In my near daily romp through the popular crowdfunding site IndieGogo, I had the pleasure of running across a game being produced by a trio of brothers in between college courses. These brothers, Ken, Kuni and Saijee Higuchi, make up the team known as From Soy Sauce. Together they are working on their latest game Spheroid a retro game inspired by Metroid, Bionicle and Beast Wars.
They have announced Spheroid on IndieGogo with the intent to raise $7,500 in order to buy better equipment and commission a number of assets to enhance the game, such as quality music and voice acting. Along with the announcement, their trailer has a lot of game footage that shows off the fighting, transformations and other gameplay elements of the game.
The game has a very retro 3d look to it that reminds me of some 3d games I played many years ago such as Star Fox for the SNES or Tempest 2000 for the Atari Jaguar (yes, I owned one and would do it again). Each character has its own set of abilities and strengths.
As of now, Spheroid has raised over 10% of its goal and still has about 40 days to go. If they can keep up their pace, they should have no problem reaching that modest funding goal.
Since finding the campaign, I reached out to Saijee and Kuni and asked them a few questions about the game and their process. The big question I had was regarding the Windows only nature of the game. With most indie games targeting Mac and Linux, the choice of Windows only left me surprised. In response, Saijee explained this was because of the tools they use.
As much as I’d like to have it available on other devises, the game depends on the ultimate3d.dll which, to my knowledge, only runs on Windows computers. This is why we want to learn how to use Unity 3D for projects later on. But for now, the only thing we know how to use is Game Maker using ultimate3D, so we will use what we can to deliver the product.
Another part of going Windows only is their lack of experience with tools that work well with other operating systems as explained by Kuni.
But we ourselves, do not have much experience with Mac because all of the free and solid game making programs, for programming, modeling, and music, (at the time, 2007) were for PC only. We use “Microsoft Paint” for quick and easy cell shaded texture maps, we use “the gimp” and “adobe photoshop 4s” for more advanced texture maps such as in the second video, we use “UVmapper” to map the texture maps to the model, all sound fx and sound tracks are created through “Fruity Loops 8 and 9 Producer Edition”, all 3D modeling and Animating is done on “Anim8tor” due to the fact it is a small executable program which allows us to bring it on a USB and 3D model at on campus computer labs, AND finally we do all the programming on Game Maker.
All these tools have left them in a position where targeting Windows only is the best option for them. However, they want to expand their skill set and be able to target other operating systems. Both Kuni and Saijee have expressed their desire to learn to use Unity 3D.
But this isn’t the first game these guys have worked on. They have done other games in the past. One such game is Bullet Life. I tried the game out and it was pretty fun to play. It also showed me that these guys can complete the game they are working on even if they don’t get the full funding.
Which is what they plan to do. Even if they don’t get all the funding they need, they still plan on releasing the game, but it may not have all the content they want in it.
Saijee: The game will be made as planned if we don’t meet our goal. We just might not be able to deliver a more fleshed out story presentation or multi-player experience.
Kuni: If the game doesn’t meet the funding goal, the game will still be finished, hopefully within 6 or so months.But without enough funding we just wont be able to put as many things into spheroid as we wanted such as longer more flushed out cut scenes, story, and multiplayer.
All in all, these guys seem to have pretty good heads on their shoulders. They have shown that they know what they are doing and are capable of releasing a complete game. I am also impressed that they are willing to work at expanding their own skillset to accommodate the changing landscape of video gaming. I look forward to watching their progress and can’t wait for the coming demo of Spheroid so that I may try it out. This is definitely a project worth supporting.