Hello readers! This is Ana (the producer) and Tomas (the designer) from FluffyLogic. We’re a digital media development studio based in Bristol, UK. The home of trip-hop, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and John Cabot who set sail and discovered America in 1497 (Though I don’t think the Native Americans had reported it lost…) bubum…
For the last few months we’ve been hard at work on our take on the Tower Defense genre. Although here in the UK we spell it ‘defence’ ;-). If you’ve not played any tower defence games, you’re missing out. They are a great off-shoot of real-time strategy games where the player can only build static defences and the enemy is the one on the move. Our art director, Stuart, introduced us to a few of the games on the net and needless to say, work around the office dropped to zero as we got hooked. At the time we had been given a couple of PS3 development kits by Sony to play around with and we thought, “Wow, we’d love to do our own take on this.” We threw around a few ideas then went up to see Sony and surprisingly enough, it turned out that they had been thinking exactly the same thing. Thus Savage Moon, our first game for the PS3, was born. It is due for release on the PlayStation Network store this week for $9.99…we’re very excited.
First off we wanted to give the game a bit of a story. All the tower defence games we’d played on the net were pretty abstract, but we wanted to give the player a sense of purpose and threat. I am a fan of Harry Harrison’s Death World books and have always been fascinated by the idea of a whole eco-system turned against you…so we thought this would be a good way to go. Tomas and I decided to make this the basic premise of the game — humans have landed on an asteroid to mine valuable minerals from it, however as they burrow into the ground, the sentient rock produces its own auto-immune response, much in the same way that the human body produces white-blood cells in response to an infection. Except here, the response is in the form of massive chitinous armoured bugs! (Or Insectocytes as we call them).
In terms of the style of the game – given that we had decided on massive insects – it almost went without saying…we were hugely inspired by ‘Starship Troopers‘ which has been a firm film favourite for years. I especially like the different types of bugs that appeared and this inspired us in the range of different creatures that appear in our game. In keeping with the xeno-biological theme, the Insectocytes evolve throughout the game, with each wave becoming tougher, and the creatures mutating into new forms to meet the human threat.
In response to this, the player needs to research and deploy new forms of technology to meet the escalation of bug toughness. The strategy of the game is a mix of open and directed levels — in some levels the player can place towers to herd the Insectocytes into their cross-fire. In other levels the landscape defines the battlefield and the player must use their abilities to respond to this. The challenge, like your enemies, evolves. The Insectocytes will always protect the place they spawn by seeking out and destroying your mining base. If your mining base takes too much damage, it’s game over. The Insectocytes are strong but not too smart; you need to match your strategy/puzzle-solving skills against their armour (but you also have some serious fire-power on your side!)
So what types of creature will you face? We’re not going to give them all away but some crawl, some run, some bite and some shoot. Here’s a taster:
Above is a ‘soldier’ Insectocyte. They are pretty fast, tough and have powerful mandibles with which to deliver bone-crushing bites. These form the backbone of the sentient asteroid’s defences. They come in a variety of sizes and colours but they all have just one aim — to remove the infection that is humanity…
So what do you get to use? As the commander of the defences, you have the ability to call in orbital drop-pods, each of which lands a fully functional military tower. Towers come in two types; attack towers (that impact the enemy) and support towers (that help the attack towers). Key to success in the game is the use of the right tower at the right time and in the right places to stop the waves of Insectocytes. Here’s an example:
This is a machine-gun tower. As you upgrade this tower, it goes through five levels of offensive power you can deploy. The idea is that as your enemy evolves, you can upgrade your towers to match. Different towers upgrade in different ways – some get an increase in damage, other an increase in the range they can reach, and sometimes upgrades give you a bit of both. As the commander, you will get a feel for the best way to use upgrading pretty fast.
We hope this whets your appetite for some strategy-action on your PS3. As we said, the game is out tomorrow as a direct download via the PSN store for $9.99.
The music and sound in the game is one area we would particularly like to mention. For this we hired a local electronic music producer we knew and had worked with before. He is well known in the breakcore scene and plays under the name Parasite. He gave the game audio the sense of menace we felt it needed.