ScrumbleShip interview with Dirkson -nerd age


ScrumbleShip interview with Dirkson

Scrumbleship first came to our attention when it made its way to IndieDB.  While this game is still in pre-alpha, it’s interesting to look out for because it will have multiplayer space combat around a very special engine. One of the creators who goes by Dirkson, is here to fill you in quite a bit more.

 Nerd Age’s Scholar: Where did you get the idea for ScrumbleShip?

Dirkson creator of ScrumbleShip: Roughly 2 years ago I got the idea to make a text based space combat simulator called “Richard” from a combination of too much Dwarf Fortress and too much science fiction. I began early research for the game and coded a small physics demo, then set the project down for a few months.

The game took a 30 degree left turn when Minecraft came out – I realized that I could combine some of the best ideas of Minecraft with some of the ideas of Dwarf Fortress and “Richard”. One snazzy new name later ScrumbleShip was born.


NA: What sets ScrumbleShip apart from other games in the genre?

Dirkson: Realism and tone. We aim to be the most accurate space combat simulation ever devised, and have already written parts of the physics engine to support that.

For our tone, we’ve picked a playful, retro style – We don’t take ourselves TOO seriously. (We have butter for a building material!)

We also have a few neat technical features not present in other games – Our voxel engine allows us to display damage in a more striking way than any other block-placing game. Shoot a terminal? See wires and circuits. Shoot a human? Expect red flesh and white bone to start peeking through the skin.


NA: Give us a little background on those working on ScrumbleShip.

Dirkson: ScrumbleShip has a 2.5 person Dev-team:

Dirkson – Programming, promotion, and anything else he can heap on his plate. A cheery sort of fellow who lives in an underground lair, wears tweed and a handlebar mustache. And he enjoys discovering new caves and going for 20+ mile walks in his time off. Seriously.

Nezumi – 2d and 3d artist. Also lives in the underground lair. She’s going to school for art, insect studies, business, and/or whatever strikes her fancy this quarter.

Yam – Designing the game’s launcher. Yam is a thin fellow who enjoys dancing and has a disturbing love of dried shrimp. He’s currently working long hours for a major corporation and has very little time to devote to launcher-creation.


NA: What are your plans for getting this game to the masses, IE: Steam, Desura, Indie Royale, Humble Bundle etc?

Dirkson: Steam isn’t usually the best choice for consumers or publishers, so I’m skeptical you’ll ever see one of our games on it. Desura were friendly and great to chat with, but we couldn’t find a set of numbers to agree on. We left the door open for the future though, so we may yet be able to sell through them.

I wouldn’t mind being a part of the Humble Indie Bundle at some point in the future. We’re Windows/Linux/Mac, so we fit their criteria quite well.  Our main method of selling will be directly though , though I’d like to use IndieVania.


 NA: What is the one thing you want fans to know that sets your game apart from others. Realism? Semi-open-source license? Playful visual appeal? Unique technical differences?

Dirkson: We don’t just have one killer feature, we have a whole slew of them, and what is important to one fan isn’t important to the next. On the plus side, our genre (space-based block-builder) is relatively new and most of the games are quite cheap, so I don’t see any reason people can’t try a couple of ’em out. I know I will!


NA: What other unusual materials are you planning to use in the future?

Dirkson: There’s been talk of toast, actually! Most of our materials are actually quite realistic, the butter is just an in-joke – So long as you have the correct physical properties of the material, you can simulate just about any material, and I happened to find the properties of butter in a scientific paper. The config file for materials is written in plain text, so users could mod their program to add and remove materials as they please.

Scrumbleship space boat

NA: Will you be implementing multiplayer?

Dirkson: Multiplayer is actually the focal point of the game – It’s really quite hard to have a space battle when there’s no one to fight! Additionally, most capital ships will be large and complex enough that a real-person crew of 4-5 would be quite reasonable, and a crew of 20-30 would be within the realm of possibility.


NA: Will you just be having space combat or will there be a portion where you explore various planets?

Dirkson: Exploring planets is something we’re leaving open as a possibility for post-1.0 release additions. Until then, the main push is going to be on the simulation of space itself (And asteroid fields), with ship-planet interaction mainly through space stations.


 NA: Will you be releasing mod kits much later down the road?

Dirkson: We’re doing much better than that. Every license of ScrumbleShip will come with a full copy of the source code under a proprietary license – If you can code C, you can make a mod for ScrumbleShip. People will even be able to contribute their changes and get them included in the main build, if they’d like them to be.

As far as official, commercial mod kits, we don’t have any serious plans for them, but there HAS been some discussion about making a steampunk and/or fantasy version of the ScrumbleShip idea using the same engine.


NA: What advice can you give to developers who are in a similar position to yours?

Dirkson: First – Set daily goals. Get up every morning and decide what you’d like to get done today. Realistic daily goals will keep forward progress on your game going, even when the rest of your life intrudes.

Second – Decide what you want to do and do it come hell or high water. I could win the lottery or get run over by a train tomorrow, and I’d be coding ScrumbleShip the day after. It takes a strong commitment to get anything done at all, particularly in the face of setbacks, delays, lawyers, and other disasters.

Third – Don’t be afraid to tell news outlets about your game. There are some excellent game news sites out there, (Like this one!) and they need content just as badly as you need to promote your game. Everyone goes home happy!

We want to thank Dirkson for his time, and be sure to check out Scrumbleship’s main site. You can find out more about the game and even play the pre-alpha.


About Scholar

Scholar is a former Journalist and Researcher. He now handles this site as a hobby. The writers here do it out of love for gaming, not for the money.

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