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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Progress Update

Wow, hard to believe how much time has gone by since the last update. The time is moving fast because I'm working at full speed on the game and not stopping for much else! I'm getting closer to Alpha, but still have a good ways to go. I've finished several more levels since PAX. Here's a peek at some new screens:




A Very Huge Planet

I made a very surprising discovery the other day. On a whim I decided to compare the size of the Lifeless Planet world to Skyrim. Believe it or not (I had to check twice!), Lifeless Planet has more total land area than Skyrim. Now mind you, there is not nearly as much explorable area, and it's not an open world game, etc. But still--wow. Every now and then a little tidbit like this makes me realize what a huge undertaking I have...undertook! Thankfully, I'm closer to the end than the beginning. Maybe more thankfully, it's actually coming together nicely.

...And a Bunch of Code

On another whim recently I decided to share all my code with you. Sort of. I pulled together thumbnails from every script I've created (or in some cases, modified) for the game to-date. I'm not really bragging here--I'm primarily an artist/designer and I know that many games--indies included--have way more code than you see here. I just thought you might like to see a unique presentation of some of the content I've produced so far. Usually I just share video or screenshots, but of course the code behind the game is just as critical as the art, sound, and music.


More Updates Coming

So that's it for now, but I'm going to try to not let so much time go between posts. I keep thinking I'll get to Alpha and that will be a good time to update everybody. But really I need to pop by here a little more often and I hereby promise to do so. I've got all kinds of cool new stuff to share, and there's lots more right around the corner...thanks for checking out Lifeless Planet!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Gameplay Trailer Released for PAX

I've just released a new gameplay trailer which highlights some of the game’s puzzle elements as well as the interaction between the player and “Aelita,” the mysterious female character encountered by the game’s astronaut protagonist. Aelita helps guide the player across the vast alien planet via the strange green tracks she leaves behind, and later in the game through direct interaction with the player.

The new trailer is online now—view it at the top of this page.

PAX Prime


I'm just about set for PAX this weekend. Tons of work prepping and getting things ready for the big show. For those of you who might not know, PAX Prime is a major gaming festival held annually in Seattle and sees attendance of over 70,000.

As mentioned before, we will be exhibiting Lifeless Planet in the Kickstarter Arcade room at PAX.


Exhibiting at PAX will mean huge exposure for Lifeless Planet. I’m delighted that Kickstarter chose to include us in their official exhibit space. PAX exhibit booths sold out almost overnight, and I wouldn’t have been able to exhibit without their generosity.

The Kickstarter people put together a video promoting their space and there's a couple quick Lifeless Planet scenes in the video too:

http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/kickstarter-heads-to-pax-prime-2012 

Oh, and I've posted some new screens to the screenshot gallery. Check 'em out on the left side of this page!

-Dave

Friday, July 27, 2012

August is Event Month for Lifeless Planet

Hello, fellow space travelers! Just wanted to give you a quick update about some upcoming appearances for Lifeless Planet. August is shaping up to be "Event Month" for Lifeless Planet. Early previews of the game will be shown in Australia, Germany and Seattle, Washington.

Lunarcade / Sydney, Australia / August 3-9
First up is Lunarcade, an indie game festival of sorts. It will be held at the Serial Space "gallery" (which I put in quotes because they actually call themselves a "collective...dedicated to providing a platform and space for time-based art forms"). I won't be at this event, but a revised version of the first Kickstarter test level will be on display.

gamescom / Cologne, Germany / August 16-19
Now this one is big, and while I won't be there in person either, my publisher will be (Lace Mamba Global) and they tell me Lifeless Planet will be their big feature hit. I'm working hard to get an early demo (the first few levels of the game) ready for press showings. I've made a lot of headway and really like how it's shaping up. Hopefully a few of my European backers can attend this event!

PAX Prime / Seattle, Washington, USA / August 31 - September 2
Another huge show, and I will be there in person! And so will Lifeless Planet. I hope to have nearly half the game in Alpha stage by then, with lots of new gameplay footage, screens, etc. Will also have some Lifeless Planet swag, so if you're one of the lucky ones to have tickets, come by the Kickstarter room and say "hi!"

In other news, I've been a little slow to post updates lately, but that's because I'm still putting in crazy-long hours on game production. However, it's finally starting to pay off with real-live-progress...which I plan to reveal in the weeks ahead. Thanks, as always, for your support!

Take care,
Dave

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Composer Selected for Lifeless Planet Soundtrack

I'm happy to announce that independent composer and audio technician Rich Douglas will compose an original score for Lifeless Planet. Rich is an extremely talented musician and I couldn't be more excited to have him on board. I believe music needs to be a very powerful and integrated part of the Lifeless Planet experience, and Rich has already shown he's the guy to make it happen.

I hope we can release a teaser track soon, but in the meantime you can check out Rich's work at http://www.richdouglas.net/

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stage 2 Studios Signs Worldwide Publishing Deal with Lace Mamba Global for New Indie Video Game "Lifeless Planet"

PALMER, ALASKA — Stage 2 Studios, LLC today announced an agreement with UK-based adventure game publisher Lace Mamba Global for worldwide retail and digital distribution of “Lifeless Planet,” an upcoming action-adventure by David Board.

Lifeless Planet recently captured the attention of the gaming community through a successful crowd-funding campaign at Kickstarter.com which surpassed 200% of its funding goal. In addition, the game project garnered 625 pre-orders, making it the most popular action-adventure game of all time on Kickstarter.

“We’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the support this project has received.” Said Mr. Board. “Now with our publishing deal with Lace Mamba we’re pleased that so many more people will have access to this exciting and unique gaming experience.”

According to Board, “The goal of the game is to put the ‘adventure’ back into ‘action-adventure.’ When I began working on this project, I set out to produce a game that would capture a sense of excitement and discovery that I believe has been largely missing from gaming recently.”

Lifeless Planet is a third-person cinematic sci-fi action-adventure. The game is slated for release on PC and Mac by the end of 2012.

20 Light-Years From Earth...Russia is Winning the Space Race

Inspired by the recent discovery of possible Earth-like planets outside our solar system, Lifeless Planet will give players the chance to undertake a mission to one of these distant worlds. However, they will soon find the planet is not a “new Earth” but instead is a barren wasteland. Exploring the inhospitable world and searching for answers leads to an even more puzzling discovery: an abandoned Cold-War era Soviet laboratory. Is this really an extra-solar planet, or was this mission just a hoax?

Before the astronaut protagonist can uncover the truth, he finds himself struggling to survive in the face of a dark and deadly presence. When a mysterious young woman appears and saves his life, he must put aside his skepticism and follow her...or die!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LifelessPlanet

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LifelessPlanet

About Stage 2 Studios:

David Board is a partner at Stage 2 Studios which specializes in creating innovative media that inspires audiences and ignites growth. David is an experienced interactive designer and is passionate about finding unique ways to combine truly entertaining media with content that educates and inspires. Stage 2 is based near Anchorage, Alaska and has recently expanded to Denver, Colorado. The firm has earned a reputation for producing exciting and powerful video and interactive media for nonprofit and educational clients. Lifeless Planet is the first full video game title by the independent studio.  www.stage2studios.com

About Lace Mamba Global:

Lace Mamba Global Ltd. (LMG), one of the UK's leading independent computer and video game publishers, is a partnership between Mamba Games and the UK's leading DVD distribution company, Lace Group. With a solid distribution network throughout the world and specializing in releases in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Benelux countries, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and various countries in the Gulf region, Lace Mamba Global is publishing games of all genres. Recent releases include the FPS Red Orchestra 2 – Heroes of Stalingrad, RTS games of the critically acclaimed Men of War series, Men of War: Assault Squad and Men of War: Vietnam, and the independently developed platforming smash hit Super Meat Boy. Lace Mamba Global is one of the leading publishers of adventure games with already released or upcoming genre highlights such as Tales of Monkey Island™, Gray Matter, The Book of Unwritten Tales, Black Mirror 2 and 3 and A New Beginning. Lace Mamba Global furthermore specializes in publishing unique, extensive special and collector’s editions to support retail releases. Lace Mamba Global is the ideal partner for independent developers that want their product delivered to a worldwide audience both in retail and digital form. www.lace-mamba.co.uk

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Facebook Page and Twitter Feed

Hi again! Just wanted to note we have a new Lifeless Planet Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/LifelessPlanet

And you can now follow us on Twitter as well:

https://twitter.com/#!/LifelessPlanet

Progress Update

Been a while since I've posted so thought I'd update everyone on progress. This past month was extremely productive and last weekend I was able to get a private/exclusive test level out to my Kickstarter beta-testers. This is technically not a beta in the strict sense as we're really pre-alpha still (alpha in game-industry-speak means the game is playable start to finish, but without polish or refinements...beta means we think it's basically done and just need to check for errors). The test level includes many/most major gameplay elements as well as a first look at some of the visuals. There are many improvements to come, but it was time to get some feedback from others.

This was a scary but exciting moment...as an artist/designer it's always tough to put your work out there for criticism. However, the comments have been very constructive. I'm extremely glad for the Kickstarter project for this reason: it's allowing me to connect with and get feedback from real live gamers. This is invaluable information as I dig deep into the remaining levels.

After working on the same "red" level for so long, I'm excited to be turning to some of the other settings. I'm shooting for diversity in terms of the environments so hopefully soon I'll be able to share some new screens showing off some of the other areas.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Robotic Arm, Beta Status Update, and a Publisher

Robotic Arm

In the last update I mentioned adding a new "tool" for the astronaut. Well, here it is: a mobile robotic arm attachment (seen here lifting a small rock):




When the arm is deployed, the player goes into first-person view and the movement controls are then used to manipulate the arm. The device will have several functions in the game, especially in regards to solving puzzles that require reaching up high...

There is also a "Claw-Cam" mode that allows the user to get a closer view of the object they are interacting with:



The addition of the robotic arm came from my desire to add some depth to the puzzles and to give the astronaut a few more "tricks" than he would otherwise have at his disposal. The astronaut is not capable of the gymnastic moves of say a Laura Croft or Nathan Drake (it wouldn't make sense). But with his jet-pack, and now the robotic arm, I think there is a well-balanced and unique set of gameplay mechanics for the player character.

New Beta Goal: By End of February

As I'm writing this on the last day of January I can safely say we've missed the target release for the beta. However, the last two weeks have been extremely productive and I expect to share an early build of the "beta test level" in the next few weeks. There's still a good bit I need to do to get there, but my workflow and productivity has improved greatly (I'm not just learning game design but also the process of developing such a large project).

Some of the things I've accomplished since the last update include adding a new third-person camera rig (so you can control the camera angle with the mouse), adding a headlamp function, setting up rag-doll physics for deaths, and adjusting the jet-pack functionality. I've also updated the astronaut model by making him a bit less chubby and a little more realistic. Believe it or not, he only had three fingers and a thumb in the trailer! (Early designs for the game were a bit more arcade-like, and I simply hadn't gone back and updated the model to reflect the more realistic flavor the game had evolved.) Finally, as you can see from the robotic arm photos above, I've got Aelita animated and navigating her way around the test level.

Lifeless Planet has a Publisher!

Oh yeah, and last week Stage 2 Studios signed a worldwide publishing deal with Lace Mamba Global. This means Lifeless Planet will be showing up in boxed form on retail shelves across Europe, Australia, and hopefully the US! This is a huge development for the game as it means more resources to make a more polished game (but don't worry, I'm still indie, and I haven't sold ownership of the project). I'll have a more formal announcement on this soon.

Figurine

I finally received one of the figurines yesterday and it looks great!



The photo really doesn't do it justice...holding this in your hand is quite amazing. It's a cool world we live in to think you can email someone a 3D model and they "print" a real, tangible object like this. In fact, I think I'm going to offer these for sale at some point...so if you didn't pledge for one you may still get your hands on a figurine.

Studio Mascots

Sitting in front of the computer for hours on end is not good for your health. Thankfully we have a couple of interrupters who make sure I take occasional breaks to play fetch. Meet Neptune and Panda, our adopted blue-eyed Husky/Rottweiler pups from the Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Screenshot

Hi guys! Just a quick update with a new screenshot. I think it shows how the addition of a relatively simple model can add interest to an area:


Progress Update

I'm working hard to bring in most of the game's features to the beta level. Yesterday was a good day as I had been hoping to add a new gameplay element, but wasn't certain how to pull it off or if it would be worth the effort. Well, after a bit of hacking it works! Essentially I've given the astronaut a new...tool. This item will be used to solve several puzzles in the game. I want to share the details here, but I think instead I'll try to post a gameplay video in a couple weeks...

The Weather at Stage 2 Studios, Alaska

Thought I'd share a little trivia about our humble studio. We're located near Anchorage, Alaska and winter is in full swing here. We've had several feet of snow this season. And while we're not above the Arctic Circle, it still gets very dark in the winter. Here's a photo I took looking down my street at noon (as in midday). It's not always this dark, but on this day it was cloudy and the sun had just peeked over the big mountains to the south:


Cheers,
Dave