Community Spotlight: Vespidae

Mike Stanton has been a part of the Shacknews community for three years, going under the handle of theDrMikey. When he's not helping his wife set phasers to "delicious," Stanton is wrapped in the world of indie game development. He's already had some success in that realm, taking home $75,000 for his previous effort, Planet Smashers. Now he's submitting his latest title to the Shacknews community for feedback--a 2D flight-based deathmatch game called Vespidae. "Vespidae is a fairly straightforward game about blowing up your friends," said Stanton. "The title is the scientific name of a family of wasps that includes a whole bunch of nasty stinging mean looking bugs. It signifies the ships you fly, the Vespidae class. Your own vespid is customizable with unique weapons, abilities and flight kits, allowing you to find the perfect balance between speed and strength. At present, the game just features a basic deathmatch mode. It's easy to hop in a blow people up for a few minutes, earn a bunch of credits and hop out again. Work on Vespidae only began in full force two months ago. Many of the core concepts are based off a game I worked on two years ago that was never released. Those ideas were rewritten and molded into this brand new game." Using tech from PlayerIO, Stanton has crafted Vespidae lobbies that support an estimated 45 players. He's currently seeking to cap the number at 16 to help limit the utter chaos that such a large number would ensue. And with weapons that include missiles, chain guns, and even a heavy laser, chaos ensues quickly. Vespidae is early in development and Stanton is working diligently to refine any kinks. His efforts are largely credited to the Shacknews community, who were quick to offer constructive feedback for future updates. "The Shacknews community has been great in helping test and give feedback on both Vespidae and my other games, ideas and contest entries," said Stanton. "They help find bugs, comment on gameplay and weapons and provide general feedback on how things are progressing. So far, the Shack has helped me fix a ton of glaring bugs and tweak a number of weapons to help balance the game more. Shackers are always my first stop to figure out if I'm headed in the right direction."

Use the mouse and keyboard to fly and fire

Stanton has always expressed interest in game development, even if he has always found himself behind the 8-ball at times. "I never had the latest technology or consoles when my friends did, so I was always eager to claw my way into that world," he said. "One day in college, I made a clone of the classic DOS game Paratrooper and decided I might just be able to make games for a living." His previous efforts have all helped lead to Vespidae, which Stanton takes a special pride in. "Vespidae is my most polished project to date," he added. "I have a tendency to lose faith in my own work as a project nears completion and start cutting corners, but this time I'm doing my best to see it through and make Vespidae the game it needs to be to succeed." With the project still early in development, Stanton has the tough task of deciding what will be included and what will remain on the cutting room floor. "I don't know what will fit in this game and what will get bumped to the sequel, but there is a long list of additions," he muses. "Different weapons affecting your flight through weight, different propulsion systems, achievements and challenges, offline mode, Capture the Flag, leaderboards, more maps, the list goes on and on." There is no final release date for Vespidae at this time. However, if you'd like to check out Vespidae in its current form, check it out on Stanton's website.