I'm a programmer making Starmancer. It's a Dwarf Fortress style space sim made in Unity. We've raised over $75k so far. AMA!
Mar 1st 2018 by starmancergame • 16 Questions • 91 Points
My short bio: My name is Tyler, and I've been making Starmancer for over 3 years. I'm making it with Victor, an artist from Sweden. We met over 6 years ago while working on a Minecraft mod and have been making games together ever since.
More personally: I was an Intelligent Analyst in the Army, I type in Dvork, and I have Celiac's disease (the pooping kind, not the "I'll still have croutons in my salad" kind)
I'm a mod of the Starmancer subreddit
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Is there a game design document in place, or are you making it up as you go along? If the former, how fleshed out is it? If the latter, how do you avoid going off on an tangent and losing sight of the goal?
PS. I'm glad Linux is being treated as a first class citizen for a change during a Kickstarter
We use Asana to plan everything out. We specifically use Asana because it's free and it was available back in 2012.
Victor and I plan out what "big picture" elements we want to implement in a 3-month period. We roughly prioritize each month.
Every month, we plan out "small" elements, that will both reinforce the month goal and the quarter goal.
Every week, we specifically figure out which tasks we'll work on to implement the "small" elements.
Victor and I are always working on the same thing (within a few days of each other, at least).
We try to make everything as releasable as possible before moving on to something else.
We avoid planning out specifics until the last minute. Detailed long term planning isn't usually very helpful, because things change.
Our next monthly goals are:
- Design UI
- Implement Modding
- Implement Saving/Loading
(not everything fits into exactly 1 month goals)
I'm a backer, making a colonist. Just curious, but how long can we make the 'short' bio?
Around 5 sentences. You can certainly make it longer, if you want (it would actually be funny if some colonists had elaborately long backstories).
We're going to paraphrase the actual words that you write, so that all bios have a consistent feel to them.
All of the key details will remain, but the specific words might change.
If the short bio is well written, we won't change any words.
We'll be sending out more specifics once the campaign is over.
How much autonomy are you planning on giving colonists? Will we be able to directly command them to do specific tasks, or do you want our job as the player to do less micromanaging colonists and more creating an environment or policies that will influence the colonists to behave how we hope?
We want the game to feel something like an ant farm, where you don't have to micromanage if you don't want to.
At the same time, we want players to be able to micromanage if they want to.
From a practical standpoint, it's unlikely that we can make the colonists smart enough to never need a bit of micromanaging (but that's our goal). Providing the player with some direct control will help to alleviate shortcomings in the colonist A.I.
But an important element of these games is when your colonists do something that they weren't supposed to do, and chaos ensues.
In general, our rule is that you give colonists commands, and it's up to them to obey.
Mechanically are you inspired by Rimworld? It has sold really well despite never being on steam sale and has a thorough and active mod scene, is that something you want to have in your game?
Rimworld has lots of mechanics that we want to have.
Things like character traits, job priorities, and the combat system are all features that we want to add to Starmancer.
But there's no way that we'll have all the features of Rimworld on launch. He's been making that game for years.