I’m Henry Smith. I worked as a programmer in the game industry for 10 years, at BioWare and Irrational Games, before quitting my job last summer to make my own games. I specialize in UI but I love playing with all aspects of game design.
Spaceteam is my first project as an independent developer (“indie”). It’s a cooperative party game for phones and tablets in which you shout technobabble at your friends until your spaceship explodes. You can get it right now, for free, on iOS and Android.
It has won several awards, and is currently featured in the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. It has been used by children and grandparents, teachers, therapists, businesses, and medical schools.
The Spaceteam Admiral's Club
The Admiral’s Club is a community of fans and supporters, but also an experiment.
Traditional campaigns like this focus on funding a specific game, but this one is different. You'll be supporting me directly as a developer, making free games for a whole year. I'll be working on several cool projects, which is not something that a regular campaign would allow.
First of all, you'll be showing your support for Spaceteam. It has always been free and will stay free, with a few more upgrades to come.
I'll also be working on two brand new games: Blabyrinth and Shipshape. You'll hear more about them over the course of the campaign. I'm hoping to finish Blabyrinth and make some good progress on Shipshape before the year is up, and you can follow my progress as it happens.
But this project is also about giving me the freedom to make smart decisions about my work. Game development can be unpredictable and full of surprising opportunities. If something comes up during the year, like an interesting collaboration or special event, then I might spend a few weeks on that if I think it has value.
If I can be sustainable, then I think this model could work for others as well. There are many other indies with small, but important, games that I’d love to support in a similar way. I think the whole game industry needs to move forward and diversify, and for that to happen we need to give creators the freedom to create.
That's what the Spaceteam Admiral's Club means to me.
So what does it mean to you?
Well, you’ll be joining a special community with a discussion forum and developer diary where we can share stories and experiences and I can document my progress. Hopefully we'll have some interesting conversations along the way.
Like everyone else, you'll get new Spaceteam upgrades and the other brand new games that come out of this project.
There are also some special features just for supporters. Depending on how much you contribute, you can create your own Spaceteam word lists and share them with others. You can design your own Spaceteam character. You can even get a fully customized version of Spaceteam for your company with your own graphics and in-jokes.
There will also be a secret handshake.
Connect with other Spaceteams across the galaxy. This will be the best way to keep up with Spaceteam and my other projects. You can share stories, ask questions, and make new spacefriends! You’ll get a special badge indicating your support level.Developer Diary
I’ll be keeping a developer diary (probably once a week) and sharing inside information on my development process. I’ll post about game design, programming, as many business details as I can share, and anything else I might learn along the way.Custom Spaceteam Character
Design your own character and use it in the game! No more annoying your teammates by repeatedly leaving the waiting room and reloading until you get a speckled felinoid wearing a lab coat.Spaceteam Lexicogulator
Put your own word lists in the game and share them with other people! You’ll have access to an editor that lets you change the words and phrases in the game. Business buzzwords, medical jargon, inside jokes, whatever you want!
Synergize TPS Reports!
Incentivize Core Competency!
Onboard Subscriber-focused Webinar!
Foley to Gravity!
Synchronize Cardioversion!Exclusive features in Blabyrinth and Shipshape
The exact form of these rewards is still quite nebulous, but they will take shape as the games develop further.Fully customized Spaceteam mod for your company/team/family
A stand-alone, private version of Spaceteam with your own words and graphics, to share with your group. You can customize any or all of the following things:
- Word lists
- Other text such as the introduction blurb, anomaly names, medals, etc.
- Control panel images
- The ship and the “threat” (supernova)
- Waiting room
- Logo and app name
- Even the sounds and music (if you want)
You will be responsible for creating the new images/text (I’ll provide templates, instructions and support) and then I’ll package it up into a custom version of the game for you.IMPORTANT NOTE
: On iOS your app will be delivered through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for Business. Make sure you are eligible by visiting http://enroll.vpp.itunes.apple.com/
. On Android it’s much simpler: I can just send you an APK to install directly.
Why make the games free?
In the event of a catastrophic campaign failure these games will probably still get made, but I’ll end up charging money for them instead.
I’d rather not do this. There are several important reasons I want to keep my games free:
- They'll be accessible to everyone
- I won't have to compromise the design in order to sell more copies
- I won't have to worry about piracy, copy-protection, clones, or second-hand sales. In fact it will make sense for me to share the games as widely as possible.
It's also impossible to pick a single price point that works for everyone, so I think this "pay-what-you-can" model is more respectful of what people can afford.
You see, the club is open to rich & poor alike. In fact, down here on the right you’ll find a handy table to indicate just how rich you are. If you're able to click on one of the higher numbers, please do so!
The money will go towards my living expenses while making these games, travel costs to bring them to festivals, and some of it will pay for art and music because I usually need help with those things
If you join the Spaceteam Admiral's Club you'll be doing more than just helping to bring a new game into existence. You’ll be supporting an indie developer. You’ll be casting a vote for alternative funding models. And you’ll be part of a community that believes that artists should be paid for their work.
This campaign feels much more honest and sustainable to me than other business models. I really hope it makes sense to you too and that together we can make it work…
…as a spaceteam!