As Savage Moon arrives on PlayStation Network, Ana Kronschnabl, Producer at developer Fluffy Logic, talks about the making of the game and more.
What was it like developing Savage Moon for PlayStation Network?
It was a great experience for us. This is our first big game for PSN. It was all pretty quick moving, from us getting the go-ahead to develop the game to it being online has taken under a year. PlayStation 3 is a powerful platform to develop for, we have been able to push some really high-end graphics and this has resulted in the game having some really cool effects – we think. We are just at the beginning of finding out what we can do with PSN and PS3 and we are really looking forward to developing more on this particular platform.
Where did the original idea come from?
Well, we had been playing Tower Defence games around the office and really loved them...so we decided to do our own version...but with very grumpy, ferocious bugs (or Insectocytes as we call them). However, when we were thinking about the background to the story we decided that there was a reason the Insectocytes are grumpy...the mining colony is hacking away at a living planet – their host and mother!!
Were there any film or book influences on making the game?
We were influenced by the Gaia theory – the idea that the planet is akin to a living creature with systems that will fight to protect its survival, should this be necessary. These ideas can also be seen in the Death World series of books. We were influenced by Starship Troopers – for many reasons...we liked the irreverent, over-the-top representation of the military with the jingoism and large guns. We also liked the vicious representation of the enemies – those bugs were scary!
What reasons did you have for not setting it on Earth?
We wanted a story. The storyline we had developed naturally led us to creating the Imoons – we think the narrative is more ambiguous – who are the baddies in this game?
What do you want players to feel when playing Savage Moon?
Very excited and challenged! We have used a cut-away camera system to build tension and to heighten certain aspects of the gameplay but we have also provided a quite open game which allows the player to experiment with their own strategies and favourite combinations of towers and guns.
What were the main challenges in creating Savage Moon?
It was important to us to keep the spirit of Tower Defence games but to add something to this – providing the reasons for fighting – the background and the game systems. The decisions in terms of gameplay were really dependent on how we chose to create the terrain of the planet and the options for different types of weapons. We realised early on that a small decision in this area could really affect the type of game that would result.
What are the advantages of developing on PSN?
We think there are a lot. The link between player and developer is closer and we think it will help us to develop a much closer relationship. It shortens the supply chain which means that the players don't need to go into the shops to buy the product. It also enables us to do patches and upgrades much easier and with much less hassle for the player. In addition, as the games themselves are smaller there is more scope for us to be experimental with the style and type of content...we think it's a win-win scenario.
What would you say are the best strategies and hints for beginners to employ?
The player needs to remember that the Insectocytes aren't that smart, so the longer you can delay them from getting to your base, the more chance you have to squash them...like the bugs they are! Also, the game provides lots of options and different types of towers - make sure you use combinations of these to achieve the best gameplay affect.
What's your favourite part of the game?
Well, the best thing is when you have set up your defences really well and you sit back and watch them throw everything they have at you and they cannot defeat your overwhelming force and overwhelming tactical genius! We also really like the tank bugs...