"Test your skills in confined areas while fighting gravity (and walls) or brave the asteroid fields in zero gravity and experience firsthand the weirdness of the friction-less void."

Hard Lander is a really cool new co-op game by one of my Portland developer friends, Nic Blondi. I have played a few versions of Hard Lander as it has made its way through development and I am pretty excited to see it launch on Ouya. Hard Lander is a blast to play with other people and one time while playing it with Justin Baldwin(Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake) I got pretty good at ramming into him such that he would lose the match. And really, that's a ton of the appeal of Hard Lander, it's a really cool game to try anything with and watch your ship fly apart.

Because, really, blowing up a rocket ship should be fun.

After I heard about Hard Lander's Ouya debut I sent some questions over to Nic and he got back to me. I wish him well with the Ouya launch and hope people find it as fun as I have.

jdodson: Hey Nic, I am curious what the tech you used to build Hard Lander is?

Nic Blondi: I used the Unity engine in the development of Hard lander. I used the "2d toolkit" plugin to help with Sprites and the Ouya ODK plugin which allows Unity to build for the OUYA. Getting the controllers took quite a lot of time. The guy that made the game Clark (http://goldentricycle.com/) released some code that helped with this quite a bit by releasing some code to help the rest of the community out.

jdodson: Will Hard Lander be coming out on any other platforms other than the Ouya? This looks perfect for couch co-op on a Steam Machine.

Nic Blondi: My plan is to keep updating the game on OUYA to get feedback and add more content for a month or so. I think my next port will be for Fire TV since I hear it's a fairly simple port for an OUYA game. After that I want to build for steam. I really love the idea of the Steam machine. When I have friends over I often find myself awkwardly hooking my laptop up to my TV. I want to port to Steam if for the only reason that it would give me a good excuse to get myself a steam machine. Do you have any suggestions for a good, cheap option?

jdodson: Right now my suggestion is to hold out for the Alienware Steam Machine but it seems to be coming out later this year and will most likely ship for $500. That's not cheap but there will be others that might go lower in price, I am not entirely certain though. That said, I am 99% sure I will get the Alienware box when it ships.

jdodson: I've played Hard Lander and it lives up to it's name well. Curious though, if you were going to design "Easy Lander" how would it be different?

Nic Blondi: The difficulty if flying the landers is, for me, what makes the game fun to play even after hundreds of hours spent "testing" it. If I was going to make flying easier I think I would have to add other elements to the game to compensate for the joy of mastery with something like weapons, items, alternate goals etc. Maybe giving ships custom load-outs would be fun. Allowing players to amass money which they could spend on shields, weapons, devensive drones, and autoturrets would be fun to try.

jdodson: Which Star Wars prequel episode do you consider the best film?

Nic Blondi: I've never been a star wars buff. The old ones make me feel like I'm watching the cosby show in space.. too dated to draw me in. And the prequels were all pretty confusing. But If pressed I will say Episode 1 was the best because the amount of feathers ruffled by Jar Jar Binks continues to this day. I expect it to be the most enduring as a result.

jdodson: After Hard Lander is ported everywhere you care to and updated what are your plans for next?

Nic Blondi: I don't know what I will be doing when Hard lander is put to bed. I am perpetually working on prototypes so I think once I find one I can't put down, I think that will be my next game. Here is a small sample of prototypes I have worked on in the last year:

  • A tactical arcade shooter featuring robocop and his domestic problems.

  • A 3rd person 3d roguelike where the maincharacter is a golum who pulls pieces of his body of to spawn new tools and upgrades.

  • an isometric action puzzle game where you control an ice-cube lost from his iceburg.

  • An earth defense game where you manually pilot a space ship into orbit to release satellites which interface with special towers that you build to gain money, fire rockets, and otherwise defend the planet from asteroids and invading aliens.

  • A submarine multiplayer game where you control the force and direction of two propellers on either side of your ship which allow you to move in very controlled manner and shoot your opponents. Kind of like the spiritual successor to hard lander.

  • Another one I want to prototype but I haven't is a unicycle game where you control the speed and direction of your pedals and the weight of your rider. Basically a unicycle sym :D.

You can play Hard Lander right now on the Ouya.