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Starblitzer Kickstarter Postmortem

posted Mar 16, 2015, 8:21 PM by Attic Space Games
If you've been following the Kickstarter, you'll have noticed that we didn't make our funding goal for Starblitzer.

As the Kickstarter was going, I started to collect more feedback from people about the game. I had been collecting feedback before, but I got a lot of new critiques of the game. These critiques could be summarized as:

Starblitzer needs something.

Something to make it stand out. I realized(or rather, I had to be told) we were making a game in a niche market that was already saturated with games just like it. It needed a "unique selling point" to really thrive.

Starblitzer started as a simple idea: What if these shooters like Galaga and Gradius had an upgrade system that also acted as health, like Sonic's rings.

In Sonic, if you get hit by an enemy or land on spikes you lose all your rings. Galaga had a similar mechanic where the Galaga Boss can use a tractor beam to capture the player's fighter. You can rescue this fighter, and it can act as an upgrade(like the "ghost ships" in Starblitzer). You can get hit one additional time while you have the rescued fighter, and it fires bullets with you.

So Starblitzer used this as inspiration for the core of the gameplay: rather than sacrifice a life, which always made the Rescue Fighter a non-option for me, you sacrifice your upgrades.

Once I added the first four enemies AI, the game really started to take shape.

But it still needed something. Something New. Something Cool.

I realized I'm not really sure what to do with Starblitzer.

On the one hand, I've been designing it for a marketplace where simple is preferred. Mobile gamers play games while they are waiting at the doctors office or getting their coffee at the coffee shop, or while waiting to board a plane, on the bus ride home, etc. It seems unintuitive to me to design a deep and intense game to be played for 5 minutes at a time. In that respect, Starblitzer is working well. You can play it for 5-10 minutes, get a score, and come back later to try and beat that score. I've played many iPhone games that are similarly simple, and have had fun playing them.

On the other hand, releasing it in the state that it's in gameplay-wise with more enemies and AI would not be satisfying. As it is, it's not what I would want of a space shooter, it definitely needs that something. I supposed I've always envisioned Starblitzer as an Arcade game, and the arcades of today seem to be in our pockets. But the thing about arcade games is that you go someplace for the purpose of playing a game. Mobile games are generally something to do when there is nothing else to do. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of the mobile game. But Starblitzer is not deep, intense, or difficult enough to be compared to an "Arcade Classic" and really just not appealing enough to be a "distraction" type mobile title.

I've been working on Starblitzer for a while now, due to other projects piling up and various hardware breakdowns, along with a full engine change. I'm too far deep in the game to really see what the something is that it needs.

Therefore, we've decided to delay Starblitzer, and put it on the back burner for a bit. We've got a lot of other ideas that we will be working on first, and maybe by focusing on other things we'll have a revelation of what that something will be.

Starblitzer will return when its ready.