Starlight Inception Kickstarted by Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds developer

Indie developer Escape Hatch Games, helmed by Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds creator Garry M. Gaber, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Starlight Inception, a space combat game inspired by the likes of Wing Commander and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter.


The space combat simulation genre has fallen by the wayside in recent years, much to the chagrin of its devoted fans. In an attempt to help close the black hole created by the dearth of such titles, Developer Garry M. Gaber, the designer and director of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, has set up a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to make Starlight Inception at his studio, Escape Hatch Games.

In the pledge-seeking Kickstarter video (below), Gaber recalls "playing the crap out of games like Wing Commander" and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. The lack of such games in today's market are serving as ample motivation to create something new and fun to help fill that long-neglected gaming need.

The official, top-line description of the game is as follows:

You assume the role of a young space fighter pilot assigned to the star carrier U.S.F. Independence, deploying to hotspots throughout the Solar System during World War IV.

If you want a copy of the game upon release (should it get funded and come to fruition) a mere $15 will get you access to the beta, a digital version of the game on PC or PlayStation Vita, and all launch DLC. Thirty dollars will get you a special edition copy and soundtrack. Donating even more can net you stuff like t-shirts, posters, an official art book, and more.

Development of the game will leverage local Austin talent, as well as paid "local community college students" working under Gaber's direction. The pitch also notes that Escape Hatch Games is also reaching out to the "Wing Commander, X-wing vs. TIE and Galactic Battlegrounds modding communities to give them a chance to contribute to a commercial product."

From The Chatty
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    April 6, 2012 5:00 PM

    Jeff Mattas posted a new article, Starlight Inception Kickstarted by Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds developer.

    Indie developer Escape Hatch Games, helmed by Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds creator Garry M. Gaber, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Starlight Inception, a space combat game inspired by the likes of Wing Commander and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter.

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      April 6, 2012 5:13 PM

      Good luck to him. I'll throw some money at them.

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      April 6, 2012 5:20 PM


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      April 6, 2012 5:29 PM


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        April 7, 2012 6:46 AM

        At full attention!!!! if you know what I mean giggity

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          April 7, 2012 6:53 AM

          ah yes, I had seen the video the other day. I'm really interested in it and will support it, but not being Star Wars is rather a downer. The best thing about Tie Fighter was the lore, music and setting, not to mention the actual fighters you got to pilot being very familiar and comfortable.

          In any event, I'm really freaking happy they are looking to develop this, and can count on my support!

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      April 6, 2012 5:31 PM

      Battlegrounds was one of the better games wasn't it?

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        April 6, 2012 7:55 PM

        It was ok but not amazing. It was basically a Star Wars themed Age of Empires.

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          April 7, 2012 6:56 AM

          Oh, I must getting confused with another one with a similar title.

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          April 7, 2012 7:07 AM

          ^^ this, I remember playing it with more or less a 'meh' attitude. Not bad, but not anything of real significance.

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        April 7, 2012 10:05 AM

        It was a very solid game, but nothing spectacular. Basically a really awesome age of empires mod.

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      April 6, 2012 5:55 PM

      Make it like the movie intro on StarWars, Episode 2.

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      April 6, 2012 7:09 PM

      Woa. On PlayStation vita.... wait a minute.

      I'd happily chop of limbs for a tie fighter remake, or the like... but I will not donate a cent for more consolized bullshit.

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        April 7, 2012 6:56 AM

        He did say PC first, so I'm curious how much it will be dumbed down ON the PC. Hopefully the vita product is a mere shadow, a meager arcade port of the REAL game on the PC. I remain hopeful.

        Starfighting games need to come back. I really wish Lucas would let a talented group of individuals work on a true sequel to Tie Fighter.

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          April 8, 2012 4:30 AM

          TIE Fighter was one of my favourite games of all time too. Here's hoping there'll be another :) I am interested to see what Escape Hatch can pull off though considering the guy cites X-Wing vs. TIE as one of his inspirations and clearly loves those types of games.

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        April 8, 2012 10:37 AM

        I won't be contributing because of this.

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      April 6, 2012 7:24 PM

      I wonder if their 3d anim there looks like 3DSmax2 on purpose so they're as retro 1990s as possible.

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      April 6, 2012 7:57 PM

      Meh, I'd like to support a space sim on kickstarter but 150,000 seems pretty low for a PS Vita game. The guys that made the Wing Commander mod for Freespace 2 should attempt to make a space sim though.

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      April 7, 2012 9:31 AM

      Eh, well, it'll still get to us long before Infinity does.

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      April 7, 2012 9:44 AM

      I was fully prepared to throw some money at this Kickstarter until I saw "Launch DLC". That's just something I really can't get behind. The bigger developers use the line "we have separate teams working on DLC in parallel" , but I can't imagine an effort like this could afford a completely separate team.

      Launch DLC seems like a way for execs to nickle and dime their customers. I just can't back an indie project doing the same thing. Voting with my money on this one.

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        April 8, 2012 4:28 AM

        I was like you - but they retracted the launch DLC idea due to negative fan responses and the guy has promised to "Never ever" try and offer launch DLC again, so $15 gets you everything on launch now. They obviously listen to their fans and that's good enough for me so they have got my pledge.

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          April 9, 2012 6:58 AM

          I'm similar, but I won't trust anyone that started off with launch dlc. Everything from this point is going to be similarly created.

          I just don't trust them to create a quality game, especially with an aim at the vita.

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      April 11, 2012 10:20 PM

      Hi - I'm Garry Gaber, the developer of Starlight Inception, and stoked just to be mentioned on shack news. Some of what I'm saying here is a cut and paste from BluesNews, but I didn't want to force anyone to have to go follow a link to read my post... [part 1]

      A couple points and some more description of the game:

      Why the hell Vita?

      I think my LucasArts stuff is creating a false impression that I now own a studio that is large. It's not true - Escape Hatch is small. Small is good in some cases, because it lets you be agile, and make quick decisions. it also lets you do things at a much better price point and efficiently.

      For a small studio to survive, it has to stand out where there isn't a lot of competition from larger products. Originally PSP made sense from that perspective, but PSP couldn't handle the graphics we were throwing at it. So we thought, where now? And we looked at Vita, a touch device with twin joysticks with no space games on it, and thought this might be a place where we could shine. The reason we then chose PC was because, with modern engines (at least our modern engine) there's no such things as ports. Unity3d, for instance, has buttons to export to iOS, XBOX 360, Mac and PC, amongst others. Your chief concerns are adjusting for screen size, and setting up a control scheme which works. Vita can push polys so much better than any other handheld, that it can support near - PC graphics. So we make our art assets for PC first and foremost, and then downsample textures and (maybe) poly count for the Vita. But things like physics, gameplay, game modes, etc - they all go over with the touch of that switch. If doing the graphics for PC first means PC leads, then we can agree to disagree on this fact. In the old days, back at Lucas, a port really was a port. You basically had to rewrite all of your code to get it to work on other platforms, which led to compromises. We do not intend to make compromises with Starlight, and shouldn't have to.

      Mecha Tofu Pirate, 150k isn't enough for this type of game. That's right - but that is only a part of the budget, and the two principals, myself and my wife, Melissa aren't taking any salary for this, no matter how much comes in from Kickstarter. We are also kicking in some of our own cash to make this happen.

      Spaeckow, regarding the art you're seeing and the teaser, these are all early concepts for the game, and culled together footage that will never be used in this form, not a real formal teaser announcement. From what I can glean, Kickstarter is meant to get projects going, not to fund projects that are far along in their lifecycle, although that definition has been changing. I might not have been clear enough on the page - we are really really early here. Like, concept doc early. Everything you currently see, logo, ships, etc. will change as more team comes aboard and we really get going. Game Development are iterative. This one is no different. I kind of like the logo still, even though it is old school, but I know it's going to change.

      Re: Launch DLC- I screwed the pooch on this one. I put that in there originally in case we were going to do Launch DLC (i.e. Sony asked us to do it, for whatever reason), so that everyone would get it who did the Kickstarter thing. If we did it. The idea was maybe to do two fighters and an extra non-campaign mission and sell it for $.99 or something. Again, if it came up, we had it, and the backers wouldn't feel like we hadn't told them. Subsequently, I realized first, that Launch DLC is evil, we never should have mentioned it, and even though we really didn't have anything, I pledged to add two extra fighters and that mission into the shipping game. I apologized profusely, and am still apologizing and I really feel bad about this. This is something a publisher behind your company does - they protect you from your own stupid moves. But we are self-publishing and this was my own error and again, I wish I had never done it, and never will again. In my own defense, I only want to ask, when was the last time some [fill in the name of a big publisher or developer] ever decided to fold launch DLC into their shipping version?

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      April 11, 2012 10:20 PM

      [Part 2] Some stuff about the game itself, which may upset some of you, and may convince some of you that we really do have a game here that you might like, and I'm glad to answer questions after you all read this, as long as you don't tell me I'm destroying a genre that essentially doesn't exist any more... :)

      Starlight Inception is a tactical space-based shooter in the vein of classic games like Wing Commander and the X-wing series, but with a fresh aesthetic.

      There are two main game modes - one is mission based, and has a storyline following a pilot through the fourth World War, fought amongst the planets and moons of our star system. The missions are varied, including straight shoot-'em ups, rescue missions, salvage missions. All the missions contain elements of exploration, combat and in some cases, stealth and tagging the enemy for larger assaults. There is a fair amount of world building in this mode, as you interact with enemies and wingmen, sometimes discovering things or achieving things during the mission that affect the overall course of the story.

      The second game mode is a sort of strategic defense of your mothership, where you deploy turrets and engage in ship to ship combat to defend against incoming marauders. This mode is more geared toward players who just want to get in a cockpit and begin engaging the enemy (i.e. casual players).

      Both modes have achievements locked to them, as well as gaining the player command prestige for objectives met and side quests. Command prestige is the currency of the game, and allows players to 'purchase' better ships, better weapons, better equipment, better drone wingmen.

      In addition, there is a multiplayer component, where players can play head to head or on teams in various modes, including deathmatch, capture the flag, defend the mothership, etc.

      The game can be played both in 3rd person, outside the ship, tethered camera mode, or 1st person through the cockpit mode. The UI is planned to have at least two modes - a HUD like treatment and a more realistic, rendered cockpit view. So, please reconsider, Wildone - you can meld the game to your will - we want to give choices.

      The game will be tuned for joysticks, flight yokes, game controllers and keyboard and mouse combos on the PC (I loved Freelancer's control scheme, even though I still prefer a yoke or joystick), and will take advantage of the twin joysticks, and front and rear touchscreens on the Playstation Vita. Because the Vita is such a technologically advanced handheld, there shouldn't be any dumbing down going on between the two platforms. I said it above, but will reiterate - in our minds and the design, the gameplay is the same on both platforms, with the primary difference being the obvious control schemes and optimizing assets for the size of the screen.

      I know physics are very important to players of this kind of game, and I know we'll be tweaking the feel of the ships until launch. Our early prototypes used a very arcade-y feel, more akin to Wing Commander, but we are still tuning aspects of this approach, looking at adding Newtonian elements, within reason. Several space sims have done the Newtonian thing really well, but sometimes this results in a ship that's hard to control. And never mind the fact that things like missiles become sort of counterproductive in a real Newtonian model of space, pushing your ship backwards with an equal and opposite force every time you fire one.

      Our promise is that we'll be working toward a model that is fun for the player, and that doesn't get in the way of the gameplay. It may be something new, and I hope you guys can accept that.

      As you can probably see, we really want to give the player lots of options when playing the game, but this isn't what costs money - it just costs time as you track down bugs. That's why we left ourselves such a long development cycle to build the game.

      We're going to be posting more information and a little more concept art (better quality) in an update in the next day or so on the Kickstarter page. If you guys give us a chance, I promise I won't break the genre, and I'll deliver a game you can enjoy.

      In addition, I read all the forums that talk about us, and it is shaping the game we're going to build. We're resolved not to make this a transparent process, and everyone's opinion matters, even detractors, even though we can't act on everything that's said. I can't promise I'm going to visit places often that are kicking the shit out of me every other post, but I do try and read everything.

      Thanks for reading my short novel, and for those of you who do choose to support our efforts, my sincerest appreciation...


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