Review Fix chats with Craig Taylor, Lead Programmer at Lunar Rooster, discusses the inspiration and creative process behind the new Steam FPS “Sky Noon.” Taking elements from Quake and Unreal Tournament and adding an innovative use/pull game mechanic, it has all the elements of a fun old-school arena shooter, but with innovative new gameplay mechanics that make it feel like a combination of Overwatch and Super Smash Bros.
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Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Craig Taylor: Sky Noon started out as a University Project called Sky Force; It was this project in which the main ideas and mechanics of Sky Noon would be thought-up and refined. Originally we had wanted to create a multiplayer FPS that changed the way players had to think about playing a shooter. We prototyped a grappling hook and the mechanics would spring forth from that. To complement the grapple hook we incorporated the push and pull mechanics. From that point, the smash bros style kill sphere was that logical conclusion. We just continued to modify and refine those basic ideas.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What has development been like so far?
Taylor: For our first game, developing Sky Noon has been like a boot camp for game developers. We’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles and learn new things in a fairly short time span, and we’ve all become better artists and programmers through the experience. It’s also been extremely satisfying when we finally get to share our creation with an excited audience. I think we would all consider it one of the most fulfilling things we’ve done so far.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Taylor: Sky Noon’s special feature is the Push and Pull mechanics. Sky Noon was made from the ground up to make use of the ability to Push and Pull objects and characters with your weapons. The grapple, another defining mechanic, is an extension of the dichotomy, allowing players to pull themselves around. With all these mechanics combined Sky Noon is such a unique arcade-esque take on the arena shooter.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How important is the music in this game?
Taylor: Currently Sky Noon uses music sparingly to inform the player about what is happening and to add tension, similar to how many other non-narrative based games use music. Music plays when the match is about to start, when the match time is running out, has tense music if a tie-breaker is happening, and in a lobby before a match. We also have a pretty damn catchy main theme. We feel like the music in the game does a good job, but we also hope to expand the music to have background tracks in the future.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any hope for a Switch release?
Taylor: A Switch release is not out of the question. In the future, we would like to bring Sky Noon to other systems. For now, we are focusing our efforts on developing the game for PC on Steam Early Access. 6. What games influenced this one the most? Sky Noon really wears its influences on its sleeve. BioShock Infinite and Overwatch helped to guide our art style and Smash Bros was a primary influence for the brawler style push and pull mechanics.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Taylor: There was one point where we were testing a weapon and accidentally messed up the physics on the players that were affected by it, and they would flop over like bowling pins and roll away. That was an enjoyable play session.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Taylor: Personally I think in general developers will take the best ideas and carry them forward into their new projects. The mechanics that are fun or interesting are often copied and remixed into the games that follow. With games like Doom, Quake, and Halo you can trace how their Innovative mechanics have stuck around and become the base for most modern games. That said it is also good to go back and play some of the older more obscure games and trying to take away interesting ideas and mechanics that have fallen by the wayside.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Taylor: Finishing Spyro the Dragon with 100%, all gems, is something I still consider one of my biggest achievements. Nathan: Going to the midnight launch of Halo 3 with my Dad and younger brother, then staying up all night playing it. I didn’t let my brother have a turn because he got to play in the store while we were waiting in line. It made sense to him and I got away with it.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Taylor: The people who will enjoy Sky Noon the most are veteran arena shooter players (Quake, Unreal Tournament etc). Sky Noon is such a fast-paced, movement focused game that rewards both accurate and smart gameplay equally. That said I think any person who plays Shooters even casually will find Sky Noon a refreshing take on the genre.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Taylor: We want players to think of Sky Noon as that super fast, really unique game with the kickass grapple. Seriously though, we just want to challenge players to rethink how they have to play a shooter. The line of sight and transferring momentum are important ideas that players have to master to strive at Sky Noon.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Taylor: More Sky Noon! We are dedicated to expanding the content of Sky Noon. We have so many ideas that we want to implement. From weapons and abilities to Maps and Customisation we feel like there is so much more we can do with Sky Noon. If people want to know what is on the horizon they can have a gander at our roadmap ( http://lunarrooster.com/roadmap/ ).
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.