Hi everyone,

We're Ambient Studios, Guildford (UK) based developers of Death Inc.

We're halfway through our Kickstarter campaign. It's been an interesting experience so far and we'd love to talk about the campaign, making the game, running + being part of a small independent company. As Us Anything!

Who'll be involved:

  • honnyjopper: Jonny Hopper, Director

  • rovient: Daniel Leaver, Creative Director

  • M1kegreen: Mike Green, Lead Designer

  • fladd: Adam Sibbick, FX + Uber Artist

  • Avalix: Chris Butler, Programmer, Purveyor Of Fine Waistcoats

  • EcksAndWhy: Jon Eckersley, Uber Artist and Model House Designer

  • one_animals: Joss Moore, Supercoder

  • timmyhol: Tim Holleyman, Art Director

  • FritzBraun: Iain Brown, Network Coding Wizard

  • MikePang: Mike Pang, Director, Animator, Artist


Edit: You might be interested to know there is a playable prototype available.

Comments: 127 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

PHNS5 karma

Have you got a composer in mind for the soundtrack?

honnyjopper4 karma

We've had a bunch of offers and we've got a few options in mind, but we haven't settled with anyone yet.

gregtheomniscient5 karma

Did you think about making units stand out more ? Since in the prototype it's hard to tell which ones are infected humans and which ones are infected archers. Considering the control scheme you end up drawing loads of paths in different places in order to even find the group you want to control.

Are you planning to make the game even if Kickstarter campaign fails ?

Did you think about making the setting count more and not to be generic medieval towns and villages? The same goes for the characters to slain. Right now it feels very generic and aimless. It would be interesting to provide some context (even in form of different art).

How do you plan to differentiate the missions?

How do you plan to solve the problem with infected roaming free and following the path of movement at the same time? In prototype it was really frustrating gather them all into a group again after they run freely to attack villagers.

Did you think about making the game more emergent rather than simple progression elements with now one proper way to finish the level. (from what it seems from the gameplay videos and prototype level)

Did you think about even replying to people writing to you offering help with the project for free with kind "thanks, but we're not interested" to not make them feel like complete morons for offering their experience and free time in order to make project better for free and not even getting any kind refusal or simple thanks?

honnyjopper5 karma

Just to initially respond to your last point: Did we miss you? We've tried very hard to respond to every message and email we've got. I'm very sorry if you feel that you were slighted by us, it would have been an oversight rather than deliberate negligence.

bagheadinc3 karma

Ok, serious question this time: Should the Kickstarter campaign not get funded, do you think you'll try crowdfunding again (perhaps Indiegogo) or will you try to find investors? Or perhaps a combination of both?

honnyjopper4 karma

There are a bunch of options we can pursue - if the Kickstarter fails it's definitely not the nail in the coffin (aha!) for Death Inc.

FaithlessValor3 karma

17th century? Why not back in the 14th century when the plague hit its pinnacle?

honnyjopper3 karma

Tim will hopefully answer this one more fully, but I believe his answer will be along the lines of "because the world was prettier in 17th century". The colours are nicer, the style more flamboyant...

And narratively, there was this resurgence of the plague in the 17th century. Why did that happen? It was because our protagonist Grim T. Livingstone came on the scene, of course.

teh_wamburger3 karma

You mentioned multiplayer in your KS page. How do you see this working? One guy with the reaper and the other with the livings? Competing reapers?

honnyjopper4 karma

Good question! There's three immediate options that we're investigating:

  • Reaper vs Humans

  • Reaper vs reaper

  • Co-op reaping

It's a bit early to tell which will will work best just yet.

teh_wamburger2 karma

Any of you guys played Grim Fandango? The comic definitely struck a nostalgia chord...

honnyjopper3 karma

Ha! That's a coincidence, but Grim Fandango is one of my favourite games ever.

deadpool6472 karma

Is this your teams first game or have you done others?

honnyjopper5 karma

Well Death Inc. is our first publicly announced game. We've got an ace tablet game that is actually finished but we're holding off on talking about that until the Kickstarter is over, so we don't cross the streams.

Never cross the streams.

whitenoise6302 karma

Will there be any easter eggs?

honnyjopper3 karma

Yeah! We've already put some of the backer names in the game which is fun, and there's a nice "tower building" bug mechanic which could be used as a siege weapon...

The game is supposed to be a lighthearted thing anyway so I'm sure there'll be plenty of things to find.

icybains2 karma

I played a bit of the demo just now since the link was posted and it really does seem like quite a bit of fun. I guess I wonder if there will be any mechanic in the full version to direct when different movements happen? I like the idea of strategically placing and moving flanks of the undead or whatever they are, but it seems complicated when you have to sequentially draw out the path for each grouping.

honnyjopper1 karma

Good idea. Might work well - we'll give it a think. AFAIK you can't queue up timed orders in other RTS games (but I could well be wrong?), so it might make a really interesting addition.

Schobbo2 karma

I wish I had money to support all the great Kickstarter projects. Too bad I'm broke.

honnyjopper1 karma

I wish you did too!

bagheadinc2 karma

Boxers of briefs?

honnyjopper3 karma

Troubadours of trunks

Rovient3 karma

A serious answer for you bagheadinc: boxers.

honnyjopper2 karma

of briefs?

PSouthern2 karma

Not sure if you guys are looking for constructive criticism or not, but I just gotta chime in and say that I think "Death, Inc." is a pretty weak name. Personally, if I didn't know about the very cool premise of this game, I probably wouldn't even click on the title in the Steam store (or wherever).

honnyjopper1 karma

That's fair enough - it's good to know.

Sonnenhut1 karma

This might be an odd question but..

Is there a possibility to support you via Paypal? (I think kickstarter only supports amazon payments, which requires a credit card - afaik)

honnyjopper1 karma

Not an odd question! Yeah we will do once we get a little closer to the goal.

You're right about Amazon but you can use a debit card as well as a credit card. Problem with PayPal is that it doesn't actually help us succeed at the kickstarter, just adds to it - so if it means people who would pledge via Kickstarter use paypal instead, we miss out

Istandor1 karma

Can we have beta codes?

honnyjopper4 karma

You can back us on Kickstarter for the level that gives you beta access, then yes :)

gregtheomniscient1 karma

Another one from me. Did you think about bringing some villains to the table?

I'm thinking of something like in this animated short "Lady and the Reaper" in which he was trying to kill an old lady and some handsome doctor was trying to revive her.

Is there an idea to bring some characters who will cure the infection like priests or clerics ? Or some other npc that will try actively to disturb your advances instead of just being a passive villager that reacts back to being attacked by infected guys?

honnyjopper3 karma

To answer your question about villains: Yes! Your nemesis in the game is the evil King Of England (he's not explicitly named yet because we're giving someone the chance to claim that as a Kickstarter reward). It's a bit tricky because we don't want the player to be intrinsically evil, and it would be good for the player to feel like they were doing something actually good. So really, Grim is rescuing the poor peasants from their suffering under the bootheel of the King.

Regarding other units: We've barely scratched the surface in terms of the unit types that will be in the game. There will be Plague Doctors, priests / monks, lots of other things. And yes, there will be a more active enemy presence in the full game, of course.

CourtneyHammett1 karma

Will it be available for Wii and/or PC? How much might it cost? How similar is it to Pandemic?

honnyjopper2 karma

  • Definitely PC (Windows, Mac, Linux). Wii U is something we're considering if there's enough support for it. It would likely come up as a stretch goal if we get that far, purely to cover the costs of the platform specific things and the Wii U devkits.

  • It will cost around £15/$20 I think.

  • Pandemic the board game? I don't think it's very similar.

EDIT: formatting

rootyb1 karma

After playing the demo: Is there a way to erase paint I've drawn? If not, any plans to do so? More than once, I found myself thinking "Oh shit. That's not what I wanted.", but off my little plague-beasts trucked.

A right-click drag to erase would be sufficient, I think.

(Also, please make this iPad-playable. The tablet is about the only way I get time to game these days)

honnyjopper1 karma

There isn't yet but it's one of the most requested features we've had, so I'm sure it'll be doable in some form.

rootyb1 karma

How do you feel about people constantly asking the question "Would you rather fight one duck-sized horse, or one hundred horse-sized ducks?" in AMA's? What do you think it tells us about reddit culture, as compared to society as a whole?

honnyjopper3 karma

I think the imbalance between the two potential opponents is a fitting metaphor for reddit culture vs society as a whole.

OttStew1 karma

Why the death theme? Don't you think that's been over-done already?

honnyjopper2 karma

In all honesty, no I don't think it's been overdone - at least not in the way we're doing it. It seemed like the appropriate theme and setting to combine to do the game we wanted to do.

If we'd gone with straight up "post apocalyptic zombies" then I would agree it's been overdone, but I don't think "17th century bubonic plage with a grim reaper" is a particularly crowded theme.

OttStew2 karma

Thank you for your reply. I was talking about death-themed games in general.

I'm not a gamer, so maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't get the whole fascination with games centered around killing people.

nahtans951 karma

You can't do it in real life. Video games are about escapism, doing things that you wouldn't normally do, experiencing things. The simplest form of escapism is death or some sort of action scenario, its exciting and gets your blood rushing. Whether its played out or not, well, it really just depends on how you are doing it, the themes, the rules, how removed you are from the experience. It can be downright enjoyable at times.

Hope this helps! :)

honnyjopper1 karma

The 'killing people' bit of the game actually raises really interesting questions. So the setting is the 17th century, a pretty bleak time for the poor. And we've got this evil king who's making it worse.

And the way we've styled it is that actually the peasants miserable like that and when they get the plague they're all dancing around and they get to go out in a blaze of glory. It's not meant to be taken too seriously or literally.

askingyouquestions1 karma

Hiya :) Now this is a really small chance but by any chance are you guys offering placements for uni students? I'm asking because I am a 2nd year computer animation student looking for placements, who lives in Farnham (woo, go Farnham) when I'm not at uni.

And because it is rude to ask a question in an AMA, what is your favorite part of the gameplay so far?

honnyjopper1 karma

Hi! We're not in a position to offer placements right now, but that may change in the future - watch our website / facebook page for updates on that one.

Favourite gameplay: For me I like using my archers to draw big soldiers out one by one (e.g. at the end around the nobleman) and have my cunning villagers waiting round the corner.

askingyouquestions1 karma

Haha sounds awesome :) I'll be keeping an eye on the game!

honnyjopper1 karma

have you tried the demo? Then you can try it for yourself! www.deathincgame.com/demo/

pitillidie1 karma

Did you get the game idea from Pandemic?

honnyjopper1 karma

No - this question has already been asked and answered further down.

tonuorak1 karma

Hey, I live not too far from Guildford. Mind giving me a job when I finish college soon?

honnyjopper1 karma

I suppose it depends on what you do and whether you're amazing at it.

bagheadinc1 karma

Will a certain infamous cheat code make its way into the game to unlock some sort awesomeness?

honnyjopper2 karma

maybe idkfa to give you all the diseases

IamGrimReefer1 karma

fun game. it took me awhile to figure out pink trail is everyone, green trail is melee/regular humans, yellow is archers, blue is soldiers. something to indicate who is who would be very nice. the soldiers stand out due to size alone but the archers and regular infected are hard to discern. maybe give the archers yellow hats or something. a unit counter would be really great too. a number next to the specific unit's command would be really great. it's a quick way to see how much of each unit you have.

i kept loosing like 75% of my army when i went up a hill to the northwest of the starting location. they just walked into the hill and disappeared.

fun game, i look forward to seeing much more of it in the future. i played the demo like 20 times already.

honnyjopper1 karma

Yeah there's a bug with the hill in the northwest... don't go there.

Thanks for the feedback - we're going to be updating the silhouettes / colouring of the units to make them easier to tell apart.

Lots of things will change between now and October (planned release) don't worry!

zsaile1 karma

It looks like you will not reach your Kickstarter goal. What is the plan for the project moving forward if you do not get the financing via Kickstarter?

honnyjopper2 karma

We'll find a way to move the project forward with other financing models. We've had a lot of interest from various parties.

kobalamyn1 karma

Looks fantastic. I'm gonna download it later

honnyjopper1 karma

Hooray, thanks! Hope you enjoy it.

thefiringbagpipes1 karma

Just played. I really liked it!

honnyjopper1 karma

thank you!

bagheadinc1 karma

So now that the Sony presentation is over, you're free to announce that Death Inc will be a PS4 launch title, right? Eh? Eh? Right? :P

honnyjopper1 karma

Hah! No.

Dubzil0 karma

Was it difficult to not answer the question of "What's great about kickstarter" with "we get paid"?

honnyjopper1 karma

That's certainly true. The other answer is "there's no-one telling you what to do (except for the x thousand backers)", and it's actually incredibly liberating to be able to talk about the game as openly as we have been (which is generally impossible under traditional 3rd party publisher agreements)

cstroh80 karma

How many history buffs have come out of the woodwork to tell you that you're being insensitive?

honnyjopper4 karma

Not enough, sadly.