This week’s feature has been long in the works. StarCraft Universe has been in development for over two years and was driven by the idea of an MMO that takes place in the StarCraft setting. The SCU team has put an amazing amount of effort into their game, including voice-acted quest dialogue, eight character classes, and a robust inventory and crafting system. All of this is layered on top of an engrossing single-player campaign that is slated to become a full-fledged multiplayer experience.
StarCraft Universe is the first chapter in a story set in an alternate reality, where the ending of Wings of Liberty has a grim conclusion for Kerrigan. Without the Queen of Blade to stop the hybrid’s assault, the protoss are overwhelmed and defeated. In this reality, what would the survivors of these shattered worlds do? StarCraft Universe tells this story. We asked game creator Ryan “Kreation” Winzen some questions about the development process. Check out our interview and the awesome trailer the team put together. Then delve into the world of StarCraft Universe.
Traysent: So it's been some time since we last featured your game. What has happened since then?
Ryan: Quite a bit. We've been working in our spare time preparing all game elements for when SCU multi-player goes live, and have launched a Kickstarter funding campaign to ensure its continued development. If the Kickstarter is successful, we should be able to launch multi-player content in January.
The next zone we plan on releasing will be a 5 player gauntlet of challenges where players progress through consecutive stages of combat, utilizing many different game mechanics (such as vehicles) to overcome the challenges presented. Players will be fighting various enemies from all four races (Terran, Protoss, Zerg and Hybrid), each with their own unique set of abilities.
As the developers, we're releasing this to test out the core systems, progression rates, combat balance, and fun factor of SCU's design and make tweaks as necessary. Since our group, Upheaval Arts, is a very small team, we think it's best to release this danger-room style playground to gain feedback from our player-base on our forums to assure the game's quality before we release any serious campaign content.
Developing SCU is very complex and time consuming so our team has launched a Kickstarter in hopes to devote more time to the project and potentially contract more industry professionals to aid us in our venture. Without successful funding, SCU will never be completed due to its time intensive requirements.
T: How did you get started in game design?
R: Final Fantasy one. Final Fantasy inspired me to start developing turn-based pen and paper RPGs when I was in first grade at the age of six. In my first game, friends could play one of three classes; a balloon, a fireball, or an umbrella to fight off hordes of imps.
T: What was the inspiration for StarCraft Universe?
R: StarCraft and EverQuest were my favorite games in middle and high school. I always thought it would be awesome to combine the two and I think a lot of others shared that fantasy.
T: How many people worked on this game and what roles did they have?
R: About 11 people worked directly on aspects of the game in varying degrees. You can see the credits in this link: http://upheavalarts.com/starcraftuniverse/the-team/
T: Do you have any funny stories about the design process for your game?
R: I thought it would be funny to give the Medic a Predator pet with a self-destruct sequence that plays the nyan-cat theme as a detonation warning. It’ll stay in the game until the complaints roll in.
T: How does the game work? What’s in store for a first time player?
R: Players start the game by creating their character in the class selection menus. From there, they will be introduced to the StarCraft Universe storyline and taught how to play through a series of voice-acted tutorials and event-driven content.
The game plays much like any MMO out there. Anyone who has played World of Warcraft, for example, should pick this game right up.
T: What do you feel makes your game compelling?
R: We believe that Starcraft Universe offers a unique experience within the Arcade. We have a complete custom made third person RPG engine that gives StarCraft gamers a fresh experience.
Additionally, the game offers tons of customizable class options, full voice overs, an original soundtrack, intense combat, and much more!
T: What advice would you give to someone who was interested in using the SCII Editor to make their own game? Where is a good place for them to start the learning process?
R: Start with a small project. The most important thing is to finish whatever project you have started and that you enjoy what you are doing. Once you managed to finish your first project it might give you additional motivation to go further!
T: How did you get people to notice your game once it was released?
R: In general we always start off with some sort of trailer that we share; additionally, we try to provide updates via Facebook and Twitter to keep people interested.
We think that PR is very important in order to make a project successful. No matter how good your game is, you always need a decent player base to get it started. The more people know about the game, the higher the chance that it will get popular. In addition, you’ll receive more feedback that you can use to improve the map.
T: Do you have any plans for other games or future goals as a game designer?
R: If we can get the funding, we’d love to continue producing StarCraft Universe so long as players continue to log into StarCraft II.
My long term goal is to create my own IP outside of StarCraft to share with the world.
T: What’s the best way people can follow you and your work (Twitter, Facebook, website, etc.)?
R: There are several ways to follow our project:
Official website: http://upheavalarts.com/starcraftuniverse/
T: Do you have any favorite games on the StarCraft II Arcade?
R: Star Battle and Desert Strike!