Hi, I'm Henry. In 2012 I quit my job as a programmer at BioWare to spend a year making my own indie games. This blog is about what happened next...

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Spaceteam 2.0 has landed!

If you haven’t been following Spaceteam development, you should know that for the past 9 months I’ve been rebuilding Spaceteam from the ground up using the Unity game engine. It took much longer than I expected and was a pretty stressful time for me. But it’s finally ready.

Every day thousands of people are still discovering Spaceteam for the first time, making new spacefriends, and using the game in creative ways. I didn’t want it to die.

This is Spaceteam 2.0



App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spaceteam/id570510529?mt=8

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sleepingbeastgames.spaceteam

Don’t get too excited! The game is mostly the same, but it works on more phones, looks a little better, and has a few new features. But everything has changed under the hood. Because of this it’s also bound to have its own unique set of problems, so bear that in mind as it flies into the wild for the first time.

Notably this version doesn’t have Bluetooth support yet, although I plan to add it soon.

The game now speaks 4 new languages (in addition to the 12 it already knows):

  • Dutch: ASTEROÏDE! (iedereen schudden)
  • Greek: ΑΣΤΕΡΟΕΙΔΗΣ! (κουνήστε όλοι)
  • Turkish: ASTROİD! (herkes sallansın)
  • Korean: 소행성! (모두 흔드세요)

If you have friends who speak these languages please share the news, as I don’t have any special marketing campaigns to reach out to those countries. As usual, news about Spaceteam spreads by regular people shouting things to each other.

Welcome to the new Admiral’s Club!

Some brief backstory: I never planned to do this rebuild. But when the Android version of the game was put in jeopardy last year I had to make a difficult choice: to abandon the Android version, or make some major changes. Thanks to a group of generous fans and supporters, the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club, I’ve been able to keep it alive and also teach myself Unity which is a huge investment in my future games. That investment is going to start paying off… now :)

For the first time since it started, the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club is officially accepting new members. If you missed it the first time, or you want a fancy golden laser or an alien pet, now’s your chance. The Admiral’s Club is the best way to support my new games and get cool goodies. Please join if you like Spaceteam and want to see more!

Join the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club on Patreon:


Getting Back To The Future

I’ve actually been trying to move on from Spaceteam for a while. Last year I started building prototypes for my new game Blabyrinth. Now that Spaceteam 2.0 has launched I feel like I can get back to it. Spaceteam and its spin-off projects will still need support but I’m once again making a promise to devote at least half of my time to Blabyrinth. This is something I’ve been excited about for a long time. You can read more about the ideas behind Blabyrinth in this post.

The next immediate steps for Spaceteam are:

– Spaceteam ESL 2.0 (The ESL version had the same Android problems so I’m updating it too. Unity will make this process much easier.)

– Official Leaderboards for special events

– Chromecast experiments, and a special observer mode for collecting stats for research

– Spaceteam Kids

I’ll probably end up sacrificing the Apple TV version (sorry if that’s your thing). It was never the best platform for Spaceteam and the market is still quite small. I’d rather spend the time on Blabyrinth instead.

And those are the last scheduled plans for Spaceteam. Once these tasks are complete I’ll be able to transition to the new game(s) full-time. If the Patreon does well I might even be able to get some help to reach that point sooner.

Reaching this milestone is a huge weight off my mind. Thanks for sticking by me through the process.

As always, if you have any questions or want to chat, join me on the forum or send me an email.

Space out!

– Captain Spaceteam (aka Henry Smith)

Admiral’s Club 2.0

With the upcoming launch of Spaceteam 2.0 I will also be re-opening the Admiral’s Club to new members using Patreon, which is another crowdfunding platform.

I wanted to give existing club members a heads up about what that means.

First of all, the work I’ve been doing for the Kickstarter project is still happening. Blabyrinth is still in progress, and Shipshape is still in my future plans (although it’s possible I may make another game first… too early to tell).

Secondly, I don’t want my Kickstarter backers to feel any pressure to join the new campaign. You were part of the initial push, the founding members, and I’m forever grateful for that. You’ve helped keep Spaceteam alive and kick-started these new projects into existence.

The Patreon campaign gives new fans the opportunity to join and helps me stay sustainable long-term. It’s different from Kickstarter in that patrons subscribe to creators they like by giving a small amount every month (eg. $1 or $5). It’s more in line with my philosophy of supporting people rather than projects, and it’s a more predictable income stream.

If you’re frustrated that Blabyrinth isn’t ready yet, I understand. I am too. I wish I was working on it right now. But all the projects that it made way for, some planned, some unexpected, were worthwhile investments and couldn’t have happened without your support.

  • Spaceteam ESL now has a life of its own through Concordia, and has opened further educational doors
  • Spaceteam Apple TV got some great App Store features and experience working with a big screen
  • Spaceteam the Card Game was a fun foray into the physical universe and gave me a peek at the board game production process
  • Spaceteam Unity solves a difficult problem and ensures a healthy future for all my games
  • CaptainsMess will hopefully lead to even more awesome games from others!

I’d like to point out that crowdfunding, specifically, was what allowed me to pursue these opportunities. It would have been very hard to sell the Spaceteam rebuild, for example, because it’s not a new game.

These are the kind of business decisions that I have to make if I want to keep on creating. I’ll continue to be transparent about them and I’m hoping that I’ll get to spend more time on creative decisions in the near future :)

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments.

Space out!


P.S. I’ll be in San Francisco next week at the Casual Connect conference if any of you want to say hi or go for a drink.

The Last 10%

“The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time” — Tom Cargill, Bell Labs

Beta Testing!

Spaceteam 2.0 is getting close. My translators have started testing and if you would like to help test, dear reader, then you can sign up here:

Beta Test Sign-up: [CLOSED: I have enough testers for now, thanks!]

I’m using a service called HockeyApp which helps me distribute builds so don’t be alarmed if you see references to it after you sign up. You can report bugs here:

Bug Tracker: https://bitbucket.org/hengineer/spaceteamunity

There are a few outstanding features that I have yet to add:

  • Acknowledged Mode
  • Ship’s Cat
  • Admiral’s Challenge special achievements

…but I wanted to test the main game as early as possible.

New Features

I tried very hard not to add any new features during the rebuild but there were some things I basically got “for free” with Unity, and a few others that I decided were worth it.

  • Slightly nicer graphics
  • Multitouch (finally!)
  • A “Play Again” button
  • QR code scanning on Android
  • Dutch, Greek, Turkish, and soon Arabic translations (many thanks to my volunteers!)
  • Downloadable Content — Optional assets like ship skin upgrades can now be stored on a server and only downloaded when needed. Now that I know how to do this it’s going to be pretty useful for my future games.
  • Analytics — Will help me estimate how many people are playing and also record certain things that happen in the game, like highest level reached. I’m hoping I can use it to create automatic high score leaderboards for special events.
  • “FailCam” — An (optional) fun feature suggested on the forum where the game takes a photo of your face at the moment of failure. The photos are then displayed on the Game Over screen as a memento of your accomplishment.

FailCam in action

I’ve also had to make a few sacrifices:

  • The first release will be Wifi-only, I haven’t had time to add Bluetooth yet.
  • The game runs more slowly on older devices. I’m still hoping to make some optimizations but I think this is price I have to pay to keep up with technology.

The 10%, or what’s been keeping me busy

Just finishing all the little corners of the game has been a slog, and then some unexciting things that took longer than I thought. The details are boring, but for what it’s worth.

  • Japanese font + symbols. I made some trade-offs between build size and flexibility and ended up treating Japanese differently from all other languages.
  • System Dialogs/Alerts. None of the plugins I tried did what I wanted so I made my own using Unity’s UI system. This turned out to be much easier than I thought but I wasted a bunch of time playing with other systems.

More New Plugins I’ve Discovered

Lunar Mobile ConsoleVery useful. It shows a debugging log on the device itself so you can immediately see errors or warnings. It’s easier than attaching a remote log viewer (I’ve been using Editor Console Pro for this) but more importantly it allows external beta-testers (eg. you, maybe?) to send me the log output by email. Getting a log file manually from a user’s device is a huge pain otherwise.

Build Report ToolSimple and effective.

Preparing For Launch

I’m speaking on a panel at Casual Connect in San Francisco in mid-July so I’m using it as a self-imposed deadline. If all goes well then around that time I’ll be launching:

  • Spaceteam 2.0
  • A new website that unifies the game, the Admiral’s Club, my blog, and all the spin-off projects like the board game and Spaceteam ESL.
  • A new Patreon campaign. The Admiral’s Club will start accepting new members, so people who missed out on the Kickstarter will get another chance to join. Existing club members will have no pressure to subscribe, but I’ll talk more about this in a future blog post.

See you soon!