Daniel Maslovský from Craneballs was kind enough to shoot the shit with us about their new game, Planet Nomads, currently on Kickstarter.
“Planet Nomads is a sandbox game of survival through building. As a lone scientist crash-landing on a beautiful, but unforgiving alien planet, your wit and craftiness will determine your fate in the upcoming days. Salvage all you can from the shipwreck and build something useful. Shelter for protection against the elements and curious creatures. Vehicles expand your reach. When you’ve covered your basic survival needs, start a journey towards those strange monuments shining on the horizon, explore the lairs of unknown beasts and discover places with rare materials. All in the pursuit of building a spaceship that will take you to other planets.”
XP4T: What made you choose Kickstarter to fund your game?
Daniel: Kickstarter offered everything we needed. In a very short time, it brought Planet Nomads in front of potential players, helped us better understand what they want from a game like this and measured interest in the game. The positive reactions, the amount of backers and funds confirmed our high hopes. Too early to make conclusions and big decisions about team assignments in Craneballs, but we are energized to keep putting resources into Planet Nomads. It also provided us with quality alpha players. People willing to pay to have the early experience have a vested interest. They will want Planet Nomads to become a great game as much as we do.
XP4T: How has the Kickstarter experience influenced the direction of the game so far?
Daniel: It mostly confirmed we’re on the right track, as players’ suggestions overlap with our vision. However, we did learn that multiplayer and modding is not just important, they are a must. The direction of the game will mostly be influenced when Alpha-Tier backers get to play the first build and discussions shift from abstract to specifics.
XP4T: Tell us a little bit about Craneballs. How long have you been collaborating together, and how did you get started?
Daniel: Founded eight years ago by three friends who wanted to move from web design to something more creative. They jumped the Appstore train at its beginning, cut out cardboard the size of an iPhone and designed Blimp, a platformer in which Zed Pelin transports goods and passengers around in his airship. When Overkill came out in 2011, everything changed. We moved to new offices and quickly grew to today’s 20 people. With the exception of a few fresh additions, the majority of today’s team has been working together since 2012. With every new mobile game, our skills, know-how and ambitions grew. We wanted to create something outside the typical mobile game constraints where you aim for short bursts of gameplay.
XP4T: Tell our readers more about the building part of the game, as it seems it could be one of the strongest points of the game.
Daniel: Building is being given a lot of thought. We started with bigger blocks at first, prefabs of sorts, they looked nice because you can get them more detailed, but this system limits creativity and the possibilities of what can be created. So ultimately we switched to blocks. A large choice of geometric shapes, skelets, pipings, interior and utility pieces. There are over hundred of them In the Editor, and players will clearly understand the possibilities by downloading the Editor, exploring community templates we’ve added and most of all building something of their own. They will find building In Planet Nomads closely resembles childhood Lego times. You can build vehicles, flyers, bases and given how creative people get, even useful contraptions. Your readers can join a base building competition with Kickstarter physical add-ons as prizes. Details can be found in this Kickstarter’s Q&A video update. The competition will run until the Kickstarter campaign ends.
XP4T: What types of creatures will players be likely to find in Planet Nomads? Will we be communicating with sentient beings?
Daniel: They will encounter peaceful herding animals, who have their natural predators, and the predators may also enjoy feasting on the players when hunger calls. There will be creatures attracted by light, night-hunters fearing the light and aliens who absorb light creating dreadful situations for players. We have been sketching specific animals, modeling the first ones, but we are not 100% satisfied with the style yet. That’s why you haven’t seen that many yet. Some of the animals in the making include armored ape-like creature, acid-filled underground maggot, and a cricket propelled by chemical “afterburner”. Sentient beings are nowhere on the list, so most communication will be done by observing, and then either running away or making use of.
XP4T: Could you also tell us a little bit more about hunting and crafting in Planet Nomads? What would be the main purposes of those activities?
Daniel: You’ll be hunting animals for food, and also for their “insides”, which will serve as unique materials for building. They will mainly be chemical components allowing for advanced tier materials, providing fuel for generators and thrusters. In crafting, they will be used for making health-replenishers, adrenaline shots and possibly other character-ability boosting substances, but these will be decided together with alpha-tier players, as we don’t want to overdo the crafting part.