Searching for more up-and-coming developers showcasing exciting up-and-coming games, I discovered a space-based sandbox game in development called Avorion. Combining elements of titles such as Minecraft and EVE online, Avorion puts heavy emphasis on both sandbox building and combat, as players must build their own space stations, mine for resources, explore the open recesses of space, and defend themselves at all costs. Intrigued, I got in touch with the core developer of the game Konstantin Kronfeldner and posed to him questions regarding the game, what influenced its creation, and the excitement and challenges that have come with the developmental process. Here’s what Konstantin had to tell us about Avorion:
What were the influences behind Avorion?
I always wanted a space game where ships would break at the points where they’re hit in combat. I’m a big fan of space sandboxes such as the X games and Freelancer, but it always bothered me that there was no multiplayer option. I tried out EVE as well, but it was too hardcore for me. I wanted something a little lighter. That’s how Avorion came to life. Since I’m skilled at programming and I needed to fill my space game with a lot of content, I chose procedural generation. This way I could focus on what I’m good at Programming. I created a generator for space ships and stations and was now able to fill my game with as much content as I wanted.
What has the developmental process been like?
I’ve been developing the game as a hobby for over 4 years alongside my studies of Computer Science. It’s become a big part of my life and I love working on it.
How close are we to seeing the finished product?
The finished product is planned to be released at the end of the year if everything goes well. We’re planning to release the game in Early Access in August, so you can get it there already if you like.
What has been the most exciting aspect of development?
In the whole process, it’s definitely Greenlight and the Kickstarter. Generally releasing demos to the public. It’s exciting to see other people play your game, and players always come up with ways of playing it in a way that you never imagined. Considering development itself, I think the most exciting part was when we managed to add ambient occlusion to the game, which improved the graphics by a lot. Ships started looking a lot better, we could add actual lights to ships and stations, basically the aesthetics made a huge jump and I was very happy about that. If you don’t know what ambient occlusion is, take a look at these two pictures, one is with ambient occlusion and one is without.
No AO: http://imgur.com/2VM84js
With AO: http://imgur.com/KX08Lz9
What has been the most challenging aspect of development?
At one point I realized that the game went in the wrong direction, programming-wise. I won’t bore you with the details, but it used to use an inheritance hierarchy for game objects, and I rebuilt it into an entity-component system. Basically, I couldn’t add any more features since they would always interfere with other features, which was very annoying, as you can probably imagine. I restructured the game for over 6 months (seriously). I nearly lost all interest in programming it. I’m glad I pulled through though because now it’s better than ever.
How well has the game been received so far?
So far I think it has been received really well. Most people like the demo a lot, and we got tons of great feedback. Some criticized that it was very similar to other popular upcoming games out there, such as No Man’s Sky, but those who took the time to take a closer look at both games always agreed that they’re two very different games.
What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?
We will definitely bring it to Ubuntu Linux (or any Linux that can run Steam successfully) and Windows. We want to add gamepad support, and once we got this done a port to SteamOS will be possible as well. We want to support Mac, too, but it probably won’t be out for Mac until further down the road.
Were there any specific science fiction series that inspired the creation of Avorion?
I was definitely inspired by the X Games. I loved X3 specifically and played it for months. Other than that, there’s a lot of science fiction that I love, such as the Perry Rhodan books or Battlestar Galactica (the hyperspace jumps are definitely inspired by both of these).
Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?
Wow, there’s a lot of things that I think are important. But I think the most important ones are:
- Stick to what you’re doing. Motivate yourself to keep developing the game you love. It’s going to be hard, there are no easily developed games. But it’s going to be worth it.
- Show it to people as early as you can, once you have something to show for. Let people know that you’re making something. Get feedback and listen to it, this way you can be sure that people will like it.
Where about on the Internet can people find you?
You can follow me on Twitter, my nick is @koonschi. The Twitter of Avorion’s second developer, Philipp, is @qui_sum. Aside from that, there’s also the Avorion Website (http://www.avorion.net/) which will have links to all our other sites, such as Steam Greenlight, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, and the like.
Do you have anything else to add?
I want to thank all those who backed us and who put their trust in us and in Avorion. We will do our very best to deliver you all a great game.
I would furthermore like to take this opportunity to thank Konstantin for providing what intriguing answers he did, and to wish him and the team all the best of luck with the game. I am also happy to say that before this Q&A was published, it has now been officially greenlit by the Steam community, and you can check out a preview of it here:
Thanks for reading.