Blasting Off with Space Team – Again!

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Spaceteam who we originally featured back in May 2014! It is very exciting to learn about the changes that have occurred since we featured them.

So grab your tickets, jump on board and let’s catch up and hear what Spaceteam has been up to the past three years! Countdown commencing…10..9..8..7..654321…Blast Off!

Henry, great to connect again, how about an update since we first featured Spaceteam three years ago.  Any changes?

“Wow it’s been almost 3 years…! Spaceteam has taken me on many adventures since then:

  • Spaceteam has been translated into 11 new languages, for a total of 16!
  • Started the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club, which is a membership or fan club that helps support the creation of free games. The Admiral’s Club started as a Kickstarter Campaign and has transitioned to Patreon.
  • Built the Lexicogulator, which is a tool players use to create their own “lexicons” that contain new words and phrases to be used in the game.
  • Concordia University commissioned a custom build of Spaceteam to assist in teaching ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language).
  • Created a version for the Apple TV
  • A physical Spaceteam card game! And,
  • Open Sourced the networking code so that other people can make multiplayer games.  It’s available on GitHub and it’s called “CaptainsMess”
  • And finally, rebuilt the entire Spaceteam game using the Unity game engine”

Lexicogulator

Wow, you have been busy… Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

“I probably would have skipped the Apple TV version. It took much longer than planned, didn’t make any money and overall it wasn’t a great fit for the game. In the Unity rebuild, I should’ve written the networking code with the Low-Level API instead of the High-Level API.  I should have gotten some help with development as I’ve been eager to move on to my next, new game for quite a while and Spaceteam continues to keep me busy doing necessary maintenance.”

What is the status of your App today?

“Still going strong!  FIVE Million downloads to date across iOS and Android. 16 languages and a few more surprises coming up.”

Congratulations on that achievement.  Has your App or the business evolved since being Featured?

“Like I mentioned earlier, Spaceteam has grown into other related projects; and the business has evolved to rely more on crowdfunding and external contracts rather than direct revenue from the game.”

Space Team Card Game

Were there any unexpected surprises along the way?

“My girlfriend proposed to me and now we’re married!”

Congratulations Henry! Seems like your wife/girlfriend had some objectives she wanted to accomplish as well!

Can you share any information about the new app you mentioned earlier?

“It’s not finished yet but I’m working on a new cooperative local multiplayer game called “Blabyrinth”. You work with your friends to explore a mysterious labyrinth, find clues and secret passages, and solve puzzles to find the treasure and escape. I call it a procedural puzzle hunt escape room.”

Have there been any changes in the team since being featured?

It hasn’t changed…still just me!

Are you happy that you created and launched the app?

Absolutely! It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

If someone wants to learn more about Spaceteam, the Admiral’s Club, or any of the other products that you’ve developed, how can they get more information?

Our website is http://spaceteam.ca/, and you can get information on the apps in the appstores.

Here is a link to the Original Post in the event you would like to experience it’s original form and check out some of the other developers that have been featured!

ORIGINAL POST DATE – May 21, 2014

This is one of the most original apps we have come across! Spaceteam is a cooperative shouting game. You connect to other players in the same room and try to fly a spaceship as a team by manipulating random technobabble controls. Meanwhile your ship is falling apart and being chased by an exploding star. After a few minutes of chaos you inevitably lose and everyone gets a medal.

Well this is where we usually ask about similar apps, but… I made Spaceteam because there are no similar apps and I want to see more! I prefer to think that I have no competitors, only peers.(I stole this line from Steve Gaynor) It feels kind of like a board game because everyone is in the same room interacting with each other. I think this is a really compelling design and I’m excited to do some more explorations in this space.

Could you talk a bit about the app UI and icon design? Yes I’d love to! I love doing UI and graphic design so I enjoyed coming up with the app icon. It’s supposed to be stylized letters ‘S’ and ‘T’ joined together. As a bonus, the negative space between them is in the shape of a lever. The user interface was extremely important to me. Some of the things I’m proud of

  • I wanted the connection flow to be as simple as possible: no host or join, no server lists, no IP addresses, no system dialogs. It was tricky to get it working and it’s not perfect but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
  • Having a dial on the Title Screen instead of a button isn’t just a gimmick. It teaches you how to use the dial (the most complex control), so you become familiar with it even before the game starts.
  • Also along the same lines, I use the interactions in the Waiting Room to teach people that a) their games are all connected and listening to each other, and b) that sometimes you all have to perform an action at the same time.
  • I intentionally didn’t include tutorials for certain gameplay interactions like wiping away the slime or fixing the dangling panels because people discover these things by themselves anyway and I don’t want to take that moment away from them. Games need more of this kind of discovery.

What tools and communities assisted you in building Spaceteam? Tools and technologies I used: Cocos2d + various extensions for the core engine. CocoaAsyncSocket and HHServices for networking. Bfxr and Audacity for sound. Photoshop and Inkscape for graphics. The Noun Project for symbols. TestFlight for testing. You can see the full list here. People: all my friends who came to my “Spaceteam Potlucks” to help me test the game.

What lessons did you learn in the process? Multiplayer games are very difficult to make, test, and debug!

What went right and wrong with the app release? What Went Right: Keeping the project scope small. Using existing tools and resources as much as possible. Working with Apportable for the Android port, they are awesome!

What Went Wrong: In hindsight I regret not making the game more portable to other platforms, but at the time it was a conscious decision due to short time constraints. I had no idea how popular it would become. On release I should have tried to convince Apple to feature the game since it was iOS-only and required multiple Apple devices to play. 🙂 It might have helped me get some early publicity. But I certainly can’t complain about the publicity I’ve gotten since then.

Who is on the team and what are their roles? Most of the team is me (Henry Smith). I’m the only full-time person. I did the design, programming, sound, concept art, and PR 🙂 Philippe Lachance did the music. Jérémie Benhamou did most of the final art. Sara Breitkreutz is my lead tester, producer, voice actor, advisor, and reality checker. And, while not involved with the original game, I’m now working with G.P. Lackey who is doing art and graphic design for my Kickstarter campaign (if you want to learn more about it, please sign-up here.

What was the team doing before Spaceteam? I used to work at BioWare before I quit my job to go indie. Philippe was (and still is) a guitar teacher. Jérémie was an Art Director at EA. He now works at Sledgehammer Games. Sara was (and still is) a student working on her Master’s in Anthropology.

What are some of your favorite apps? Mobile games that inspire me: Corrypt, Out There, Hoplite. Mobile apps I can’t live without: Mailbox, Remember The Milk. Recently I’ve also been playing a lot of Hearthstone on iPad.

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