A little game called Skycraft

The last year or so I’ve had a rather fun side-project: a little game called Skycraft, a creative voxel adventure game made in WebGL. It’s currently in a very, very early alpha, but I want you to try it out already. What it’s about? Let me try to pitch it to you 1:

Explore a beautiful, thriving world of islands floating in the sky! Mine down to the darkest secrets (and coolest treasure). Craft items to fight the ever harder enemies. And build an awesome castle, cave or lair worthy of yourself…

I guess you could say that Skycraft is a sort of bastard child of my love for Minecraft and my rather childish appreciation of islands floating in the sky. Throw in lots of Terraria, and probably some Bastion, and some Hello Kitty Online2, and you might have an idea where this could be going. Or I might just have confused you. Technologically though, Skycraft is a trueborn child of my love of web technologies and my flirt with the new hottie next-door: WebGL.

Why WebGL?

First of all I’m a web developer. Ever since I made my first JavaScript game BraidJump, which I made for a competition Opera had at my school three years ago, I knew I wanted to make a bigger web game some day. If I could make that in a week, what could I do in a month? Or a year?

Second, I wanted to put the technology to the test, and see if HTML5 was ready to be a gaming platform. Or actually, you could even say I wanted to prove it, and help clear the way for others to come later, in some way.

Last but not least, I wanted to show how HTML5 can make collaborative gaming ridiculously easy. If you want to play with a friend in Minecraft, you have to abandon you old singleplayer world, set up a multiplayer server, open ports, and then give your friend the IP. Your friend has to install Minecraft, and enter the IP before you are finally playing with each other.

In Skycraft, all you have to do is give your friend the link to your world.

This is so important I want to dedicate some duplicate pixels to it: You just give your friend a link. Your friend clicks the link, Skycraft loads, and after 10 seconds you are actually playing with your friend, in your world of floating islands.

That’s huge.

Well, it will be huge. Currently you can only try a very limited singleplayer alpha; the multiplayer alpha, which backers can take part in, is starting early this fall.

Why let people buy it already?

I loved the early days of Minecraft. Every update I would play and try to discover and play with all the new things that had been added, be it new blocks, new enemies or other improvements. I want to give that same feeling to you. And of course let you have a say in the development; the experience is much more interesting for me when I get actual feedback from players, and I believe it makes for a much better game in the end.

So here is an opportunity to follow along with Skycraft from the very beginning. Go try it if you haven’t already, and consider backing the project if you want to follow along.

I have so much more to say about Skycraft, but I’ll save some for later posts. Feel free to tell me what you think at twitter or at hakon.erichsen@gmail.com,

  1. Read with the voice of James Earl Jones

  2. Just kidding.

20 May 2013