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Dead Star: Multiplayer Space Madness on PS4

15 3
Dead Star: Multiplayer Space Madness on PS4

I’m Tom Ivey, the design lead on Armature Studio’s new multiplayer space shooter, Dead Star on PS4. Today’s an exciting day for everyone on our team here at Armature. We’re finally able to reveal our game to the PlayStation community!

Start Small, Dream Big

In November of 2013, three developers inside Armature came together to begin work on a new game prototype. Huddled together in a corner of the studio, we only had a few computers and a basic goal: build a fun, fast, arcade-style multiplayer space shooter.

We wanted combat to feel exciting and engaging: scout ships zipping in and out of asteroid fields, raiders appearing from cloak to strike at the enemy, and frigates bombarding the area with missile fire. In order to ensure that a player’s skill and strategic choices were paramount to success, we adopted a top-down perspective for the game and focused hard on keeping the controls simple and responsive.

Very quickly we had a solid framework: a demo that captured those moments unique to a multiplayer experience — people yelling and moaning and cheering all across the office as they won, lost, or made that one-in-a-million shot. With our core gameplay locked down, we began expanding our tiny demo into a full-fledged universe.

Dead StarDead Star

Welcome to the Wastes

In the world of Dead Star, any citizen who violates the law of the galaxy is banished to the Wastes: a black void of scorched metal and irradiated rock a hundred light-years from habitable space. At the center of this prison-space sits the Dead Star, a massive red giant corrupted by dark antimatter.

Life in the Wastes is a constant battle for survival, a war between psychopaths and criminals fighting over whatever scraps of technology they can find floating in the remnants of the centuries-old battlefields. As if this existence wasn’t miserable enough, now the Dead Star has begun collapsing upon itself, threatening to go supernova and annihilate every living thing within a dozen light-years.

When you first start playing Dead Star, your pilot has just been exiled to the Wastes. In our primary game mode, you’ll fight over control of the prison, earning fame and rewards based on actions you perform in battle. Your skills in combat will determine whether you die in a blast of laser fire or gain infamy as the galaxy’s greatest pilot.

Dead Star

Galactic Expansion

As we expanded the dramatic universe of Dead Star, we also expanded the core game systems to include modern twists on the genre. We focused on three primary goals for the game:

  1. Support many unique play styles: Dead Star offers a variety of ships, each with unique abilities that can be unlocked and upgraded on the fly within a match. The game also provides multiple roles in combat, from defensive positions like mining and base upgrading, to offensive roles like long-range scouting and control-point capture.
  2. Create strategic variation: Instead of providing a limited set of static maps with known strategies, Dead Star’s procedural map generation system creates multiple randomized scenarios every match, then lets players vote where the battle takes place!
  3. Add the “Whaaaaaaat? Factor”: With Dead Star, we’re trying something a little crazy. In our to-be-announced game mode, we allow players to dynamically impact live, ongoing player matches in a unique and exciting way.

In the coming months, we’ll reveal more details on these and many other features, unveiling the mysteries behind our new game mode and giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Dead Star’s systems.

For now, I hope you enjoyed this short glimpse at the game, and I look forward to fighting alongside you in Dead Star on PS4!

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15 Comments

3 Author Replies

  • Boring.

  • Would need to see more before forming an opinion…

  • This looks like a modern iteration on Star Control’s Melee Mode, so I’m completely on board.

    • Hi SaviorMachine,

      Star Control (I & II) were big games for myself and other members of the team growing up! They were definitely an influence when we were initially scoping out Dead Star! (along with other games like Subspace/Continuum, Geometry Wars, modern MOBAs, etc.)

  • Looks great! Looking forward to more details in the future.

  • darn it. i was happy for a few seconds thinking ps4 is getting a good space game…. but its just some top down indie crap.

  • no offence to the developers but this is not why people have a ps4 for.

    • I own a PS4 and this is one of the reasons I own one. I like a wide variety of games and indie games provide that. If you only want AAA gaming, you’re missing out.

    • sorry but I have to agree with him. Games like this is what I have a cheap tablet for……

  • For me, it’s not that I detest indie games, rather, I detest ANY games that feature retro-inspired graphics. If I wanted to play games featuring this style, I would get my still functional Commodore-64 and Vectrex out from storage – along with some floppy disks as well. It’s 2015 for heaven’s sake, not 1982.

    As for Dead Star, I will gladly support this game because the developers chose not to use 1-bit graphics and they have provided a multiplayer space-shooter game – a genre that is not that common on the PS4 – to a platform that could use more depth into the types of genres available.

    • Sorry, but I have to call BS on this… If you actually owned a working VECTREX you wouldn’t let it sit in storage!

      Everyone I know who is lucky enough (smart enough) to own a Vectrex all have them set up and ready to play.
      Vectrex owners don’t mess around! :)

      Anyway, this game looks awesome. Twin Stick shooters set in space are always welcome.
      The ratio of twin stick shooters to COD clones is about 1:133, so there is no need to yell about them just yet.

      Indie games do not hold back AAA games either, so no worries there.

  • Looks promising. Possible twin stick shooter with pvp, what’s not to love?! Looking forward to hearing more about Dead Star!

    • It’s definitely a twin-stick shooter! Left stick controls movement, right stick aims your systems (weapons & devices). Then you fire weapons and activate devices with the four trigger buttons. We’ve tried to keep the controls easy to use, so the depth of the game is all about how skillful you are at flying and using your weapons, rather than fumbling over controls.

  • Looks pretty fun. Reminds me of Subspace. Good job Armature!

  • Can you also build space bases? That would be cool.

    • You can’t build Outposts (our name for the bases you see in the video) but you can capture them, and if you go out and harvest ore, you can dump it into the Outpost to upgrade it. There are a bunch of different types of Outposts, so upgrading an Outpost has different results depending on the type. Generally though, upgrading an Outpost improves its defenses and AI turrets, and spawns new AI ships you can commandeer to fly along with you.

      Several ships also have different probes you can drop. One type lets you spawn and heal units, while others do things like create turrets or defense shields. Working together with your teammates you can spawn a collection of probes to build something similar to an outpost.

  • I’ll definitely be buying this. I love these types of games.
    The space scenery looks incredibly colorful and vivid. Awesome stuff!

  • Get the balance right between ships, as in Star control ii and you will have a winner.
    Sign me up, looks awsome.

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