What do you think when you read the following sentence about the game Moonman: In a strange, nocturnal world a moonman is summoned by an ancient mollusc. It sends him to the farthest corners of the land to search for fallen moon fragments…. Does that made sense to you dear reader? No? Good! Because I sure as heck had no idea what this game is about, and that’s a good thing. This is why I love indie games; while AAA games can boast about Hollywood movie like graphics it’s in indie games that you’ll find the most weird and wonderful storylines. In this era of Brown-Shooters and idle-click one wishes (at least once a week) to get their hand on something that is remotely different from the mainstream. And you know what I did when I saw this weird and wonderful looking game on Kickstarter? Yup I fired an email over to Mr. Ben Porter, the Australian developer behind this moony game. Mr. Porter was kind enough to set some time aside from the Moonman Kickstarter and answer my questions. Fair warning before you scroll down to the interview, expect moon related puns, deadpan discussion about the Moon, and moon men. You have been warned. Now on with the interview.
Cliqist : Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Ben Porter : My name is Ben Porter, I grew up in Western Australia playing C64, NES, SNES, etc. I started making games as a career about 3 years ago, and Moonman is my first big game.
Cliqist : Tell us a little about the game title “Moonman,” whats the story behind the unusual game title?
Ben Porter : The game is about a character, called Moonman, who is brought to life by the power of a green moon. Hence he is a Moonman. 🙂
Cliqist : Can you explain in your own words what kind of game is Moonman?
Ben Porter : Moonman is a procedurally-generated adventure game. When you begin a new game, a unique world is generated, with forests, towns, dungeons, and alien landscapes. The goal is to find fragments of each of the seven moons and then build a sun-machine from them. Each time you play the world will be very different — sometimes the forest area will be burnt down, for instance, and other times it may be inhabited by a plague of spiders.
Cliqist : What video-game, film, literature or artwork do you believe influenced Moonman?
Ben Porter : I think the main influence for Moonman is Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series of books. In the books, (if I remember correctly), it is the very far future and the sun is a red giant. Technology has progressed to the point where nobody really understands it and there are all these crazy creatures walking around. Surrealist artists like Max Ernst are also a heavy influence.
Cliqist : “A magic mollusc summons a moonman to illuminate a dark world.” Please elaborate?
Ben Porter : The game is set on a planet that has no sun. It is eternally night-time, and the world only survives because it has seven strange moons that orbit it — radiating it with heat and warmth and magical effects. Your character is summoned by an odd creature — a golden mollusc-type thing, who wants you to help it build a giant machine. The machine, once built, will create a sun and hopefully bring light to the world again.
Cliqist : What kind of difficulty level can gamers expect in Moonman, would there be settings for both casual and hardcore Gamers?
Ben Porter : You’ll be able to adjust parameters of the world you generate. Including its size and difficulty. So you’ll be able to play an easy quick game, or a longer more difficult game if you like. Options like Permadeath will also be available for a much deeper challenge.
Cliqist : What kind of game-engine will you be using for Moonman and why?
Ben Porter : I use a custom-built engine in Moonman. I started it as a learning exercise, but it has developed into a pretty solid engine now.
Cliqist : What kind of game length(hours of gameplay) has you planned for Moonman?
Ben Porter : Each game will be between half an hour and an hour or more in length. The game is not an endless sandbox like Terraria or Starbound, but rather is meant to be played in short play sessions, like Spelunky or Binding of Isaac.
Cliqist : Why should people back Moonman Kickstarter?
Ben Porter : People should back Moonman because I’ve been working on it for 3 years now and it’s almost finished! I would have really liked to finish it without external funding, but my situation has changed and I’m seeking to employ an artist to help me finish the game this year. Backing the Kickstarter is the only way to get alpha access to the game too.
Cliqist : What platforms are you planning to bring Moonman?
Ben Porter : PC first, then Mac and Linux. I’d also love to bring Moonman to the consoles, and some form of Moonman to iOS. But my first goal is a PC release. The game has just been Greenlit and so will appear on Steam later this year.
Cliqist : Can you close us out with an Moonman related haiku?
Ben Porter : Here’s a terrible haiku