John Lawrence
Based in Venice, CA

Founding date:


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Planetship! What is it?? It's an action/adventurey space exploration PC game full of randomly generated star systems where your goal is to find the perfect planet for humanity to colonize. Scan planets to determine surface conditions and what kind of resources are available like fuel, water and food. Choose your difficulty to set the ratio of space-friends and space-foes waiting for you in the void as well as the strength of the Empire of Death, the enemy of all sentient life in the universe. Blow stuff up to collect raw atomic resources and use them to craft useful tools & research vital technologies to help get the Planetship home. All of this is happening inside a living universe, pulsing to the beat of a chill soundtrack from Casino Vs. Japan.


Boxback Feature Breakdown:
  • Audio-reactiveness: The world pulses with light as the music drives effects all throughout the game. It can be toned down, cranked up or switched off depending on your sensitivity to quickly flashing images
  • A unique procedurally generated star system simulation
  • Endless space exploration: Each star system that is generated has warp gates leading to new random star systems
  • A stocked shuttle bay: Send shuttles all over the star system to perform research or find important resources
  • The Star Map: This shows you the map of the local galaxy and the ship's analysis of it including zones of space that indicate what type of systems will exist there (fast traveling from the star map is a good way to find what you're looking for)
  • For great science: Periodic-table based elemental crafting system
  • Super smooth flight controls
  • Combat! Find or craft weapon pickups and use them against mines, fighters, capitol ships, turrets and asteroids.
  • 3 "Health" bars: Fuel, Water & Food
  • Planet classifications like:
    • "Peaceful" for contacting alien races after completing a translation mini-game
    • "Research" for gathering info and schematics
    • "Hostile" for angry planets with turret arrays
    • "Xeno" for planets harboring dangerous alien life
    • Resource planets: if a planet was generated with a certain amount of resource (fuel, water, food) it is marked for you to harvest
  • Events: The event system triggers choose your own adventure snippets with a binary choice. An event can be triggered by:
    • Landing a shuttle on a planet
    • Hanging out next to a Planet
    • Hanging out next to an object or anomaly with an associated event
    • Running out of a resource
    • A shuttle returning to the ship
    • Time, certain types of events happen randomly as you play
  • The TEEVEE: Watch public domain sci-fi shows and shuttle launches on lazily flying television sets
  • The Library: Collect and read classic public domain sci-fi books with colorful term highlighting for an interesting reading experience
Planetship Then

Originally Planetship was made as part of a 48-hour development competition called Ludum Dare (LD23) but after finishing the competition I felt it was really unique and deserved a real development schedule. 3+ years of development have happened since then and it's a very different game thanks to caffiene, insomnia and the incredible support from the playerbase online. With a lot of playtester's help and using Steam's great Early Access platform it's gotten very refined and much more FUN. At first Planetship was designed as a space rogue-lite where you either find a habitable planet or die but the path the development took ended up creating a lot of persistent RPG state that players were pained to lose. Many rage-quits helped me to understand that's just not fun, so the newest version has an auto-save system that has been popular with playtesters.

Planetship Now

The systems in Planetship are tied together by atomic resources, you aquire them by sending ships to planets to retrieve them, you spend them at peaceful alien planets, you craft and research with them and can trade them during events. Each of the objects in the procedurally generated star system have associated elements, so you learn which ones you need to build what you want and then scour the universe for those types of objects. The main goal is to find a habitable planet for the crew to live on but you'll need to find the resources to build the tools to get you there first. I hope that I can continue working on Planetship throughout it's lifecycle with semi-regular updates because sometimes just adding one new weird anomaly can add a whole new dimension to the game due to the way the procedural creation shuffles things around. Things interact with each other in ways I never imagined and I think that's what makes Planetship's environment so organic.

Personal History

After almost 2 decades of making games and software for other people I finally got my shit together and learned how to shoot lasers from my nipples. Back in a time before laser nipples (1989) I saw my first demoscene app in the form of a CP/M demo disc, rendering beautiful glowing green 3D cubes and animated slinkys made out of stretched circles. I was immediately obsessed and attempted to imitate it for years. This kind of stuff got me into writing little games and plenty of personal coding projects which launched my young self into a professional dev career for which I am very grateful. While writing code for automotive, education and telecommunications industries I picked up the experience I needed to get a job porting cell phone games circa the Motorola RAZR. The experience working there put just enough meat on my resume to get an interview with Incognito (with the help of my friend Ariel!) where my real learning on the subject of game development began working on Sony titles. I was fortunate enough to work on their PS-triple projects for nearly a decade as a Scripter for Warhawk, a Technical Designer for God of War III and a Technical Artist on Playstation All Stars: Battle Royale. Each role involved coding, design and art which gave me the broad skillset to approach solo game dev in a serious manner. Mostly serious.

Team History

My fiancee Daryna and my sister Kelly have been assisting with creating art assets and managing the layout of the many UI screens in the game. I couldn't have gotten this far without their help!


Planetship Steam Release Trailer  YouTube

Planetship Final Gameplay YouTube

Planetship v3.459 Trailer  YouTube

Planetship v3.451 Gameplay  YouTube

Space Game Junkie - Planetship - A Whole Lot of Fun WTF YouTube

ZestyUdders - PlanetShip First Look - Crazy Space Eyes!!!  YouTube



Reviews on Steam

Steam Store Page for Planetship

Community-made Screenshots

@planetshipgame Twitter Page

Planetship Facebook Page

Team & Repeating Collaborator

John Lawrence
Programmer, Designer, Artist

Daryna Yakusha
UI Layout, Artist

Kelly Lawrence

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks