Who is Lex Laser? Defiant Mouse’s Own Andrew Grant Explains.
As Lex Laser Saves the Galaxy, Again comes to its final stretch over at Kickstarter, Fund This Game thought it would be cool to take a look into the game and also talk to team leader on the title Andrew Grant.
Andrew describes the game as “a tactical puzzle RPG for busy people. We’re going out of our way to keep the game accessible, but also to provide a little bit of depth when you look for it”.
“The basic game design came before the fiction. Square-based map, turn-based gameplay, lots of area effect attacks, and lots of enemies. You pick the correct weapon for the situation at hand, and try to figure out how to target it for maximum effect. It’s a twist on the classic tactical combat games that plays a lot more like a casual puzzle game. But unlike most casual puzzle RPG games, the puzzle element fits in directly with the fiction. You aren’t manipulating gems on an abstract board; you are managing the tactical situation itself”.
The game has various ways to complete its episodes, I asked Andrew if this was original design idea when first going into the game.
“No. Every game *wants* to have a branching plot line, but it’s often prohibitively expensive in terms of production”.
“That came about after we decided to split the story up into Episodes. Once you’ve finished an Episode, we’re promising that you don’t *need* to remember all the details. We’ll tell you everything you need to know in a quick summary. This boundary also creates a handy branch point”.
“Let’s say that Lex Laser meets the brilliant scientist “Mercer,” but discovers that Mercer has been performing questionable biological experiments on human subjects. Lex can thwart Mercer by letting the research subjects go. Lex can help Mercer in exchange for some valuable medical equipment. Lex can kill Mercer. Any one of those outcomes ends the Episode. In the save file, we write a summary for the Episode, and we record a little bit of data about Mercer. Mercer hates Lex, Mercer likes Lex, Mercer is dead…”
“Let’s say that Mercer hates Lex Laser. When the player chooses the next Episode, we can filter Episodes based on this record. We can present Episodes where someone with high-tech resources is gunning for Lex Laser, and we can cast Mercer in that role”.
“That’s a particularly complicated example. Simpler things are: “Does Lex Laser have a space ship right now?” “Is Lex Laser friendly with the pirates?” “Is Lex Laser rich or poor?” “Is Lex Laser’s father alive?” Those are all outcomes that can vary depending on how you complete your Episodes”
When asking Andrew for his influences, I wrongly assumed Douglas Adams was an influence. I guess the Englishman in me took over, Andrew went on to tell me mor
“For humor and narrative, look to Firefly. Firefly had this wonderful way of keeping tense situations light. The *universe* wasn’t always funny, but the *characters* dealt with the drama of the universe by laughing at it. (Hands down, Firefly has the funniest torture scene ever filmed.)”
“Firefly and Babylon 5 both had this wonderful feeling that the universe was a big place. If you truly wanted to, you could just run away and lose yourself in it. But you also have friends, family, responsibilities, and honor. So you don’t turn your back on those things entirely. When you are needed, you step up.”
“We also reference Heinlein’s juveniles and E. E. “Doc” Smith’s books. You’ll see a lot of the same themes there. Space is big, and dangerous. Humans are clever, resourceful, and above all, determined. Those books have a lot to do with why Lex Laser is an asteroid miner by trade.”
“As for gameplay, we’re influenced by Robots, Gauntlet, Rogue, Diablo, Dungeons & Dragons, SSI’s Gold Box games, and HERO System. These games all have strong positional tactics, which manifest in different ways. Star Control II, Star Saga, and FTL are primarily storytelling influences.”
So as we come up to the final week of the funding for Lex Laser it should be interesting to see what happens. Andrew Grant’s reflects on his time with Kickstarter.
“We’ve already gained a lot from the Kickstarter. The process of writing and rewriting and trying to honestly represent what’s cool about the game has helped crystallize a lot of ideas. The Kickstarter is working a lot like a very early focus test in that regard”.
“We’re also hoping to gain a group of dedicated fans, people who look forward to new versions of the game. That’s an amazingly powerful force for any creative endeavor. Knowing that someone out there wants to see our game makes all the hard work worthwhile. I love it when something I do makes people smile”.
“And on the flip side, if there aren’t people looking forward to the game, that’s really useful to know up front. That means we need to change the game and try again”.
“Don’t get me wrong; the funding is essential, too. But if this were just about money, we wouldn’t be making independent games”.
If you would like to know more about Lex Laser Saves The Galaxy, Again here is their homepage
And here is their pitch
Lets fund this game!