Lithic: dev interview

Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with Flintlock Studios, the developer making the game Lithic. An up and coming RPG/strategy game, Lithic is very promising and has recently been submitted for the Steam Greenlight program. Lithic begins with an ancient group of intelligent, reptilian humanoids called the Ix-Aan completing an ancient ritual with the sole purpose of bringing a powerful demi-god known as a “Creator Spirit” to their home-world. But the ritual was too powerful, summoning not only a single Spirit, but many. The concentrated energy caused a devastating expulsion of pure force, wiping out all but a few of the ritualists and their followers; those who survived the blast now doomed to wander the planet, lost, confused and hostile. Some Creator Spirits summoned by the ritual found themselves tethered to the indigenous creatures of the world, with others thrust into the rocks and earth, trees and rivers. The more fortunate ones connected with the minds and souls of primitive tribes. These few now strive to help their hosts improve culturally and technologically in the slim hope that they can advance to a point where they can assist the Creator Spirit in re-ascending to the godly plane.

Bryan: How long has Lithic been in production?
Tom: Lithic has been in production for about 4 months, in terms of everything you can see in the videos now. Prior to this we’ve spent about 3 months prototyping and testing out various ways to implement the features we wanted to put in.

B: How many people are working on the game?
T: There’s five in total working on the project right now, three of us full time in the office. So we’re a pretty small team.
Jon: It’s good working in a small team, easier to keep everything organised and moving in a coherent direction.

B: Is the game more about war and fighting or about building or a mixture of both?
J: It’s about survival really. Lithic is set in a fantasy world, but it’s a fantasy world in the Neolithic Period, so things that are taken for granted even in a medieval fantasy world have to be strived for.
T: Yeah, combat in the game is meant to be as realistic as we can manage. By that we don’t mean overly gory or gratuitous. It doesn’t make much sense for a small group trying to survive to risk injury or death if they don’t have to, so most of the time ‘combat’ will be resolved without a show of force or threats.
J: So that means combat isn’t a go to solution in Lithic, as even winning a fight can cause injuries that in the long run set you back, because if a character is dead then all the knowledge and skills they had go with them. This is important because there is no tech tree independent of characters, your tech tree is your characters’ knowledge.
T: There’s not a lot of building either really, Lithic is certainly not a base builder RTS. You have a village but buildings are built as a convenience to the tribe, not a requirement to unlock new things.
J: The people themselves are the main resource really, it’s they who improve rather than the buildings.

B: I saw you can play as something that looked like bigfoot, any comments on that?
J: Yeah, The Ur-Aan. They are huge gentle giants that try to keep to themselves and are strongly family orientated. They live in much smaller groups than the other races especially the Hob-Aan.
T: They might be fairly non-aggressive but because of their size and strength they can certainly smash some heads if they need to. The player would have to teach them to go against their instincts so it might take a long time to create and Ur-Aan warrior culture. The Lit-Aan are much more violent and better suited to an aggressive play style.
J: The Ur-Aan have thick fur, so they don’t have to worry about the cold as much as the other races and their high constitution makes them much more resistant to disease and reduces how often they have to eat.

B: What made you want to create the game?
J: I wanted to make a game that wasn’t like anything else we’d played before. I kinda like RTSs and I like survival games but I’m not a fan of twitch games or micro management. So I wanted something with deep gameplay that doesn’t need me to manage everything all the time.
T: Similar to Jon I wanted to play something different. We arrived at the Stone Age setting when in a brainstorm session I asked, “So what happens in a fantasy world before its Medieval?” We grew the concept from there really.

B: How much will it cost at launch and when is launch?
T: Pricing is something we aren’t 100% certain on yet. We aren’t greedy but we do need to ensure we cover our development costs and keep the studio afloat. It certainly won’t cost more than £20 which is $31 currently but of course the dollar value will be set at the exchange rate when we release and could change.
J: We want to point out that that’s the price for the full game. There will be no downloadable content or micro-transactions. Anything we make for Lithic will be available as updates as soon as it’s ready.
T: As for the release date…. Soon? We’ll have an Early Access ready in roughly a month, and hopefully by then we will have been successful in our Greenlight campaign which is currently live.
J: Early Access will be just that, we plan to have one playable race and once we have launched we will be getting updates out as soon as we can.

B: How do spirit animals change the way the game plays?
T: The spirit animal is the player really, in Lithic you don’t play as a disembodied entity, you play as a Creator Spirit trapped into an animal.
J: There’s a believability to the players presence in the game world. The spirit animal itself can be manifested to give you a physical presence in the world. There are six spirit animals to choose from, each one represents an extreme point on our six point personality scale and has a passive ability which nudges members of the tribe towards that personality type. Each animal grants a single spell which is in addition to spells granted by your element choice.
T: These four elements; Earth , Air, Fire, and Water go hand in hand with the animal choice so you can play as a Fire Nehken or an Earth Nehken (our version of a sabre-tooth tiger) for example.

B: What engine is the game running on?
T: Unity. We’ve got access to Unity 5 beta and have had for quite some time. There’s been a lot of challenged developing in a beta version of the engine but we should be one of the first studios to release a title in Unity 5.

B: Multiplayer or co-op?
T: No, we can’t really see what you would do in a multiplayer version. Most of the challenge in Lithic is in recovering from the inevitable setbacks that will occur. Balancing this for multiplayer will totally alter the core of the game.
J: I feel it would be detrimental to the main single player game. There’s so many random events and occurrences that are beyond the player’s control that the ‘winner’ in multiplayer would generally end up being who got luckiest. It’s also a matter of timescale, the game is effectively designed to be endless in skirmish mode, outside of the main storyline.

B:How big will the map/maps be?
T: We’ve gone for something a bit different with our world set-up. Each level or world is made of zones that are 200m across and there can be up to 100 of these zones in a level. Zones aren’t visible from one another so it’s not a huge open world. This is something we decided on as it means each zone can be much more detailed and have many more objects in it.
J: Each zone has a purpose, what we’ve done is cut out the dead space between points of interest that your tribe members would just be travelling across. There’s some suspension of disbelief needed of the part of the player but we think it’s worth it for such densely populated zones.

B: What is the main objective in game?
J: The objective in the story mode campaign is to travel through a variety of levels, facing different challenges whilst advancing your tribe from the beginnings of sentience, to the beginnings of civilisation. At the end of the game the player needs to have developed enough culture and spirit to cast a final spell that frees the Creator Spirit from their material form to re-ascend.
T: In Skirmish or free-play mode we’d like to leave objectives up to the player, you’ll be able to choose a specific objective or none. So you could set up a short game or a practically endless one.

B: Anything else you want to add?
J: If you are interested in Lithic please check out and vote on our Greenlight Campaign. We are always open to hearing feedback so if anyone would like to get in touch they can do so via our website.

Bryan and the 2XP Gaming team want to thank Flintlock for taking time out of their day to speak with us. As stated in the interview, you can get more information about Lithic at their Steam Greenlight page or by going to their website. You can also follow them on Twitter @StudioFlintlock. We’ve provided a video below from Flintlock for your enjoyment!

If you would like to publish articles, interviews, or reviews of your game please fill out our developer spotlight application and we will be happy to work with you!


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