Hi Redditors!

David Wessman, Jack Mamais and Coray Seifert here! We're working on a new game called Starfighter Inc., which we announced two weeks ago and has already raised over $100k with almost 4,000 backers. We'd love to chat about Starfighter, some of the games we've worked on, hard science, the intertubes, or life in general.

You can find a little information about us here: https://impellerstudios.com/

Ask away!

Our Proof:

http://i.imgur.com/oioJixA.jpg https://www.facebook.com/ImpellerStudios/posts/451812821644984 https://twitter.com/impellerstudios/status/601123516742823938 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/impellerstudios/starfighter-inc/posts/1237150

EDIT: Looks like the Reddit servers are a little grumpy today and we're seeing some great questions pop up and then go away. If you don't see your question below, please repost! Thanks.

EDIT2: Dave (wessmaniac) and Jack (jackmamais) are now answering questions directly under their usernames!

EDIT3: Wow! So awesome to see so many questions and comments. Thanks so much for joining our little AMAdventure. We'll stick around as long as we can to keep answering questions, so keep 'em coming!

Comments: 1337 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

orinoco72905143 karma

Hi David, Jack, Coray,

I've heard lots of rumor and talk about the declining years of lucasarts, how did they go from doing great industry defining games like your own to hanging themselves? I always saw it as such a tragedy.

Also, who will be doing the music for starfighter? I always loved Clint Bajakian's work and was hoping to see him involved.

seifertc82 karma

I love Clint Bajakian's music! We haven't spoken to him, but now that you mention it, we probably should. He's an awesome guy. We currently have a few different composers we're working with.


orinoco7290522 karma

People have tried over the years to re-do his stuff with more modern sound libraries. I've always wanted to see his classic work see justice with a re-release. I've never found it lacking even with john williams in the picture.

seifertc13 karma

Amen. Loved that score.


thegoatmilkguy129 karma

What are your plans for things like HOTAS or HOJAM (hands on joystick and mouse)? What about simple mouse, keyboard, and controller support?

seifertc98 karma

We plan to fully support HOTAS and will also have configurations (that are customizeable) for mouse and keyboard and gamepads.


LordTocs28 karma

Dual stick configurations work great in 6DOF!

seifertc40 karma

Careful...this is how a lot of our staff meetings descend into anarchy ;)

One time I mentioned an Xbox Controller and Jack banned me...right in the face.


Arctyc38115 karma

The space shooter genre seems a little saturated at the moment with Elite: Dangerous just out and Star Citizen on the horizon. Do you have a strategy to differentiate your game from the pack, especially with the never-ending battle with runaway hype and feature creep?

seifertc207 karma

It's truly a space shooter renaissance right? Good times for people with joysticks :)

Our focus is combat and hard science. Everyone else is doing a great job exploring mining, shipping, raising an interstellar pet, etc. We're focusing on making the most badass core combat you've ever seen.

You want to fly for an hour to find a planet and then name it? That's actually pretty awesome, but its not what our game is all about. Our game is all about jumping into a hard science, Newtonian physics environment, blowing stuff up, gearing up your ship for the next match, and then blowing more stuff up!


creedencecr123 karma

Will it have dragons? and breeding dragons based on 100% science and evolution?

seifertc76 karma

No, but I want to play that game.


jekrump43 karma

Newtonian physics, nice. So are you planning on being able to cut engines, flip around shoot behind you, flip back over and go about your business? like the "Slide" feature from Tachyon: The Fringe?

seifertc53 karma


Couldn't have said it better myself.

jekrump will be running the AMA from now on, kthanksbye.

jekrump12 karma

Sweet thanks, I'm going to divert all the proceeds to my save the panda fund. It buys them guns to defend themselves. They need all the firepower they can get.

On a more serious note, once PGI is done destroying all faith in the Mechwarrior franchise, and it's license expires I think at the latest in 2020 earliest 2018, do you think you guys would be interested at all in looking into making a more of a Sim mechwarrior game? Perhaps with single player and coop at the core? Most of the founders are straight up disgusted with what has happened to MWO. If you take a look at the promises they made at the beginning, those will net you the founders dollars that MWO received. They disregarded a lot of their promises and have set the bar pretty low to be honest.

seifertc10 karma

Once we ship Starfighter, we should totally do a Mech game with the same design pillars.

It would be like Mech 2 and X-Wing had an illegitimate child...

TheOffTopicBuffalo19 karma

Will exploding ships make a sound?

Wessmaniac80 karma

Not really, but your ship's Decision Support System can certainly create the appropriate audio cues as if it did. The idea behind this is to provide pilots with maximum situational awareness. If 3D positional audio of things happening outside your ship helps the pilot fight more effectively then it makes sense to have it. However, since this is artificially produced by a system, that can take damage, it might get knocked out...leaving in the total silence of empty space.

Levyyz12 karma

That's absolutely awesome. What will be the price for the full release?

nascentt3 karma

They've said 60 dollars on their kickstarter updates.

seifertc6 karma

Yeah, that was me and that was a typo. We meant 50, but its just an estimate at this point. If we end up with a small-feature multiplayer game, we might lower it. If we end up shipping a desk-sized joystick with every copy...okay, that won't happen, but that would be sweet, right?

Bottom line: We want to deliver fair value to our players and keep people around for the long-term. We're trying to build a franchise, not just a short-term cash grab.

nooglide12 karma

Coray - have you guys or any one on your team played Allegiance? Gamespot's "The Best Game No One Played" from the year 2000. Recommend taking the few hours and getting your team in a game of it just to see the gameplay mechanics.

seifertc14 karma

I have not, good call though. I'll ping the Slack chat.

Thanks for the recommendation!

redditman1234543221212 karma

Our game is all about jumping into a hard science, Newtonian physics environment, blowing stuff up, gearing up your ship for the next match, and then blowing more stuff up!

how is that different than star citizen combat?

seifertc50 karma

That's actually a great question. I think there are three main differentiators:

  1. Speed - The speeds that we're shooting for are much faster than what we're seeing in Star Citizen. SC is a great game, but we don't want to plod along like you're driving a tank, we want to scream through space like a space eagle on fire before launching an alpha strike on your opponent, then pivoting to identify the next threat. Which brings us to...

  2. Intensity - SC to me feels like flying in loops until you get a good shot on your target. Since our game doesn't use terrestrial physics and is based on large combat engagements around objectives and fairly dense levels, there's a lot more juking, weaving, identifying targets, prioritizing threats and switching objectives going on. We want to create a really intense, chaotic battlespace.

  3. Realism - Its our blessing and our curse. Its a curse because we have to stick to it, or we won't differentiate, so it makes us work harder to find dynamics and mechanics that are both realistic and fun. The blessing is that it really does feel like a unique combat experience once you get in there.

Also no gobbledygook between matches :)

h/t ImNot_NSA

spacehamburger94 karma

How the hell is the space shooter market saturated with only 2 games? If anything... we need more space shooter/sims!

JorusC65 karma

No kidding.

"Now that Quake and Doom are out, how do you intend to make it in the already-saturated FPS market?"

seifertc115 karma

Half-Life 3 confirmed.

WasabiBomb93 karma

As a fan of Space Engineers, I have to ask- how much customization control will we have over the ships?

seifertc155 karma


Tons! Jack was a lead on Mechwarrior, which had insane levels of customization. We loved that game and that level of detail and we want to replicate that kind of experience with Starfighter.


ImNot_NSA88 karma

How much production time will the $250,000 campaign goal buy your team? Is that enough money?

I am a huge fan of X-wing vs Tie fighter, it provided me with the best video game playing experience I've ever had, so I want to see this game get made. Your concept takes the best part of space sims and strips out the rest. 100% pure strategic space battles without having to go planetside to resupply, pay rent for your hangar, spend hours in real time travelling to meet up with your friends, and no battling with your ship's insurance carrier.

Have you thought about relaunching the campaign, knowing what you know now? I think you could EASILY cruise past half a million dollars if you provide a gameplay video demo from the start, bringing some of the assets to life. I'm confident based on the # of current backers that you will hit the $250k, but I think there is a much bigger opportunity to raise way more money.

seifertc64 karma

How much production time will the $250,000 campaign goal buy your team? Is that enough money?

We've been working hard on this for quite a while, so we have a lot of the game already together. The funds that we bring together via Kickstarter are largely going to go towards bringing top-end art assets to the project. If we hit the higher funding tiers, then we can really start rolling in the big features that we've always wanted to!

Thanks so much for the kind words about the game. We really, truly appreciate it.

We've learned SO much about crowd funding in general, it would be fascinating to think about rebooting. That said, we have over 4,000 backers, a ton of great people involved in our community, and a great relationship with the wonderful people at Kickstarter. We'd hate to walk away from all of that.

Thanks for joining us on this little adventure!


ImNot_NSA34 karma

Thanks for the response. The biggest challenge with resetting is a lot of "early bird" backers will be upset they lost their early bird backing. However, I believe people would rather pay $25+ after seeing a demo, than pay $17 and no demo.

In college I lived in a motel for 6 months, because there was a housing shortage and I was HOOKED on X-Wing vs Tie Fighter. The motel had two shared phone lines for all of the units and I always tied one up, playing online. The owners of the motel yelled at me for all of that "static" I was creating on the phone line. X-wing vs Tie was the best video game experience I've ever had, bar none.

This is going to be even better. Best of success!

seifertc29 karma

Thanks for the response. The biggest challenge with resetting is a lot of "early bird" backers will be upset they lost their early bird backing. However, I believe people would rather pay $25+ after seeing a demo, than pay $17 and no demo.

Yeah, that's a great point.

That is a super hardcore story. I may adopt that into my repertoire of "I know a guy who..." :)

Orphan_Babies65 karma

If we get a high score, would we be summoned to save the Galaxy IRL?

seifertc35 karma

LOL! I loved that movie, one of my favorites but I can safely say we will have zero to do with it!


Eric_Lord60 karma

A fantastic looking game! I'm happy to back and share with nerdy friends.

I'm sure this has been asked already, but I couldn't find it. I can see how a physically accurate shooter will be very hard, almost impossible, to maneuver, namely because ships will have to be either very slow to accelerate or have a speed limit. Have you addressed this already? Do you have a working proof of concept right now where you can validate whether this is an issue or not?

seifertc63 karma

We do! We have an in-house prototype that is a ton of fun. Still rough around the edges, but we're starting to feel the magic.

The ships are actually quit maneuverable, but the key is that you have to tap the accelerator, rather than mash it. Think of it like flying the ships from Gravity, not a traditional airplane. It leads to a really strategic space shooter, because you have to plan your arc ahead of time, then once you get there, blast your way through your enemies :)


ImNot_NSA25 karma

Do you replenish fuel supply overtime? Maybe like a battery that needs time to recharge? Or is fuel/power unlimited?

seifertc48 karma

Your ships are equipped with an on-board power plant (Usually Fusion) that can support all components, weapons, etc. Your main thrusters uses fuel and that can go fast. Luckily, you will usually have access to refueling stations.


seifertc53 karma

One more thought from David...

First, there is a distinction between fuel (what your nuclear reactor burns to generate power) and propellant, what gets shot out of your thrusters to provide movement. The mission scenarios are going to be fairly short battles, so you'll never run out of fuel. Propellant, though, will have to be carefully managed. The thing is, though, without friction, you don't need to apply constant thrust to maintain a particular velocity. You apply thrust to change direction.


WindowShoppingMyLife25 karma

So the space battles might look more like battlestar galactica than Star Wars? That's definitely intriguing.

My only fear with that sort of thing is that it will be insanely hard. I loved the x-wing series as a kid, but as an adult I don't have hours to devote to a game with a sharp learning curve.

seifertc42 karma

Yeah definitely! One more way our game can differentiate in an awesome, crowded space shooter environment.

I'm actually the worst on the team at the game right now (kinda by far), and I'll admit the controls took some getting used to. That said, when you have that moment where you realize that you're flying a precision instrument, not an arcade-cabinet, you flip from noob to competent pretty quickly.

Plus, for people like me who are better strategic thinkers than twitch players, the bigger ships offer a really cool experience where you can team up with friends to take on the battlefield together. The thinking man (or woman's) approach :)


ActionKbob40 karma

Is there any possibility to see a Mechwarrior style game revamped by you guys? Is that something you guys have interest in?

seifertc56 karma

Great question!

I’d love to see a Mechwarrior game too but I’m pretty sure other people are already working on that. Back at Activision, before doing Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries, we considered doing an add-on called Aerotech (the fighters used in the Battletech Universe).

You could consider Starfighter, Inc. (especially considering that it is from a Merc’s point of view) the spiritual successor to Aerotech :)


goatcoat38 karma

Will Starfighter have a Linux port?

seifertc35 karma

We want to hit Mac and Linux, but our goal at first is to get the PC and VR platforms where they need to be. We'd love to be able to ship all platforms simultaneously, but we want to make sure we deliver a great experience to you folks!


bubuthing24 karma

As a huge fan of the x-wing and tie fighter games, I have high hopes for your project but am a little discouraged to see funding stall at the moment. What steps are you taking to boost exposure and reach the target amount?

seifertc35 karma

Hey bubuthing,

You and me both! X-Wing Alliance was my jam :)

As it's been explained to us by friends who have run campaigns and the folks at Kickstarter, it's not uncommon for campaigns to have a big first couple of days, slow down in the middle, and then have a crazy finish. We're hoping our curve will follow the same trend.

As for what we have coming, we're working hard on gameplay we can show you guys, a few pieces of video content with in-depth interviews from the team leads, and a bunch of concept art, screenshots and other goodies.

Our policy is that we never release anything unless its ready, so if it seems like we're conservative about what we release, we are! :)

Thanks for AMAing with us!



TheOneWhoSeeks6 karma

Second this, I really like the idea of this game but am worried that this kickstarter won't get the money it needs by the end of the time limit.

seifertc11 karma

We need our community to get us there!

Seriously, we'll post everything that we can make, but it really comes down to the Kickstarter and hardcore games communities. If you guys get excited about our project, this campaign will be more than successful.

We can do it!


VicoDrive24 karma

I am a backer and excited to see the outcome! :-) But I gotta ask and Im sure others have the same question. Has there been any attempt at officially rebooting the X-Wing franchise? Has Lucasarts/Disney even contacted you to talk about bringing it back?

seifertc22 karma

Regarding an X-W reboot, I think that would be incredible. It was a great game to work on and it’s wonderful to hear how many people love the franchise.

That said, this project is more exciting to me. Not just because it’s ours, but because we’re doing something that is genuinely new and different.


nzbiship19 karma

Can't wait for this game (already donated).

How solo friendly will this game be?

MMOs (even non-space MMO's) tend to be gank-fests where roaming gangs are the only way to survive.

Do you have any ideas for us that don't like to group up?

(IB4 'get some friends')

seifertc28 karma

We definitely won't have free-roaming or anything like that, so there's no risk of ganking or random people starting PvP in a PvE area or such things. Our game is going to be centered around session-based head-to-head multiplayer. Get in, get out, have fun, rinse and repeat :)

There are going to be great mechanics that are good for solo players, like the Shrike, which is a single-seat, fast ship designed to go solo and keep a low profile. There are also great squad options, like the Assault Transport, which will put a few players together to crew a much bigger ship that's built for wading through combat...like a boss.

Thanks for stopping by!


noisymonument12 karma

Hi there! Happy to have backed, got a couple questions.

  1. TrackIR/VR support?
  2. If you pass the funding goal will you have addditional funding similar to Star Citizen to continue accruing development/funding goals?
  3. Is the future of the game contingent on Kickstarter? If potential backers are getting some form of crowdfunding exhaustion and aren't as enthusiastic in their turnout as you need will the project continue?

Looking forward to flying! Best of luck!

seifertc13 karma

Is the future of the game contingent on Kickstarter? If potential backers are getting some form of crowdfunding exhaustion and aren't as enthusiastic in their turnout as you need will the project continue?

  1. VR support is absolutely central to Starfighter. We have some really unique things we're doing on the VR front and we're excited to start unveiling those plans in more detail. We haven't done much with TrackIR, but I just started a thread in our internal Slack chat :)

  2. That's something we're definitely considering. I think we'll turn to our community to tell us what they want. If they want us to keep going, we're down to party! If they want us to go heads down and ship the game we can fund with Kickstarter proceeds, we can do that too. Pretty much every option is on the table, but...

  3. ...the bottom line is that we're going to get this game out and its going to be awesome! We've been pouring our blood, sweat and money/tears into this thing for 2 years and we're going to see it through.

ProfessionalShill11 karma


I grew up on your games, my first computer, a boxing day 486 special, with a stunning 4mb of ram was purchased specifically for x-wing, and xwing vs tie fighter. I played mechwarrior to death, yes - mech warrior, not MW-2, due to the wonder of the battletech tabletop universe. I loved the post 3d accelerator battltech games, but mechwarrior was the first game to bring the phoenix hawk to life.

As a hobbiest developer - picked up an oculus rift two years ago, and have been playing in unity ever since, i have a few personal questions.

How hard is it to get access to a known IP, like Mechwarrior, or Heavy Gear and is there are valuable space sim licenses to even get a hold of up? Is it necessary? I think that this is truly a renaissance for space sims right now, and i worry you're going into a saturated environment with brand support, but not public recognition.

The oculus rift, brought me back to gaming after a 10 year hiatus because i had "played it all". It brought me the wonder that I felt in my early teens playing Mechwarrior and X-wing. You had better be supporting VR.

How do you think VR gaming is going to change gaming? Are sims finally going to come back to mass appeal? M1A1 tank platoon II, please return!

Now, an interesting question. Do you need any volunteer consultants? I'm a geophysicist, working with remote sensing. There are so many cardinal sins committed by gamemakers in the space sim realm when it comes to "realism" vs "gameplay", and just once i would like to see someone make an attempt at creating a game that can meld the boring reality of what space combat will truly look and feel like with interesting game play. And it's not "Silent Hunter in space". You can't hide in space, directed energy weapons on fighter craft would cook the occupants who would be a massive liability in combat anyway, orbital mechanics will govern capital ship tactics. Tactically winning a space battle will rely on deception, area denial with ballistic barages from 10's of thousands of kms away, controlling the gravitational "high ground" of lagrange points, and forcing your opponent into propellant expensive maneuvers.

Thanks for making another great game!

And also, for those of you who worked on Desert Combat. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was a founding member of a very successfull BF:1942, turned DC clan (cc42, now crackclan) and we were quite involved with the DC community at large, the game that you made gave me friendships that have spanned a decade, and one of the only games i ever pre-orderd was Homefront to support you guys. Thanks over and over again.

seifertc4 karma

Thanks dude! Means a lot to hear from the community from some of our past games :)

kalb4210 karma

I just want to say thanks for the amazing memories I got from the X-wing and Mechwarrior games series! X-Wing and Mechwarrior 2 were some of my earliest memories of PC gaming and Mechwarrior 4 was one of the first games I got my little brother to play. Do you thinks there's hope for another simulator style mech game in the future? It seems like that style of game has been sorely neglected.

seifertc9 karma

You are very welcome, working at Activision during the Mech days was great and really my first job in the industry. As a huge Battletech fan, it was like a dream come true! However, my real dream has always been working on a game set in space and I’m finally getting to do that now. I can assure you, if you like the way Mech 2 and Mech 2: Mercs felt and played, you will love Starfighter, Inc.


seifertc9 karma

Did you know that this AMA crashed our website, because it was so damn awesome? :)

Jakedasnakeman9 karma

In Homefront, who decided that every door needed to be kicked down in the main campaign ?

seifertc10 karma

Unreal's streaming volumes on PS3 ;)

LateNightSnack129 karma

What about your new game is going to make you stand out from the rest? We have games such as Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen. What new concepts are going you guys going to be implementing?

seifertc10 karma

We are big fans of what those developers are trying to do but we are not spending our time doing things like building a whole universe and giving players an FPS experience and pets. We are focused on making the best and most realistic space fighting game ever.


GSVSleeperService8 karma

Can you expand a little the the background lore of your universe in Starfighter Inc? Who are the major players in faction terms? As a player will I have any kind of narrative role?

seifertc18 karma

Absolutely!...Tomorrow :)

No, seriously, we have pages and pages of this stuff that we're going to share in tomorrow's Kickstarter backer update.

The short version is that we're exploring a hard science universe where powerful corporations are fighting for control of the final frontier. Imagine a universe where governments were too slow to get out to the stars and relatively nimble corporations basically set up their own civilization, where the guy with the biggest gun wields the most power.

From that, we can break down really interesting stories that we think are very unique. Most space shooters have fantasy elements and often follow the same (really awesome) storylines. Our story strays away from traditional good and evil and focuses on the fascinating interplay between powerful megacorporations, hyper-talented mercenary pilots, and the drama of fighting for your own piece of a wild new frontier.

We're having a ton of fun writing it and we hope everyone will get into it once it goes live :)


mrmikemcmike17 karma

TL;DR Caldari in nullsec

seifertc7 karma

I chuckled at that more than I should have :)

MonarchAnarch7 karma

Hello guys! I only ever played Tie Fighter, but it was played multiple times! Love your work, same goes for Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries. Amazing games.

As the space sim/shooter genre is waking up again, how are you going to stand out from other projects that are already well on their way? Star citizen, no mans land, elite: dangerous, etc. What do you have planned to wow us, other than your credentials?

Looking forward to it and I am a potential backer. Growing up in the 80's has instilled a love of space shooters in me. Happy to see them back.

seifertc6 karma

Yeah buddy. Great games, both :)

All of those games are awesome for exploration, crafting, and pet-raising. Our game is going to be awesome for combat, pure and simple. While our competition (which is awesome!) is taking a broad approach, trying to make something that everyone can love, we're focusing on making something that people who love pure, awesome, unadulterated combat love.

The hard science angle is another aspect, since everyone else is using either fantasy universe physics or more arcade style controls. Our core control experience will be driven by real-world physics, using next-gen science constraints, which leads to a really unique combat environment.

SergioSF5 karma

Why do you think the Mechwarrior franchise isn't as popular as it used to be? Do you think that kind of slow paced arcade warefare could be revived in a new game?

seifertc7 karma

I think there was a move away from hardcore simulation games over to mass market action games in the early part of this decade that has started to reverse over the past year or two. People are starting to realize that slower, more strategic gameplay can be a competitive advantage in the marketplace because its a key differentiation from the competition.

Regyn2 karma

Any plans to implement PayPal? I have no credit card and don't feel like getting one (Germany).

seifertc2 karma

Not a bad idea at all. We're thinking about doing a crowdfunding effort on our site after the Kickstarter, but if folks want one now, that's something we could expedite. I'll talk to the guys about it.

Thanks for the suggestion!

SuperSmith_2 karma

Did the people who worked on Homefront think it was ready to play when it was released? Did they expect it to ultimately be a failure in terms of money made? I want to add that I liked the approach taken in the MP of Homefront and I look forward to trying out Starfighter Inc.

seifertc3 karma

Oh god no. We wanted to work on that thing for another year. The problem was that THQ was already starting to get into financial trouble, so not only did they not have funds to extend development funds, but they needed the game out to market to help keep the company afloat. The game did alright too, but it could have been so much more if we could have worked on it long enough to get it to where we really wanted it.

I think Kaos was a bit underrated as a commercial entity. We did a $30M game and a $70M game and made money on both, without any loss leader projects to build from. Were those games perfect? No way. But we did some good things that I'm still very proud of.