Interview with Sunfish Studio

What role do experience points and crew stats play in the game, exactly? Why is it important for the player to “level up” and find crew members with high Ability and Engineering stats?

Experience points and player levels quantify the player’s achievements. They’re also building blocks for our subsequent updates to the game, where the player’s development will have even more influence on the gameplay. They’ll also be important references when we add multiplayer support to the game.

Crew members are the ones who get their hands dirty in operating your facilities. Good crew members help you fit your spaceships better and get the most out of your equipment. In actual gameplay, you’ll find that with better crew members on board, as influenced by their Engineering stats, you can equip better technology and more weapons. Furthermore, with the same weapon, a good crew member with higher Ability stat would be able to use the weapon more efficiently and as a result perform better in battles.

Getting technical for a second, why did you decide to build Galaxy Pirate Adventure in Unity? Are there any features of the Unity engine that jumped out at you as being uniquely suited to the needs of the project?

Talking game engines, for us it’s really down to Unity vs. Unreal. Undoubtedly Unreal Engine is very powerful. You can have lots of options in graphics tuning and other areas. However, for a small team like us, that’s going to translate to more development time in numerous customizations. Unity, on the other hand, is easy to start with. It does all the dirty work for us so we can spend more time focusing on the game itself rather than the engine behind it.

While some people argue that Unreal provides the best graphics on the mobile platform, we believe we’ve proven in GPA that if you have the required level of artistic and technical knowhow, you can do something equally well, if not better, with Unity. Specifically, Unity’s shader support on iOS is improving rapidly. We’ve even brought into GPA a desktop metallic shader. We’re very confident this is going to be one of the best looking space adventure games on the market.

Which generation iDevices is Galaxy Pirate Adventure compatible with, and what kind of extra graphical polish can iPad 2 players expect compared to iPhone and iPod Touch owners?

GPA runs on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad2, and iPod 4. On the original iPhone 4, the high resolution textures, normal maps, 3D modeling, animation and special effects would already surprise many users.

With better CPU and GPU processing power on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, GPA provides even better graphical quality in terms of anti-aliasing (4 x FSAA) and shader support. Our metallic shader on spaceships renders diffuse map, normal map, reflection map, gloss map, and specular map all in real time. As a result you’ll find a level of realism never before seen on the mobile platform.

Our thanks goes to Anthony at Sunfish Studio for taking some time out of his schedule to complete this interview. Galaxy Pirate Adventure is now available in the App Store! We’re still working on our review, but you can read our hands-on impressions of the game to learn a little more about its particulars in the meantime.