Rockfish Games, creators of Everspace 2, AMA

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Aug 31, 2020
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What is the best part that you like in EVERSPACE 2? And what is the best part in EVERSPACE? If you would like to play a game, which one do you prefer the most EVERSPACE or EVERSPACE 2? And why?
 
Sep 3, 2020
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What advice would you give to someone that's new to Everspace? What do I need to know before I play?
 
Mar 31, 2020
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Was it easier designing the game for the second time since the groundwork is already laid. What were the challenges the team faced while developing the Sequel.
 
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Hello there PC Gamers! My name is Erik, the Community Ambassador for Rockfish Games. And we’re hosting an all-you-can-ask AMA! We've got a sizable crew here to answer questions as well, including our Project Manager Caspar, our Senior Game Designer & Programmer Hans-Christian, Creative Director Uwe, and big bad CEO himself Michael.

To start things off, here’s a little bit about myself. While the team is based out of Hamburg, Germany, I'm situated in a home in the middle of the American midwest.


You may be wondering how some US guy from Kansas joined a 100% German company. So, here's a brief history of how I joined the team, while also showing how important the community is to Rockfish Games.

1. I'm passionate about the things I love.
2. I evaluate games just as much as I play games, and I've played a LOT of games.
3. I'm an original Kickstarter backer of Everspace.

When the Rockfish forums opened up in 2016, I questioned EVERYTHING, and threw suggestions every chance I could. Over 1,000 posts. And it was from this feedback/suggestion pool that I was reached out to by Rockfish, as they apparently loved my engagement on the forums, and seemed to appreciate the unique (and sometimes questionable) perspectives being brought to the table.

This feedback process proved powerful for us to realize our vision. Not just from me, but from multiple members of the community participating in alpha, beta, and early access builds. I was blown away when I was asked to further assist Rockfish through the Everspace - Encounters Expansion, with exclusive feedback opportunities through QA. It kept building from there, and now we're championing Everspace 2! BAM!

So, the fact that I'm from Kansas doesn't really mean too much. It's the quality of the product that matters, and we recognize we get there through our community. So when I say we're really passionate about our community, it's not just a simple line thrown by a general community manager. Everspace was made better because of you guys, and we are moving in that same direction with Everspace 2 to ensure we maximize our potential once again.

As such, I strongly encourage you all to fire away at our Rockfish Games team any and all questions about ourselves! Some of us have crazy stories to share, and a lot of insight in gamedev. So ask away! Let’s share some insight, some laughs, and have a good time.


Sincerely,

Erik and the Rockfish Games team

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HOTTEST QUESTIONS (and Answers)

Q. What GPU do I need for moderate/best performance? What specs are needed for EVERSPACE 2?
A. In the current alpha (still lacking optimization): 4K, 60fps can currently be achieved with an i7 and an RTX 2070 Super.
6-yo gaming notebook with 16 GB of RAM, i7 @2.6 GHz and GTX 970M still pulls of 1080p at 30fps.
Recommended specs (PENDING) are likely going to be around 16 GB of RAM, i7 @2.9 GHz, GTX 1080. This will likely achieve epic settings at 1080p with stable 30 fps.
The goal is to hit 4K at super-stable 60 fps on an RTX 2070 Super or equivalent on high+ graphics settings.
Welcome
 
May 6, 2020
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What are your inspirations for the Everspace universe and what can we expect from the sequel that isn't in the original game?
 

RFG_Erik

Registered Developer
Aug 24, 2020
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What is the best part that you like in EVERSPACE 2? And what is the best part in EVERSPACE? If you would like to play a game, which one do you prefer the most EVERSPACE or EVERSPACE 2? And why?
Well, since there's only a small sliver of a completed project for EVERSPACE 2 just yet, I'd have to say the tutorial is my favorite part of the game so far. You're thrown through a large interior space (a first for the series) filled with mysterious overtones and alien wildlife to set the stage for what's to come. Also, you get a friggin' grapple feature on your ship that lets you throw stuff around using the in-game physics.

EVERSPACE shines in its replayability, much like many roguelikes do. As such, the game becomes more as you put more time into it. I think it was around my 6th hour playing the game where the systems clicked and the experience exploded into so much more than I ever expected it could. It's a challenging game, and so the rewards are satisfying as well. Ultimately, I think the best part of EVERSPACE is Hardcore Mode, as this gives the penultimate permadeath experience with added handicaps along the ride. But it's only for those who have a thorough understanding of the core mechanics; I would NEVER recommend diving into Hardcore Mode first!

As of right now, I personally prefer EVERSPACE, but that's because it's a completed game that I know I could sink hundreds of more hours in, while EVERSPACE 2 is kind of locked at about 10-15 hours of content in its current alpha phase. But when EVERSPACE 2 reaches full version status, I'm confident I'll have a new favorite.
 

RFG_Erik

Registered Developer
Aug 24, 2020
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What advice would you give to someone that's new to Everspace? What do I need to know before I play?
Be persistent. EVERSPACE will chew you up and spit you out, but it teaches you everything you need to know right out of the gate. This is NOT a space sim, but rather an arcade-y styled shooter. As such, you have lateral thrust movement capabilities, granting impressive 6DoF mobility when you need it most. Hovering and strafing can be your most trusted ally.

Take advantage of the controls we give you.
 
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Jul 31, 2020
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I could see that, but we'd also want to be really careful with that approach.

At it's core, both EVERSPACE 1 and 2 are rooted in a spaceship shooter setting. Changing that core rule into something else can alter a lot.

In fact, I could easily reference StarFox here. StarFox to StarFox64 was an incredibly healthy transition because they expanded their core - NOT changing it - by adding in new ways to fly through the on-the-rails shooter. But StarFox Adventures - a ground based exploration game - is a wild departure from the franchise aside from its cast of characters.

So yes, I think that would be fun; however, before we went in that kind of direction, we want to further establish our foundation, first.
Very good point, and very cool old school refernce to some Star Fox! Thanks!
 
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RFG_Erik

Registered Developer
Aug 24, 2020
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What are your inspirations for the Everspace universe and what can we expect from the sequel that isn't in the original game?
Alright, so I spoke with Michael about this one and had a healthy response to our inspiration to our work, which I'm quoting below. It's a meaty quote.
Okay, BIG RESPONSE time! I checked in with @RFG_Michael to ensure we got the best details straight-from-the-top as well, so here we go!

EVERSPACE itself stems off one simple element: Taking what we enjoy and know best, and champion it for the PC/Console market. You see, we previously created Galaxy on Fire 1 and 2 for mobile. And after some colorful moments in history, we left that playing field to build EVERSPACE from the ground-up, with more powerful tools, and expanded ideas. We're inspired by many sci-fi stories from all mediums, including childhood games as well. FTL influenced a bit of our progression system, since we were diving into the realm of the roguelike, while the controls stem from games like Descent and Freelancer.

After the commercial success of the orignal EVERSPACE, it actually took us several months to come up with the right ideas and forge a strong vision for EVERSPACE 2 even though the core pillars (fast-paced arcade-y 3D space combat, intuitive controls, stunning visuals) have always been in our hearts. In the end, we decided to drop the roguelike formula and go all-in for an open-world space shooter RPG driven by a compelling single-player story campaign - which is a quite unusual approach for a sequel to a successful first installment of a new IP if you think about it.

However, to really understand what aspects of the original EVERSPACE fans liked and disliked the most, and what they wished for our next game, we also evaluated some 30,000 comments on social media and 5,000 user reviews on Steam. While almost everyone loved the fast-paced 3D space combat and tight Freelancer-inspired controls, the roguelike game loop was clearly not for everyone, especially for those who were hoping for a spiritual successor of Freelancer or Galaxy on Fire 2, which we were best known for back in the day when our previous studio was one of the best in 3D mobile gaming.

We love the freedom of exploration that Elite Dangerous provides the player, as well as the added weight to traveling through the consumption of limited resources and navigation through dangerous territories. But strong storytelling and the arcade-style gameplay of EVERSPACE 2 is less about the simulation of spaceship management and more about jumping into combat, so a lot of the design ends up being dramatically different in comparison.

In fact, Freelancer is our main gameplay reference, which we took a lot of inspiration from both regarding controls and the desire for an open-world experience and deeper storytelling. Our visual look and sound design comes more from Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, while itemization stems from Destiny and Diablo. Second-to-second combat gets its roots from classic shooters like Halo.

Of course, beyond having been inspired by other iconic sci-fi games to build our vision, we also want EVERSPACE 2 to stand out from its peers, so we are throwing a lot of our own ideas into the mix, especially when it comes to locations filled with lots of points of interest and various activities, which we believe is unique in the space games genre.
As far as expectations for the sequel that wasn't in EVERSPACE, there will be A LOT. For starters, we completely changed the genre of the game (which is no small feat for an IP) from an arcade shooting roguelike to a looter shooter open world RPG, which is a decent portion why you'll see a lot that wasn't in the original game. Our player ships are built from modules, which means there will be a lot of variety (and customization) from EVERSPACE 2. A new grapple mechanic allows the use of objects as tools and weapons using the in-game physics engine. Reputation systems are tracked and rewarded. Job boards now populate certain stations. Massive interior spaces. Handcrafted environments. Planet-side locations.

There's more, but we haven't revealed it yet since we're still in alpha. But if this excites you, I hope you'll stick around to see what we've got cooking! :D
 
Apr 20, 2020
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Taking your team's current skills and abilities into account, what older game would you want to remake and play again?
 

RFG_Erik

Registered Developer
Aug 24, 2020
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How long between concept and the release of the game? And how do you test it?
How long has this game been in the works? I've always been curious about how long its takes to make a game.
At this time it's been in development for a little more than two years. At full release in 2022 it'll be a little more than four years. I guess we're kind of at the halfway point?

We test as a group very consistently. Internal testing is vital to ensure the systems are operating in their intended capacity. Obviously we also use the alpha as a means to testing as well, because a community with fresh eyes can spot what feels good and what doesn't since they haven't been pounding away at the project on a near-daily basis for an expansive period of time. 🤪

We know our vision is good, and we're focused on ensuring we make many of the desired systems work in an intentional way through testing. And we also see powerful concepts and strengthening suggestions emerge from the community as well, so it was a no-brainer for us to develop with early access builds too.
 
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RFG_Erik

Registered Developer
Aug 24, 2020
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Nice to have you Erik!

What is the process at Rockfish Games from the birth of an idea to realization? How many ideas have been shot down due to budgetary, technical or ridiculous reasons? What are some of the craziest ideas you (or the crew) have had that didn't make it into ES1 / ES2?
So, this was one of the first questions that was asked, and it's taken a while for us to answer. The fact of the matter is, we've been avoiding the question because we couldn't come up with a decent high-level answer, but we also didn't want to open a can of worms by talking in great detail about our game proposal session with our team at the end of the production of ES1. You heard that correctly: After EVERSPACE was made, the ROCKFISH team got together to pitch game proposals of varying genres and styles to publishers to see where we wanted to take ourselves. Now I'm not going to tell you specifically what the proposals were, because you never know what could happen with those ideas in the future, but also because my colleagues deserve the respect of their creative ideas.

There were a total of eight other concepts that hit the table before EVERSPACE 2. Two of those concepts were furthered, and even had established invested time and resources in them (fully funded out of our own pockets). Publishers really liked both of these concepts. A polished prototype made with UE4 of one of them stood its ground really well, so one publisher actually came up with a P&L estimate for it, while the other title's rock-solid pitch deck featuring a lot of high-detailed concept art and an interesting genre-mix excited many potential partners, too. However, the mid-range 7 digit development budgets for each project were too high for a recently rebooted studio back then, so we couldn't bring any of the projects to fruition.

Before I was on the team, the studio had the highest average rating for their portfolio in 2008, including the world's best mobile game Rally Master Pro and third best Snowboard Hero as well as the critically-acclaimed Galaxy on Fire 3D (2005) and Galaxy on Fire 2 (2009). WHOA. In addition to this, the studio was very successful in other genres like fantasy RPG (Blades & Magic) and even a fighting game (Gladiator) in bringing a console experience to mobile phones. So it's not like this crew can only do space shooters. It came down to the competition being much more fierce on PC and console as well as the unparalleled popularity of the GoF 1&2 back then on mobile (with some 30 million players around the globe), that we finally thrived on PC and console within the space shooter sub-genre.

So, let's loop this all back around. We did the game idea session after ES1 because we couldn't get a publisher, and we couldn't get a publisher because space games are a sub-genre with a lot of competition (which is fair). However, we're glad that none of our ideas or even the concept prototype made it. Because if they did, we wouldn't be working on EVERSPACE 2 now.
 
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RFG_Erik

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How many hard disk space is needed to install the game?
Game isn't done nor optimized so, this is seriously difficult to answer. Um...hmm.

EVERSPACE is approximately 12 Gigabytes, and I know we are expanding on everything from this game into our whole new genre of EVERSPACE 2. So - this is a completely wild guess here - probably somewhere between 20 and 30 Gigabytes? Could be more, could be less!
 
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Jul 6, 2020
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Would using a larger flat-screen TV make any difference on the consumption for the GPU or CPU of the PC in game????
 

RFG_Michael

Registered Developer
Aug 26, 2020
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Game isn't done nor optimized so, this is seriously difficult to answer. Um...hmm.

EVERSPACE is approximately 12 Gigabytes, and I know we are expanding on everything from this game into our whole new genre of EVERSPACE 2. So - this is a completely wild guess here - probably somewhere between 20 and 30 Gigabytes? Could be more, could be less!
Actually, with all those highly detailed handcrafted locations and baked GI solutions, its much bigger game world, and more story content, I think we'll rather end up around 50 Gigs.
 
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Sep 1, 2020
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I’ve been checking out some of the concept art from the press kit and looks like there’s some sort of big space city which looks amazing. Are there plans to have other big structures in addition to space stations and this space city? Something like a Dyson sphere/Alderson disk around a star that captures its energy? Or a massive orbital weapon used by aliens. Or an Orbital Ring/Space Elevator as a means of travel
 
Aug 31, 2020
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What are some of the ways that we as the community can do to help make your life and the development process easier? Is there anything you would like us to stop doing, or start doing more often?
 
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