While GameStop stock, Dogecoin and Elon Musk are going to Earth’s moon, I spoke to Artur Karpiński about his upcoming indie title, Jupiter Moons: Mecha. The game is available to wishlist on Steam and will release sometime in the next 12 years, apparently. Yeah, the current release aim doesn’t give much away.
RPG) For those who haven’t seen Jupiter Moons: Mecha, how would you describe it? What would your elevator pitch be?
Artur) “Card battler mixed with Mech simulation. Choose your Mech frame, customize equipment, and craft unique decks. Try different play styles: melee-oriented heavy assault frame, stealth sniper, or just raw laser firepower.”
RPG) We’ve seen a plethora of roguelite deck builders recently. Most notable are probably Slay The Spire and more recently Monster Train. Which games helped inspire the development of Jupiter Moons: Mecha?
Artur) “Both! And [a] few others like “Card Hunter”, and mech inspirations: Battletech and Into the Breach.”
RPG) Following on from that, what helps Jupiter Moons: Mecha stand out from the crowd in an increasingly busy genre?
Artur) “I think it’s the base theme which is Mech / Sci-fi. Most card battlers out there are variations on fantasy themes. One notable exception being For the Warp.”
RPG) One difference that I’ve noticed is that Jupiter Moons: Mecha seems to have a slightly more fleshed out lore. The story seems to be a key component of the game, whereas that’s less the case in the aforementioned titles. How important is the lore to the game and could you explain the story to us a little?
Artur) “I wanted to build a proper sci-fi universe with a believable timeline of events, where every piece of technology and major event is defined with the impact it had on world development. Some of those world elements will be revealed through tooltips on items, cards, etc. So I think lore will be important 🙂 The game story revolves around an alien artifact: sentient AI, which was left by a long-extinct Jupiter’s civilization on one of Jupiter moons. Artifact activated itself by accident during the Stellar War between corporations and the UN. The current primary directive of the artifact is to gather materials for manufacturing new nano, that can corrupt and hijack man-made vehicles and Mechs. Other directives are currently not known. The player’s goal will be to find the artifact, discover its intentions and stop it or help it.”
RPG) Arguably one of the things that helped promote Monster Train, at least to three of our five staff, was its inclusion on Gamepass. What are your thoughts on subscription-based gaming and can we expect to see Jupiter Moons: Mecha on a subscription service at some point?
Artur) “So little background: We are a team of two people (me: programming, my friend: artist), self-funding, and currently without a publisher. So the main focus is to actually build a proper and good game. The only platform I had any relationship and knowledge about releasing is Steam. So the honest answer is: unless I have a publisher that will handle distribution to other platforms, the game will be released only on Steam. Later, of course, this will change, when the game is finished and there will be more time to focus on other tasks. As for my opinion on subscription services, I don’t have much experience with those and I don’t have opinions on them yet.”
RPG) One of the hardest parts of creating a deck builder must be balancing all the possible combinations of cards. How are you dealing with this issue as a two-person dev team?
Artur) “I’m counting on feedback from people that played the demo and joined our Discord server. I hope there will be more new joins when the official Beta starts. I’m also planning to implement automated analytics for player choices to see what items and cards are over or underutilized.”
RPG) Jupiter Moons: Mecha was featured in the Steam Indie Games Festival recently. How big was the event in terms of generating wishlists and interest in the game?
Artur) “Pretty big! Compared to usual wishlist gains 🙂 1575 wishlist gained, 1806 tried the demo. I’m pretty happy with the results.”
RPG) Following on from that, do you think storefronts like Steam, GoG, Epic etc… should be doing more to help promote indie titles? In what other ways do you think they can help?
Artur) “I think storefronts like GoG and Epic should be more egalitarian, the same way Steam is. Steam is not perfect but at least gives any indie game a chance to be seen and sold. Of course, lots of things about how well a game will sell depends on developer marketing efforts. The newest edition of the Steam festival was more egalitarian than the previous edition, giving smaller titles an even better chance to be seen. Good report on that can be found here“
RPG) What has been the hardest challenge for you whilst working on the game during a pandemic?
Artur) “I have 3 daughters in preschool, so the hardest part was to find time to do some actual development with kids being most of the time at home, homeschooled. Small kids need a lot of attention :)”
RPG) What advice would you give to aspiring game developers?
Artur) “Take your time, don’t rush things. I have 15 years of experience working programming jobs outside of gamedev (they are much better paid than in gamedev). Over the years I did some game jams, worked on small prototypes, read a lot of articles on gamasutra about marketing, and attended game dev conferences. I started working on the game when I felt confident enough in my skills like programming, project management, budgeting, marketing. Most importantly I have savings that allow me to self-fund game development and work on my own terms. This is important especially during a pandemic where free time is the most important resource to me.”
Will you be heading to the moons of Jupiter, or keeping your feet firmly on Earth? Let us know your thoughts on Jupiter Moons: Mecha in the comments section below!