Charles Cox Discusses Habitat

By Greg Micek


habitat2Cliqist : If I were to attempt to reenact the movie “Gravity” in Habitat, would I be able to do so? And why isn’t this advertised!?

Charles Cox : I loved Gravity. I think that movie inspired our Engineer characters more than any other movie. And our Engineers get into some tough scrapes: swung around on their tethers by crashing stations, missing when they leap for targets to grab onto; there’s a lot of drama that can happen to your Engineers – and you need to keep them safe, they’re hard to replace! Since we intend to allow you to attempt rescues of stranded engineers AND the engineers are named (you can add your own name with our “Chief Constructor” reward tier on Kickstarter), you can totally have a Gravity-like moment – or as many as you can handle!


Cliqist : What was the journey in developing Habitat? When did Kickstarter come into play?

Charles Cox : Habitat has been a roller coaster ride! I dreamt it up in February 2013, tried a prototype with a team in the summer as a part-time gig while I was still working full time, ended up scrapping it, then decided to go for broke and quit my full-time career. Habitat deserved all my attention, and I’m glad I made the decision. With a small team we turned around a prototype in just twelve weeks for Game Developers Conference 2014. When we saw how much people were smiling and enjoying the prototype, we knew it was time to go to Kickstarter.


Cliqist : What has inspired you in creating a game in space?

Charles Cox : I’ve always been into space since childhood. Having Air Force servicemen and pilots in your family does that to you, I think. I’ve loved space games, space movies, and it was when I visited the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. that it all came together with my game design side and industry experience. It was seeing the shuttle orbiter on display that crystallized it for me.


habitat4Cliqist : Your team has a lot of experience in gaming. What advice do you have for new developers out there?

Charles Cox : Game development is so different from almost any other industry, and it’s opening up so wide now that it’s no longer a question of whether you can make a game. It’s whether or not that game is going to click with people, and you can’t predict it. That’s why my advice is to start with prototyping the stickiest, most engaging bit of your game idea first and prove to yourself and others you trust that it’s fun. Start spreading out from there, showing others, sharing the dream and proving the fun. As it was told to me by the great Ed Fries: “Find the fun.


Cliqist : What would your childhood self think of your adult self?

Charles Cox : I think if kid-Charles met me now, he’d wonder why I sold my original 8-bit Nintendo. It would break his heart! But I like to think I’m just as geeky about games as he was. I know he’d love Habitat – because it’s the game I’ve always wanted to make.


habitatbackground1Cliqist : Funding a game on the Xbox 1 is not very common for Kickstarter campaigns. Why isn’t everyone else as cool as you?

Charles Cox : We all know most of the Kickstarter money in games goes to PC games, but I’ve been amazed how much console development has opened up and how similar it’s getting to PC development. Especially with Unity, if you can work out a good interaction model that feels good on PCs and Xbox controllers, there’s no reason not to go for it. And I brought that attitude to my Kickstarter campaign and have been very pleased with the result. We’ll have some fun goodies on the Xbox One, count on it.


Cliqist : A lot of your space junk actually seems pretty cool, like the Statue of Liberty head and the airplane. What’s the most unusual piece of debris in the game?

Charles Cox : People always walk away impressed with that cyber-Lady Liberty, but I think they’re most surprised to see the Eiffel Tower up in space! What’s it doing there? There’s going to be a ton more, all with wacky effects.


Cliqist : Would I get achievement points for building a death star in Habitat?

Charles Cox : I love achievements. I foresee a _potential_ achievement where if you power up your station’s lasers enough you could destroy an entire planet. But then, what would there be to orbit around? These are the kind of questions that keep me up nights.


Cliqist : Can you close us out with a Habitat inspired haiku?

Charles Cox :I’d love to.

star-soaked night above

can’t find the space toilet flush

oops airlock button

… I think I should probably stick to making games. 🙂

Thanks for supporting Habitat! We’ll be bringing it to you soon!


Thanks to Charles for answering our questions, and for humoring us so much!  You can learn more about Habitat on its Kickstarter page.  Funding is going on until May 2nd and the project is now into the always juicy stretch goal terretory.


[facebook][tweet][pinterest][follow id=”Cliqist” size=”large” count=”true” ]


About the Author

Greg Micek

Greg Micek has been writing on and off about games since the late nineties, always with a focus on indie games. He started DIYGames.com in 2000, which was one of the earliest gaming sites to focus exclusively on indie games.

View All Articles