GDC 2017 Featured Showcase : Objects in Space

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One of GDC’s most acclaimed interactive spaces, alt.ctrl.GDC – an on-site showcase of alternative control schemes and interactions in games – returns for a fourth year in 2017.

Objects in Space is a game of galactic trade, one where players will need to pilot a rickety ship past pirates, criminals, and shady government officials as they make enough deals to keep their ship going. That ship may take some getting used to, as it uses real switches and controls to immerse the player in starship travel.

Objects in Space looks to give the player a pleasant tactile sense of hitting buttons and switches, drawing inspiration from submarines and naval vessels to give the player a sense of navigating, rather than directly steering. It can be played with keyboard and mouse, but like Steel Battalion, the complex controls make Objects in Space feel truly special.

Developers Elissa Harris, Leigh Harris, and Jennifer Scheurle all have years of coding and game design experience, but it was their love of old sci-fi starships and space travel that drew them to make a game about it, wanting to channel that sense of complexity that is often lacking in games of galactic travel.

Gamasutra spoke with Elissa Harris and Jennifer Scheurle, looking to learn more about the modular ship they’d created for players to pilot, and how they made players move from keyboard and mouse to a feeling of really piloting a starship (which you can take out for yourself at the ALT.CTRL.GDC exhibit).


LogoCo-helmed by veteran indie curator John Polson, the alt.ctrl.GDC exhibit will take place from March 1-3, 2017 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on the GDC Expo Floor. If you’d like a flavor of the previous year’s showcases, check out this Engadget video from GDC 2016, or this WIRED gallery from 2015.

Key dates for alt.ctrl.GDC are listed below. You can submit to alt.ctrl.GDC 2017 here. Any questions can be directed toward John Polson.