Space games have come back in vogue in recent years, and one of the funnest parts of any spacefaring romp is customizing your ship. Australian indie game Defect ran a Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year and if the fan response to the campaign is any indication, people are excited about the ship customization on offer here. We caught up with Drew Morrow, the artist and designer on the game, at PAX Australia and had a chat to him about the game.
Fergus: So how would you describe Defect to people?
Drew: Defect is a game of building a ship, completing a mission and then when you complete the objective in that mission your crew will mutiny and you’ll have to go back to the shipyard to build another ship to hunt them down.
Fergus: Can you tell us a little about the setting in which the game takes place?
Drew: You’re sent to the planet Asbestos by the SSM – they’re sort of like the Navy in this universe. Your crew – there’s big hiring problems in the future – were all recruited straight out of prison and that’s why as soon as you defeat all the enemies in a system, they decide “we’re taking the ship and getting out of here”.
Fergus: How expensive are the ship-creation options in this game? Other games have done ship creation in interesting and satisfying ways, how does Defect take this further?
Drew: There’s almost no limit to what you can build with Defect. There’s no clipping pieces together in certain ways. You can make everything rotated or scaled in whichever way you want. There’s more than 200 ship components so far, so you’ve got a lot of choice in terms of shape and sizes. If you can think of a named ship in science fiction films or TV from the last fifty years, you can probably build it inside Defect.
Fergus: Can you talk to us about the dynamic music system in the game?
Drew: The dynamic music system is pretty interesting. Every part of your ship, each of the 200 ship components I mentioned has its own little musical loop on it. So as you’re building your ship, you’re building the soundtrack for it. And then when you’re in the mission, [it changes]. If you’re near death the music will change to be more tense and then when you’re near victory it will become a little more victorious.
Fergus: You raised money for the game on Kickstarter. Were there any stretch goals you were disappointed you didn’t hit?
Drew: There definitely were some stretch goals we would have liked to get to. And I still want to do them anyway. It’s just going to be a long time before we get around to them. We had a lot of chapters of content and extra components we wanted to do – but we’ll keep on working on that anyway I think.
Fergus: Do you have any thoughts on the state of Kickstarter and whether or not it remains a viable funding platform for indie devs or if bigger stuff like Shenmue 3 or Bloodstained is squeezing them out?
Drew: To some extent. The big projects are there now, but I think Kickstarter still does what it set out to do. If you want to go and get $10,000 for your project, Kickstarter is still excellent for that. But you really need a big name with you if you want to be one of the $3 million dollar projects.
Fergus: How much depth and strategy does the game’s combat system feature?
Drew: It’s kinda up to the player how much strategy is involved. We kinda wanted to trick the player in some ways in that at certain points we give players a really cheap powerful weapon and they’ll use it to trap themselves in a scenario they can’t defeat.
Fergus: How’s the progress of development at present? When can we expect to get our hands on Defect?
Drew: We’re actually on Steam doing early access for our Kickstarter backers at the moment and we’ll be doing early access for everybody in about a month – so the end of November. And the real release will be May next year. And we’re releasing that on everything – you’ll be able to play on your android or iPad or whatever.