Astrobase Command Gameplay Teaser

 
Hey everybody,

As you know, we’ve moved all of our updates to the new (and entirely successful!) Kickstarter page. However, just in case there are some of you here still curious about how things are going, here’s a short sample of Astrobase’s gameplay.

Enjoy!

Astrobase Command Returns!

We’re back, so why don’t you take a moment to feast your eyes on the new trailer, and swing over to the new project page? We’d love to have you aboard!The campaign runs from April 25th to May 26th, 2017.

T-Minus 4 Days to Kickstarter, V2.0

Hey Crew!

 The Astrobase Command dev team is hard at work on preparing the Kickstarter materials. Trailers, supplementary videos, assets, and text are all being sharpened. The Kickstarter page will go live on April 25th which should already be branded everywhere we have presence.

The journey over the last three years has been some exciting times. We failed the first Kickstarter (which ended up being a blessing!), incorporated the studio anyway as an indie startup, worked contracts part-time to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads, while focusing on the creation of Astrobase Command as much as possible.

We’re now at another crossroads!

The game is “pretty much feature complete,” but the technical difference between “pretty much feature complete” and “ready to release a paid access version” is measured in months of full-time and concentrated effort. Money is necessary for games and people to live, and Kickstarter is our path to that goal. We couldn’t have come this far without the emotional and written support of some die-hard fans (YOU, who are reading this!), and we are extraordinarily grateful for those who have walked these last three years with us. You, me, Astrobase Command — we share this story together.

This update was intended to be a call-to-action, but there is the certain knowledge that you, the individuals in our fantastic community, are already on the bridge beside us as we engage.

Signing off with a great THANK YOU!

-Dave

 

The Command Wants You: Astrobase Command Road to Kickstarter Update

A crew member diligently stands watch over the Mission Control terminal.
A crew member diligently stands watch over the Mission Control terminal.

 With less than two weeks to go before the launch of the Astrobase Command Kickstarter, all four of us are furiously toiling away to get everything into place for the big day.

Adam has continued producing the tools we need to make the trailer. Dave has proudly announced that he is design complete. He is now polishing it until it gleams. Daniel has channeled his inner Francis Coppola and is making a Kickstarter trailer. Max is working on the mandatory talking heads video and building the Kickstarter page.

Adam had the privilege of running a quick demo of the game to one of our community members and occasional contributor, Ethan. Such external sanity checks are invaluable for assuring that we aren’t getting carried away by drinking our own Kool-Aid. We’re glad to say that it went quite well.

As we mentioned last week, we need to start getting the word out about the April 25th Kickstarter launch. Generating awareness for a small project such as ours is incredibly challenging. Whereas our larger AAA counterparts generate a tidal wave of media attention every time they hiccup, indies can have a marching band accompanied by fireworks and a parade and still not be heard.

The cargo bay is fully loaded…for now.
The cargo bay is fully loaded…for now.

 We need your help, champions.  

Get out there and don’t be shy about getting onto other forums, reddits, Books of Faces, Tweeterspaces, and whatever else you can think of. We’re old and boring, so we probably don’t know all of the wonderful ways to get in touch with people on the interwebs today. Of course, be polite, and don’t be spammy. Your opinions and enthusiasm as supporters will speak far more loudly than ours as developers.

Someone has already commented on the BaseBuildingGames subreddit, so feel free to drop in there and join in the conversation.

Carl ponders whether the sensor table would make for a great carrier landing.
Carl ponders whether the sensor table would make for a great carrier landing.

 We’ll also be looking for a few of you to run the trailer by as test audiences so we’re sure we’ve gotten things right before posting it. If you’re interested in giving us your opinion about the trailer, sign up in the comment section. We won’t be able to take everyone because of the limited time at our disposal, but we’ll be grateful for your offers.

Activate Homing Beacons: Calling All Spacers

 A quick update on our work this week:

Daniel and Max have been been tackling the prep for the Kickstarter, working on the trailer, and the project introduction video, among other things.

Dave has been tackling more procedural design matters than you can shake a stick at, while Adam has busily been developing the tools we need to get the most out of our trailer work.

We have also been working with our friends over at Orb Soundwerx to create a wonderfully original track of trailer music.

It’s been a week since we announced our imminent return to Kickstarter on April 25th. We’re energized by the support you’ve shown us thus far.

But we can’t do this alone. The best ideas in the world still need champions to draw backers’ attentions to crowdfunded projects. In fact, 80% of all games released on steam were published after we ran our first Kickstarter.

 Steamspy’s stats show that 80% of all games on Steam have been released in 2014 or after. Source: Steamspy

We’ll need your help to sound the clarion call and let the world know about Astrobase Command’s return on Kickstarter.

How can you best help right now? Let your friends and family know about the campaign. Turn them into our champions, the super-fans that will be needed to launch the Kickstarter.

Also, make sure you join in the conversation at the Kickstarter Command Center in our forums. We love to hear your ideas and will probably bounce a few of our own off of you.

Working as one, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish!

Important News: Kickstarter Relaunch Coming April 25th

Hello everyone. We have some good news: we’ll be launching a new Astrobase Command Kickstarter on April 25th.

Since this page stays recorded for ever, we’ll be launching it on a brand new Kickstarter page. More information will follow.

In the meantime, you can take a moment to read up on our recent press release: http://astrobasecommand.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/AstrobaseCommand_Kickstarter2017_PressRelease.pdf

Keep track of all the latest developments and join the community at http://www.astrobasecommand.com

State of the Studio: 2017 Edition

If you followed our blog circa 2013, you’ll remember we used it for many other things besides weekly development updates. We tackled issues about our industry, game design, and running a small game studio. We scaled back on these after a while because they detracted from our progress on Astrobase Command. However, we lost a chance to connect with you on a personal level in the process. We’d like to get back to that.

With that in mind, this week’s post is going to be a little different. Consider this our State of the Studio: 2017 Edition. For those who are new to our corner of the Internet, however, let me catch you up.

 

Once Upon a Time

In classic indie fashion, when Dave and I started working together on Astrobase Command in 2013, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. He spoke of space stations getting invaded by mystery aliens, crew members coming back from expeditions with spider-bears bursting out of their chests. He spoke of pulling players into their very own episodes of Star Trek. I was in right away.

We had never worked together and were tackling this largely in our spare time. We aimed to put together a Kickstarter campaign with an accompanying gameplay prototype in 3 months, 6 at the most. It would provide a great trial period for the team and if we successfully funded the game, we’d have the upfront capital to confidently blast through development full-time. If it failed to fund, we’d just go our separate ways, richer in experience, until the next opportunity came along.

Theory, Meet Reality

Oh, what an exciting, naive time! It ended up taking us 11 months to launch our Kickstarter campaign. From losing our artist to having to build our trailer ourselves (hours of Dave screaming at Windows Movie Maker mysteriously wrecking his Windows install), it pushed our campaign launch window into the Holiday period. This will always stay high in our Billboard List of Bad Ideas. But with a reduced team working way outside their comfort zone, we were burnt out and desperate to see our work pay off.

While that campaign was unsuccesful, a few pretty great things happened: we met Max Shields, now the team’s producer/vector artist/designer/enforcer after he backed us on Kickstarter for a whopping 8000$ (still can’t get over that! Love you Max!) and we got greenlit on Steam in a week and a half. Now, those familiar with Greenlight today may not find that particularly impressive. But at the time, it was common for quality games to sit in Greenlight for months without any guarantee of getting through.

I Can’t Ship a Game Without Money? Here, Hold my Beer

With an outpouring of love from the most dedicated Kickstarter backers and this vote of confidence on Greenlight, we found ourselves presented with an unexpected third scenario: figure out a way to bring this game to life without a wad of money upfront. As you may have surmised from reading this post a little more than 3 years later, that was the road we took.

But as the trash fire that was my attempt at modeling assets for the Kickstarter gameplay footage clearly demonstrated, we needed an artist badly. We needed someone who wasn’t afraid of taking a leap of faith, someone who had the experience and skill to define and deliver a unique artistic vision and make this game shine. Luckily, in early 2014, we found Daniel. Since then, he has shattered even our most optimistic expectations for the visuals of the game. I don’t think we could’ve gotten this far without him.

Even though we threw every spare moment at working on the game, it eventually became obvious that this was a much larger project than we initially believed. To fully realize our vision would require the kind of innovation that made our player selves weepy, but also made our project manager selves (admittedly the shyest voice in our heads) want to jump off a cliff. We’d need to be in a position to dedicate ourselves to it full-time.

We gradually made the switch and survived on savings and the belief of our partners. It was then that the game we were playing became obvious: a resource management game where the resources are Money and Time. Making games is expensive and our money didn’t take us very far before we needed more of it. As a result, from that moment and up to today, we have been splitting our time between development on ABC and doing consulting work for other game studios to pay our bills.

Plot Twist

This approach has made us self-sufficient enough to go down the rabbit holes of innovation and technically sophisticated art styles. But it has also stretched out our schedule immensely and made us reconsider an alternate approach that many of you recommended to us in the past: a second crowdfunding campaign.

We learned a great deal from the previous campaign and have completed most of a solid alpha version of the game. This means a few important things: we can show a lot more of the game to prospective backers (and it’s a hell of a lot prettier than last time), the funds from the campaign would allow us to wrap up the alpha build much more quickly and potentially give backers early access, and we need a lot less money now we’re most of the way there.

Obviously, we also learned how much effort goes into a solid campaign. That’s why we need to hear from you:

Would your support a second kick at the can? Is there anything you’d like to do to help? Are we overlooking any other options? Share your thoughts on the forums, Facebook, Twitter and share your hearts out if you know anyone that would enjoy running an Astrobase one of these days!