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Starpoint Gemini 2 Developer Q&A

By Christopher Stahler in Indie Spotlight

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So, I recently contacted Little Green Man Games for an interview or a Q&A. I got hold of Tomislav Mihoković the Art Director and Co-Owner of the company and he said he would be happy to answer some question of mine about their upcoming game Starpoint Gemini 2. While I hope to do a hands-on preview of the game all I will say right now is that the game is really enjoyable and stable especially for a game that was in Alpha (The last time I had gotten a chance to play the game was in December while it was still in Alpha. The game currently changed stages and is now in beta. The questions are centered and his responses are italicized. Here is my Q&A with Mr. Mihoković I hope you guys enjoy and if you have any further questions I can try to rely them to Mr. Mihoković and have them answered I hope you enjoy:

1. Even though Starpoint was a success for your team, in the reviews people can see it getting hit hard by critics. This obviously did not influence buyers as you are currently in development for a sequel, but how did it make you guys feel? The user reviews were generally more pleasant Vs. the critic reviews did your fans help you go through this upsetting time?

“Yes, well overall metacritic score was less then we expected, obviously, but at the same time it was one of those love/hate games. When designing SPG1, we have put the ideas in the table, and were aiming at the niche, no matter the critics, we partially succeeded in that aim. Another thing to take into account, SPG1 was our first game as a team, with very limited resources, with no background as a developer, and maybe the most important thing – with very limited exposure to players prior to game’s launch. A bit naive on our side maybe, but we persisted. There were times when we figured maybe it would be best to close down the studio, or reorient the work to mobile platforms, but in amidst of all the madness with SPG1, we started getting the emails with players having a lot of fun playing the game, sending their suggestions on what to improve, asking for possible expansions, even volunteering for VO-ing the game etc. Today we have players that have played SPG1 for mode than 400 hours. In the end, it is the community that defines whether the team will go on on close doors, and they are a reason we exist and work today, so a big thanks to all of our players out there”

  1. After the obvious success of the first game did your company expand by adding some new additions to the team? If so how many/what percent?

“Right you are, all of us have learned, the team has grown, doubled to be more exact, from core members to seasoned outsourcing workforce. We hope to continue growing together with the community in order to meet their big expectations, since the genre we’re in is pretty demanding, and becoming even more so considering the big comebacks last year or so.”

  1. So, I’m sure somewhere you have a list of upcoming/planned features. Do you have a link and how much of the game do you currently believe is finished? (Only asking because of Steam Early Access)

“Well, we’re currently at GDC, and when getting back to our HQ, we intend to disclose the roadmap. I will mention a few of them – Steam workshop (models, material, particles, world editors + a gigger scripting guide), a couple of view cameras players suggested (1st person, track-enemy camera), ship’s strafing, implementing of mercenaries you can join to your fleet, unlocking the main storyline as well as side quests, blueprints for crafting unique ship systems, cloaking devices and many more special equipments etc. A lot of work on our hands, but are enjoying every minute of it

Currently, the main to – do list is compiled, almost all the other features are now added to our internal wishlist, which will be our guide to future expansions, dlcs, or a following installment, so every suggestion is still valuable.”

  1. Do you plan on increasing/decreasing the price when the game is released/enters different testing stages? An example of a company doing this would be the company behind Planetary Annihilation.

“We have seen the progress and price changes of Planetary Annihilation, and chose to follow a more „standard“ path, as we feel the price for the game should be at its top when the game is fully operational so to speak. Almost every alpha stage of any game is expected to be buggy and unpolished with features missing, so in our minds it would be unfair for our backers to pay more for less in a way. But that’s just our way of looking at things”

  1. You guys are obviously focusing on this project at this moment, but does your company have a new series possibly in the early stages of development? One that the team would go in to after Starpoint Gemini 2 launched of course. I understand if you can’t answer this question, but personally I’d be interested in a new series as well as a sequel.

“The main focus at the moment is still SPG2, with full task force on it, but of course, other projects are thought of, some game design documents are already done (and have been done for a while now), and different approaches for development are being explored, but for now, as I’ve said, bringing Starpoint Gemini 2 in the best light is our top priority.”

  1. What’s the average day of a team member like at Little Green Men Games ? Obviously you guys have to keep it professional, but do you guys have a fun loving environment or is it all work work work?

“Heh, actually differs from day to day, sometimes only a few comments on our forums make our day and it goes light as a feather with a lots of philosophy about this and that, those days are really great for creativity and bringing more superb ideas to game(s). Crunch time however is more often at the moment, since we’ve got a lot to deploy, and day of the week doesn’t matter really, we take the work with us wherever we go ;) But hey, we’ve got responsibility to our backers, so it’s not that hard to manage”

  1. Near the beginning of the year your company started talking about the Oculus Rift and became an official developer for it. I’m not sure if you went more in to that in another Q&A, but can you speak about what you guys are planning to do with it? Also what is your companies thoughts on the fact that Sony is now getting in to the VR game as well as the rumor of Microsoft getting involved?

“Well, I’m going to quote our programmer on this one, he’s a lead on Oculus implementation in SPG2:

At the current stage of development our implementation of Oculus Rift is still very basic, yet we’re already very impressed by the initial results. With that VR device players get a better sense of scale when observing grand space battles and awe-inspiring nebula-covered asteroid fields from an unobstructed 3rd person view. Even during combat, the head-tracking feature that allows the player to guide turrets by simply facing their opponents proved extremely easy and helpful. We’re very interested in a continued development in this direction and plan to support all simulation sickness inhibition features that the new generation of Oculus Rift will provide. Some of our next steps include the correct adaption of our UI and a slight redesign of certain visual effects to give them more depth.We’re very interested in what Microsoft and Sony have to offer in this field given that competitiveness among developers tends to bring better products for the end user.“

  1. So as players can see the Starpoint Gemini series seems to be a player driven story. Meaning that the story is basically what the player makes of it, there is no main questline. There are per-scripted missions, but they don’t seem to be as heavy as other games like the Elder Scrolls Series. Do you think at some point down the road that can change? And has it ever been seriously talked about? (sorry if I’ve been misinformed on this subject. I’ve gotten to play about 2 hours of the Alpha and what I’ve played I’ve enjoyed. I plan to play more soon, but I prefer playing after full release. Weird way to spend money, but I like supporting the developers early on.)

“Not a weird way to spend money actually, there’s a huge number of players that bought the game while Early Access due to its price, and see that as an investment in the future.

Now, at the moment, what you get in the game is sandbox (and not all of it – there’s more to come), but in Starpoint Gemini 2, the main storyline and side missions (faction based mostly) will definitely happen. Those two are being implemented in our off-cloud version, and will be released when properly done. Fear not, the story in SPG2 is one of the highlights of the game, not to mention future smaller stories being introduced in expansions and dlc’s, updates post-release and so on.”

Tomislav Mihoković,

Lead Artist, co-owner

Little Green Men Games

Mr. Mihoković and I conducted this Q&A over email and I am very happy that he went in to details about all he could. As I said before if there are any questions you would like to ask feel free to post them in the comment section and I will try to have Mr. Mihoković answer them. The development team is currently over at GDC for the week, but usually when they are home they are VERY active with their community.

You can purchase Starpoint Gemini 2 right now for Steam early access at:

Steam’s Store for $24.99 and is available for purchase at Gamersgate, GameStop PC Downloads, and Gamefly Digital which are linked to their main site.

You can check out Starpoint Gemini 2′s website at:

http://www.starpointgemini.com/

And follow them on twitter, like them on Facebook, and subscribe to them at YouTube with the following links:

Twitter / Facebook / YouTube Channel

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