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A retro-3D vector shooter inspired by Asteroids, wrapped around the inside of a sphere.
A retro-3D vector shooter inspired by Asteroids, wrapped around the inside of a sphere.
A retro-3D vector shooter inspired by Asteroids, wrapped around the inside of a sphere.
209 backers pledged £3,888 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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£3,888

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You know how in Asteroids, when you fly off the top of the screen, you come back in from the bottom?  Wouldn't it be cool if you could travel continuously around a sphere, instead?

sphereFACE is a re-imagining of Asteroids, wrapped around the inside of a sphere.

An unashamedly abstract shooter that ranges from slow, strategic sniping to frantic fast-paced rock-dodging action, with roguelike elements of exploration, progression, discovery and sudden death!

You've got to move fast to survive.
You've got to move fast to survive.

You can look freely around each sphere using mouselook, or your controller, or your keyboard, or even in virtual reality using your Oculus Rift.

Success depends on mastering spherical flight dynamics in what is effectively curved 2D space - easy to pick up, but difficult to master!  Are you up to the challenge?

The gaussRIFLE in action.
The gaussRIFLE in action.

Asteroids break apart "realistically" along fracture lines, forming shards and boulders when hit.  The result of an impact on an asteroid depends on your choice of weapon, the angle and speed.  However, you have to plan your demolition carefully to avoid flying debris - just one hit can kill.

The spreadGUN makes it easy to clean up small debris.
The spreadGUN makes it easy to clean up small debris.

Of course there's much more than just asteroids!  Destroy the obstacles in each sphere to unlock the portals leading out of it, and navigate through a procedurally generated 3D maze of tunnels and spheres.

Hyperspace tunnels link the spheres.
Hyperspace tunnels link the spheres.

Pick up and unlock a variety of cool and quirky weapons.  Each has its own strategy and learning curve, but the true sphereFACE master must learn to use them in concert with each other.  Below are a few of the unique weapons you might find out in the asteroid fields:

There will be many more weapons and powerups in the finished game, but we wouldn't want to spoil the surprise just yet!

Every weapon can be upgraded progressively to alter its effects, improve its performance and bring it to the next level.  Choose your favourite weapon to upgrade, but be careful - the upgrade pods are fragile.  If you're too trigger-happy, you might destroy them before you can collect them!

And sometimes it seems as if it's almost like they don't want to be picked up...

Upgrading weapons increases their power, or range, or speed, or spread - each behaves differently.
Upgrading weapons increases their power, or range, or speed, or spread - each behaves differently.

What, you didn't think you'd just be shooting at passive rocks your entire career?  Stray too deep into the hyperspace tunnel network and you might meet something that shoots back... but we don't want to spoil the plot for you!

The guidedROCKETS can be steered by rotating your ship.
The guidedROCKETS can be steered by rotating your ship.

The game features entirely original music by four awesome professional musicians - HODSON, Waveland, DorianSRed and Skin Walker.  Each sphere has its own music track, and all audio is 3D positional with real speed-of-sound delay, doppler and realistic head shadow, which is made possible by our unique built-from-scratch HDR sound engine. A lot of effort is focused on sound design.

You can hear a preview of the soundtrack, streamed on our bandcamp:

Our initial goal is ultra low to reflect the fact it won't take us much to get the game finished - but we can do a lot more than that, with your help:

  • +£150: New weapon 1
  • +£150: New weapon 2
  • +£150: New weapon 3
  • +£150: New weapon 4
  • +£150: New weapon 5
  • +£150: New enemy 1
  • +£150: New enemy 2
  • +£150: New enemy 3
  • +£150: New enemy 4
  • +£150: New enemy 5
  • +£500: Improved ship graphics (we'll hire a dedicated artist)
  • +£800: Android port
  • +£1000: iOS Port & Apple Developer Program
  • +£1500: XBoxOne port and Microsoft Developer Program
  • +£1500: PS4 port and Sony developer program
  • +£2000: Online multiplayer!
  • +£1000: Gear VR & Google Cardboard integration
  • +£800: Vrvana Totem integration
  • +£600: Oscilloscope output support - play on a real vector display!

(Each stretch goal is the step up from the previous amount, with the first being the step up from the campaign goal)

Charging up the gaussRIFLE can produce spectacular results against large asteroids.
Charging up the gaussRIFLE can produce spectacular results against large asteroids.

We don't use off-the-shelf engines, such as Unity, for any of our games - we write our own each time from scratch, which gives us the versatility to create exactly the gameplay experience we want with no limitations. It also means our graphics engines are highly optimised and run smoothly - even on that old netbook! The engine for sphereFACE is completely custom, built on OpenGL.

The sound engine is fully HDR, with multi-track synchronous "deck" crossfade capability, and full support for EBU R128 2011. Again, totally original in-house software.

Public play testing of the alpha build in virtual reality with the Oculus Rift at Manchester Day 2015, in the games room organised by Rock Paper Shotgun in the Town Hall.  Click for full gallery.
Public play testing of the alpha build in virtual reality with the Oculus Rift at Manchester Day 2015, in the games room organised by Rock Paper Shotgun in the Town Hall. Click for full gallery.

We develop and test simultaneously on Windows, Linux and OS X - we don't need stretch goals to build on those other platforms, everything we make is always truly cross-platform, just on principle. We're also committed to using open source tools, and we use GCC, MinGW-W64 and Code::Blocks IDE to build our software.

We also love VR, and sphereFACE alpha is already playable perfectly with the Oculus Rift DK1! And again, we don't need stretch goals to bring you VR support - we'll do that as part of the basic package. However, the DK2 and other VR headsets aren't cheap, so we need your support to make this game a reality on all the different VR platforms.

Cracking open a big rock carelessly can release an undesirable number of small fragments.
Cracking open a big rock carelessly can release an undesirable number of small fragments.

The basic game engine and gameplay are already working well, and extensively tested - we've showed off the Oculus Rift version of the alpha build at several gaming exhibitions already.  Now we'd like to take this game to the next stage and evolve it into a really fun gameplay experience.

We plan to add many more weapons, and a progression enabling you to collect them.  We want to add procedural world layout, in a roguelike style, so no two games will be the same.  We'll be adding a lot of unique and interesting enemies, as well as static obstacles and other interesting space junk - and we want to make sure the gameplay is absolutely perfectly balanced.  Finally, we have a dark and twisted story progression in mind, where after a while it turns out that you may after all be... ah, but that would be telling!  Suffice to say, not all is as it seems...

We also want to bring sphereFACE to the next gen consoles, and if the right stretch goals are reached, we'll be able to do that.  We'd ideally even like to adapt the game to provide a full multiplayer experience... but for that we need your generous support!

Mines can make an effective barrier against even massive clouds of debris, but require careful planning.
Mines can make an effective barrier against even massive clouds of debris, but require careful planning.

 greenLIGHT

Risks and challenges

We're not going to have any problem completing this game; not to blow our own trumpet too much, but we're an experienced little team and we know what we're doing. The game is already playable as an alpha build; we've been playtesting it extensively for quite a while now, and from here on out it's just a matter of adding more features, more content and more polish!

Besides, we've done this before - at the start of last year we Kickstarted our previous game, AdvertCity, and reached 373% of our funding goal. AdvertCity is complete, all features and rewards were delivered as promised, and the game is now available on Steam with great reviews! We'll bring you sphereFACE complete and absolutely on time - and we can definitely do it, if we have your help!

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    Pledge £4 or more About $6

    Full game - early bird offer!

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    Full game

    You'll get a download of the DRM-free full game (on Windows, Linux & OS X) plus access to private backer updates with development news, screenshots, videos and gameplay previews.

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    Become a beta tester - early bird offer!

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    Pledge £15 or more About $23

    Become a beta tester

    As well as the full game, you'll get fortnightly beta test pre-release snapshots of the game in progress, and access to a special beta testers only forum for the duration of the development process. You'll get to play the alpha version of the game right away as soon as the Kickstarter ends. Your name will be featured in the credits, and your input will be vital to shaping the game!

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    Pledge £25 or more About $39

    Write a death message

    It's hard to stay alive for long in sphereFACE. When the inevitable happens, your unique message will be displayed! Nothing too offensive, of course. You'll also get all the Beta Tester tier rewards.

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    Pledge £35 or more About $55

    Collector's USB drive

    You'll receive a beautifully boxed USB thumb drive with a DRM-free copy of the game, plus the official soundtrack in FLAC (lossless) format, as well as two download keys for the game and the soundtrack that you can give away to your friends. Plus everything above.

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    Pledge £50 or more About $78

    Collector's CD

    A limited collector's edition copy of the official soundtrack on CD, beautifully packaged and individually numbered. Plus everything above - including the USB drive!

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    Pledge £65 or more About $101

    Name a sphere

    Become immortalised in the game - in every world, a sphere will be named after you! Or name a sphere after a friend, a loved one, a company, or a pet - you decide! You also get all the rewards above.

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    Poster

    You'll get a beautiful professionally printed limited edition A0 sized poster, signed by the developers and individually numbered, as well as all of the rewards above.

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    Pledge £300 or more About $467

    Design an enemy!

    We will work with you to design a new enemy that you can fight against in the game! Together we'll decide how it should look, what it'll be armed with, and how it'll behave.

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    Pledge £500 or more About $779

    Design your own weapon!

    We will work with you to design a new unique weapon that you can pick up and use in the game! Your chance to make your unique mark on the player experience and create something truly awesome. Imagine designing the weapon you use to win the game! Of course you also get all the previous rewards as well.

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Funding period

- (21 days)