Toxic Storm? Shrinking Planet!

Let’s get a bit laid back — dare I even say “casual”, and talk games. And who better to talk casual games with than Niels Mynster from Footstomp Studio, who with his team of two, Jason and Daniel, have made ASTROSMASH.

We, as a team, currently consists of me, programmer and lead, the visual artist Jason, and the other programmer, Daniel. Jason and I are the core team, where Daniel is my go-to guy if I need something particularly difficult programmed haha! (Seriously, hire him)

ASTROSMASH is a unique battle-royale that doesn’t have a toxic cloud draining your health, but rather a low-poly art style with a shrinking planet.

Since I’ve chatted a bit with Niels, I wanted to know what inspired him and his team to make their game and why it was ASTROSMASH, specifically.

For me personally, I just loved the recently released Totally Accurate Battlegrounds, by Landfall Games. […] they are absolutely nailing their products in my opinion. (sure, servers went down on launch, things happen, haha).

If you haven’t check out TABG yet, you should try it, haha, it’s quite fun and well made and got some serious silly goofs that I just love. And yes, granted their art style is lowpoly as well as ASTROSMASH, does that make me biased? Maybe, maybe not. They did a great job of making it uniformly, awesome-ly looking.

Daniel had some interesting weapon inspirations come from the Ratchet and Clank series, which had some very interesting design that didn’t follow any particular rules.

Jason has recently been playing a bit of No Man’s Sky, and is very inspired of the fact that they kept on developing and improving the game, even though it had a very, very rough launch. Now, two years later, they seem to be turning it around with all the work they’ve been putting into it, following their vision. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is, haha.

And on the note on why ASTROSMASH:

Actually, it started out as an experiment on making a character controller that could walk around spherical surfaces. It soon escalated when we saw what things we could use this application for, and we started working on ASTROSMASH.

We figured it should be multiplayer as we love playing games with friends, and figured the planet shrinking gave an interesting mechanic, as it changes the environment drastically.

As soon as we implemented shooting, where the projectiles curve around, eventually allowing the player to shoot himself in the back, we knew that this is something we wanted to pursue.

To get a bit personal before we end on a somewhat high-note about the reason “battle-royale” trend. So, let’s dig a bit deeper into Footstomp and what they love in games.

  • We, as a team, love when a game’s visual style is just on point, and this doesn’t particularly mean a certain style, like a realistic style or a low poly style, but any style that’s really brought out in the game in a uniform way.
  • Now, this leads us on to the next thing we love about games, and it’s really related: Exploring. Exploring certain game worlds is a fantastic feel, and I’m pretty sure most gamers have had a point where they saved before a two-way path presented, only to load the save back and explore the other option once you’re done with the first. Or maybe even being a slight bit disappointed when you suddenly encounter enemies on one of the chosen paths that makes you figure that you took the right path for the game to progress. […].
  • And the last thing we love are experiences you can enjoy together. This, combined with the previous two mentioned things, create very inspiring fun games, that we probably all love.

Lastly, with the trend of battle-royale games or at least, games featuring a battle-royale mode — breaking the mould as an indie developer can be quite difficult. Nearly as difficult as this question, but hey, game development is tough and difficult questions are posed all the time.

Luckily, I think Niels had a pretty good answer:

Now, also, sadly, because of those two games being so popular, it started a new wave of these type of games, and the general assumption is now that it is either a Fortnite/PUBG clone or a shameless cash grab riding the wave. I think that’s a bit of a shame, however, I’m getting off topic now!

What ASTROSMASH can offer is a more casual game, where skill, stats and playtime shouldn’t matter as much, instead you should just be able to quickly join in and have fun. No very steep learning curve, neither super long games, we are aiming for a more casual approach where you easily should be able to invite a friend or two (or play alone, no worries, haha), and have some quick fun in a goofy environment.

Part from that, we are hoping to change the core experience from those two games with our game mechanics. For instance, the map shrinking makes us able to unlock new areas of the map, as you suddenly can jump over a river or walk over a mountain. That means it possible for us to change how the game play in the mid and late stages of the game, instead of the gameplay not changing throughout the entire match.

This, in additions to some really goofy weapons, such as a morph gun that make whatever limb it hits huge, will hopefully be what makes this game stand out.