty hunting.
To do this I need time! I have been self funding the development of Skywanderers for a year now, so to continue I will need additional funding.
Just as important, I also need testers: this is where you enter the picture! Indeed I need people motivated by the potential of the game to test, provide feedback on existing or planned mechanics, and build and play in multiplayer. My goal is to have hundreds of testers spending thousands of hours collectively in the game before I hit Steam, to get a successful launch without hiccups.
Creating this game solo does not mean I have been alone: I am actually very lucky to already have a small community around the game! They helped me tremendously by hunting bugs, making me improve the building logic, feeding me with crazy build ideas and more generally pushing the game to its limits (special thanks to the 1600m Imperial Star Destroyer, and all those hinges / rotators stack madness). If you are curious check out what they have been building!
I hope you will join us in this adventure, together we can make a great game!
How much we will raise will dictate how I plan the next months of development. Here is what will happen, think of it as a three stage Saturn 5 rocket:
First Stage = Base Goal of 15000 EUR: The heavy lifting. This goal will allow me to work full time for 6 months before the early access release. I will focus on:
- Polish, refactor and stabilize the technology
- Add ship systems like energy, weapon, shield and more
- Improve the multiplayer experience
- Work on the navigation and flight model
Second Stage = From 15000 EUR up to 50000 EUR: This takes us to orbit, where the fun begins! As we raise more I will add weeks of development to the game, up to an extra 6 months before Early Access release. I will work on the following:
- Mining and crafting gameplay components
- AI and Missions
- Dedicated servers
- Basic modding support for Texture and Skin
- Advanced character customization
- Improved procedural generation
Third Stage = Over 50000 EUR: The stage that will fly us to the moon! The money over this point will be used to remunerate people to work with me to increase the quality of the game:
- Master builders to create high quality faction ships
- Texture artist
- Sound designer
I will also save on the budget to be able to work on the following point post early-access release:
- Deep faction interaction system: missions, ranking, dynamic galactic influence
- Survival mode (see long term roadmap)
- Planets (see FAQ below)
So raising as much money as I can at this stage is very important. The advantage of working solo is that I can be very flexible and quickly re-adjust things on the way. Stretch Goals like gameplay are obviously key components to my vision. Even if only the base target is met, I plan to work on these after the early access release.
I have ambitious plans for Skywanderers and a lot of crazy ideas. Hopefully with the support of the community I will be able to develop the game for many years following early access.
On top of the short term roadmap that will lead the game to Early Access, it is important for me to share my long term vision. Here is what a typical play through will look like in the 1.0 version of the game:
Early game: survive!
You will first have to explore and find the resources needed for your livelihood. Little by little, you will mine rarer materials and craft more advanced technologies by exploring the world around you. You will build a small exploration buggy, then a plane, and one day you will be ready for your first space trip - and land on the moon that has been peering down at you every night. Then you will explore your solar system, and will soon unlock the key to interstellar travel!
Late game: be who you want!
From that point on it will be a different game. Soon you will discover that the galaxy is full of factions and species. You might encounter some threats or maybe distress beacons. You will dock into space stations looking to trade or take on missions. The game won't force you into a certain role so you might want to hunt down pirates or become one, you might want to build a massive battleship and go to war with your friends. Maybe you will prefer setting up a mining outpost, or you will build a network of stargates to link your bases. One day, you might even be able to build and manage your own space station!
It's been 100 years since the Artura Insurrection was won, but the price paid was high. Now, Armistice station lies in disuse and virtual ruin, House Imperitus has secured its borders after leaving the Coalition shortly after the conflict ended.
More recently, having lost hope for any meaningful peace negotiations, House Elgari along with several of the other powerful Houses left the once proud alliance. The Coalition itself is but a shadow of what it once was, reduced to a parliament of squabbling smaller factions, each attempting to gain the upper hand against the others. All the while each house strengthens its military and prepares for another conflict.
The galaxy is in a state of cold war, and somewhere on the outer rim, a long forgotten eye opens, looking inward to the core.
With my Master Builders we plan to add the following factions over time:
- House Imperitus, a militaristic empire set on expanding their borders
- House Elgari, a race of aliens that promote peace and equality
- Senrai Mining Corporation, a massive corporation providing a huge amount of resources to the galaxy
- The Coalition, the remnants of the Anti-Artura Coalition, made up of many smaller Houses
- The Petcha, a loose association of space wanderers and refugees just trying to survive
I like to view Skywanderers as a mix between Minecraft and Elite. The two legends who are Notch and David Braben also inspired me in my approach. Both showed us that it is possible to create very ambitious gameplay and worlds with very limited resources, by using clever maths and elegant design solutions.
The game will also draw influence from games from very different genres: FTL, Mass Effect or Startopia for example!
LEGO® and more specifically LEGO® space is also very deep in the DNA of the game. With the brick system I want to give player the same artistic freedom talented MOC builders are using in their designs. All the sets I had as a kid but also as importantly the one I desired left an impression so big on me that it is at the root of my will to create Skywanderers.
For the background I want to mention Star Wars, Valerian (the French comic), the Fifth Element, Hyperion. Think funny Aliens species, rusted ships, space pirates and war raging among factions! Some aspect of the game will also be inspired by AC Clarke books, or the 2001 A Space Odyssey movie/book: the travel between planets will be smooth and wondrous, and the size of the astronomical bodies around you will make you feel tiny.
Raiben, who is helping me to craft the lore, is a student of sci-fi media and has drawn inspiration from Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and especially Dune (a book he maintains is the "Best Sci-Fi novel ever"), as well as historical figures and groups to create an immersive and believable world within its own bounds.
Considering a pledge? Thanks you for that! Please check out more info on the rewards below:
Name in the credits: if you wish, your will be thanked in the credits! Thanks will be sorted by Tier.
Discord Special Chat Room Access: You will have access to a private chat room on our discord. Each Tier will get an exclusive room - you will also access lower tier rooms.
Forum Special Title: Right now the community is very active on the discord but all the discussion on gameplay design will eventually move to the forum. The title will be awarded based on your tier level.
The game at release: The game will be released in Early Access on steam. If the kickstarter is over-funded and I take more time before public release, backers of the first Tier will gain access to the closed pre-alpha.
Closed Pre-alpha: Help me make a great game! You will get access to the closed alpha on Steam around one month after the kickstarter end. Please check the faq below for info on the current state of the game! (did I mention it was pre-alpha?)
Make a ship rewards: the following three rewards will allow you to build a ship that will be spawned randomly in the game. They will join the official ships to make the game more alive and will be found in random encounters, while visiting stations and outpost, but might also be used in random events or missions. You will also be able to name and customize the pilot.
A few rules will apply: size limit is the maximum size on the longer axis - also no offensive/licensed content.
- Small shuttle: You will be able to create a small 20m civilian shuttle. You are free to build it for any role! Examples: exploration ship, prospector, landing shuttle, racing ship.
- Medium civilian ship: You will be able to create a larger 100m civilian ship. Examples: Freighter, tanker, mining ship, deep space exploration, luxury yacht. Build what you want!
- Pirate ship: Pirate will appears randomly in the outer rim or other lawless clusters of the Galaxy. They will attack the player, so you better build some serious offensive capability to make the fight interesting! You will build a 100m ship with its 20m support fighter.
- Corporation Fleet: Create your own corporation! You will have to build an 200m outpost, and fleet consisting of a 200m + 100m + 20m ships. They will be spawned randomly together.
- Pirate Lord Fleet: Build a pirate fleet! The fleet consist in a 300m flagship, a 100m support ship and a 20m fighter. Should you choose this tier, you will have to build, a lot.
Design and Name a Nebulae: Nebulae are stellar objects several light years in size. A lot of players will get to see your nebulae in their playthrough, and some will even want travel inside it! I will provide you with a mini build of the game where you will be able to try various seeds in order to choose a nebula to your liking. More examples here! Galaxy is procedural but not randomized, each player plays in the same galaxy (think of it at everybody play with the same world seed).
Legendary Pirate Lord: The Seven Pirate Lords are feared in the entire outer rim. Should you encounter one, flee - or better be prepared for a good fight! You will work with me and my Master Builders to select a hull and outfit a big pirate ship to your liking. Name and write the Pirate Lord backstory with us. If you are a talented builder you might even submit your hull and work with us on a truly unique ship.
Legendary Pirate King/Queen: Design the ultimate pirate boss of the game! Player will have to hunt it, and better be prepared for a tough battle. Tell us your ideas or send us concept art, and we will make it happen. If you wish to you may also get to work on the ship with our master builder. Name and write the Pirate King/Queen backstory with us!
What is the current state of the game development?
For now Skywanderers is a creative only experience. If you love to build for the sake of it, you will enjoy tinkering with blocks and bricks and build in a fresh new way. If, like me, you prefer a missions based or survival gameplay, you will have to be patient. In that case you can consider backing on the first tier, or maybe help me designing those gameplay components and watch them evolve as I work on them! The game is in PRE-alpha: it means that there are bugs, missing features, placeholder tech, multiplayer instability and more!
Will there be planets? When?
Yes I want to make planets! But I want to craft large, beautiful spherical planets… So it will take a bit of time to get there. I prefer to wait to have more synergy with gameplay components, so planet are more meaningful to the overall experience. It is for that reason that I created the torus space habitats: I will be able to start coding ground based gameplay while adding to the planetary tech bit by bit: clouds, trees, atmospheric shader, procedural generation of terrain. In a nutshell, planets are on the roadmap but after early access release on steam!
Where can we learn more about the game?
I have been creating devlogs and ship reviews regularly on youtube. You can also stop by our discord to chat with me or testers to ask for more info. There is also a subreddit, a website and you can follow me on twitter.
What are the requirements?
Specs wise you need a decent computer with a DX11 capable card and a multi-core processor. The game and the closed pre-alpha for backers will be distributed via Steam for Windows. Minimum specs:
- Graphics: GeForce 6xx or higher or amd equivalent
- RAM: 4GB
- CPU: Intel Core i3 3rd Generation or amd equivalent
When will the closed pre-alpha start?
Once the kickstarter is funded I will do the necessary paperwork to get the game on steam (the game was greenlit in March). Expect around one month after the kickstarter end, I will keep you posted on how things goes. During that time I will do bug fixing and work on a few refactoring needed, especially on the saving and blueprint system.
When will the game be released publicly?
At least 6 months after the end of the campaign. If the game over-reaches the target it could stretch to a year so I can add more content. In that case backers of the first tier will get access to the closed pre-alpha after 6 months if they wish!
Who are you? How long have you been working on Skywanderers?
I am Francois Duret, a 34 year old french living in Japan. I quit my job one year ago to work full time on Skywanderers. Prior to that I have been working on evening and week-end on the game for over two years.
What engine are you using?
I am using Unity! This is really the perfect choice: I can save time by not solving problems generic to most video games, and Unity is flexible enough to cope with the specificities of Skywanderers like custom collisions, very large game areas, and much more.
Will the game be released on Mac, Linux or Consoles?
Skywanderers makes heavy use of DX11. Porting to other platforms is out of scope of this kickstarter as it would take me too much time at the detriment of the game. It might change in the future though!
Credits and special thanks: Trailer music made Ross Bugden under CC. Some texture uses XSSheep PixelPerfect pack under CC. The lore is the brainchild of Raiben!
Raiben, Gady, Nokturnihs, Tom, JohnReverse, Trekfan42, Conniver, Jeremy, Gui, Sto, Lionel, Remi, Moopy, Erin, Khowhl, Sen, LeMinaw, Gmunga, LeaderShinji, Chaosteil, Womble-TC, and all my testers, followers, friends and of course family - you are all amazing, without you creating this game could not be possible!
Disclaimer: LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this project.
Risks and challenges
Skywanderers is an ambitious game. The scope is large, but I want to take each step at a time.
The good news is that most of the hard, experimental tech is already there: voxel engine, brick system, blueprint I/O, logic system, custom collisions and raycast.
But also the procedural generation of the galaxy, stars and nebulae.
Not to forget the asteroid and space habitat technology, the later being a ramp toward full planetary tech.
Now I will have to develop systems that can be found in many other indie games, like the crafting, mining, trading, bounty hunting gameplay mechanics. It should be a lot easier, but the real difficulty will be to make them fun! So with your help to iterate enough I am confident in my ability to develop those systems over time.
Skywanderers is already a game that have been played by around 50 testers, around half a dozen of them having played the game for more than a hundred hours already, so it wont be a vaporware!
For sure there will be unforeseen consequences, some ideas might not work and will be scraped - it already happened quite a bit. I consider game development as solving a multitude of problems to achieve a greater vision. This is extremely exciting and challenging, and with your help I will deliver the game a lot of you have been dreaming!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)