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Interstellar Marines Interview with Kim Haar Jorgensen Part 1 of 4

 Part 1 of 4 Interview

Interstellar Marines Interview Part 1 Interstellar Marines Interview Part 2 Part 3 coming Thursday Part 4 coming Friday

If you look at the first person shooter gene pool, you'll see that is largely dominated by two entities, Call of Duty and Battlefield. However there is always a section that deserves more attention than it actually receives. These developers are trying to evolve the genre, try something new and give a unique experience to the end user that ultimately supports them.
We were given an opportunity to interview one of these pioneers, Kim Haar Jørgensen is the game director of Interstellar Marines which is a community funded triple 'A' indie title from the humble bunkers of Zero Point Software. Read on to gain an insight to what goes on in the mind of a developer striving to push the fps genre into a new direction


GameOn: Today we have got one of the guys from Zero Point Software with us. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Kim: My name is Kim Haar Jørgensen and I am one of the founders and the game director here at Zero Point Software and Interstellar Marines is my crazy brain child with my fellow creative partner called Nicolai.

GameOn: For those of you that are not actually aware of Interstellar Marines can you just give us a quick overview of the game just so that we can bring everyone up to speed?

Kim: Interstellar Marines is in development and what we are focusing on with Interstellar Marines is to try to evolve the first person genre a bit. Nicolai and I, are crazy first person gamers and have always loved tactical shooters, great linear cinematic arcade games as well as role playing first person shooters like System Shock and Deus Ex. We love science fiction and absolutely love the concept of trying to sell a realistic vision of mankind’s first contact with another sentient species. Interstellar Marines is about trying to evolve these three genres in to a new fresh first person experience and we are doing that one step at a time. At the moment our community website is allowing people to be part of that journey, trying to develop high quality games independently rather than the users just buying our games.

Interstellar Marines

GameOn: You just mentioned some really good grade A FPS and science fiction titles there. I take it these were the things that drove you and the team to create this. Recently we have had Shattered Horizon which has performed quite poorly. Has that worried you about the science fiction theme or do you just want to do your own thing, and get our story out there?

Kim: Not necessarily. I actually love what Shattered Horizon have done. I bought it on Steam and tried it a bit. I think it really is pushing the first person genre in another direction in terms of, Zero G combat and stuff like that. We are more about traditional,80’s science fiction like in Aliens, Starship Troopers and Final Fantasy. Just the good real science fiction about space and beyond.

Interstellar Marines

GameOn: You are pushing Interstellar Marines as a triple A Indie title, saying that it is more community funded than the traditional route of a publishing house. What made you go with this kind of model for the game?

Kim: Interstellar Marines has been on a long journey so far and to cut the story short, at some point we actually took the traditional way. We were working on the fantastic Unreal engine, had a crew of 20 guys and a bit of funding to try to see if we could create a cool demo to show the potential publisher. We actually got pretty far in that sense, we were negotiating with three of the biggest ones but got to a point where some of the talks discussed taking complete control over the IP, meaning actually purchasing the IP making us just a traditional small developer working on a game that we had no creative control over. That is the worse, that is the extreme sense. On the other side we were hit by the financial crisis in the sense that most publishers were consolidating, they had a hard time signing new deals with 3rd party studios, they were trying to focus more attention on their internal studios.

GameOn: I suppose that’s one of the big problems isn’t it. If you go down the publishing route you are going to have a lot of backing and support, but obviously your ideas aren’t going to be at the forefront, it’s going to be someone like EA, they are going to be pushing the game rather than letting you develop it as you would want to. With no publisher restrictions now, have there been any other restrictions or obstacles that you have faced during the development to date? Has there been one major problem? For example getting an unknown title out to the public?

Kim: Yes that’s absolutely one of the biggest challenges for us after having worked with Unreal, we switched to the Unity engine which is Danish technology. It is kind of fresh and really allows us to push the triple A quality in a browser but also allows us to pay less for a commercial licence so it actually allows us to share the content that we create and the process. For us it has been a long journey, always focused on getting this great game off the ground . We were at a point where the only real option we had was to go with Unity and try to engage a community on our web site to see if we could get our ideas for things we want to do with the first person genre across to people and try to see if they would be part of this dream to create the ultimate science fiction game.

Interstellar Marines

GameOn: So you just touched on using the Unity engine now but you were originally on the Unreal engine at the beginning. Have you found any differences at all, has it been more challenging with the Unity engine or do you find you have got more creativity, more flow and flexibility with the engine?

Kim: The things we saw and the things we have learnt, experienced immediately after switching to Unity was that it was really fast iterative, it’s an engine that is really flexible, you need to be very strict and cautious about the way you go with Unity but if you structure your work properly it really is a very flexible engine. You can do a lot of things super easy and random prototyping is extremely easy in Unity but you need to focus on creating structure to allow it to scale and actually it does that pretty good and so we are really happy with Unity.

GameOn: That’s fantastic to hear, Obviously the engine is going well for you and also you have got a good solid base to build the game on to. While this game is going to be released on PC to start off with, most Indie games do filter in to the console market. Is there any plans for this for Interstellar Marines to move on to Xbox 360 and PS3 perhaps?

Kim: Right now our general concept is to create Interstellar Marines from the ground up both available on PC and MAC but in the end we’re creating entertainment and there really is no barrier to where this entertainment should be served. So if it’s on Steam, consoles, OnLive, or even maybe on mobiles at some point then it is really about getting the entertainment out to the hands of the people and to allow as many people as possible to play our games, so it is part of our plans to be broad in that sense.




Interstellar Marines

Rasher | 24th May, 2011
Wedgeh's picture
Great interview there, interesting insight to what ZPS are trying to achieve with their community funded model.
Rasher's picture
I really enjoyed doing this interview, Kim was a fabulous guy to work with, can not wait for this game now.

Part 2 will be up tomorrow, working on the page currently but it was over 5000 words in the interview, been cut down to 4000 ish, so sorting out 1000 words per part (helping our work loads)

Kim is very passionate about the work they are doing, you will realise that once you read all four parts to the interview.
Angelfromabove's picture
Great interview so far, looking forward to reading the other 3 parts.
The direction in which they are going with Interstellar Marines sounds interesting!
Rasher's picture
just re-reading this again has given me the hype towards the game again, i for one will be pre-purchasing the game to support them
Si^'s picture
This is starting to look awesome. I think its time I made a decision and picked this up!

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