Confederate at Zero Point Software and I've devoted my life to realizing the game of my dreams called Interstellar Marines!

Info about our game:

Proof of my existence:

I look forward to your awesome and interesting questions!



Comments: 275 • Responses: 90  • Date: 

Gr8WallofChinatown20 karma

Do you have a real life, full sized, replica of all the guns in your studio?

ZPSHicks16 karma

I can only currently dream of real-life replicas of our 2 weapons, would be cool though, but everything we earn is spent creating the game. But at some point we might be able to "print" a few! ;)

lumpy_potato6 karma

Release a few 3D models in .stl format on /r/3Dprinting and I'm sure you'd have more than a few takers to do it just for fun :)

ZPSHicks3 karma

Pick em up! ;)

omegajourney17 karma

Hey Kim, big fan of the game, followed it for a while. What kind of RPG mechanics do you hope to implement? You guys have mentioned taking inspiration from system shock and deus ex so I was wondering what that would be like?

ZPSHicks22 karma

Character skills, Weapon skills/upgrades and Equipment unlocks. Completely flat RPG system, where you XP can be spent in either of these "shops" anytime in the game. E.g. agility (movement speed), weapon reload speeds, Night vision for your helmet etc. and a long long list of so much more. All grounded in First Person Simulation. Deus Ex and System Shock 2 are major inspirations.

Exiitium12 karma


ZPSHicks24 karma

Thinking about this added to PvP is a nightmare, so it will most likely only truly affect the single player campaign. With skins, extensions and other unlocks available in MP.

RaiFighter6 karma

Just pulling this out of my butt, but would round-based PvP where players level between rounds work?

ZPSHicks10 karma

Not so sure, I guess we can't rule anything out and the things we're currently talking about for Hell Week could touch this challenge/opportunity! ;) .. as long as everything is even at least at the get go.

jesperbj14 karma

Hi. Love the game. Been a spearhead supporter for a long while. I'm an aspiring game dev myself and I'm wondering if you could give me some advice on building my own game.

Also - Do you take interns?

ZPSHicks11 karma

We do if you're awesome! ;) .. Send Maria our CEO (and the wife) a mail .. gmb (at)

FerrumLilikoi14 karma

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the AMA! My first question is: Is there any plan to add a melee ability? And how do you plan on making it different from the stereotypical knife? Knife vs Robot doesn't seem to work very well in my mind. ;D

Also, with the addition of new weapons, will there also be designated classes for those weapons? (i.e Sniper can only use a sniper rife)

ZPSHicks17 karma

No fixed classes in IM. Upgrade your character the way you want. Upgrading and mastering an area is exponential so i'll take coordination to create the strongest team possible, when you play the game with your friends for the first time (when we get to that point with the game a long time into the future)!

FerrumLilikoi6 karma

Perfect. I can't wait!

ZPSHicks6 karma

Me too! :)

ZPSHicks11 karma

We want to add a context sensitive melee system sooner rather than later. We're currently prepping our weapon and character controller to allow much faster iterations, but everything takes time when we're such a small team. More about our extensive plans for melee here (old post where I elaborated a bit):

FerrumLilikoi6 karma

Thanks so much for the response!

ZPSHicks8 karma

You're more than welcome!

TheXenophobe10 karma

Just wanted to voice my support for a limited array of weapons.

Games like Battlefield have caused serious problems with gun bloat in my opinion, forcing people to grind away until they get the weapon they actually want, with the final result often handling completely differently than the player hoped.

I prefer a few well done firearms than a bunch of boring generic "guns".

And since I have to ask a question...

Please can you keep the guns small in number and focused?

ZPSHicks8 karma

I have played way too much Ravenshield and Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter to change the size of the arsenal. The difference between IM and most modern games are that you do not have to unlock most of them .. you're just not trained to do perfect reloads, have all extension etc. from the start. Some weapons and equipment will have a skill requirement which makes sense, like certain straights level to carry some armors or specific weapon types.

Delia4158 karma

What's your inspiration of the Game?

ZPSHicks13 karma

The primary inspirations comes from Aliens, System Shock 2, Half-life 2 and Rainbow Six: Ravenshield. But there are elements from many games and movies that have excited me over the years (obviously) and it kind of all started when playing Hired Guns in co-op with a friend on the Amiga 500 .. way back in 1993! :)

Flight7142 karma

playing Hired Guns in co-op with a friend on the Amiga 500 .. way back in 1993! :)

Replace "a friend" with "two friends", and "500" with "1200" there and the nostalgia flows thick. CIM-Lite all the way. Or Cheule. Bonden was a fag (in the bad sense).

ZPSHicks4 karma

Never had a A1200, did get an A4000 and that was awesome beyond words! ;)

ZPSHicks3 karma

I was CIM and my friend was CIM-lite, our secondary characters was guted for their grenade launchers .. Cheule and some other low life! :) .. A true classic and so far ahead of its time!

Maybe-Indecisive8 karma

My friend and I have spent a bunch of hours playing coop and noticed that some of the missions can play like a horror game (which we totally loved)


Is this the vibe you were going for and will you be implementing any additional co-op missions that have this sort of tense/jumpy and edge-of-your-seat gameplay?


Sneaky second question, will there be a story mode?


Massive fan of this awesome tactical shooter you've made and can't wait to see where the game will go next.

ZPSHicks12 karma

I'm getting more and more convinced that immersion and truly non-scripted AI will do this to us all. We can't help scream at the robots from time to time. They have a will of their own.

  1. IM is not a horror game on paper, but with AI's reacting to your every input/output (and even more in the future) and the fact the innocent training robots are the least of our worries as the story unfolds. I'm pretty sure there WILL be situations in IM you would want to avoid playing alone in SP! ;)

  2. We've have a rich, detailed and (in my mind) ultra unique storyline waiting to be realized. A grand vision and story to let us all experience what First Contact with another sentient species would be like .. and as realistic and immersive as possible.

Thanks you for your support!

Dark5tar17 karma

Hey Kim, big fan :). I had 2 questions to ask.

  1. Any idea when character customization could be implemented in?

  2. Where did you get the idea for Hell Week/War Games?

ZPSHicks3 karma

Thanks! for the support!

  1. We slowly getting started with simple suit and weapon skins, which you can unlock at various Training Ranks. And with Hell Week in mind we also want to be able to reward stuff for winning etc.

  2. Hell Week was spawned talking about why we do not play more games in MP and what we would love to experience ourselves. Inspirations came from DayZ and Hunger games as well .. and talking about I.T.O. massive underground training facility and the fact that we wanted to live inside that world .. and Hell Week is kind of perfect for that .. although SARA only wants to find the best of the best!

Mrfightz065 karma

Hey Kim amazing game, you and your teams attention to detail is outstanding! As you mention the campaign mode coming I've been curious as to whether or not the experience will be match by match style with the levels or can we expect some form of free roam?

ZPSHicks7 karma

Our core inspiration and vision is to create very open story missions, where you choose to go left, right, up or down .. You just have your objective and how you progress is completely up to you. Seek alternate routes, hack security systems to gain tactical advantage, interrogate a NPC to gain intel or go guns blazing. Your game your rules. The reason why we usually write Half-Life meets System Shock, giving birth to Rainbow Six in space .. to provide an image of where we want this game experience to end up (eventually).

Mrfightz063 karma

Ha ha great answer thank you, hopefully we will get a glimpse of what the aliens may look like soon???

ZPSHicks3 karma

I will not promise something I can't keep! ;)

Bobfish_Almighty5 karma

What is (will be) the typical Interstellar Marines squad composition?

ie Ranks, roles, weapons and so on

ZPSHicks3 karma

It's 100% up to you do decide! If you want to be a hacking, heavy armored, stealth, sniper with a backpack full of grenades. That's your call! Create the strongest team possible or don't .. your game your rules!

Bobfish_Almighty2 karma

I mean in a universe canon sense. Like how a real world military squad will be two fireteams of two. One being an engineer, probably a Corporal, another a medic that will be a Sergeant, that kind of thing.

Does the Interstellar Marines world have any rules, like that, about what should be in a squad? Or is it more freeform, pick the best group for the mission at hand?

ZPSHicks4 karma

We're going for realism and authenticity in all areas. I've explained the team interaction in this forum post (sorry for linking to external posts) .. just so slow hammering the keyboard ;)

IRGhost4 karma

Hi 2 questions.

Brøndby, FC København or another soccer team?

Wiibroe, Tuborg or Another brand of beer?

ZPSHicks2 karma

  1. Danmark! :)
  2. Cold beer is cold beer .. kind of! ;)

ColdplayParadise4 karma

How long have you developed the game?

ZPSHicks12 karma

Have dreamt about the game since the mid 90's, started work on the script and basic design back in 2003 (updating and evolving the design as we picked up new inspiration), created an useless expensive publisher demo back in 2009, started work in Unity late 2009 .. we started work on what we have on Steam today back in 2012. One game, one dream ... many exciting updates and expansions to come. No fucking sequel, DLCs etc. ALL IN is the only way to go!

Youre_a_transistor4 karma

Oh gosh. I've been trying to hold out purchasing until IM is complete, but Im feeling an incredible urge to throw money at My screen.

What you said about no sequels or DLC is cool and all, but you guys need income, obviously. Are you expecting to stay afloat and profit from game sales alone? DLC doesn't have to be a bad thing. I think one dev that does it right (mostly) is Overkill with Payday. Extra missions (which can be played by everyone) characters and weapons for a reasonable price. A lot of times im not even interested in the content itself, but I want to show my support because I think they are a fantastic studio.

ZPSHicks2 karma

Thanks for the kinds words.

We have the core game and the supportive Spearhead unit upgrade, that's it. We have to survive yes and yeah some DLCs can be nice, we just can't have it in IM. One game, one world, expanded "forever" and when you buy (not trying to specifically convince you to do so) players are ALL IN.

The problem with yearly new games (although publishers make a shitload of money) is that it separates the player base and things can not truly evolve.

Our weapons, models, characters, AI will evolve to the point where no one can compete with us .. because they always kind of starting over! ... ish.. We'll see! ;)

OrangeGull2 karma

No sequel? I thought this was a trilogy!

ZPSHicks9 karma

Yeah .. but it's all one game being updated until it's finished .. if there even is such a thing with next gen game development .. one game, one universe, one vision ... New times for a new breed of gamers and developers.

drfrenchhorn1174 karma

Kim, I LOVE THIS GAME! I think I'm like Rank 71 ( I haven't played in a while), but I will this weekend. Anyway, is there going to be a single player story mode? Will there be different enemies other than Marines and robots? Also when the final product is complete and released will my rank reset or stay the same? Finally, what was your inspiration for this great game? Thank you for taking the time to do this. I am always excited when the new updates are release and I look forward to the final product. Thanks again!

ZPSHicks4 karma

Thanks for the kind words! I salute you, sir! SP is already available in IM, but in the context on Project IM and training to become an Interstellar Marine. SP/COOP is where things are moving with time, we just want to make sure we have enough to keep people playing and maintaining the excitement, so we want to deliver Hell Week next.

You'll get more enemies than just marines and robots, do not worry about that.

I've written about my inspirations below in another reply.

TR rank and rewards will convert to cool stuff when we move into First Contact. You're not fully aware about what you're part of yet and for good reasons. :)

drfrenchhorn1172 karma

Thank you so much for the response! I'm so excited for the future development of this wonderful game. I appreciate the suspense that is being built because I want to be awed. Thanks again and good luck with the rest of production!

ZPSHicks1 karma

Thank YOU for the support and kind words!

Awww_Yee3 karma

When are we getting the space sharks? I want to kill them. Been looking forward to this since it first came out!

ZPSHicks3 karma

Hell YES! ;) and me too and so have I! ;)

Awww_Yee2 karma

Any idea of a timeframe?

ZPSHicks5 karma

Project IM End Game, can't give a date or promise stuff I can't keep!

Maybe-Indecisive3 karma

Will you be selling any physical game merch such as posters, concept art books or t shirts from the original kickstarter page?

ZPSHicks10 karma

At some point sure, that would be awesome! .. but currently ALL our attention is focused on getting the core game of the ground!

Chaoughkimyero3 karma

What type of military unit will the Interstellar Marines be? Are they just a squad, or is the IM program a huge military program with thousands of squads where the players make up those squads? Will we see players having "squads" (guilds,clans, whatever you want to call it) and leaderboards for those specific squads?

Sorry to ask so much, no need to answer anything or everything, but these have been itching at me for a while.

edit: A typo!

ZPSHicks5 karma

The Interstellar Marines are a new battalion created of special forces from all member countries (ITO is a future version of NATO):

We'll try to realize a very meaningful leaderboard/ranksystem which we'll introduce in it's first iteration when we release our Hell Week update in 3-4 months, but the moment to moment gameplay squad mechanics are more about creating the strongest team possible .. using carrot not stick mechanics .. your game your rules! ;)

OzzyGangrel3 karma

First of, i love your work and would like to bear your offspring.

Now to the action part: Your game is very enticing, great gameplay, and impeccable dev team rapport with your community. Could you walk us through the process of creating a new map/mission, from conception in the mind to inception in the game?

Thank you and keep up with the enthusiasm :D

ZPSHicks2 karma

Thanks for the kind words! :)

Collaborate with our awesome team, analyse the inspirations, talk more, give somebody the ball or grab it yourself and boot up Unity and create a layout of the idea, test, talk, test, release to ITO testers, tweak, test, talk and release in next update .. remind everybody that it's WIP and like most stuff added to the game will be subject to change as we quest to make the best game humanly possible.

skwiot3 karma

When are you planning on upgrading to Unity 5?

ZPSHicks3 karma

As soon as humanly possible; we might start next week (It'll take weeks to upgrade, based on what we heard from friends). Still need to upgrade 8 licenses from 4 to 5 .. which is not exactly cheap even for a AAA indie developer such ourselves. :)

shandification3 karma

I recently bought into the Early Access on Steam on a whim and I really like the game. The shooting and movement feels great. The visuals are great (especially the lighting) and the audio feels genuine and those robots really creep me out at times. What do you feel has been the biggest challenge so far with the game?

ZPSHicks3 karma

Financing the game, by far!. Making with what we got, still dreaming of creating more awesome feature, art-direction than what we have .. but we'll take it one step at the time .. we're made for creating this game. ;)

JohnnyArcheaon953 karma

Any plans for Oculus Rift support? I'd really would love to see OR support in the future <3

ZPSHicks6 karma

Immersion is our god, so yeah at some point in the future, absolutely .. that's something we're dreaming about a lot. We just have make sure we secure the core platform and game mechanics first.

jimbothemarine2 karma

Will there be LMGs? ( I.E M60, M240B ect.)

ZPSHicks5 karma

We're adding at least 3 pistols, 3 machine pistols, 3 submachine guns, 3 shotguns, 3 assault rifles, 3 sniper rifles, 3 machine guns, 3 grenade launchers and 3 RPG's with time.

jimbothemarine2 karma

The sounds great! Any concept art for any of the planned weapons yet?

ZPSHicks2 karma

Here's a few concept examples:

grinr2 karma

As an Early Access player, I'd really like to get a sense of what the game's timeline looks like. My friends and I love co-op, but 4-5 maps with bots can only be replayed so many times before we're thirsting for more. More weapons, more enemy variety, more skills, etc.

What's the timeline look like for when the game will go from Interstellar Marine Training Cap to Interstellar Marines?

ZPSHicks4 karma

With current team, where we do not hit a goldmine that'll allow is to scale to team. At least a year, maybe even more. And at that point you'll be able to completed the Prologue (Project IM) story line including the End Game and we'll start work on First Contact in the background .. it sounds crazy and unforgiving, but it's our current reality as of this writing.

Dijas2 karma

I think I remember playing this many years ago when it was in super alpha mode or something like that. I found out about it because you guys used Unity3D and that's what I use too!

The game looks great and I'll definitely consider playing it.

My question is, how big is your team and realistically how many people does a new developer need to have around him in order to create a game that people will actually play, purchase and love?

ZPSHicks2 karma

Thanks for the kind words.

We're currently 12 people working hard to realize the very basic vision of IM, a realistic first person simulator.

Good question; It depends, Minecraft only took a few people to kick off the ground and take over the world .. and others take more .. really depends on the vision and scope.

jimbothemarine2 karma


Will the ranks have names? Like Sargent, Private, Lieutenant ect.

Will stuff you earn in single player (Armor Weapons ect.) Be available to you in multiplayer and co-op?

Thank you!

ZPSHicks2 karma

Training ranks shows how much you've played the game. Rank when we get to that will properly display how good you are.

Coop and sp are a different beast than MP when we talk about training weapons and unlocks (when we get to that) .. MP is mostly about ranking up against other players in even playing terms.

iamsebj2 karma

Bought the game, loving playing it. :) Trying to get some friends to play (and hopefully buy) it as it's been free on Steam this week, but the one thing we'd love to see is a good party/lobby system to make squadding up with friends and playing co-op/MP easier. Anything like that planned? :3 [I realise this isn't a very interesting question, I'm sorry..]

ZPSHicks3 karma

We have features rolling out the door for U18 that makes this more and more possible. So without promising anything specific, we could provide options for setting up games with friends soon rather than later.

Mage_Meat2 karma

Do you plan on expanding the hud?

Also any plans for custom game lobbies?

ZPSHicks9 karma

The HUD and the PDA (still to be implemented in its simplest iteration) is your interface into the game. So expect many unique and exciting features added to both HUD and PDA moving forward.

The next thing we'll add to the HUD is a photon reader, audio analyser which will give you an indication of how much light is on you and how much sound you emit compared to the ambient environment. And we'll also add a medical analysis output that show your oxygen saturation, heart rate etc. soon.

HUD concept:

PDA concept:

Mage_Meat2 karma

Do you plan on adding a unit of measurement to the light levels or just leave it unlabeled?

ZPSHicks3 karma

We want to be able to explain the tech behind the gameplay and this link is right up that ally :)

ZPSHicks5 karma

Custom game lobbies?

Mage_Meat3 karma

A lobby where a group of people can go into and set preset conditions for the match. lower/higher gravity, higher/lower damage, how often the scenery shifts etc...

ZPSHicks4 karma

Absolutely, we already upgraded a few selected ITO testers to admins, which allows them to change map and game mode and will expand these features with voting and more customized MP/coop server setup options.

esveegee2 karma

What is this shooter most like? Call of Duty? Battlefield? Counter Strike? What?

ZPSHicks3 karma

More Counter strike and Rainbow: Six!

gamelord122 karma

Having just played it during the free trial period this week, I'd say it's a cross between Rainbow Six and System Shock 2.

ZPSHicks2 karma

Thanks for the SS2 mention that really warms my heart! ;)

GiantRabbit2 karma

What is your background? How did you end up directing games?

ZPSHicks3 karma

Played almost every FPS game on the planet, started with Hired Guns on the Amiga 500, graphics artist and ultra nerd. My biggest strength however is that I can only see the positive outcome in things and is eternally motivated and excited about realizing Interstellar Marines!

KatrinaDoesNotAppruw2 karma

When the hell are we getting (and can we please get) the old death screams of pain, death and agony back (you know, those old sound files from the unreal engine game?), we want those back. BADLY.

And, will the revive system be something more complex, or is it just gonna be the "hold down that key to revive a teammate"? Because, I might like my medical job if it included putting needles into peoples faces. hehehe...

Does Bozar have anything to do with conspiracies and a secret conspiracy cookie vagon? (DON'T YOU DARE HIDE THAT FROM ME!)

Lastly, if someone (or something, hint hint), told you to look up... would you do it?

ZPSHicks2 karma

Screams of pain is coming back .. it will not be the exact over the top scream we had ealier, Katrina .. but they'll get the job done while keeping the realistic immersive simulation. :)

Revive is iteration 1, it'll be more nuanced in the future, like affected by taking damage while reviving etc. and the PDA will most certainly be part of the medical procedures when we get to that point.

I do not want to get in the way of you and Bozar, rather swallow a grenade or swim with sharks. :)


I_smell_awesome2 karma

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

ZPSHicks4 karma


jkk45k3jkl534l2 karma

Will there be modding support for IM?

ZPSHicks3 karma

Maybe some day, no promises. We might start by sharing options for creating maps and skins.

jimbothemarine2 karma

Hello! Big fan of the game! Will there be alot of weapons to unlock as you progress in the game? Like a battlefield kinda thing? Also will it be a open world type game where you are not bound by following the main storyline?

ZPSHicks5 karma

We're slowly (too slow some would say) creating a full tactical arsenal of futuristic and believable weapons. Our first goal is 27 (3 types of each class) ... but we can never really have enough weapons and equipment!

jimbothemarine2 karma

Thanks! Sounds good! Me personally would love to see some intense player customization like in halo reach and halo 4. Do you think something like this will be implemented?

ZPSHicks3 karma

Between weapon skins, combat suits, armors, helmets, backpacks, extensions etc. we'll have many options to fully customize our marines. We're just getting started! :)

jimbothemarine2 karma

Perfect! Will all this be unlocked or bought from shops (Or both)?

ZPSHicks5 karma

You'll buy them with your XP, earned playing the game. Get the deploy-able sentry unit for 500xp or upgrade your PDA remote hacking range to mark 2 for 500xp or save your dough and get the Mark III stealth suit for 1500xp ;)

jimbothemarine2 karma

Will the weapons be customizable? Can you put attachments on like different sights, barrels, accessories, and upgrades like more ammo capacity, and better damage, accuracy ect. ?

ZPSHicks3 karma

On the fly mid-game weapon customization coming very soon (Is needed for Hell Week) and have been part of our plans forever. You'll be able to configure your e.g. grenades to be EMP charged, explode on proximity and stick to surface before throwing or launching then into the environment ... full control of all your equipment and weapons, nothing less!

jimbothemarine2 karma

Sweet! Will guns be comparable? like with stats? Like one gun might have 40 damage and another might have 50 but a slower firing rate. Or two guns have the same DPS but one has better accuracy?

ZPSHicks3 karma

When we move to Unity 5, we'll slowly start the tedious redesign and creation of a more future proof UI system, which will make things like you talk about much more possible and interesting.

Isotope_Gambit2 karma

Real world special forces, and soldiers in general, train to become proficient with their weapons of choice.

Will players eventually gain affinity, or weapons handling expertise from using their favorite weapons?

ZPSHicks2 karma

We have specialist skills on all weapons and most equipment. Which is that extra bonus from completely upgrading a skills or area. E.g. in Bullseye a skill presentation we did on our SMG, Level 17 (top tier at that point) introduced options for fast tactical reload even in AIM, where you did not have to lower your weapon to reload.

gamelord122 karma

My friends and I are on a bit of a tactical shooter co-op binge. We've gone through Rainbow Six 1 and 3, Ghost Recon, and currently Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. One thing we really liked about Rainbow Six was that you could get co-op going for up to 8 players, and there were 7 of us that would co-op through the main story every week. Like Ghost Recon and most newer tactical shooters, it looks like IM is limited to 4 players. I understand that more players does not necessarily mean the game is better, but do you have any plans to accommodate more than 4 players in the future? Perhaps a particular set of maps made specifically to support 5-8 player co-op?

ZPSHicks4 karma

I spent month of month in Ravenshield playing coop with random people and it was awesome. Once we have the tech and performance, we are diffidently adding larger 8 player coop rotational maps and servers. We've even talked about taking every chapter of the full game a chop it up to support something similar .. still only part of my faint dreams .. just thought I'd mention it

schilll2 karma

I´ve been waiting to play the full game since jan 2006 when i first saw the trailer for project IM.

I´ve followed you on and of through the years and I do understand it take a lot of time to develop this masive wonder that Interstellar Marines are going to be. And take your time to change the ganre.

So how are you going to change the genre forever?

ZPSHicks3 karma

No game have combined cinematic story telling, open endend tactical combat with roleplaying .. yet .. so we're creating it ourselves.

The 2006 trailers was a vision of our dreams. At that point we where fighting with everybody else to attract the attention of publishers and did really not have anything, besides the trailer, a manuscript and a design doc. ..

schilll1 karma

I've big hope for your game. I truly believe that it will revolutionize the industry.

Please, don't ruin it!

ZPSHicks3 karma

We'll change the world or die trying! Keeping it real and true. For the love of the game!

jimbothemarine2 karma

Do you think there will be vehicle interaction? Spaceships that can be personalized? Dog fights in space?

ZPSHicks2 karma

It's going to be very limited and there's not going to be either spaceships to customize nor dog fights in space where you play.

I elaborated on this area on our forum back in the day:

spider_842 karma

What's your favourite game?

ZPSHicks3 karma

If I can only select one and it's not our own and I'll try to not factor in nostalgia .. Well, it's down to Deus Ex or System Shock 2 ..

I absolutely loved sneaking around in Deus Ex (All 3 actually, although the first is light-years better than the second and Human Revolution was great but too 3rd person'ish to keep immersion for my taste).

System Shock 2 is true science fiction, features native coop and the story was absolutely exhilarating .. and I can remember so many small details from that game .. must be because it made a true inspirational impression.

System Shock 2!


I haven followed development in a long time. Is mutant space sharks still a thing? I was super excited about that because I thought it was really interesting. I like survival horror games and was hoping this would be a cross between Doom 3, Dead Space and Half-Life. Horrible experiments gone wrong, everyone is dying the whole station is in chaos and you're trying to fix it.

Looks to be more of a multiplayer tactical shooter now. Which isn't bad, just not really my cup of tea.

ZPSHicks3 karma

A good comes to thous that can wait (I'm in that line as well) and trust me the carcharodon polemos war creatures are still very much an important part of IM. We got you covered .. it just takes so friggin long time to develop this baby!

zBLAZE77771 karma

I really enjoy your game! Are there any plans to optimize performance, or add more video settings to choose from?

ZPSHicks2 karma

I've expanded on our performance challenges and focus in another post below. But the short answer is we'll have focus on performance always! We're fighting Unity with all we've learned and the fight have been pretty unfair so far and we'd had to add a lot of internal tricks and fixes to just get what we have currently running okay, but far from perfect. Unity 5 will help (we hope) and like I said many times; you can never have enough performance optimization, or was that weapons and immersion .. well you know what I mean! ;)

legomationer1 karma

Hey, big fan here, bought Spearhead and support medals almost 5 years ago, haven't played much of the early access version though so forgive me if this is already ingame, but do you guys plan to have controller support in the final game?

ZPSHicks3 karma

Thanks a million for the support! Yes, and we almost committed to getting it in before this free week .. but did not have the time.

I've have the "Monument to all your sins" achievement in Halo Reach .. what more can I say! .. not to be a bragging idiot! :)

SvmJMPR1 karma

I know this isn't the perfect place to complain/rant, but are there any plans to fix the lag? I played it on the free week and it lagged on every server i joined.

ZPSHicks2 karma

I'm really sorry to hear that. We're are talking about network lag right .. a lot of people are calling performance for lag as well. Anyway, does not matter we'll always be working on getting more performance into the game and make the network code and service as smooth as possible. Never stops!

mantama1 karma

IM rocking camera i not see! You will add or correct this rocking camera? Sorry me please!

I like early_test trailer:

ZPSHicks2 karma

We'll have iteration 2 of Accuracy, Stamina and sprint in U18 and it's already much more immersive. Do not worry, we only satisfied when it feels perfect.

magmagmagmag1 karma

I don't play often this kind of game so please tell me what does it has that call of duty does not?

Reascr1 karma

It's free this weekend, so just download it yourself and play it

ZPSHicks1 karma

Singleplayer? ..

Reascr1 karma


ZPSHicks1 karma

haha .. reading up/down makes me illusion stuff .. thought you talked about COD: Advanced Warfare! ;)

ZPSHicks1 karma

In it's current state, only the immersive first person simulation, dynamic destructible lights and tad more tactical weapon simulation. With time roleplaying, non-scripted gameplay and AI and science fiction will distinguish us much more from other more traditional modern day shooters. Advanced Warfare looks fantastic, still on my playlist.

xpwifi1 karma

Hi Kim, can you give an estimate in years as to how long you think it will take to make the game fully feature complete?

The reason I'm asking is I see Deus Ex as an inspiration for the game giving examples such as placing turrets and hacking and leveling up. I actually played Deus Ex partly because of that and it was awesome. But playing the game as of now, it looks nothing like that (with the exception of the light detection mechanic vs the bots). So I'm wondering if there's an ETA for the completed game.

ZPSHicks3 karma

At current team size and revenue; it would take us many years to complete just First Contact. That's why we're doing everything we can to scale to player-base and all potential revenue increases. We just need to deliver uniqueness on a level we haven't really achieved yet and scale from there. Still can't believe that DayZ have sold +2M copies of the standalone on Early Access .. that could finance IM many times! :)

lDivinity1 karma

Reason for this is the hype the "mod" received prior. Big player in both worlds the mod and standalone

ZPSHicks1 karma

And it fully deserves it .. truly unique idea and interesting on so many levels .. and the reason everybody is into survival games now-a-days and we even inspired a bit by DayZ's drama in our upcoming Hell Week development

OrangeGull1 karma

Any thought of adding a lean mechanic, like left/right? The evidence suggests that there won't be one with Q and E being suppressor and heal/press/grab.

ZPSHicks1 karma

Absolutely, please read this post I made a while back elaborating on our ideas and inspirations for lean and peak. Still can't believe that System Shock 2 introduced lean forward! ;)

jimbothemarine1 karma

Will there be skill upgrades like when you level up you get to choose a skill, like reload time, ammo capacity, speed, accuracy stuff like that?

ZPSHicks1 karma

Hell yeah! 100% designed from the ground up! Inspired by such classic FPS RPG like Deus Ex and System Shock 2!

lannister801 karma

Why does the game have such horrible performance on Mac OS X?

My 1GB HD4870 can handle most things I throw at it, but Interstellar Marines plays like molasses.

ZPSHicks2 karma

The game is not fully optimized yet, and we're fighting various performance issues in Unity .. and still have so much we can do with LOD's etc. but just the fact that Unity 4.5.5 which is our current build is on PhysX 2.8 means that we're spending between 5-12ms on CPU with just the physics on 6-8 bots. And occlusion culling in 4.5.5 in most scenes is costing us another 4-9ms on the CPU (we're very CPU bound) .. which is totally unacceptable.

Unity 5 will make life easier for us .. or so help me I'll explode. We're doing stuff with lights ourselves to occlude light which if we disable these scripts 1/2 the frame rate .. because Unity does not really occlude light that elegantly.

We're determined to make the game run good on all supported platforms with time ...

Have you tried booting to windows and try the game here?

To be continued.. in Unity 5

Isotope_Gambit1 karma

I'd just like to say:

I bought this game about a year ago during a whimsical Steam sale splurge - not expecting much.

Since then I have received total gratification for my purchase. :) Albeit I had low expectations; nevertheless, I was blown away like standing in the ground zero of a nuke.

Everything about the game has been wonderful for me: the actual game, the community, and the developers themselves. There have been some bumps along the way, but you guys at ZPS have more than redeemed yourselves. Of course, there is a more important side to how you treat us gamers.

It is readily apparent that you are true-blue gamers too. You treat us fans like you would want to be treated. Your honestly and openness about development is just plain refreshing. I swear, ZPS as a collective must be allergic to bullshit, because I've never seen you guys fool around with the stuff.

All things considered, thanks for providing us fans with such a high quality game!

Of course, this is an AMA section after all...

What is the most difficult hurdle, or task you've faced developing Interstellar Marines?

ZPSHicks1 karma

I humbly thank you for your support and kind words. Guys and girls such as yourself makes this so easy for us to keep fighting for our dreams!

Financing the game, moment to moment always thinking about what crazy thing we need to do next to realize this crazy ambitious game.

TheGumYouLike1 karma


ZPSHicks1 karma

Watching Aliens a million times and playing Hired Guns on the Amiga 500 .. nothing original in that, I think it the further inspirations from playing Half-life, System Shock 2, Deus Ex, RBS:Ravenshield and many many other great FPS games that formed an experience a set of design rules that will make Interstellar Marines something different than the rest.

Science fiction have and will always be my true inspiration for day dreaming and its our goal to create a future and vision where you get to experience first contact from the frontlines and in as realistic and down to earth way possible.

Something we really feel no game or movie have truly dared experiment with yet. It's always squids or fantasy sci-fi .. which I'll take if nothing else is available .. but , I just want a new type of sci-fi where it feels more like Saving Private Ryan than Spiderman! ;)

ManveerX1 karma

I vaguely recognize this game. Wasn't it like a browser game or something a few years back?

ZPSHicks1 karma

Yes, back when we where desperately trying out all alternative ideas to get this game of the ground, without a publisher. Creating new videos every month and various small demos in Unity to help try to convince fellow gamers on why IM would be an awesome game if realized.

Silencerfart1 karma

Now that you've had some success on Steam and the future of Insterstellar Marines is less uncertain, what would your next project be? I'd love to see the work you all have put into the game translated into a full-blown open world RPG shooter, more Deus Ex than Counter Strike or Half Life.

ZPSHicks3 karma

Next project? .. When I'm setting in a movie theater in Hollywood watching Interstellar Marines on the big screen. Then it might be time to think about something else. Not until then.

But, anyway, all the things you describe are all part of our crazy ideas to make Interstellar Marines more replay-friendly than most other game on the planet. Role-playing, non-scripted AI, open world mission design .. etc. remember System Shock 2 and Deus Ex are a huge part of our inspiration for this game. ;)

Silencerfart1 karma

Glad to hear you're so devoted your current project! Can't wait to see the full game whenever it comes out.

ZPSHicks1 karma

You and me both! ;)

leutenantcunnilingus1 karma

Hi Kim, thank you very much for doing this AMA, as with many others in here I am a massive fan of the game, your work and your vision for the future. My question is in regards to the players helmet. Obviously you can have the helmet sealed with your hud available or open it up to see the world as it is. What are your plans for the helmet being up without the hud visible, will there be any particular advantages from this i.e. what will make it beneficial to have your helmet cover up? Thank you once again for doing this AMA!

ZPSHicks2 karma

Thanks You!,

The helmet is slowly getting more and more immersive relevance; I've just recently tweaked the new exhaustion breath system and when you are exhausted and open your helmet the breath is un-reverbed and less prominent. We've also getting the first iteration of breath vapor onto the glass, less when suit system is online and much more when suit system is offline, another reason to open the helmet. EMP, gas, underwater and other environment hazards will also tailor a lot of immersive simulative gameplay with the helmet, suit system and other interesting high tech equipment envisioned for the "future".

willetk1 karma

Just learned about this game a few days ago during the free week. I think your ideas for the singleplayer/co-op sounds really exciting. Unfortunately though, I'm all about that PvP.

With running the risk of asking something that already has been asked. I'm wondering what your future plans for the pvp will be? How will these RPG-elements and leveling system work in the pvp? Will a higher level player have any advantages over a lower level player? Is the pvp mainly going to be some sideshow next to the campaign or what's the plan?

ZPSHicks3 karma

We're planning to take pvp to the next level with Hell Week, where our context of high tech AI training underground in a trial survive, loot, scavenge, eliminate gamemode/tournament like session .. will bring something that is unique and fresh allowing us to expands the core of the game while maintaining that we all want to play the game more.

Skills are prop. not going to exist inside pvp too challenging to maintain an even playing field. SP and coop only'ish!

Project IM have always been a kind of sideshow to the full story campaign, but it's the perfect platform creation base and a foundation, that we'll maintain and expand even when we start work on the bigger picture. One game, one world, one vision.

Named_after_color1 karma

Hey, I've been following your game for a long time now, I think I still have the forerunner or spearhead icon somewhere on the forums. How flexible is your idea of the game? Do you have a giant design bible or are your teams still pitching ideas back and forth and what not?

How have other contemporary games affected your gameplay/art design?

Also why sharks with arms?

ZPSHicks2 karma

It's a very clear vision (at least on the whiteboard in my head) and there are certain design rules and basic design principles that always take presidense, but when that is said the best idea always wins and fuck the ego. We have a large manuscript for the story and tons of old design docs and idea brainstorms, but generally design based on iterative development between an initial design briefs talk, where I dumb from the virtual whiteboard and then very creative ping pong between the team member creating the task and me talking about the design etc.

We're constantly inspired by greatness from other games and other media as well .. We're determined not to repeat others mistakes or forget others generous ideas.

Because ITO has several Interstellar Warfare Initiatives to make various technologies to support the expansion outside our solar system. And one of these is genetic research and biological research into war-creatures, designing potential pure killing machines.

FlukyS1 karma

The game feels very strange playing as a regular FPS player. It definitely feels very like Gears of War rather than CS or other popular FPS games even games like Skyrim feel very loose in comparison. Was that level of rigidity something you specifically were looking out for? What goes into the design of the feel of a game like this in general? Like was there specific things you wanted for the tense feeling or was it just you was it just personal preference on how an FPS should feel?

Also thanks for the Linux support :D

ZPSHicks2 karma

The end goal is a smooth, tight, and very responsive FPS character motor; knowing that we'll have to take away to give when implementing the skill system as some point (for sp/coop), we need a very strict control of what and why we do things to achievement both maximal immersion and player input response. Mirrors Edge is awesome, but since it was pretty much flying arms, there are a shitload of challenges that presents themselves constantly when having to move the full body at all times, when crouching, crawling, climbing etc. soo many challenges ahead.

The best flying body movement experience I've had in recent times, was the super smooth hide under stuff in Alien Isolation, never have crouching, crawling under a table or bed been that smooth.

mastertroll5551 karma

Hey Kim! In your opinion, what do you think makes your game stand out compared to others? Especially with so many early acsess games, many people like myseld need solid reasoning before biting. Thanks and good luck on your game :)

ZPSHicks3 karma

Immersive simulation. Which basically boils down to devils in the details. Like lifting your helmet and your breath loose reverb since it's no longer enclosed, and if the suit re-breather is offline because of damage, you have no HUD (info about friends and foes) and your breath vapor will fog up the helmet glass so you can't see anything because you happens to be exhausted from sprinting when the suit-system was damaged (you can really hear that this is what we're/I'm currently working on getting into Update 18 in a better iteration than what is available in U17 .. ;) .. Immersion is king, if you believe your characters presence in the world, you will believe the world, if you believe the world you more inclined to believing the characters in the world and the story that unfolds in front of your eyes demanding your actions and decisions. ... 'ish! ;)

mrhatnclogs1 karma

Hi, love this game (especially the christmas edition!) I was wondering what the map and enviroment variation will be like. Will it go further than warehouses and forests? Could we have an arctic level(with a snow storm maybe??) or desert?

ZPSHicks2 karma

ITO is spending an inhuman amount of resources on creating various artificial training grounds inside their high tech special projects facility deep below groom lake, Nevada. There is no environment that is impossible to recreate, so you can imagine (dreaming is easy, it's realizing them that is hard) ITO creating lush rain forests, evacuated cities, alpine mountains, hot desert landscapes etc. The weather systems simulates, time of day, rain, wind, snow etc. all controlled by ITO AI SARA, which is in charge of the training of the marine candidates.

We ultimately want players to feel this alien and artificial presence to a degree where that becomes and unique experience on it's own, having birds singing played from speakers around the training ground and constantly feel like you're being watched by scientist, drill instructors and of course her majesty SARA. :)

FrankFH1 karma

As a an big Arma fan, I really enjoy your game. There's so many similiarities between the 2 games. Only one mesh for 1st and 3rd person, projectiles fired from the actual muzzle of the gun rather than from the center of the screen, being able to see your legs and shadows, focus on believability, realism and immersion, etc.

I really value these features in FPSes, and as the game progresses, you guys are pretty much nailing them. Given the similiarities, were you guys inspired by Arma in any way? Because that'd explain some things :)

And another question if you don't mind: don't you feel like having the game accessible to so many people in this early state can be detrimental in the long run? Is the fact of people getting enough of a game before it's even done an actual thing to fear these days, in the early access scene?

ZPSHicks2 karma

ARMA have always been a bit too simulated for my tast when it comes to intuitive movement controls, only because I've felt hindered from feeling fully effective. Maybe millions of hours playing Raven Shield spoiled me, impossible to say.

The quest for immersion, transporting the camera/our eyes in ARMA is something that haven't gone unnoticed, especially since we're both simulating the body 100% (like you mentioned), compared to so many attempts in other games.

The truth about early access is that it's a constant battle for attention, something we can not take for granted. A free week is a great way to invite more people to play .. but like you suggest, it's diffidently also very intimidating and pretty relentless. Just take our review rating it's been slowly climbing over the last year to 77%, and in one week it's already at 71% (maybe it deserves it) .. haters are always going to hate and good people like yourself does not necessarily think about giving a positive review if you like what you see .. but the haters will surely leave a negative one! 'ish ;)

researchcausescancer-8 karma

Why are they Marines? There's no water in interstellar space. Maybe a little ice. No water though. Marine means water. Dumbass.

ZPSHicks6 karma

Marines are a tribute to the Americans, ITO is future version of NATO so many countries are sending their best special forces to try out for the Interstellar Marines. Space is more naval than army .. and in the grand scheme of things ITO Strategic Command is all over the place.