We are Russ Clarke (founder & coder) and Kris Skellorn (designer) from Payload Studios, a small indie developer based in London, UK.

Our background is in mobile: past credits include the original Call of Duty iOS games and Hungry Shark (part 1). Kris, Russ and our producer Sai Wun Poon all worked at Ideaworks Game Studio, before going in separate directions and now reforming at Payload. Our art director Jolyon Webb also worked on mobile games among many projects at Blitz Games. But we have turned our back on mobile for Payload's debut title: TerraTech, a physics-based vehicle building game currently in the closing stages of a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/payloadstudios/terratech-physics-based-vehicle-construction-and-c).

Inspired by indie teams like Vlambeer and Wolfire Games, we are developing TerraTech with full transparency, live streaming every weekday and iterating features and balance in our regularly updated** free demo** (http://www.indiedb.com/games/terratech), which we recently brought to steam as well (http://store.steampowered.com/app/285920/).

We chose the PC/Mac/Linux route, and the 'performative' approach, to solve the problem of building awareness and community for a new IP, as a new studio, with no big names, brands or megabucks to back us up. It has not been easy! But it sure has been fun.

Please ask us anything about making games, TerraTech, starting a studio, our development approach, mobile vs PC or whatever nonsense you can think of. We will also be streaming on twitch.tv/terratechgame at the same time as this AMA, from 5pm in the UK! :)

http://terratechgame.com/ https://www.facebook.com/terratechgame https://twitter.com/terratechgame http://www.reddit.com/r/TerraTech

Proof: https://twitter.com/TerraTechGame/status/493044040200650752

Answers from Kris u/zanzistar and Russ u/higekun

EDIT: We are now livestreaming this AMA along with playing some SUMO SHOWDOWNS in TerraTech over on Twitch, come and see your questions answered live! http://www.twitch.tv/terratechgame

EDIT: WOW! THANK EVERYONE SO MUCH! Due to the support of Reddit's AMA community we have smashed out Kickstarter Goal! We are Funded! Thank you all!

EDIT: Ok so after an epic 6 hour livestream Russ and I are going to take a break, but we will be back here tomorrow morning answering more questions and we will be streaming again tomorrow night at 5pm UK time. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone! It's been awesome!

Comments: 283 • Responses: 14  • Date: 

HireMeThroughAMA73 karma


zanzistar40 karma

We absolutely are, please apply to info at terratechgame dot com!

HireMeThroughAMA96 karma

Actually, I was looking to get hired without any discussion of qualifications and what not, as I am utterly lacking in that regard. However, I am a PCG, have a great personality, and would be great for morale. Plus I have two or three coffee mugs, so I would not need to be supplied one and could even conceivably lend my extras to other coworkers, assuming they're cool and shit.

zanzistar55 karma

We actually do need mugs. We don't have any in our office and the crappy ones in the shared kitchen have tea stains.

HireMeThroughAMA59 karma

Great! I'll start Monday. What do you mean by 'performative' approach?

zanzistar66 karma

Basically we do the gymnast pose every time we submit a bit of work.

Nah, I mean we livestream the development of the game every weekday on Twitch at 5pm. So our fans and backers can come chat with us and tell us what they are looking forward to or enjoying.

We will be livestreaming the game and this AMA over at http://www.twitch.tv/terratechgame in 10 mins!

nieuweyork2 karma

How - if at all - do those sessions affect what you put in the product? If you didn't need it for the money and promotion, would you do it again?

zanzistar3 karma

Well, firstly I don't see a time when we don't need the money or promotion happening soon. Making games is expensive and getting people to play your games is hard.

But hypothetically speaking, yes I think we would continue for the other benefit of regular interaction with the players to see what they are enjoying/confused about/excited for with the game etc.

There are lots of companies that charge a lot of money to find this information out for you and we get it direct from our players.

helix092 karma

Anything for someone with electrical engg and business degree in Australia :D

zanzistar2 karma

Erm, not sure? Have you made games before? Fuckit, send us your cv anyway. We'll take a look :)

atyndall15 karma


zanzistar39 karma

Stannis Baratheon is the rightful heir to the throne, being the eldest brother of the previous king Robert Baratheon. His two 'sons' Joffrey and Tommen are likely illegitimate and thus do not count.

I don't really know who Lebron is... is he that American man that hurt his knee playing basketball?

Alexaroth13 karma

General question about mobile deving:

Is is worth specializing in mobile platforms (as in spending a lot of time learning about it on its own), given the fact that the sdk technology is on the path of unification (in terms of APIs). For example, Microsoft recently announced their platforms (windows phone, PC, tablet, Xbone) will soon run on the same back end (an updated win 8.1 or win 9).

Also given that tablets and smartphones are getting better and better when it comes to performance, I see directX/OpenGL games on mobile platforms as quite an imminent thing, which would mean a PC game dev would have no issues switching to mobile dev (aside from touch controls and other device specific stuff).

What is your take on this ?

I'll post a terratech question in another comment since this one is a pretty big one on its own.

zanzistar16 karma

We believe in using middleware to solve this problem. At Ideaworks we built on Marmalade, and now we're using Unity3D, so most of the work of abstraction and porting is taken care of. We still have to consider platform differences in a more abstract sense (GPU performance characteristic, input devices) of course. But we try to design in a flexible way, so we can adapt the core experience to many device classes.

______maybe______9 karma


higekun9 karma

We must watch this video!

The AI is certainly placeholder, it's one of the areas where we have a lot of work to do. Right now it's just enough to demo the core mechanics of building and scavenging, but as we start introducing the advanced cooperative AI features it's going to get a lot more interesting!

No need for a key, grab the demo for free! This one's on me: http://store.steampowered.com/app/285920 ;)

______maybe______3 karma


zanzistar3 karma

Awesome! Please post a link to his video we'd like to see it.

alanpep5 karma

Love the game and have been playing the demo a bunch after finding out about it a couple days ago.

What will you do if your kickstarter doesn't get funded? Will you pursue other avenues to fund your game?

zanzistar11 karma

Hey, thanks for the kind words. Yes, we will find another way if we don't get funded, but it will take more time for us to get the game out there. It may involve a publishing partner or we might need to look elsewhere for sources of funding. Either way we will finish the game. But fingers crossed, it looks like we might just make it.

phidinh64 karma

Are you guys stressed out with anxiety right now, or quietly confident? I will ask you again in 28 hours...

zanzistar6 karma

We are actually really excited!

Seeing the support roll in in the last few days is such a wash of relief. We still have the last push to go before we have made it for the Kickstarter but we are really excited that we might get funded and can keep on course with our plan to make the game!

dexter303 karma

What does performative mean? I don't think I understand.

zanzistar2 karma

Basically we try to be as open as possible with our development of the game and progress. Specifically we do things like livestream development of our game weekdays at 5pm UK Time.

We happen to be streaming currently as I type this: http://www.twitch.tv/terratechgame

But also this means regular development blogs and other behind the scenes views on our progress.

FaceOfHo2 karma

What gave you the idea of making this game? Which other games inspired you?

zanzistar3 karma

Around the time we started making TerraTech we were playing lots of Captain Forever (http://www.captainforever.com/captainforever.php). We wanted to make something along those lines, but with crafting, exploration and resource & fleet management. It also gave us the opportunity to set all sorts of challenges to build vehicles with other purposes than combat in mind.

Although not reflected in the current demo we also want to follow in the footsteps of Don't Starve in terms of hinting at narrative elements during a procedural game.

Pullr2 karma

Will there be a function to build vehicles outside of gameplay in a 'safe-zone', similar to the builder in the sumo game?

zanzistar3 karma

As you hint at, yes in some of the sub-challenge modes you'll be furnished with a set of parts and given the opportunity to build in peace before partaking in a challenge.

However, during the normal play when you encounter enemies it is all part of the game to have to scavenge and re-build whilst under threat from other enemies appearing at any second.

That said many have asked for a creative mode link Minecraft, so if they are not satisfied with the challenge modes, then we may consider doing something along those lines.

Red23UK2 karma

need an artist?

zanzistar2 karma

Always looking for good people, please send your portfolio to info at terratechgame dot com!