Show And Tell: Lunar Flight

Welcome to Show and Tell, a Kotaku regular where we speak to indie developers and game students about the cool projects they're working on. Today we have Sean Edwards, the developer behind Lunar Flight. Having worked at some of Australia's biggest development studios, Sean is now an indie with a game to show for it!

Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about your studio? Hi my name is Sean Edwards and I’m an Australian indie game developer. I spent over 10 years working for Australian Studios like Ratbag Games, Pandemic Studios, Krome Studios & KMMG as a Level and Games Designer.

My studio, if you could call it that, is really only me at the moment. I started to develop my indie project after Krome Studios closed its doors. During my time off, before starting a contract at KMMG, I began what was to become Lunar Flight.

The only other part-time team member is my good friend Jason Poots, who is responsible for the amazing ambient music tracks and many of the models in the game. I do pretty much everything, programming, art, design, sound, web, marketing etc. I’ve been working on it at home after my day job as a programmer working on a mining training simulator, one of those ‘serious games’ projects.

What game are you working on at the moment? As mentioned, the game I have been working on since October 2010 is Lunar Flight. Lunar Flight is a modern take on the classic arcade game, Lunar Lander. While they share a common fuel and physics based core mechanic, Lunar Flight extends the experience to a variety of mission types.

The missions involve transporting cargo, acquiring data at survey locations and locating lost cargo. Completing missions earns both experience points and money to be used to refuel, repair and upgrade the Lunar Module. In addition to missions there are time trial challenges complete with online leader boards. There is also a Global ‘Pilots’ leaderboard which is ranked by experience.

To round out the game there are a variety of achievements to provide additional challenges and objectives.

The game features very atmospheric sound and visuals, creating a very immersive experience and is designed to engage the player’s senses as well as their appreciation for realistic physics. Fans of space flight will be pleased to know that it futures proper Newtonian physics behaviour and will provide one of the most authentic and dynamic space based, low gravity flight experiences they can have. While being simulation oriented it is also designed to be accessible and fun and supports the XBox 360 controller by default but can be configured with almost any controller setup

Where and when can we play?

By making a donation on my website of $5 US or more you will get access to all the latest builds as well the final game when it is finished. I am currently looking at a variety of digital distribution options and have had discussions with some publishers.

The final game will sell for $10 US and will hopefully be available first quarter of 2012.

What’s next for your studio -- any big plans? If Lunar Flight is moderately successful enough, I hope to be able to invest some of it into contracting a larger team to tackle bigger projects with a proper budget.

I have been approached by a large publisher to do a port of Lunar Flight for mobile devices but have not pursued that until the PC version ships.

Any words of advice for those who want to get into the games industry?

The chance of the large AAA, 100+ employee studios of the past re-emerging in Australia is pretty unlikely. Unless you are prepared to move overseas particularly Canada then you will need to be prepared to try all the other alternatives.

I’m a firm believer that if you have the talent, passion and drive to be successful, you will be. But you must stay focused and keep your eye on the target. Be true to yourself when conceiving ideas, make things that you find fun and execute well on them. Beware of those team members who are only interested in making money and will push you to create another Tower Defense, Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja clone. If you are going to try your hand at indie development you need to do something different to get noticed.

The money will come when you deliver... it’s as simple as that. Keep your scope manageable, don’t envision something that is beyond your capacity to produce; focus on your core experience.

Also, don’t ignore the PC!... Don’t ignore the PC! I say that twice because in all honesty the margins on Steam and the market size dwarfs just about everything else and you will be the masters of your own destiny. But everyone else will say you should be making iOS/Android stuff. Love what you do, anything made with love is usually good, just ask your mum...

Are you an indie dev with a cool project you'd like to show off? Whether you've just finished it or are only half-way there, get in touch with us and we might feature it on Kotaku! Just send us an email with "SHOW AND TELL" in the subject line!


Comments

    I love the possibilities of this game... Looks fantastic... Mix in a bit of the soundtrack from the movie 'Moon' = Awesome

    GC

    There was a Shuttle game over a decade ago for PC.. great "idea" but it was way too simulation based for even someone who enjoys simulators. There were just too many buttons and switches to push and flip before you could take off and then throughout the flight, it was all just too realistic. I like the idea of flying the shuttle but hoping that this developer can bridge the gap as per their comments about keeping it accessible.

    Looks good. Loved moon. Never considered playing a space flight sim. Though enjoyed X3. Although the controls were crap :P

    No builds available to download and try? I know he wants to drum up donations, but you don't do that by not letting people check it out. Look at the example of Kerbal Space Program, they let people download Alpha builds, but are going to start requiring a donation when the game gets into Beta. That way people know what they're donating for, and whether it has fun potential for them.

      Aleron: a demo build would definitely be useful, none the less I have reached my donation target and exceeded it. I beg to differ with your opinion that you have to give things away for free. All you need to do is provide enough media to give people an impression. It also helps to have something that validates the experience. For example Lunar Flight has been positively previewed on Sim HQ which is highly respected among simulation communities. People who are interested would seek more information before taking the plunge to donate. People donate for different reasons and they are not often selfish "I am only giving you money because I want the game" people see the direction you are headed and want to support it. To make another comparison people quite happily pre-order games based on trailers and other information they learn about a game, why should that be any different for indies?

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