Sydney-based indie game developers Scream Systems plan to use EB Expo in October as a launch point for their first game, Spaceberg. We talked to them a little about the game and why they're launching at EB Games.
Scream Systems is a small team of university students and web developers with a passion for game development. The entire five-person team has a love of multiplayer online battle arena games, citing League of Legends, Eve online and lower-profile games such as Fraxy and Starscape as influences. They all play DOTA, DOTA2 and LoL.
Their game, Spaceberg, has been in development for a little less than a year. The idea, says Stephanie Benz of Scream Systems, was to "take the elements of the MOBA genre that we liked (like the character upgrades and general 'laning' gameplay), and to combine them with a sci-fi setting and a greater degree of character control.
The game, for PC and Linux, is based around teams of fighter pilots trying to destroy an enemy base. As you capture structures you form a chain that links to the enemy hangar as well as earn resources that help you. Rather than a point-and-click control system, Scream Systems has opted for arcade-style movements and attack, with the aim to emphasise player skill. Projectiles in the game are physics-based, with recoil and the ability to push the player-pilot around. Spaceberg also has a full featured store and upgrade system, featuring more than 40 unique weapons and dozens of upgrades.
Spaceberg is Scream Systems first game and they signed up to EB Expo to give the game exposure and recruit beta players. They feel that there are relatively few events that Australian indie game developers can use to get face to face contact with their potential customers. They recognise the value in getting dedicated players on-board early, though, offering benefits for their beta testers.
"The open beta is launching in October at the EB Expo, so at that stage anyone will be able to play. Beta testers who contact us will be able to get early access to the beta a week or two before release, and will also receive an exclusive in-game skin," said Benz.
In the lead up to EB Games Expo, Scream Systems' plan is to increase awareness of the game. They've created a trailer, and they're just launched an Indiegogo project to try and raise the funds for a server. Crowdsourcing is one option that's open to anyone trying to raise awareness of a game and raise funds to make it successful.
"We are in the process of setting up Facebook advertising and ads on the ardor3D forums (the engine the game is built in). Other than that, we're a little light on the ground at the moment, but looking to expand into other gaming forums over the next week," says Benz, about their marketing efforts so far.
EB Expo offers them something it's hard to get as a small indie team: exposure to local gamers and potential beta players. It's been expensive for them and they're aware that a lot of younger development teams can't afford the few expos and events that are offered in Australia. Even so, they've felt it's vital to be a part of EB Expo. It's hard to gain visibility otherwise without sponsors.
"We would love to see more AAA developers sponsoring indies, and we'd like to see greater support for indie development at the big expos as well," said Benz.
"Our main goal here is to increase our visibility and build up a player base. We will be giving players a chance to try out the game. Other than that, it would be good to build up contacts with other indie developers, perhaps look towards collaboration on future projects."