Pax Prime 2014: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime Interview

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a gem that I stumbled upon during San Diego Comic Con. The gameplay was simple and the graphics reminded me of Asteroids. It was a title that given it’s simplicity, was just refreshing to discover. During Pax Prime, I got the chance to chat with the creators of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime: Jamie Tucker & Matt Hammill. We briefly chat about the inspiration behind Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime as well as what their journey through creating the game has been so far.


 

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Pictured from left to right: Jamie Tucker & Matt Hammill

RFMAG_Dani:
Let’s get started! We’re chatting with Jamie and Matt during Pax Prime about Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. While I was preparing for the interview, I realized that you are only about three developers.

Matt:
Yes, that’s correct. Three.

Matt:
Yes, myself, Jamie and Adam Winkels.

RFMAG_Dani:
It was during this year’s E3 that everyone was first introduced to Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, can you tell us what the reaction has been like since E3?

Matt:
It’s been awesome. People seem really interested. It’s always cool to watch people pick up the controller as they realize how the game works that they are controlling a little person inside a spaceship. It’s like two steps removed sort of from controlling the game but to see that sort of realization process for player while they’re trying it out is really neat.

RFMAG_Dani:
And that there’s different panels controlling the spaceship as well as that initial discovery of the panels.

Matt:
People gravitate towards different roles while playing as well as the way they talk to each other.

Jamie:
We gave the players an opprotunity to kind of choose how they want to play the game. One could be pretty offensive if they want and the other one could focus on the defense. Or one could fly around and be the captain of the ship and then that way you’re deciding where you want to go. They have the opportunity to figure that out as they play as well as figure out their play style.

RFMAG_Dani:
So was that game mechanic or game style of the co-op couch play always in mind from the beginning of the game development for Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime?

Matt & Jamie:
Yea.

Jamie:
It was always in mind. It was a matter of figuring out how to do it and how to implement. Some of it was just looking back and going “Oh, yea that doesn’t make sense. Why were we doing that?” kind of thing. We had it in mind but some of it was we were designing towards and other times we didn’t even know what we were designing for.

RFMAG_Dani:
What was the inspiration behind Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime?

Matt:
Well, we started it at a game jam about two and half years ago. We did a super early prototype and the spirit was just to try to make a game that was a co-op game that two people could sit on the couch and play and have fun. Sort of like an action-y experience like when were growing up. And, we knew we wanted to make a co-op game but we didn’t know what kind of co-op game we wanted to make. So we thought about that scene in Star Wars where Luke and Han Solo are running around the Millennium Falcon trying to figure out how to shoot all the TIE fighters. That sort of camaraderie. The communication. The frantic panicking. That was sort of what we were looking for. If we could capture some percentage of that while creating Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.

RFMAG_Dani:
And so, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime was created as part of a game jam and have only recently switched over to full-time production with the game. What are some of the drawbacks that you might have learned from while developing the game?

Jamie:
It’s like we don’t know what were doing when we started off, so everything has been a struggle to kind of figure out how to do things properly. It’s like, you know, learning stuff about business that I didn’t ever know. Reading contracts. Signing contracts. Looking contracts over. It’s like all this crazy stuff you’d never even thought of and you just want to make games but you know you’re stuck doing all this other stuff that is super important because in the end we just want to make this a sustainable business for ourselves in the future so we we can have many successful games. So you have to do things right. You don’t want to worry about that. That’s a big roadblock to game development.

Matt:
Yea, because we started it at a game jam that first build was like a one level arcade game that you just play until you die. Basically, it was a pretty simple high score game and then we tried to take that core and be faithful to the fun of that initial demo but build it into a full game and have longer and fuller experience with more ups and downs.

RFMAG_Dani:
So, is there a story that goes along with Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime?

Matt:
Hmmm, sort of. There’s a story in flux about evil mutated constellations absorbing hateful energy and turning the universe hateful and you need to restore love and balance to the galaxy. You’re alone on your spaceship together. But the story is something that we are sort of working out.

Jamie:
Yea. It’s more the gameplay right now for the game that we are kind of focusing on at the moment.

RFMAG_Dani:
Could the story be something that could be added on later? Right now, we’re enjoying the game without a story. We could just have the game without a story to be honest, no?

Jamie:
It’s kind of like when we’re thinking of arcade games they never had really good stories.

Matt:
Yea, the one thing that we don’t want to do is we don’t want to give too much backstory to the characters. We want to keep the characters as a pretty blank slate so that they could be anyone.

RFMAG_Dani:
Do you guys have tips for aspiring game developers that want to get their games started and noticed?

Matt:
The biggest thing is just to make the game but just keep making it. Wherever you’re at, just start making the thing you want to make.

Jamie:
Find excuses to make games. We were working full-time on other careers and we were just looking for excuses to make games which is why we were doing the game jams. Then it’s like we accidentally made this game and then we accidentally started a company and that’s sort of how it’s been for us.

Matt:
We noticed that we were working like a company on this thing that was like a game and then we were like maybe we should create a real company and work on a real game.

Jamie:
Yea, that’s exactly kind of how it went.

Lovers in a Dangerous SpacetimeRFMAG_Dani:
Last question. While folks that are attending Pax are able to play Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, when will people outside of Pax be able to check out the game themselves?

Matt & Jamie:
That’s a good question.

Matt:
We don’t know yet. We can’t really say yet either. We’re still pretty in the middle of the game development.

RFMAG_Dani:
Well, are you guys planning on attending any other conventions to help get the word out about Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime?

Matt:
We’ll be at Fantastic Fest in Austin in September.

Jamie:
We also have people email us and tell us that they are putting on a show and we’ve sent builds around. At this point we’ve shown Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime in places all over the world; like the UK and Denmark as well as all over the United States and even Mexico and Brazil. We have done these little shows because people have these events at bars and they want to play these social games. Not social games but social games. And so, we’ve shown Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime there and we look forward to people that contact us and tell us that they are putting on some cool shows that they want the Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime to be a part of it.

RFMAG_Dani:
Well, thank you Matt and Jamie for taking the time to chat with me during Pax Prime!

 

Brief description about Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a frantic 1- or 2-player couch co-op action game in development for Xbox One and Steam (PC + Mac). Explore a colourful galaxy in a crazy neon spaceship that you control together by manning turrets, lasers, shields and thrusters. Only through teamwork can you triumph over evil robots, rescue kidnapped space bunnies, and avoid a vacuumy demise. Deep space is a dangerous place, but at least you don’t have to face it alone!

To learn more about Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime as well as to keep up with the game development, please check out Asteroid Base’s official website here.

 

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