NEW ORBIT isn’t like anything you’ve ever played before. Currently open on Kickstarter, NEW ORBIT by Markus Hofer is a game about gravity and ship building. The goal of the game is to use make your way through the universe by swinging from planetary body to planetary body using realistic gravity. You do all of this in a ship you customize yourself while working through a lengthy, fully voiced story. We’ll let this video explain more:
The most exciting aspect is the ship customization. You can buy different parts and build entirely new spaceships that differ in both form and function. In addition to looking wildly different, the way your ship moves is affected by the parts it’s built out of. Every part has a different fuel, energy, and weight rating. Balancing fuel and energy requirements with generators and fuel tanks (both in capacity and fuel throughput) is a system in depth enough to become a game all itself, to say nothing of the changing weight of each part that wildly affects that way your ship interacts with the gravity of each planet.
This isn’t the first time the world has seen NEW ORBIT. Episode 1 was released in December of 2012 for PC, Mac, iOs, and Android, and served as an introduction the the universe and the story. Episode 1 featured the same style of gameplay, but without the bells and whistles planned for Episode 2. There was no ship customization, and the story was just a short introduction compared to what is planned for Episode 2.
The team behind NEW ORBIT is known as Blackish Games (based out of Austria), and they’re lead by industry veteran Markus Hofer. Markus worked on Age of Conan for several yeas before leaving to start Blackish Games, who have since released the games Age of Curling and SPEEDLAP RED for iOS, as well as a multitude of freelance work.
Markus and the gang at Blackish Games brought NEW ORBIT to Kickstarter for one reason: to get the game made. So far, they’ve been funding the development through freelance work, but the progress is slow going. Through Kickstarter, Blackish Games hopes to raise enough money give their full attention to NEW ORBIT. They’re not looking to get rich or become famous – they just want to finish their game.
Q & A
Slimgamer recently had a chat with Markus Hofer who was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about NEW ORBIT.
First of all, thanks for answering our questions. For starters, can you tell us a few words about your project?
NEW ORBIT is a space game with realistic graviation, custom ship building and a fully voiced story.
Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? Why Kickstarter?
I know some regard Kickstarter as a marketing platform and they go there for publicity, but we just truly need the funding. Episode 1 was loved by the few players that ever found it, but I guess overall we failed pretty bad at getting the word out. That’s why we had to do lots of contract work to fund the development of Episode 2, but doing it like that is a slow and frustrating process. So when someone put the idea of running a Kickstarter campaign on the table, we just went for it! We’re not trying to get rich, we just need enough money to pay the rent so we can keep working on this game full-time for another few months! Why Kickstarter? Simply because it’s the most popular platform.
What advantages or uniqueness are you bringing to the table?
Realistic Gravitation, Custom ship building and an exciting story. This is all I ever wanted from a space game! Challenging gameplay, a ship that I can build and upgrade however I want. And an engaging storyline to follow. Episode 1 serves as a short introduction. Episode 2 is where the real action happens!
Is this the first game you’ve developed?
This is our first crowdfunding campaign, but nor our first game. We’ve had some success with the iOS game Age of Curling (After working at Funcom on Age of Conan for several years I felt like working on a peaceful game for a change!). We have quite a few promising game prototypes lying around (check out SPEEDLAP RED on our website!), but most of the 4 years since Age of Curling have been filled out by work on NEW ORBIT and freelance projects to fund more work on NEW ORBIT.
What kind of rewards did you come up with? What would be your advice to others regarding the rewards?
We have lots of in-game rewards (Additional Challenge Missions, exclusive ship components), soundtrack, art book, backers can lend their voice or appearance to a character, and we even give away some of the source materials we use to build the game! The Ship Construction Kit includes all the brushes, mesh parts and textures we use to build the many ship components for the game and the SOURCE tier even gets you some of the source-code of the game…
What would be your advice regarding creating a project on Kickstarter in general? How important was the video?
The video is the most important thing! Keep it short and to the point, be enthusiastic about your project and show your best stuff. – Watch the progress of our campaign to know if you should follow this advice or not. ;)
What did you do to promote your Kickstarter campaign?
Still working on it! :) We’re posting wherever we can, telling everyone we know about it and writing to all our press contacts.
Please share some details about your company, staff, and history.
BLACKISH is a small indie development studio based in Austria, Europe. Apparently we have a thing for darkness and despair.
Please tell us something interesting which isn’t written on your project page.
Random fun fact: When I was working on the very first prototype of the gameplay (about 5 years ago) I considered turning it into a spaceship racing game…
Thanks for answering our questions, and best of luck on the Kickstarter campaign!
NEW ORBIT is a game with a great premise and an incredibly intriguing shipbuilding system. It looks to be a lot of fun, and if NEW ORBIT Episode 1 is any indication, Episode 2 is a game worth looking forward to.