Henry Smith

Henry Smith

The creator of the insane multiplayer game, Spaceteam

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 29, 2015

Discussion

Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
Hi, I’m Henry (aka "Captain Spaceteam"). I used to work for BioWare on games like Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 3. My specialty is user interfaces but I love playing with all aspects of game design. I went “indie” in 2012 and now I make my own games. My first project is award-winning party game Spaceteam (http://www.sleepingbeastgames.com) which took me on lots of fun adventures. I also started the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club so that fans can help me make and share more games, for free. We've since reimagined the game as a card game, which was successfully Kickstarted (https://www.kickstarter.com/proj...). My next project is another local-multiplayer co-op game called Blabyrinth! Today I'm joined by Mathew Sisson who is leading the card game design/production. He'll be helping me answer card-game-specific questions.
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
I guess nobody has any more questions? Well if you want to chat more you can find me on the Spaceteam Admiral's Club forum or Twitter or email. And thanks to everyone who has already backed our Kickstarter! https://www.kickstarter.com/proj...
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@hengineer And if people are still here then I'll stick around until they kick us off!
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
@hengineer What are some of the toughest challenges of going indie?
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@andrewmettinger Maintaining a good work/life balance, for sure. Now that I'm completely responsible for my own financial stability it's hard not to feel guilty when I take breaks/holidays. And working from home makes it even harder to separate "work" and "home" time. I'm now working a few days a week at a co-working space which has been better for this.
Russ Frushtick
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
Thanks for joining us! @hengineer: How different is the indie video game scene vs. the indie card game scene? I assume there's a lot of crossover, but I'm also sure there are a lot of barriers for teams looking to go from one to the other. Is that the case?
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@russfrushtick First of all, the communities are both really great and supportive! If you're going from digital games to physical games then there are all sorts of manufacturing and shipping costs/logistics that you suddenly have to deal with. I can't speak to the details as Mathew and his team have been handling it all but I had a taste of it when I ran my Admiral's Club Kickstarter and had to pack and ship hundreds of physical reward packages. It takes a lot of time and effort and coordination.
Mathew Sisson
Mathew Sisson@mathewsisson · Designer of things.
@hengineer @russfrushtick The biggest barrier is logistics and manufacturing for sure. My first game I did, Werewolf (http://www.playwerewolf.co/) required cards along with other manufacturing items; it was a headache to figure out. You need to find people you can trust because a lot of the time there are so many people between you and the final product. For Spaceteam, we took my knowledge from previous projects and also brought on some mentors who have done this type of thing before to make sure we could deliver.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What are some of your favorite card/board games?
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@eriktorenberg Some of my favourite board games: Race for the Galaxy, Time's Up!, Galaxy Trucker, Innovation, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, ... you can see more if you go to my BoardGameGeek page and sort by rating :) https://www.boardgamegeek.com/co...
Mathew Sisson
Mathew Sisson@mathewsisson · Designer of things.
@eriktorenberg Ooo, I'll jump on this! My favorites right now are Coup, Slap .45, and although not a complex game, Forbidden Dessert. FB is a fun co-op that brings some of my non-gamer friends to the game night.
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@eriktorenberg Oh I also recently discovered Mysterium which is very cool. One player is a ghost (who can't speak) and they have to communicate to the other players through "visions" to help them solve a crime.
Mathew Sisson
Mathew Sisson@mathewsisson · Designer of things.
@hengineer @eriktorenberg That looks awesome! Adding to my wishlist.
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Hey there @hengineer: Any fun stories about trying to name things in Spaceteam?
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@jakecrump Oh man, I can't think of any specific stories right now but the control name algorithm was the most fun thing to design! Over the course of several weeks I slowly built up a list of ridiculous-sounding technobabble from shows like Star Trek, Red Dwarf, and Doctor Who. Then when they're split into prefixes/suffixes/nouns/adjectives/verbs and recombined they get even funnier. I had to run the algorithm many many times and manually weed out things that sounded redundant or too awkward or offensive. This skit was also a big inspiration:
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@jakecrump My personal favourite control names are the ones with "mundane" instructions like "Entertain Dignitaries!" or "Defend Thesis!", which are of course vitally important to the ship's survival.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Spaceteam is such a ridiculous game. 😁 How did you come up with such a silly idea, Henry?
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@rrhoover Well as cheesy as it sounds, the original seed of the game came to me in a dream! I was also greatly inspired by Doug Wilson's "digitally-enabled playground game" Johann Sebastian Joust. When I first played it I realized that there are so many other ways we can connect and play with all this technology we have in our pockets. And I've always loved board games and sci-fi and crazy nonsensical humour.
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
Hey @hengineer, is there anything you can tell us about Blabyrinth? Thanks!
Henry Smith
Henry Smith@hengineer · Captain Spaceteam
@alexcartaz Well, what do you want to know? :) Blabyrinth will be a short cooperative local game like Spaceteam but with a lot less shouting. You solve puzzles together with your friends in a mysterious labyrinth. You find clues and search for secret passages and treasure. There are no monsters or fighting. There's a blog post here with more info: http://www.sleepingbeastgames.co... I'm still trying hard to work on it as full-time as I can but there are still some Spaceteam-related projects keeping me busy like Spaceteam ESL and now the Spaceteam card game!
Petr Murmak
Petr Murmak@petrmurmak · CEO, CGE
Hi, I'm a publisher of Space Alert and Galaxy Trucker. When I saw Spaceteam for the first time I felt like it got a lot of inspiration from board games like these two. Was my feeling right? ;) PS: Now I'm looking forward for your card game...