Canadian game development studio Radial Games recently opened up their newest creation, RocketsRocketsRockets, for early access while they continue development on a final product. Game designer, programmer, and AI specialist on the project Dr. Kimberly Voll recently offered some insight into her latest work.
One might think that due to Radial Games regular involvement with organizing or participating in Game Jam events that RocketsRocketsRockets might have originated from one such event. However, the game has a more interesting genesis explained Voll, “Our friend, Loren (Loren Bedner, artist and game UI designer), tweeted some really cool pictures of rockets that he had done. Andy (Andy Moore, Founder of Radial Games) and I naturally fell in love with those rockets when we saw them,” and Voll added, “When Loren was looking for someone to make a rockets-themed game with, he reached out.”
After a prototype of the movement mechanic was developed, the team was excited enough about the game to bring it to the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Voll detailed the response from GDC saying, “Our friends, colleagues and even complete strangers were enthusiastically playing the demo and many didn't want to stop,” and added, “I think what really made it click with folks was the overall feel of the flying mechanic, while the trails that the rockets left behind added a certain grace and magic.”
The demo brought to GDC had only included the core flying mechanic, but after seeing such excitement from players and colleagues, the team quickly began conceptualizing a more complete game. Voll discussed some of the developments of RocketsRocketsRockets and described its infancy and went on to explain, “The prototype that we brought to GDC had an almost romantic tension that emerged between the rockets as they circled and danced with one another and we just started refining and building on that. For everything that we have added to the game, we've stayed true to this core mechanic.”
Voll, Moore, and Bedner then decided how to incorporate the core flying mechanic into a game that did not solely focus on flight-but would offer a unique element that every game must have in order to be successful, it must be fun! Voll explained how it all came together and said, “Ultimately I think we all agreed that we wanted to have some fast-paced action in there,” and continued, “The game was so fun once we added some weapons and we saw the skill game emerge, that we wanted to continue to develop it.”
When asked how the game bridged the conceptual gap between a mechanic that was largely favored for its beauty and grace and implanting it into a game about shooting down the opposing rocket Voll said, “The rockets that Loren was designing spoke to the kid in me that wanted to be a scientist and fly rockets into space for exploration: they were colorful and suggestive of adventure,” Voll went on to say, “The game exists in a tension between creation and destruction, which we find really compelling. Still, our plans do still include a Zen mode that allows players to draw and change colors, rather than destroy--there still exists the beauty, adventure and opportunity for artistic expression.”
For those who are already fans of the game, or who may become interested, Voll dropped some hints for future updates to get players excited like a multiplayer system, and a training gauntlet mode that will allow for practice and testing, to name a few.
If fast-paced aerial combat with a graceful flight mechanic seems tempting enough to try, then perhaps the passion and experience behind RocketsRocketsRockets will win you over.