Curved space is a nod to classic twin-stick arcade shooters that amplify the explosion experience with an epic synthwave soundtrack from FiXT Neon that will fuel your mission in the remotest regions of space. You will compete against giant alien tripod spiders and giant boss monsters in curved galactic landscapes as you search for power-ups and upgrades, dodge enemy attacks, and crush interdimensional bugs. Easy to learn as you fight your way through the ramified story campaign, but difficult to master when chasing high scores in Survival mode.
We sat down with Andrew Czarnietzki and Jen Laface from Only By Midnight, the husband and wife development team behind it Curved spaceto talk about how space and the unique soundtrack shaped and guided the development of the game.
Maximum games: What inspired you to play this reimagined version of classic arcade shooters in the midst of the largest dimensions of space and what were some of your inspirations for the landscapes?
Only until midnight: We love space and science fiction! There is something iconic about seeing the limb of a planet and we really wanted to capture that feeling.
Our first levels turned into somewhat abstract space stations. While we liked where this was going, there was one problem: the stations felt too dense and solid to withstand all the explosions and fighting on their surface. Real satellites and the ISS (International Space Station) feel much more sensitive.
Gerry [Ricard, contributing 3D artist] Those who assisted with environmental art said, “It doesn’t feel like a space station. It feels like it’s made of concrete. “This immediately became canon; The stations are carved from asteroid concrete and / or 3D printed. This is also the inspiration for the “Plug” level, in which we show an asteroid that is being carved.
Maximum games: Can you explain how you used the space theme to influence the campaign?
Only until midnight: The campaign is all about tiny islands of stability in the void of space – with the added complexity of some interdimensional gimmicks. This ties in with our concept of a 2D game that cuts through 3D space. Personally, I (Andrew) love that the space is flexible and malleable, and we’ve tried to play this in both our game mechanics and our story.
Maximum games: Did setting up the game in space affect the type of music you wanted?
Only until midnight: Synthwave and cyberpunk are synonymous with sci-fi. There is also a rich history of bold colors, particularly the yellow and magenta contrast that we knew we had to portray as either a black hole or a solar eclipse. Our “Synthwave Sky” is 100% inspired by music!
Maximum games: Why did you want galactic spiders to be the enemy?
Only until midnight: First, we both love the idea of cosmic horror – so this invisible “spider dimension” is our reference to Lovecraft, Warhammer 40k, the movie “Event Horizon”, etc.
Second, we wanted convincing enemies that were interesting to shoot. Spiders, especially alien tripods, are pretty pretty to look at – they’re so alien they scurry right across the eerie valley. I don’t think I could create compelling humanoid animation, but I can certainly add personality to a bunch of crystalline tripod spiders.
After all, we really wanted something that was scary and seemed to justify turning off the giant space flamethrower. Hordes of spider monsters fit the bill perfectly.
Maximum games: Can you talk about the mechanisms that defy gravity as you walk over asteroids, planets, and all kinds of fields of space matter?
Only until midnight: Environmental design was a really nice challenge for Curved space. If the plains are too concave it will always be uphill and not much you can see. If the plains are too convex, you always climb a hill … and you can’t see much. There really has to be a balance between highs and lows to really feel those amazing moments that defy gravity.
We first experimented with lots of crazy shapes to find the ones that made sense from a gameplay point of view. Then we found out what these shapes mean in our energy generation universe. We have developed a whole range of technologies that relate to sucking in, processing and directing interdimensional energy through space and portals. This technology led to some interesting secondary concepts – like a giant planetary defense weapon or a rogue comet.
Maximum games: Any background or funny stories in the development of the game related to the space theme?
Only until midnight: One of my favorite and alien levels is horn. While experimenting with shapes, I tried an old dragon skull that I had in my library. It worked really well – the twisted horns were so much fun with the gravity warping gameplay. If you look closely, the final level is a giant dragon skull that’s split in half but turned the inside into a sci-fi bowl and some large glowing canisters by the eye socket.
On the gameplay side, we needed an obstacle that could block players and alter the landscape. I experimented with a few options and settled on large spheres that would later become our dimensional cracks. I tried to do some portal / wormhole / black hole but with a sinister edge. My friend Ian said, “This looks really cool and a bit like an eye too …” – I couldn’t resist making it blink.
Another interesting story behind the scenes is when I accidentally turned the sky gently towards the player. It felt very, very wrong to let the stars do that … but there was something creepy and cool about how the planet would always slide into the center of view. Like a giant eye. This is where our “eyeball” vertebra came from in the endgame.
Maximum games: Why is the ship shaped like a locust?
Only until midnight: Well, it started out as a disc shape – basically an air hockey puck with laser cannons.
I liked the classic ship more (and you can still unlock it in-game), but it wasn’t quite as exciting as the rest of the art. We did some tests to see if we could really advance the concept of this “hovercraft + starfighter” and we went for the grasshopper concept with forward wings and large repulsion rings. As soon as I got the model in the game and flew around, it practically asked for movement – so I experimented with making the rings and wings respond to your movements on the surface. This made him feel great, almost like it was skating and bumping off the surface. We didn’t want to build a “grasshopper,” but as soon as the ship was called, we leaned in.
Maximum games: What’s your best pun or joke?
Only until midnight: I have to go with a “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams:
“What do you mean that you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for God’s sake, humanity, it’s only four light years left, you know? I’m sorry, but unless you bother to be interested in local affairs, this is your own lookout. Turn on the demolition bars. “
When you’re ready to explore the strangest areas of space, this is your choice play a demo of Curved space on Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S.. Curved space Publications on June 18.
Curved Space Demo
Inspired by arcade classics, players must search for weapon power-ups and upgrades as they dodge enemy fire, blow up interdimensional bugs, and battle some huge boss monsters. Easy to learn as you fight your way through the branching story campaign, but difficult to master as you chase the glory of the leaderboards. Main features of Old School Shmup Reimagined: Enjoy the high-energy action of traditional 2D shoot-ups in a warped 3D room. Climb walls, switch to the other side of your surroundings and enjoy breathtaking views. Play your style and lead the leaderboards: Experience the harrowing journey of your space pilot in Campaign, face new challenges, test your skills and track your place on the leaderboards in the Daily Runs, Arena, Survival and Endless game modes . Ride the Synthwave: Experience in collaboration with FiXT Neon an energetic Synthwave soundtrack with artists like Scandroid, 3Force and Fury Weekend. Upgrade & Take Down: Collect a variety of skill and weapon upgrades. The weapons are varied (from lasers to flamethrowers to weed killers!) And come with their own overdrive states! Modes Campaign: Take on the role of an energy harvester in the midst of a galactic spider invasion. Your choice will lead you to adopt one of three possible versions of the game’s protagonist to fight the invasion on asteroids, space stations and other intergalactic levels. Every single version takes the story in a different direction. Arena: Take on over 60 random challenges from the game’s campaign to find your name on the local leaderboard. Survival: Fight your way through waves of invaders, each wave presenting a new, more difficult challenge. Endless: Complete waves of random challenges from the campaign, plus additional objectives, as you adjust to the game’s decision. Daily Run: You will get one shot every day to complete this daily run and get the highest possible score. Didn’t you make it to the leaderboard today? Tomorrow there is always a new challenge.