First AMA! My name is David Prassel, I am the founder and CEO of TREK Industries, formally Spiral Game Studios and I am most associated with the Orion game series.
You all had some amazing questions and we appreciate everyone who took the time to get involved. If we missed any of your questions please forward them to AMA@trek-industries.com and we will get them integrated for the next one.
Mr. Black (Steam Community)
Q: What have you worked on before envisioning Orion?”
A: Not all that much considering the concept of Orion came to me very early (11 years old) and it simply didn’t leave much room or time to do much else. That was 4 years before I could legally hold a real-world physical job (at 15) and so it’s pretty much occupied my head for as long as I can remember (coming up to 28 now).
The most deceiving thing about Orion is the actual size of the whole thing, at least from a public stand point. The universe is absolutely massive and this was the first thing I had worked on for most of a decade. It has thousands of years of story, lore, characters, locations - everything. I did this to form a “Bible” of sorts that I could take things when needed and fill certain puzzles.
But to directly answer your question: I did a lot of Mod work including mods like Firearms and The Phantom Menace, which I briefly talked about in an article called ORION: Ten Years Young if you’re curious about more of that.
Q: “What games do you think influenced you the most in developing Orion?”
A: The games that mostly inspired ORION: Prelude include: Quake 2, Tribes 1/2, Counter-Strike, Star Craft and the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series. Then of course more recent titles such as Halo, Killing Floor, Gears of War.
Q: “With the new mystery project starting up, how will that affect development on ORION: Prelude? Can we expect to see patches/fixes/new content?
We will always support our games to the best of our ability, no matter the age. If fans are submitting feedback and bug finds, we will do our best to squash them as soon as we can. However our emphasis IS on the new project as we have been working on ORION: Prelude for the better part of the last decade and are very excited for all the “newness” – technology, content, code, etc. Not only this but it’s a requirement for business to continue growing!
Raupi (Steam Community)
Q: How is it like to work from that RV you moved into? How many developers are working from the RV?
A: The RV is the exact same. I go to bed, I go to my work area, I eat and I do the in between. However, there are many improved aspects, including:
a.) The workspace views. Can be forests, mountains, beaches, deserts, rivers, lakes, oceans - whatever! This beats suburban or city walls and windows any day of the week for me.
b.) We don’t really ever get extended periods of “breaks” or vacations, but rather small blips of free time through out every day. This is amazing with the bus setup because it won’t take forever to get somewhere amazing because it’s only a few steps out of the door.
c.) It brings me closer to nature, something that has always been insanely important to me and is very obvious even through Orion. It allows me to travel with my loved ones and continue doing what I love. Nature is also a large part for TREK Industries going forward, including preservation and conservation.
d.) It can be more affordable! You can get some great units for as low as $500-$600 a month, and others for even less. We researched for over a year before making the hop and we are very happy with our choice.
Q: With the many huge plans you have for the Orion franchise, are there any plans for completely unrelated games somewhere down the road?
A: We have 6 IP’s total right now, not that the public would know since we’ve only been tackling my personal favorite, Orion. Out of these 6 IP’s only two of them are major, including Orion. The other 4 are much smaller in scale and ambition.
We have quite a few designs rolling around regarding the other IP’s but so far the foreseeable future is Orion-related. I can confirm that our next title is Orion-related.
Q: How amazing is it to see a million people buy your game and rate it mostly positive?
A: I had always dreamed of this but I won’t lie it was a pretty grim hope back in 2012. Regardless our hard work paid off and it accomplished that incredible mile stone. But most importantly it proves that no game ever has to fail and that if a developer doesn’t build it up and honor their community and supporters then they deserve to fail. Don’t support the assholes that don’t support YOU.
Q: Are there any more huge plans for Prelude or will you turn to some smaller updates once the map SDK is ready?
A: I personally will be contributing the workshop and have outlined the next quarters maps I aim to release. We will also patch and tweak both developer and community inspired fixes and changes. But most importantly I cannot wait to see what the community creates.
Q: What resource do Power Generators use to produce energy?
A: The Power Generators actually run on the same energy that powers the Ion Blade, which is called Ion. It is a (currently fictional) self-sustaining energy source.that is derived from stars (blue stars outputting better results than yellow, but both work) and it is basically “Plasma”:
When air or gas is ionized, plasma forms with conductive properties similar to those of metals. Plasma is the most abundant form of matter in the Universe, because most stars are in a plasma state.
WizPan (Steam Community)
Q: Will we be seeing more dinosaur species added in the coming months? Or at least new skins?
A: I can confirm that the Dinosaur count (which is 10) is locked for ORION: Prelude. Our next game will be open to a significantly higher number than that.
Lotica (Steam Community)
Q: Can you put dinosaur erotic fan fiction into your next game?
A: Absolutely not.
Dionysis Spinos (Facebook)
Q: Do you consider after everything that happened a good move to set Orion’s price at 1$ What lead you to this decision?
A: Absolutely! ORION: Prelude was originally going to be $19.99. It was only a few weeks before hand that I changed it drastically to $0.99c. There were many reasons for this, including the fact that we wanted ORION: Prelude to be “the best deal in gaming”. I truly believe it is, considering what you get for your dollar.
We also wanted as many people to experience the game as possible, regardless of traditional press and reviews. This allowed Gamers to get in on the fun with a very low risk factor involved.
Q: Did you get afraid that some people may think that it is a really cheap game and it may not be worth getting?
A: No this wasn’t something that I considered at all. I think that enough people have played the game and there is plenty of images and videos where people will understand what we are aiming to do with ORION: Prelude, which is marrying the amazing retro games we grew up on along with more modern day mechanics.
Q: What was the feedback after the Prelude announcement?
A: From what we can tell - very good!
TJ Quarles (Facebook)
Q: Do you have plans for an ORION Live-Action series? Or maybe like an Animation series or something?
A: No live-action series lined up or planned. It’d require the assistance of another partner as we are fully consumed by our immediate interactive software projects. That being said, there is already thousands of years of story and lore developed within the Orion universe so it’d be a very easy transition.
Joseph Herman (Facebook)
Q: How are you liking your RV?
A: Very much. However, I am not currently in it. It is in service receiving a few love hugs before Winter drops and we migrate.
Chad Stott (Facebook)
Q: How can we help you in getting the word out on this game?
A: Simply just tell your friends. If there are any websites or forums and communities you visit we encourage you to post there as well (if allowed).
Nick Divers (Facebook)
Q: Where is the SDK?
A: There was an engine related bug we were awaiting response towards from Epic. Unfortunately they didn’t have good news and we had to develop a work-around. We are expecting to release it on Monday (the 6th).
Jacob Aldrich (Facebook)
Q: What are the favorite dinosaurs of the development team?
A: For me, I am boring. The T-Rex is my favorite with the Triceratops in a close 2nd. Adam, a lead tester loves the Ankylosaurus. Chris, our lead programmer loves the Stegosaurus. Oliver can’t get enough of the Raptors and Jack’s favorite is also the T-Rex.
Q: What are your thoughts on concerns about the team’s ability to balance so many different game modes?
A: This is probably the closest thing I have towards a regret with ORION: Prelude. It’s a double edged sword because the overall goal with Prelude and its predecessors was to deliver the ultimate friend / LAN party game. I believe we accomplished this and part of it was because we catered to so many different game modes and play styles and it offered a great deal of variety.
However behind closed doors it was an absolute nightmare. If you changed something in one mode it might possibly affect the 14 others and vice versa. It was this nasty connected nightmare web and going forward in the future we will be building things differently, especially for a title that could feature so many modes – a system that allows us to easily drop in and out.
Jonathan Amarelo (Facebook)
Q: How’s the progress going and are you all still as excited as when you first started this up?
A: Absolutely. I am speaking for me personally here, but I have never been MORE excited. I have been obsessed with ORION ever since I first started designing it nearly twenty years ago. The reason I am so excited, more so, is because of the other developers who are currently collaborating on it. For much of the early years it was pre-production and design followed by attempting to find the right people to bring it to life. That took a few years and we are finally in a place where some of the most amazing people are behind it and seeing it come to life courtesy of that is extremely addicting.
Alex Hostettler (Facebook)
Q: Do you guys ever roam around the offices and pretend that you are Velociraptors in real life?
A: I never have personally, but I know one of our Lead Testers, Adam – definitely has.