Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Q&A with Space Pirates and Zombies Developer

Yesterday I posted a look at the new game, Space Pirates and Zombies.  The developers of the game were kind enough to answer some questions.  If you like space games in the same vein as Starflight and Star Control 2, you should definitely check this one out.  Continue on for the Q&A.

1. When I first played the game, Starflight and Escape Velocity immediately came to mind. How would you describe the game to people not familiar with the genre?

SPAZ is a top down space action RPG. You can pilot any one of your customized ships, engaging in total physics based combat. You trek around an open world galaxy, collecting resources, taking on missions, building your fleet, upgrading technologies, and wreaking havoc as you see fit.

2. How many ships can the player obtain and do you have any favorites?

Toward the end of the game you can pilot up to 4 ships. If I had to pick a favourite ship, it would have to with the Mule. It was one of the first ships we created and it’s very iconic.

3. When in a star system, you can fight for or against a faction. What effects does that have for a player?

Faction relationships factor into several different systems. The events and missions you participate in are driven by faction relationships. If one faction likes you, you’ll tend to see more missions coming from them, as well as trade opportunities. If a faction hates you, you can expect to be attacked and harassed by them regularity. Faction relations can be manipulated through bribery, mission rewards, ship destruction, and more.

Each star system has an independent faction relationship with the player. This means you can enrage a faction in one star system, but the neighbours don’t know about it. This allow you to be quite a bit of a jerk if you so choose.

4. Half of the games title is Zombies, so what are they all about in the game?

Zombies become a real force to be reckoned with in the second half of the game. As you play SPAZ, the gameplay evolves from chapter to chapter. At their core, zombies are similar to the Borg. A single zombie can invade a ship and begin killing crew to convert them into more zombies.

Eventually, If the crew are not able to fight off the zombie menace, the ship itself will become infected and morph into a zombie counterpart of the original ship. This works as a gameplay mechanic because it allows us to have the user fight their own creations.

These zombified ships we call killers. Their purpose is to simply blow stuff up and infect the crew spewed from the wreckage. But something more nasty is growing on board the killers as they fly around wreaking havoc. You will notice eggs forming on the hulls of killers and dropping off as they reach maturity. These eggs house breeders.

These breeder eggs eventually form a minefield encompassing the entire gameplay instance. Over time, or if poked by gunfire, eggs will hatch and unleash breeders. Breeders main purpose is to make more eggs, and disable ships so that they can be more easily infected. Breeders will not attack infected ships, instead they move from ship to ship to spread the infection as quickly as possible.

Zombies as a gameplay mechanic work similarly to what you see in any Zombie movie, in that on their own a single zombie is not really a big issue. If you leave zombies alone though, they get out of hand quickly and you will soon be overwhelmed.

By simply adding a few zombie eggs or ships to a standard mission, the dynamics of that mission change entirely and organically.

5. Technically, the game is still in Beta. What are your goals for the release version?

SPAZ is fully featured in its current state, but we want to add even more content and smooth out some of the rough patches.

You can already play the game from beginning to end. Our beta phase is to ensure we’ve tuned, and fixed up the game before an official release. Being a small company of two, we rely on our community to get involved and tell us what needs to be tuned and fixed. Beyond that, we plan to also add and expand our features, even after release.

6. Right now SPAZ is available on Impulse and runs on Windows. Are there any plans to make it available on Steam (or other Digital Distribution sites) and Mac/Linux?

Yes, we plan to release to BMT Micro, Gamers Gate, Direct2Drive, and several others in the following weeks. Steam is also a huge priority for us right now and we’re working on getting a contract signed ASAP.

There will be a Mac version of SPAZ, and a WINE emulated version is also currently in the works by one of our dedicated community members.

7. Are there any features that you would like to see added to SPAZ after release?

We definitely want to keep adding to SPAZ as we go. We currently have plants to add specialists you can add to your ships, as well as arena based combat events. Some of these features may come before or after release. Beyond that, the sky is the limit for SPAZ. We want to push SPAZ as far as we possibly can, and it’ll really come down to what our fans want to see in the future.

8. One feature I enjoy is the voice work you can hear in the background, there are some funny conversations going on. Are there any parts of the game you are particularly proud of?

It’s very difficult to pick just one, but I would have to say the ship destruction takes the cake. It’s just so awesome so see a huge ship crack in half, venting crewmen into space, leaving hulking wreckage lying around. It really is quite the spectacle.



You can purchase Space Pirates and Zombies on Impulse.