Siege Spots – JetGetters

Posted on Mar 23 2014

Siege Spots JetGetters

Imagine this: you’re in the middle of a high-speed dogfight, your ally ahead of you taking on heavy fire. Thinking quickly, you leap from your own cockpit, sending out your grappling-arm to latch on and zoom toward your ally’s jet, climbing atop it and shooting. This is just one amazing scenario that could happen in any given match of the Kickstarter project, JetGetters.

JetGetters is an independent game project being worked on by tinyBuild Games, developers of the PC game No Time To Explain and publisher of many others. It turns out that these successful projects aren’t enough, and they’d like to try again. And man, when they decided to come out for one more round, they came out swingin’ with JetGetters.

Siege Spots Jetgetters 1

With its origins in playing Just Cause 2 and watching Battlfield gifs, JetGetters is a high-flying spectacle of a game that focuses on making high-flying stunts accessible to every player. The main hook of this game is its grappling system which allows you to swing from vehicle to vehicle in order to best defeat the enemy team. You’ll fly at high speeds through open sea landscapes, taking down any enemies that get in your way and grappling your way around. You can check out a few demos of this on their Kickstarter page; it’s definitely worth looking at.

What tinyBuild is working on here is incredibly ambitious and incredibly entertaining to watch, and they’ve taken to Kickstarter to try to get your help to make their project a reality. If this sounds like the game you’ve been waiting for, check out their Kickstarter page and donate what you can; there are plenty of enticing perks for every donation level.

Tom Brien, designer of JetGetters and all-around excited-about-this-project guy, was willing to answer a few of my questions about JetGetters.

To start, JetGetters looks pretty crazy. The few clips we’ve been shown are action packed and a little disorienting. How is your team keeping this crazy thrillride controllable?

Being this air-combat game, there’s a pretty wide spectrum of how complicated we could get with interface and controls. Our philosophy with this from the start was to take these ridiculous jet-swapping stunts people are doing in Battlefield after a hundred hours, and have that be your primary function of getting around. So a minimalist control scheme is something we nailed down first, before working on anything else.

Ejecting from your jet and hook-shotting a missile to surf it around the map and jump off before it explodes is right-clicking to exit a vehicle, right-clicking to steal a vehicle, and right-clicking to exit a vehicle again. Arcade games, in the literal sense, are designed for people to be able to sit down and start playing, and that’s how easy we want it to be. Strategic depth in the game is designed into team co-ordination mechanics on the time-scale of the match as a whole, not how well you can fly a plane around a map by yourself.

Is this your first 3d project? How much different is your design philosophy in 3d from your design in 2d?

This is our first 3D project of this size, we’re using Unity and scaling up very slightly as a studio. I’m the designer on the team, and this is the first game we’re publicly talking about that I’ve designed on since No Time To Explain. There’s a lot more solid design-work going on this time around, I could talk about it all day.
Working in 3D games, there’s a lot more of “the basics” to go through. Keep in mind that the player considers themselves as the camera, and manipulating the camera too much will lead to uncomfortable dissonance. Keep in mind that all of your artwork will be a tiny dot as gets further away, consider that it’s harder to intuit the direction of a bullet on three axes than it is on two, how do you communicate when someone’s right behind you, etc.

JetGetters is being marketed as a primarily multiplayer experience, but is there any sort of singleplayer planned?

Bots are definitely in right now, and on the cards for the final release, but a single-player campaign of this just isn’t interesting to us. Swiping other people’s jets, and being rescued mid-skydive by another person, is what’s fun. The game’s designed to express teamwork and friendship and competition and rivalry with each other, like any good multiplayer game.

This isn’t your first experience in Kickstarter. No Time To Explain was a successfully-funded Kickstarter and was pretty successful as far as I can tell. What made you decide to come back to Kickstarter for JetGetters?

We pitched JetGetters to investors for about a year. Here’s the thing about investors: they want their money back and then some. Meetings usually steer down the road of us moving to Estonia and working on Flappy Bird clones because that’s a pretty safe way to build up revenue, and the people with money in this industry haven’t played Just Cause 2 or Team Fortress, they’ve played Clash of Clans and Candy Crush. As much as we want to handle the business by ourselves, the people who most want this game made are the players on Steam.

So after talking about it for months, we don’t want to fall into any weird trends like stretch goals, or dinner with the developers, or giving out physical trinkets or anything like that- because they’re all pretty unhealthy for the game from a designer’s perspective. The cleanest way we can do this, transparently, is to just sell the game, and sell our other games the way we normally would. That’s not what all the crowd-funding talks at GDC recommend you do, but that’s the way we’re doing it.

Siege Spots JetGetters 2

Although full of spectacle, the gameplay in JetGetters seems pretty straightforward and simple to learn. What do you think will keep players coming back to play again and again?

One of the design goals with JetGetters is to have it be easy to play by yourself. Navigating the map and managing your condition and resources needs to be easy, and isn’t any interesting place to explore depth in competency. The tactical depth in the game will be evident, I hope, in playing as a team. Each pilot has a unique set of attributes, and each jet they come with also has unique stats and abilities. Matching up an interesting combination of hijacking the right pilot into the wrong jet is a fun thing to explore to create new play styles. Escorting a player by piggybacking their jet and defending from players on their flank, rescuing a falling player with a hijack-ready missile, these are the things you can only get with good team communication. The goal is that you get better by playing nicer with your team-mates, this is the same philosophy that Valve’s using in Left 4 Dead and Dota 2.

What’s something about JetGetters that you think readers would miss on the first glance?

You can ditch a plane and fire rockets in mid-air at someone, then land back in your own cockpit and fly away.

OH– People might not notice that it’s pirates with robot-arms stealing fighter jets in the tropics, I should mention that.

One more question, and it’s the most important: red team or blue team?

As designer I have political obligation to show no favorable treatment toward red team nor blue team, and that being the case I abstain from commenting on this question.

I’m gonna get back to drawing aeroplanes. Get the tinyBundle in the $50 tier; it’s like 9 different games. It’s nuts.

The joke’s on him; I already backed for the $50 tier. Wait… I guess he still wins on that one. Either way, JetGetters looks to be an interesting game, and it’s got my support. Check out more info on their Kickstarter, and maybe donate a bit; that’ll put you one step closer to your jet-getting gamer dreams.

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