Interview – Space Bear Devlopment

I recently came upon Space Bear Development’s Galaxy Heist and was intrigued that someone else out there had the same thoughts I did about FPS space sims. Admittedly I felt frustrated too by the limitations of EVE Online. I always enjoyed the Wing Commander Privateer games but they were limited to a degree with station and ship exploration. Battlecruiser 3000AD was a game that I had hopes pinned on back in the mid 90s, but that was scuppered by Take Two and Gametek’s impatience. So to finally see an indie developer who wants to have this expansive FPS universe to play around in, and also allow you to bring your friends along for the ride, makes me go SQUEEE!!! a little bit. Sure I could try to compare this to Star Citizen from Chris Roberts but these are entirely two different games.

I contacted Ryan from Space Bear Development and asked if he would like to answer some questions on Galaxy Heist and his studio.

How did Space Bear Development get started? 

I started the game 2 years ago with a friend just brainstorming ideas and drawings things on paper.  It eventually turned into our final dissertation for University in London.  I did all the programming and he did all the modelling.  After that we showed it off at a little exhibition and it did really well so I kept designing it and tried to figure out how we could make it into a bigger game for a bigger audience.  That’s been going on for about the past year.

Who are the Space Bear Development team? 

Right now there is roughly 5-6 of us that work on it constantly.  There’s me, Ryan, the one who founded it.  Then my friend who helped me found it, Sam, doing some of the assets.  Two other programmers helping me build the game mechanics.  A concept artist, sound designer, a level designer, 3D asset modeller, and 3D character modeller.  Other people do bits of part-time work as needed such as VFX and animations.

What is Galaxy Heist and what is it about story wise? 

You can find lots of information on our website spacebeardev.com, including this nice little passage:

Galaxy Heist is an open world online game that takes place in space.  It aims to bring the world of skilled FPS matches and open world space simulation together so that players can fly in space and run around on each other’s ships in the most seamless way possible.  Not only that but players are able to board other players ships as well, for fun, or by force if the other players’ ship has been disabled.  Once on board players can take what they want, steal data from the computers, or just kill the opposing crew members for a bit of extra cash.

With it being an online game, how do you plan to set this apart from the multitude of other online FPS games?

Well there are lots of ways this game is different from every online FPS game.  The reason just depends on which FPS game you compare it too.  Something I haven’t seen much of is captaining a large space ship and then also having the ability to run around on said ship, and then attack and board someone else’s ship if you would like.  You can also take your friends on your ship for every stage of that process.

What was it that lead you to decide to create Galaxy Heist?

I was really frustrated with games like Eve where you could fly around but not run around inside your space ship as well.  If I had known then what I know now about game development and budgets I probably would’ve been more understanding but here we are 🙂

Will there be the option to land on a planet in first person, or land on a space station and explore in first person?

Planet? possibly in the future.  Space station? Yes, this is something I want to add before the final release of the game, I just need to figure out a way to work it into the game in a way that feels natural.  I’m thinking something along the lines of free for all or teamed up with whoever was on your ship when you docked, and then just have a giant abandon space station where people are trying to be the last to survive.

Would players be able to customise their ships? And will they get avatars that they can customise too?

Initially players can change a primary and secondary color of their ship.  The same applies for the character but we are also going to have things like hair and skin color customizable.  More detailed customization could be added in the future but it’s something takes a lot of time to set up, from the texture mapping option, programming, and new UI interfaces.  It doesn’t make sense to balloon our tiny budget for something like that.

What game or games have greatly influenced the creation of Galaxy Heist and why?

Well as I mentioned, playing games like Eve is what sparked my initial frustration.  Other games have had influence in indirect way such as the silliness of Chivalry and the matchmaking/levelling system of War Thunder. The show Firefly has had a pretty large influence as well.

When can we expect to see Galaxy heist available for play and what platforms will it be released on? 

Right now I’m focusing on PC and Mac but I’m also working with Microsoft to get a license for the Xbox One.  We plan on doing a Kickstarter at the end of the year where alpha play will be available for those who want to jump in right away.

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