This will be the last video for a while until we have some real progress to show (new units, maps, and so forth). We really appreciate the interest in Galaxy's End, and hope that interest continues.
Lead designer Kevin McCann loves the PSP, and he's going to incredible lengths to show his undying affiliation for Sony's portable. Sure, Galaxy's End could be made for other systems, such as PS3, but the game was "created from the ground up" for play specifically on the PSP. Although Galaxy's End still doesn't have a publisher, the prospects for one seem better every time we see the game: after today's hands-on demonstration, it's clear that this game has what it takes to succeed.
The graphics look quite nice on the PSP's screen. The game is surprisingly colorful, and features a good deal of animation. Of particular note: the flora looks especially nice; it all comes ot life through some great animation. The number of enemies on screen can be quite plentiful, but there are clearly a few things that need to be fixed later down the road: explosions need a good deal of work, and pop-in was a regularity thanks to the fog of war.
It'll be months before the game ever comes out (if it does), but even at this early stage, the controls felt solid. The basic controls involve simply pressing the X and Square buttons to select troops and target enemies. Moving with the analog nub felt precise, thanks to tweaking done by Tiki Games. The simplistic nature of the controls made it incredibly accessible, in spite of some problematic AI glitches (which should be fixed later on). With solid controls, and a meticulously detailed design document, It's clear that a lot of thought and effort has gone behind this game. Expect to see more on this title soon.
Tiki Games is currently developing a PSP-exclusive RTS game called "Galaxy's End." Read more about the trials and tribulations of being an upstart developer in this three-part series by Tiki Games President Kevin J. McCann. See part 1 of the feature here. See part 2 of the feature here.
That said we've recently begun to get some interest both from potential investors to major publishers. One of the publishers even contacted me due to Galaxy's End appearing on PSP Fanboy – so thanks to Andrew (and thanks to Joe who originally passed us along). Toward the end of 2006 I was concerned that Galaxy's End may not see the light of day (not to mention financial concerns since Tiki Games is self-funded). But now I'm feeling a bit more optimistic (a somewhat dangerous thing to feel, but it helps) that we're finally getting close to landing a real contract.
I'd also like to thank the various posters at PSP Fanboy (and other forums) that have responded positively toward the little glimpse of Galaxy's End. It's reaffirming for us at Tiki Games to see largely positive feedback toward our game from our intended customer-base.
For those of you that feel the RTS genre can't be done justice due to potential control issues on the PSP – we (and the publishers that have seen our game) feel the controls are solid. The key is designing the game from the ground-up with the PSP in mind – specifically designing with its controls and screen dimensions in mind. Not simply porting a PC RTS to a handheld – instead taking the most popular elements of the RTS and "translating" them to a handheld, while adding a few innovations/improvements of our own.
Likewise for those of you wanting Blizzard's WarCraft/StarCraft or EA's C&C series – give us a try. We're aiming to surprise you with a solid RTS experience on a handheld. Besides, those guys are doing well already! ;)
While Galaxy's End future is still uncertain, hopefully we'll secure a publishing deal soon. Your enthusiasm and spreading the word does indeed help. Thanks again.
President / Creative Director
Tiki Games, Inc.
Tiki Games is currently developing a PSP-exclusive RTS game called "Galaxy's End." Read more about the trials and tribulations of being an upstart developer in this three-part series by Tiki Games President Kevin J. McCann. See part 1 of the feature here.
Looking back, there are things I've done right, and other aspects that were in some senses just plain naïve. The areas that were right were our approach to the tools/technology and assembling core team members that I've worked with while avoiding anyone that had egos (or primadonna attitudes) and laying out the design and milestones before actually bringing the team onboard. The last thing you want to do is be writing designs while a team is being paid and waiting for you to finish designs. This happens a lot in the game industry – so I was happy to avoid it. And I targeted the RTS genre because it's a genre I really enjoy, and I wanted Tiki Games to be the first to create a high-quality RTS for the PSP. The PSP has the power to do a very attractive 3D RTS which made it even sweeter.
But for what I did right there were also things that were naïve. It's easy to convince yourself "I'll create an original IP for the PSP that focuses on an untapped market – the RTS. It's huge on the PC – let's try to bring them over by creating an RTS from the ground-up for the PSP. And we'll also be relatively low-cost in terms of overall budget. Surely publishers will appreciate that!"
In reality, while myself and my team had been in the industry for a long time, and shipped a number of titles, as a new start-up we're unproven from a publisher's viewpoint. And an original IP isn't nearly as powerful as having a license for some big property.
So to step into this with "I'll create a new IP in the RTS genre for the PSP. We'll then create a solid proof-of-concept playable demo. How can it go wrong?" Well, toward the end of 2006 I did a lot of traveling (and have done similar this year so far), and while Galaxy's End was well-received at most publishers, we're still a new company with no shipped titles, and the RTS genre doesn't equate to guaranteed success on a handheld.
We had some extremely positive meetings with publishers – they felt the game looked sharp, that we had conquered any control doubts (meaning the game does play well on a handheld), and they liked the overall game concept. Then the following week was something along the lines of "marketing finds it too risky." Lots of temporary elated moments followed by extended periods of frustration.
See part 3 of this feature tomorrow on PSP Fanboy.
Tiki Games is currently developing a PSP-exclusive RTS game called "Galaxy's End." Read more about the trials and tribulations of being an upstart developer in this three-part series by Tiki Games President Kevin J. McCann.
I've been working in the game industry for a little over ten years, always in lead designer capacity, and also wearing the dual-hat of producer for half that time as well. It's not uncommon for game industry developers in various game studios to want to do their own thing so they "can do it right."
When you work in a large game development studio you can start with the best of intentions and a design you feel really rocks, but along the way various levels of interference – from fellow team members all the way up through various levels of management – can and generally will alter your original game vision. And virtually never in a way you feel is favorable.
I've worked on large projects and they tend to be over budget and fairly disorganized. It's also hard to establish a good team dynamic on a large team – you get various factions, unnecessary politics, and so forth. Basically things that get in the way of putting together a great game.
I've been trying to start my own company for several years now. And I wanted to avoid having an unnecessarily large team, and do something I've never had the opportunity to do on prior projects – a real preproduction cycle. So in November and December of 2005 I wrote game designs and assembled a preliminary milestone schedule for Galaxy's End. Another thing I wanted to avoid was bloated budgets – being a self-funded start-up, the best approach was to target a smaller platform (the PSP) where a small but talented team can create an extremely high-quality game with solid production values for a reasonable budget.
In January 2006 I hired my team (folks I had worked with in the past, so I knew they could get the job done) and we began working on our first major milestone – a proof-of-concept playable build of Galaxy's End. We also designed our tools and engine to be scalable to different genres and platforms (so that if we later wanted to make a shooter or RPG it wouldn't be starting from scratch).See part 2 of this feature tomorrow on PSP Fanboy.
An avid PSP Fanboy reader, Joe, sent us in a great tip about this upcoming PSP RTS. It's called Galaxy's End, and will support not only Ad-Hoc multiplayer, but Infrastructure as well. The graphics look to impress, and the gameplay looks fast and fun. So what's the problem?
There's no publisher for this game. It comes from a new dev team called Tiki Games, and it seems publishers are wary of supporting an original IP from an untested team. However, this game looks like it has some awesome potential. Check out the trailer, after the cut, to see for yourself. What do you think, PSP Fanboy readers? Are you interested in this game?