Floatlands, tales from a low poly open world.

Floatlands lowpoly

We interviewed the guys behind the awesome game Floatland, an upcoming low poly open world survival game. We’ve had our eyes on them for a while now, so we’re stoked to feature them here. Read on!

Can you introduce your studio/team and how you got started ?

Our team Studio Techtrics (now 6Pills Games) started developing mobile games about 3 years ago. Blaž, then 3D artist, and Vili (programmer) worked on Flying Pet – an arcade game where you transport animals with helicopters and avoid obstacles. Blaž later took on the PR/marketing role as Andrej replaced him as the leading 3D artist. Domen contributed music for the game, but he also had a side project named Ore Miner – clicking game. Together we improved Ore Miner, which eventually became our most successful project to date with over 500k downloads. But we thought that the mobile market had become oversaturated, so we decided to focus on PC games exclusively.

Floatlands, experiment at that time, basically started off with us posting a gif on Instagram – a short clip of shooting a couple of drones with a shotgun. We received instant requests for more content and that’s why we also started writing the Floatlands blog. Weekly updates soon became a standard for us, although it costs us a little development time. We look at it in a way that community involvement will eventually pay off in a more widely received game experience and richer content. Lately we expanded the team by adding 2D artist Mito and an additional programmer Tadej.

Floatland team - studio Techtris - 6Pills Games
The full team – Slovenian Game Conference – October 2017
What can you tell us about your current title, Floatlands ?

Floatlands is a low poly open world exploration/survival game, where you play a robot character, going up against other robots or rather robot faction. You will gradually find out who is your robot, where does he belong and who are his enemies. Human factions will bring an additional twist to the game as well.

It’s true that there are now quite a few open world games out there, but we have prepared some very exciting features like custom build mode, electric system and more, that we think will be a huge hit and will keep the players involved for longer periods of time. We also have various game modes planned and our general intent is to build and improve the game together with the community. That’s why we invite you to join our channels and put forward any ideas or suggestions you might have.

Floatlands Low poly rivers
Floatlands has a very particular artistic style, could you elaborate on the decision to go in that direction, and what were your inspirations ?

The first reason for going with low poly visuals was simply an experimentation and learning about Unity3d game engine. Domen, Floatlands project leader, created some low poly floating islands and he also experimented with voxels. That style grew on us and gradual lighting improvements, coupled with colors only use (no textures) brought us to where we are now. This style is on the rise, but you also have to design an intriguing gameplay content to really make it work. Low poly approach also has the advantage of less human resources needed for development, which is just perfect for our small 6 man team. Rust game has influenced our title the most, but we also found inspiration in Minecraft, Fallout, Skyrim, Far Cry, Bioshock and even Overwatch.

Floatlands low poly sunset
When will players be able to get their hands on it, and what kind of release format are you aiming at ?

Release timeframe has already changed a few times, due to various developmental and other reasons. We realize our fans can’t wait to try out Floatlands, but we simply can’t afford to put out a semi-working game – learned that from a couple of known game releases. We’re far from satisfied with the current product, so still long ways to go. Perhaps in the summer you’ll see more playing versions, testing and so on.

Regarding release format, we haven’t decided on the closed/open alpha yet. But Steam early access release is definitely our first major goal. Pricing-wise, we decided on the premium model and it will be in the range of indie games.

You’re based in Slovenia, how is the indie scene other there? Is there a community of game developers, do you get support from government or organisations ? etc..

The knowledge and enthusiasm for developing games in Slovenia is really high, but we’re limited by the government with outdated legislature and no support (financial or any other). For example, Google Play and Slovenia don’t have an agreement regarding payments, so the only option is to go the F2P route or release paid games from abroad.

The community consisting of smaller devs like us organizes monthly meetups and a yearly national conference, where we pick the most promising games.

Any tips for fellow indie studios ?

Don’t give up, no matter what. We are all in the business that should be fun, we are the new norm of the showbiz, so when things get hard, many fall like a deck of cards. Perseverance with the right attitude towards “work” is the key here. Another thing many new game studios forget is to listen to people that will eventualy play their product.

Producing quality games is an art form, we should treat with respect all those early opinions and analyze them closely. It may give us a whole new view on players game perspective.

Last trap for many new indie studios is having monetization as a key aspect of the game and everything revolves around that. It’s roots lie in mobile game industry but its gaining traction in PC and Console game world and its truly despicable. So fellow indie developers, create, create, create everyday. It doesn’t matter if your game has a top notch realism shaders that took too long to write, if it’s fun, people will play it no matter what.

What are your goals for 2018?

This year will be big for us. At the moment we are fully engaged in the last core game changes, after that comes adding features, that will glue together the story behind Floatlands. We believe early testing and balancing will take place in Q3 thats the most time consuming part that will require help from early alpha testers. After being fully satisfied with stability and joy aspect, release date will be announced.

As a dedicated indie dev team, we don’t want to set an exact date of that, seeing how other seemingly great projects have fell because of too strict deadlines. We are pretty convinced end of 2018 will be the date Floatlands is released for the broader world. Keep them fingers crossed.

floatlands lowpoly trees
Just for fun, what are your favorite games ? 🙂

You wouldn’t believe if I told you we constantly playfully make fun of each others game picks. As a whole, we enjoy quite different genres from Kerbal, World of Warcraft, Rust, ….., but when it comes to favorites, there are no others but classics such as Doom, Wolfenstein series, Quake, and of course Valve games that lured us in this industry.

Anything else to add?

We would like to thank you IGDB and all the others, providing recognition to indie games. You’re doing the right thing! We see over saturated market with AAA games, which to some, creating games, means only ROI they’ll get from it. We understand it to some point, but still, robbing people with microtransactions and DLCs, just because they can is unhealthy. Indies aren’t visually and technologically as advanced as them, but people working on those titles, usually stand behind a great idea and that’s why we see quite few gems in indie category.


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