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Give Me Fuel (Async Card Battle)

11-13-2015, 05:54 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199
Give Me Fuel (Async Card Battle)

I'd like to introduce the first game from Wonderspark - Give Me Fuel. Fight your friends in a casual, strategic card-battle game you can play in minutes.

We're a team of four at Wonderspark, which is a brand-new studio, even though between the four of us we've got something like 30 years of game development experience.

We’ve got a ton of crazy plans for GMF, but at the start, our goal is to make it an awesome async card game. Where it goes beyond that? Who knows. (Well, we do!) We're committed to keeping the game evolving in ways that I think most folks aren't used to seeing. I hope you'll join us for the ride.

Some images from the development process:

An animatic mockup of a "turn resolving" (obviously placeholder art, but gets at the style how things are animated):

Our card game ​​*plays*​​ like a card game - which means you can play it easily on a crowded subway, or half-asleep in bed without playing "worse" - but it's full of beautiful, visceral, exciting animation. It's card combat after all. It's about time a game ​​*looked*​​ like combat.

A beta version of the card interface:

Some character concept stuff:

With this game, we wanted to create something that captured what we all love about ​​real​​ games. Games that require strategy, mastery, progress - stuff that you play with your friends & tell stories about afterwards. But for a bunch of us, we don't have the time to play games that we used to. I'd love to dedicate 20 minutes to my favorite MOBA, or even 10 minutes to play a great card-battle game - but for many of us, finding that kind of uninterruptible time is often impossible.

We love the accessibility and strategy of card battle games, but wanted to redesign them for asynchronous multiplayer, and keep it elegant enough that a turn takes no longer than a few seconds. But card games can do way more than just show a bunch of cards on a table. Our goal is to blend card game mechanics with things that feel more like traditional games - eventually incorporating narrative, co-op (as well as competitive) multiplayer, long-term character progression & more.

We're also starting to post daily tweets "from the universe" at @givemefuel on Twitter. You can follow our progress @1derspark, or at http://wonderspark.co.

Learn a little bit more about us here: http://www.wonderspark.co/about/. We've been working on this as a team of four for about half a year, and before that, two of us spent about a year working on the underlying mechanics. I previously co-founded Self Aware Games. Our big game was Big Fish Casino, but we did some other stuff that's more in line with stuff TA likes - Fleck, an MMO that took place on Google Maps (unfortunately shut down in 2013), and one of the first iOS games with live leaderboards - some of you might even remember - Taxiball (2009).

There's a beta signup at the bottom of that page. We've had an alpha test running for about two months now, and we're a few weeks from launching a slightly larger beta. Our hope is to get the game out before the end of the year, but a more likely date is sometime in January.


Last edited by wonderspark; 11-13-2015 at 06:01 PM.
11-17-2015, 05:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199

As we're getting closer to launch, one thing that we've done is a bit of work on trying to figure out a logo for the company. Yesterday, our artist was noodling around with some ideas, and he came up with this.

When I'd designed our temporary logo, I was hoping to be able to find something that wasn't just a W and a *, but something that tried to say something about our company in a clever way. The original W was a mix of digital and analog - we wanted to have our games essentially be a social experience for people - a way to bridge the analog (curved side on left) and digital (pixel cutout on right) worlds. I wouldn't say it worked all that well, but it was good enough for "designer art".

I'd also seen the logo for Moon Studios, which is really brilliant.

I mean, right? Genius.

But to me, I was hoping that it wouldn't be just a bit of visual whimsy - that it'd say something about us. And while we were talking through it, it became clearer and clearer that this does exactly that. We started Wonderspark with some really strong core values. We're always going to release something *new* - we're never going to fast-follow, or create something derivative, even if there's money to be made. But we're also going to stay small, and that means keeping control of the scope of the game - making sure it doesn't get out of control, and also making sure players understand things - and that means that while we're always going to have something brand-new, it's also going to be anchored in the familiar.

The curve is an idea - a bold sweep, something that feels assured and familiar. But the W is a meandering, hapahazard idea, exploring - trying to find its way into the world. The two collide, and...

11-17-2015, 06:24 PM
Wow... This looks absolutely amazing. I love the mock up animation, the direction you guys seem to be taking with this... The lack of commitment that seems to be required when playing a session of this is very appealing to me. I'm a college student that works when I'm not in class and never have time to sit down and play video games anymore... Nice logo, too! Not sure if I'm super sold on it (looks much better in the GIF) , but it's stellar! Can't wait to see what you guys create for us!
11-17-2015, 07:25 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199
Thanks, SIRD4SH! The mockup animation was one of those moments where we're like, "Oh, yeah - this could work." It's kinda funny, because even in its super simple form, it feels like it captures a great energy. In our pre-beta builds, we have the animations all in game as single frames, so it plays out a lot more comic-book style, and it works - but then we get back to the animation, and it's clear that this is what we need to get to.

re: not requiring a ton of time, that's a *huge* part of the core of the game. I look at something like Dragon Age: Inquisition, or Witcher 3, and I love the idea of those games, but I don't have huge swaths of uninterrupted time to play them. Same even goes for things like Hearthstone and Vainglory - both excellent games, but I don't play them nearly as much as I imagine I would because of the time thing. With two kids, it's just too hard to guarantee I'll have 20 uninterruptible minutes. Maybe in the future when the kids sleep better, but that time ain't now. And that applies to all kinds of things - people with jobs, people in school taking exams. Heck, even if you're just waiting in line or in the bathroom - sometimes you just want something you can play in a few seconds, but you don't want something you feel like is wasting your time.

Oh - and re: the logo, we just fired up a TeeSpring campaign here: https://teespring.com/1derspark - it's sort of vaguely like Kickstarter for shirts. We did it just because we wanted to get high-quality shirts quickly (which is surprisingly hard to do, and I've got some other TeeSpring shirts and they're quite nice), but if anyone else is interested, thereyago. Get a shirt from a company who hasn't yet released anything that you may or may not like in the end!
11-17-2015, 07:40 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 194
Going with the 90's Metallica reference? Bold choice.

I gave three and half stars to your favorite game.
11-17-2015, 07:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by wondroushippo View Post
Going with the 90's Metallica reference? Bold choice.
Hahaha. We wanted a name that evoked a bunch of things - a sense of some desperation, a sense of conflict. Not just between two individuals, but also between the individual and the world.

There's a kinda weird story about the name, which is that it had a completely different working title, but the working title relies on a specific feature set that we're not launching with. We're going to get those features in, eventually, if the core game is fun enough that it survives - and at that point, maybe we'll change the name. I'll explain when we get closer to those features, because it's one of those weird things where the name actually gives too much away to potential competitors.
12-01-2015, 06:32 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199
One thing that I did during November was NaNoWriMo. A few years ago, I spent some time writing as a means to explore a sci-fi world we were building for a prototype at Factor 5, and it remains one of the most interesting prototypes I've seen that didn't get made (F5 went out of business as we were developing it).

This year, I wanted to try it again. Even though what we're working on is a competitive card-combat game, the setting is a really big deal for a feature that we're working on post-release. It's also helped with the aesthetic style of the game. Posted a few excerpts here: http://www.wonderspark.co/helavawond...wrimo-excerpts

The goal of NaNoWriMo isn't to write something *good*, it's just to write 50K words. So the text isn't say, brilliant - but I think it starts to get across some of the feel of the game we're shooting for.
12-03-2015, 05:33 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199
Had a discussion with the team, and we're removing all the guns from our game. We're still going to have combat, but we're not going to have pistols, rifles, etc. - anything that looks like a real-world weapon.

It'll force us to be more creative, to find more interesting solutions, and not to lean on something that's been the source of so much tragedy recently. I love shooters, don't get me wrong - but for me, and for the team, who all agreed that it was the thing we wanted to do, we didn't want the game we're making to be a fun version of something that's tragic in the real world.

More here: http://www.wonderspark.co/helavawond...jar8by3c66a8ah
01-06-2016, 02:47 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199
Beta signups!

Getting within a few weeks of launching a beta, and looking for interested folks to help us out!

Register here: http://www.wonderspark.co/earlyaccess-signup/

We'll ONLY send you anything when the beta is ready. Any help testing would be greatly appreciated. We're shooting for a late Jan/early Feb launch if we can swing it. Tons of work going into animation right now, but the game's been "gameplay complete" for beta for a few months. Still a lot to do, but we're getting close.

01-06-2016, 05:39 PM
Count me in

Man, this is looking like it could be something special. Count me in

(I've also signed up from the website)