For each of the four-round races scheduled on the 24th of March, 31st of March, 7th April and 14th April as per the iRacing British Sim Racers Touring Cars (BSRTC) PRO Series’ Calendar for this year, Eclectic Motorsport drivers John Roberts and Benjamin Hackeson are set to be sponsored by The Potshotpete Twitch Gaming Channel and independent game Shoppe Keep.
While the sponsorship aids in compensating for the respective drivers’ race entry fee on the aforementioned dates, both the Channel and Game are granted all the advertising opportunities that arrive with the Eclectic Motorsport sponsorship package for independent gaming talent.
These include spots to flaunt their brand images on the sponsored drivers cars’ roofs, hoods and side panels that iRacing’s broadcast cameras are most prone to cover, a 30 second ad slot during each of the races’ three breaks between rounds to debut trailers within, and an animated pop-up spot for the races’ eventual MotorsTV International broadcasts.
Furthermore, the participation of the team’s reserve drivers George Simmons and James Leggett at Watkins Glen on the 24th, followed by the availability of a sponsorship slot for full-time driver Andrew Whitehead means that each of the sponsors will have their brand images replicated on a second team car as well during the race. This is of course, until Whitehead’s sponsorship slot is occupied by another sponsor looking to advertise their independent gaming projects.
Jack Davison as is known here, has been one of the Community’s recent additions to its circle of Video Artists bringing it a plethora of live streamed gaming content thrice a week via the Potshotpete Channel. His two week tenure on the Community has already seen the Twitch gamer creatively delve into The Division, The Forest and lend coverage to members TinyAtomGames’ recently released indie 8-bit shooter, Story of a Cube.
Shoppe Keep meanwhile, is the handiwork of non-member developer Arvydas Zermaitis of Strange Fire. Currently available on Steam as an Early Access release, Shoppe Keep continues to garner for itself a considerably positive response — for being a long awaited, RPG shop keeping game that tasks players with selling potions, armour and other apparel to rogues, barbarians, wizards and more in a fantasy themed world of adventurers. Interestingly, the developer has also hinted at potentially sponsoring Hackeson for the entire course of the Season.
The news arrives exactly a week after the BSRTC PRO Series — an iRacing based, simulation Touring Car Championship that comprises of nearly 50 drivers competing for a $10,000 prize fund amid broadcasts on Apex Racing TV, iRacing Live and MotorsTV International — kicked off its 10th Season at Philip Island.
While the action that ensued was typical of Touring Car & BSRTC high speed action, Eclectic Motorsport got off to an unfortunate start as a stream of inevitable incidents and accidents plagued the rounds of Andrew Whitehead, Benjamin Hackeson, John Roberts & George Simmons, causing the team to start the Season at the bottom of the Amateur Division Championship’s Table.
Now as 2015 PRO Series Amateur Division Champion Roberts and Whitehead rest at positions 17 and 16 of the AM Drivers’ table, PRO driver Hackeson — who finished the recently concluded BSRTC Winter Series in 5th place overall — occupies position 25th on the Drivers’ Championship standings. However as is usual with the BSRTC, standings and performance of the team is expected to fluctuate sharply through the course of this nine month season — given the hard-earned talent that continues to reside on board.
By branding the former XLDesigns team of Andrew Whitehead, John Roberts, Ben Hackeson, George Simmons and James Leggett to Eclectic Motorsport, Higher Eclectic Ground has been offering independent game talent from both within and outside its community the opportunity to advertise their games, YouTube channels, brands and other gaming projects via the event by sponsoring one of the team’s full-time drivers for an inexpensive fee on a monthly basis.
While John Roberts and Benjamin Hackeson are sponsored until the 14th of April this year, those interested in joining them by sponsoring full-time driver Andrew Whitehead of Eclectic Motorsport — and creatively advertising their gaming projects amid the Series’ widely broadcast races over the course of four weeks in the process — can do so by visiting, learning more and applying for the same via the Independent Gaming Sponsorship Application page.
iRacing BSRTC PRO Series Race 2, Watkins Glen Broadcast | 24th March, 2016
Catch the Potshotpete and Shoppe Keep trailers played during the first race break at 44.47 & 46.16 respectively; The same were played during the breaks at 1:34.17 and 2:18.39 as well. Also hear driver Ben Hackeson thank Shoppe Keep for sponsoring him at 1:54.
Ever since February dawned on us this year, I admit we’ve been a tad bit hyperactive on social media. Breaking away from the usual stream of daily content from our members, you’d find us discussing in-game lighting with the odd developer on Twitter, sharing correct link-sharing practice with rookie Twitch streamers on Instagram, sending out cheers to artists jump starting their new Facebook pages and more importantly setting daily themes for the Community over the past couple of months.
These themes have been anything from the overused Throwback Thursday to a week spent discussing Pokémon — whatever mood we found ourselves waking up to, really — inviting Community members and followers to pitch in, share snippets from their own/favorite games and garner themselves and their work a social media wide shout-out, all for fun.
This weekend past though, we considered making the daily themes function a bit differently; rather than have them talk of their own games or favorite ones, members & followers were invited across social media to call-out their favorite, most fancied independent game talent from across the internet.
This meant Indie Game Developers, Writers, YouTubers, Cosplayers and nearly anyone else rooted in the realm of Gaming in need of the spotlight, who would then earn a short written feature on their ongoing projects in the name of a little exposure for their craft.
Now while we had nearly 20 recommendations made by the Community and its members, a large majority of these were of games released, fairly popular independent studios and equally renowned YouTubers. This then, is us filtering through the submissions in an attempt to highlight only the most curious, newest and most popularly challenged gaming projects from the lot.
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Set to be a third-person, browser based RPG tale of a Princess’ search for her lost lover and the trials & tribulations she’s exposed to in the process, none of that information on the Game came to us easily. A gander at the game’s website revealed that a playable demo was available, along with a vast collection of other artwork that served to illustrate the game’s vivid world and what we assumed to be the game’s protagonist throwing off a rather interesting demeanor to say the least.
And jump in to the demo via our browsers we did, resulting is us running through a luscious green backdrop as the Princess against a mix of peppy & dark music, throwing coins into a well to calm the harsh weather than had seeped in, being offered the choice of running an errand for a couple of NPC’s, which in turn resulted in the protagonist stumbling upon a black-suited male who we presumed was the Lover in question — given her reaction to seeing him and the end-demo screen that showed up soon after.
With the demo obviously intending to show off the game’s browser based mechanics, quite impressively, against a fairly odd setting, investigations led us to learn that Goddess is being developed by one José Calderón. Starting out as a story called Carisma in Calderón’s 14 year old imagination in 2001, the developer returned to flesh Goddess out only in 2010 as a free-to-play browser game. While he claims to possess all the necessary funds to lead the Princess’ curious tale to fruition, Calderón set up a Patreon page earlier this year to allow for him to devote more time to the game as a full-time task in addition to providing for a Game Server in the future.
Despite there being zero contributors, interactions with Calderón reveal that development on the game is in fact ongoing, albeit slowly. Either way do jump in to Goddess’ website (preferably not at work), experience the mysterious little demo for yourselves and let Calderón know of your thoughts soon after.
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Despite boasting a sizable following on Twitter, there isn’t much to be found on Forgotten Sanctuary on the world wide web; a puzzle laid bare by the game’s only other social presence on indieDB.
It seems that this episodic return to the true ‘World of Survival Horror’ was, up until the 7th of March this year, a project being developed in secrecy as per the team’s announcement on the platform for independent games.
The team itself seems to bear no name, with the only fact stated about themselves being their immense love for Survival Horror classics such as Clock Tower, Hunting Ground and the original Resident Evil trilogy.
Building on that passion while also hoping to bring about elements unique to itself, Forgotten Sanctuary is set to release on the PC, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in May later this year.
Fully acknowledging the fact that it is part of the recent resurgence of indie horror titles aiming to return to the genre’s roots, the game promises puzzle solving, inventory management and backtracking amid horror created by hand-drawn, 3D modelled and photographic elements. Interactions of the team with its following meanwhile, hint that a gameplay trailer arrives soon.
— Forgotten Sanctuary (@ForgotSanctuary) March 8, 2016
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In what has to be one of the more amusing rewrites of The Frog Prince, made all the more entertaining by the lighthearted description of its premise via the website that seems to want to reestablish Toad’s existence as a Toad after every two sentences, Runaway Toad is an upcoming iOS game featuring pretty much what its title implies.
Post being kidnapped by a Princess fixated on finding her young prince charming among a neighboring swamp’s population of toads, players are put into the webbed feet of the titular protagonist in an attempt to escape from the young lady’s Castle as far as they possibly can.
They must do this under dynamic weather, procedurally generated environments, adaptive gameplay that hurls at them periodic challenges to complete and a vividly illustrative art style the team seems particularly proud of.
The team in question being that of Illustrator Nina Limarev, Game developers Niv Fisher and Alan Shama in collaboration with Texas based developers/publishers Finji. Interestingly, Runaway Toad began as a Flappy Bird inspired mobile outing in the hands of Fisher & Shama, that quickly changed track after Limarev’s illustrative art style had them reconsider their position.
Set to release over the next couple of months as a Premium game on iTunes, Runaway Toad apparently made an appearance at the Game Developers Conference last week — as per this quick showcase of gameplay by Toucharcade.
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We’ll admit this is not out first encounter with GONE, having interacted with the young development team behind it in quick commendation of their work on one of our midnight Twitter strolls.
There’s something about perfectly minimal backdrops, glaring sunsets and their resultant silhouettes that never fails to reel us in and hey, after the spectacular teaser that lies below, can you really blame us?
Besides more such fascinating art, not much has been revealed about the game besides its being an endless runner set against a settings of lush forests and mountainous topology, as players take control of a lost deer.
Also stated to feature ‘real-life physics’ and a custom soundtrack, GONE is announced by the team at Tacikuloma to arrive on mobile devices earlier this year. It’s worth noting that the game will be the studio’s first major gaming project and boy, what a debut it looks to be. Feel free to subscribe to updates via their equally minimalistic website here.
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Perhaps the most interesting tale to tell in this here article stems from Nikuman Games; a small start-up driven to make games inspired by those its founders have grown up on, that came into fruition in only January this year.
What pray then, could a two month old company have achieved in so short a span that makes its so fascinating? It’s foray into the unknown.
Apparently Nikuman was founded after one David Saben’s recent binge of modern sprite based games led the co-founder, with basic coding & zero game development experience, to get in touch with friend and 2D artist Nathan Smith with the idea of starting their own company and making games.
This quickly led to Matt W., a third partner joining the fray, with the team deciding to make their first game a mobile based one. They are doing so with minimal experience or knowledge of the gaming industry however, learning coding/designing/marketing skills along the way to bring their first game to fruition.
Not much has been revealed about the game yet, with only progressive art snippets, layers of code and one short display of gameplay being put forth so far via the team’s blog — which also features the team’s trio constantly documenting their progress, work adventures, explaining why they’ve decided to keep their start up a secret from their mothers and imparting other new found advice.
There’s just been something curiously interesting seeing the trio wake up daily, put up a snippet of progress before heading towards their day’s chores and getting back to learning once real life’s out of the way.
Yes, we had indeed interacted with the team once before on another one of our midnight Twitter strolls when they’re blog was launched earlier this year, with us making a few suggestions towards he visual appeal of the same as well. We dropped them a note a few hours prior to this article to tease this little short feature and co-founder David seemed more than enthusiastic to delve into what the team were really working on.
In elaboration of the company’s vision his words were – To Educate people on both how they make games & run their business, to focus on small victories and build on them, to make the process of all of that as transparent as possible for the Community. Sounds good? Jump in to the Nikuman Games hub.
Adele: Following The Signs
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A 2.5D puzzle platformer that demands strategy and has no connection whatsoever with the popular English singer/songwriter, Adele: Following The Signs is developers Unosquare’s two year attempt at conjuring a post-apocalyptic, zombie infested tale.
Set in the year of 2029, when young Adele and her father Mike’s attempt at escaping the horde of zombies out for their blood results in him tripping, losing consciousness and waking up to find her gone — players are hurled into the desperate father’s shoes as he pushes through 19 levels of following the clues left behind by his daughter.
Contrary to one’s expectations though, there’s no all-out zombie slaughter, killing sprees or even hand-to-hand combat to be delved into here — for Adele: FTS’s focus lies solely in having players run, crouch and hide to effectively stay away from all of the above by solving puzzles and manipulating the environment to their advantage.
This does make for an incredible amount of challenge, as my play through of the game’s 2 level public demo took up to an hour & a half of figuring out my next move in avoidance of zombies & other obstacles obstructing my progress, failing to do so and then failing to carry out those moves when I did figure them out for the utter onslaught of environmental complexity in certain portions of the game. It was tough, but I enjoyed it.
While I might also have qualms with certain aspects of the gameplay mechanics that I’ll be detailing via a Demo feedback form, know that Adele: FTS’ Steam Greenlight page means every bit of their pitch that reads ‘beautiful graphics, original art and music’; for in between rage quits, its the sharp, dark and grim visuals coupled with the dread inducing reverberations of its OST that keep you pushing for more.
Adele: Following The Signs is currently sitting on Steam awaiting its Greenlight since the 4th of March this year, with public response looking, not surprisingly, rather positive. As soon as land there though, make sure you’re giving the demo a whirl before anything.
Were you one of the indie game development teams featured? Either way, let us know your thoughts on the Weekend Shout-Outs, if you’d like for us to do this on a regular basis or else. Also, be sure you’re constantly tuned in to our social media pages; that way you don’t miss out on any of our moody themes and stand a chance of being featured along with your projects from time to time.
It’s awesome — knowing that all our effort has finally been recognized by the gaming community
Less than a year after first being added to the 2015 Indie Game Maker Contest’s website as a submission, Community members & developers PointFive Team’s Sokoban inspired puzzle RAM BOE, was finally Greenlit by Steam on the 14th of March, earlier this week. Having first debuted the game on Valve’s digital distribution platform back in November last year, the team is now working on integrating standard Steam gameplay features such as scoreboards, achievements and more ahead of an earliest possible PC, Mac & Linux release.
‘It’s awesome — knowing that all our effort has finally been recognized by the gaming community’, stated storyteller and social media representative Jane Arvine, in response to what clearly had arrived as a surprise to the team of four. Although RAM BOE failed to make the cut as a winner at 2015’s IGMC, the team had gone on to flesh out their entry into a full blown, 40 leveled casual puzzle that made its release on Android devices in January earlier this year.
While users of the Android version and followers on Steam were all praise for the its simplicity, cuteness and sufficient difficulty — the game’s Greenlight campaign had pretty much reached a state of limbo over the holidays with visitors to its Steam page hitting an all time low. In pursuit of a wider audience base and coverage then, the team had stepped onto Higher Eclectic Ground in December — where they quickly commenced a three week long, episodic recap of RAM BOE’s development that witnessed them share early concept art, design stages & their creative thought processes with the Community here.
This soon evolved into a Community wide giveaway of the game’s Android version in February, that invited puzzle enthusiasts to constructively critique RAM BOE’s design & Steam pitch to have their names entered into a draw. Interactions with other members of the Community also bore fruit, as the team effectively collaborated with member YouTubers and Writers — each of whom lent their own honest perspective & coverage to the game in support of its Greenlight campaign.
Now as work on RAM BOE finally reaches closure, the team have also teased their next major project to those they’ve collaborated with within the Community, stating that a full public release and a showcasing of whose development on Higher Eclectic Ground is to arrive soon. More on that as it unfolds; meanwhile, feel free to follow up on all the commotion created by RAM BOE — a tale that follows an adventurous mountain climber turned Ram’s mission to free trapped souls over the course of a plethora of mind-bending puzzles — and even congratulate the team here via its Higher Eclectic Space.
Special thanks to members — YouTuber Toby Burn of Gaming Now, Video Games Writer/YouTuber Mike Blundell of Mike’s Pad and aspiring Scriptwriter Kevin Andrews for all their support and coverage lent to RAM BOE.
Higher Eclectic Ground is now participating in the tenth season of the iRacing British Sim Racers’ Touring Cars (BSRTC) PRO Series that commences on 17th March, 2016 as Eclectic Motorsport; comprising of current BSRTC PRO Series’ Amateur Division Drivers’ Champion John Roberts, 5th place holder within the recently concluded BSR Winter Series Ben Hackeson, Series veteran Andrew Whitehead and reserve driver George Simmons, the former XLDesigns team will now be seen representing and flying the Higher Eclectic Ground colors in contention for the Series’ Amateur Division Championship.
Given how Roberts and Whitehead were previously Engine Oil Direct teammates last year, confidence within the team stands strong. ‘Bringing Hackeson and Simmons into the mix has really been the icing on the cake; We’ve all raced together in different series before, so we really are hooked up well as a team,’ explains team manager Andrew Whitehead, proud of the ensemble he’s managed to put together.
‘There’s a very positive feeling in the garage and we’re pleased to be collaborating with Euro Chip Digital and Engine Oil Direct on setups and driver mentoring. We’re all looking forward to the season ahead.’
The BSRTC of course being a user created, KIA Optima driven Touring Car league that made history last year, when the Ninth Season of its PRO Series became iRacing’s first user-created Touring Car championship to feature a $10,000 prize fund while also being broadcast on Europe’s largest motorsport channel, MotorsTV International.
Besides a Sim Racer Magazine published biography and weekly race reports provided by Higher Eclectic Ground last year, the Series remains relevant to the independent gaming community here in the fact that its members were given the opportunity to promote their games, blogs and other gaming projects amid the Series’ international gaming and sim-racing audience over the course of its final weeks.
This was done by letting them sponsor drivers during the races, which earned them a spot on those drivers’ cars to advertise their games & related brands, a 30 second ad slot for the same on the races’ iRacing LIVE and YouTube streams, along with animated pop-ups during the races’ MotorsTV International television broadcasts. The inexpensive structure established by the BSRTC & its broadcast partners Apex Racing TV for this purpose, saw nearly 10 of the Community’s members promote their gaming endeavors over the course of the PRO Series’ final five races.
With Eclectic Motorsport, more of the same sponsorship opportunities return albeit with much more structure; independent gaming talent is now encouraged to sponsor a driver for the duration of a month at a time i.e. four races instead of a week. This is to avoid the chaos that stems from multiple sponsors arriving and leaving every race, while also ensuring the advertised games and projects attain maximum exposure.
Furthermore, those promoting their gaming projects will be doing so only via Eclectic Motorsport’s cars, unlike last time where sponsors were allocated random cars/drivers on the grid. Meanwhile, the live-stream ad slots and TV pop-ups that arrived with each sponsorship last year also make a return — all part of a singular sponsorship package.
The Tenth Season of the BSRTC PRO Series will run from the 17th of March to the 17th of November this year, featuring more than 40 drivers & 13 teams competing for a $10,000 prize fund, titles of the PRO Drivers’, AM(Amateur) Drivers’, PRO Teams’ and AM Teams’ Championship — over the course of 34 races.
Drivers are allocated to the PRO and AM divisions based solely on skill, following which each attempts to place themselves at the highest point within that division’s Standings over the course of 28 races.
At the end of these races The Showdown begins; wherein only the top 10 drivers from the PRO division, top 5 drivers from the AM division and the top 3 teams from each are allowed to compete for their respective divisions’ titles over the remaining 7 races.
Each race comprises of four, 15-minute rounds, which are broadcast to an audience of nearly 2.000 sim-racing & gaming enthusiasts on iRacing LIVE and ApexRacing TV’s official YouTube channel every Thursday at 8 P.M. GMT; the MotorsTV broadcasts of the race are then televised a week later with two repeats, amid the channel’s audience of nearly 30 million subscribers across 40 countries.
Audience and viewer-base then are expected to be at an all time high this time around, given the Series’ recent procurement of an iRacing title sponsorship, along with the 45 episodes of MotorsTV International screen time that came along with it.
As practice for the Season’s opener at Philip Island progresses in top gear this week, independent game developers & gaming artists from both within and outside the Community are being invited to promote their Games, Blogs, YouTube Channels, crowd-funding campaigns and other Gaming projects via Eclectic Motorsport during the Season’s first month of races that span — the 17th of March, 24th of March, 31st of March and 4th of April, 2016. A complete overview of fees and perks, along with all other necessary information needed to do so is linked to at the bottom of this article.
Meanwhile, efforts on the Community’s plans to reach out to a more mainstream audience by involving Video Game publishers and other companies as full team sponsors & participants, that were announced back in January, are still underway. Regardless, be sure to keep an eye for all the independent gaming talent choosing to make their debut via the PRO Series over the course of its season.
The past week and a half since February’s demise has seen up to four independent Video Game artists, each with their own varied set of skills on show and offer, step onto Higher Eclectic Ground. From 2D & 3D art to weekly Twitch streaming, the following is a quick overview of the Community’s latest additions and what each hope to be bringing to the table shortly.
A 2D asset designer at Evlox Studios, whose third-person, open world RPG Children of Acacia‘s development is actively being showcased on the Community, conversations with Paul Evans began soon after the game’s debut on Higher Eclectic back in February; with a few good years of experience in Texture and Graphic design, the young artist had come in looking for a creative medium to showcase his 2D work.
Picking up on our suggestion of using 3D models to his benefit, the owner of CraftyTextures was soon seen putting together his first 3D scene on social media,’The Alley’, before effectively making use of his created Textures to add color to the same. Deciding then that showcasing his 2D work on 3D models was the best way forward, Evans set foot on the Community on the 28th of February as a member of its circle of 2D artists
Open to Texture design requests and commissions while also offering his services in photo manipulation & texture repair, the weeks since have already seen him put together a second 3D scene showing off more of his work on textures with him currently working on his next. Furthermore, he’s also on the constant lookout for other 3D modelers to share notes with and improve his art form; to get in touch, have a gander at his work or even learn of how his craft has its roots in a lifelong battle with Epilepsy and Dyslexia, be sure to visit his Higher Eclectic Space.
With an Honors in Game Design & Animation and several years of experience as a 3D environment and prop artist at independent studios such as Liquid Melon and Pointless Button, Modeler Indigo Doyle debuted on the Community on the 7th of March with a demo reel embodying her recent portfolio of work.
Offering her services as a 3D Modeler by stating availability to commissions and requests from the Community, the Canadian artist is also preparing to showcase forthcoming 3D art projects here — much of which involves her dabbling in personalized, stylized art and eventually, the Allegorithmic Substance/Designer software. With her currently aiming to develop a stylized, fantasy-themed environmental scene this month, feel free to give her Spot a visit to make a request or keep an eye on her progress.
Game Designer, musician, writer, Graphic, character and concept artist; multi-faceted Jesse Staples debuted JesterDog23’s Character Design Emporium on the 8th of March; a character design banner under which he aims to showcase all ongoing & future character art on Higher Eclectic Ground.
Furthermore, with extensive experience in Graphic and OHRPGC Game Design, Staples is also offering his talent as a traditional/digital artist for 2D characters, weapons, concept art, environmental art, logos and more in a multitude of themes and styles. This is of course, via a set structure of semi-flexible rates that are currently viewable at his Higher Eclectic Space.
In description of his forthcoming artwork on the Community, Staples adds, ‘An original character is to be posted soon, as well as a new band logo, a business logo for a photography/film company, and a random commission of a drunk man laying down in a giant bottle of Old Crow.’ As he doles out more of his independent and commissioned work for others to relish on a weekly-monthly basis, Staples also eventually aims to launch a Character Design Tutorial Series based on popular response.
Deviating from the usual stream of YouTube gamers, the Community’s collection of Video Artists saw its first, full-blown Twitch streamer join the fray in the form of Jack Davison. Having first streamed via his channel, Potshotpete back in 2014 — Davison was subjected to a long lasting hiatus from his passion after real life commitments to family and work stepped in.
Fast forward to 2016 and Potshotpete is back on its feet with greater vigor than ever before; following a strict schedule, Davison streams thrice a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays — keeping his style, unnecessary banter and time wastage at a bare minimum in abidance of his High Quality, no-nonsense streaming rule of thumb. A frequent streaming partner of member writer/YouTuber Mike Blundell, Davison has already begun partnering up with other Video Artists from the Community — jumping into a early evening to late night stream of The Division on the 11th of March with Blundell and Craig Evans in tow.
Furthermore, he intends to provide much of his streaming expertise to the benefit of the other Game Developers resident here, offering to cover their games from unbiased yet fun standpoints. To get in touch with him for any particular coverage requests or simply tune in to his streams every week, be sure to hop in to his Space.
September 16, 2015. Ninth months post its release, ‘Around The World In 80 Instruments’ made its first appearance on the Community here. Released digitally on Bandcamp and Souncloud, the album brought along with itself a tremendous, episodic musical of its coming to fruition; created by Royalty free Video Game music composer Matteo Bosi and composed using each of the eighty instruments the Italian musician had collected over a decade. With each track holding within itself a segment of Matteo’s journey through those years, the musician had arrived with every desire of illustrating the album’s charm, hoping that the Community’s members would make use of it in their projects.
Debuting with the album’s first track, ‘Dawn of Mankind’, Matteo would go on to showcase each of the album’s 13 tracks — speaking not only of the instruments that brought them to life, but also the circumstances & events that inspired their sound. On the 10th of December, that show finally concluded with the album’s final listed track ‘Alchemy of the Worlds’; in the months that followed, knowing full well that Matteo’s history & the story of the album’s inception was one that deserved yet another recount, we set about delving deeper into the personality & inspirations that culminated in the decade that was the album’s creative process.
I was fascinated by India and its music, forcing me to buy my first Ethnic instrument, a Sitar when I was there.
Born within a humble Italian household in the year of 1976, despite not being of any significant musical background, Matteo’s tryst with self-composed music arrived at the tiny age of six. This in large part, was a result of the encouragement provided by Bosi’s Elementary school Music teacher, who taught him & the rest of his young peers to play both the Flute and the Melodica. Such was the joy the batch took in their new found craft, that its first Christmas together amounted to a mini-concert of Christmas carols amid astonished parents. Under the same teacher, Matteo would also go on to hone his transverse flute aptitude via dedicated lessons.
As he grew older, the acoustic Guitar and Italian Folk music added themselves to his growing list of musical capabilities although funnily enough, Matteo was yet to devote himself to thorough music composition and learning. That devotion finally came as he picked up on Heavy Metal and his first Electric Guitar, leading him to learn not only the art of recording, generating computerized music, mixing and more, but also causing him to form his own band called ‘No Direction’.
‘We started off in 1999 and disbanded in 2006; We played a sort of rock-punk-funk crossover — we had great time! We recorded two albums, and I took care of recording and producing the second one,’ Matteo recalls. Midway through the band’s early years, Matteo would earn himself a Degree in Physics in 2000 before commencing his PhD in the subject; ‘It was during the course of that PhD that I got the chance to attend a PhD school in Mysore, India with my tutor’, recounting how the PhD eventually resulted in him owning his first Ethnic instrument.
‘I was fascinated by the country and its music, forcing me to buy myself a Sitar when I was there. I asked the Indian students for help, who were kind enough to lead me to a Sitar-maker shop in the city. It was quite a pain to bring it back home, I’ll tell you, but I did manage to do so without breaking it!’
I did it with no particular reason. If anything, maybe to challenge myself.
While Matteo’s PhD arrived in 2004, the Sitar would go on to inscribe in him a rather interesting hobby– that of picking up instruments from every country visited on a business or pleasure basis. Matteo admits that while the hobby emerged as but a means of remembering his place to visit, it soon turned into a mission; for every country that nurtured a strong tradition and culture of music, an instrument from its regions would be added to his library.
Ranging from those that were procured via interesting turn of events to those that were simply bought from second hand shops, Matteo’s library gradually began to grow to the awe inspiring 80 that it stands at now — leading to him constructing a dedicated page on his website to document each instrument’s sound and his relationship with them. By 2008, ideas to put those instruments to use began to emerge, with the Italian finally deciding to write, compose and record ‘Alchemy of the Worlds’ with the help of a friend. Encompassing moods & tunes ranging from the Far East to Europe, Matteo put to work his entire arsenal of instruments in an attempt to reconstruct nearly a decade of wandering in music.
‘I did it with no particular reason. If anything, maybe to challenge myself. Many years later as the collection grew, so did the inspiration to record more music with it. I lacked a definite plan. though; I merely enjoyed learning to play each of the instruments and composing something unusual with them. The possibility of using my cell phone first, followed by my wife’s professional camera inspired me to make short videos of myself playing and recording.’
In 2013, the idea of ‘Around The World In 80 Instruments’ finally hit him — deriving its name from Jules Verne’s classic, ‘Around The World In 80 Days’. ‘It literally arrived out of nowhere, but when it suddenly appeared in my mind it was like an epiphany; I realized then how original the concept could be, without anyone having attempted something like this before.’ In the year between 2014-2015 then, Matteo would go on to write & compose the remaining 12 tracks of the album, before releasing the same on Bandcamp & Souncloud for a customer-stated price. High Quality videos for each were also recorded & uploaded to his YouTube channel, each with elaborate descriptions of the stories they attempted to recreate.
Contrary to what some might imagine though, Matteo’s grand attempt is yet to garner the massive audience it deserves. ‘I posted my work in several music-production forums, mainly computer-music related such as KVR. I got positive comments from musicians, impressed by the overall project and my ability to play so several instruments together. I also tried to send the album to magazines and music journals in Italy but got no response at all. The most awesome response was from Pond5 though; I’d put my work on their forum which led me to be contacted by their staff who wanted to conduct an interview and shoot a video on my work. A really talented individual from their Staff came all the way from New York to Parma, Italy; showing my studio, my instruments travels, and the royalty-free music I’d put up on their website.’
With his musical career’s largest and most ambitious project over and done with, Matteo now finds it hard to imagine himself surpassing the scale at which ‘Around The World In 80 Instruments’ was created. Nevertheless, his passion for music as a hobby continues to take up what remains of his spare time — as he composes for royalty free markets and Video Games using the Unreal and Unity engines before uploading them to their respective storres.. ‘I would like to improve my piano/keyboard skills although I find myself making more and more ‘trailer-like’ epic and bombastic music — particularly because I have stumbled upon a few new sound libraries suited for this task!’
I also tried to send the album to magazines and music journals in Italy, but got no response at all.
Naturally, discussions are underway to showcase all of his forthcoming and ongoing compositions on the Community, hoping to have his musical talent assist the independent game developers and talent housed here. It’s worth noting that although ‘Around The World In 80 Instruments’ arrives with a Creative Commons license, those intending to make use of the album’s music in their Video Games are requested to get in touch with Matteo first.
He does also accept commissions; those interested in reaching out to Matteo or simply taking a closer look at ‘Around The World In 80 Instruments’ then, can do so by visiting his existing Higher Eclectic Space.
Exactly a year post its inception in the month of February, 2015, members TinyAtom Games’ explosive 8-bit, color-fused Shoot ’em Up tale of Geometry, Story of a Cube, made its public release on Valve’s digital distribution platform earlier today. Available at a 20% discount till the 11th of this month for PC, Mac & Linux, the game’s release is also accompanied by that of its OST; composed by Bocuma, the techno-glitchy beat infused chiptune OST can be purchased as both a standalone DLC and as part of a bundle with the game.
‘While the game isn’t even featured on Steam’s front page yet, people have indeed started buying it and I’m getting lots of emails asking for press keys and more’, reacted creator & developer Frederick Madsen when asked of the release’s early response. Conceived by Madsen after a string of unsatisfactory indie releases, Story of a Cube documents a simple Cube’s vengeful quest to hunt down the gang of vicious Circles that terrorize and kidnap its family.
Equipped with a weapon left behind by the evil Geometric shapes, players are tasked with overcoming six maze-like action packed levels, each with their own set of bosses & lethal obstacles, gradually unraveling the mystery of the Circles’ motives as they go along. Amid the cacophony of gunfire, explosions and multiple endings also exists up to Nine Steam Achievements that bring replayability to the fray. ‘The chapters are quite small but should take 10-20 minutes depending on skill and difficulty’, explains Madsen.
‘A really skilled player can probably get through them in 5. Usually the game takes about an hour to complete, but getting the good ending will take longer than that. Getting 100% took me about 4 hours, and I can do most chapters in under 5 minutes.’ While the 18 year old Swedish developer doesn’t plan on any future expansions or DLC, his current agenda for the game involves development of a Level Editor that lets players devise & upload their own stages to Steam’s Workshop.
Story of a Cube has been a fully independent attempt by Madsen, with the young developer pairing up only with musician Bocuma halfway through last year for the game’s music. By the 20th of December, the game had debuted on the Community in its bug-fixing and optimization stage; following which Madsen episodically walked the Community through its development from prototype to the vivid shooter it stands as now All of that & its following progress of course, will stay documented within the game’s Higher Eclectic Space.
Higher Eclectic Ground member Writers & YouTubers are invited to request Madsen for press versions of the game. Feel free to get in touch via the game’s Space or leave a message with your request on the Bulletin.
In conclusion of the month of February, one that saw his work featured extensively as the Isle of Bass’ music artist of the month, Deep, Dark & Minimal Dubstep musician Steve Philips Durandal debuts a snippet of Space Cruisin’ — an upcoming collaboration with fellow Dubstep producer, The Widdler. Starting its life off as a beat & baseline mix by Durandal that was sent to The Widdler to build on, Space Cruisin’ derives its name from the ‘honking sounds’ that lie within; after Durandal realized they conjured a whole ‘cruisin’ in space while bumping to some beats’ vibe. That is of course, when its not sampling the character McLovin’s ‘What’s up guys!’ from the 2007 comedy, Superbad.
The exact date or period of its release still remains highly uncertain, given the musician’s want for building hype around the track by playing it at musical events first. While the track may or may not be available as a free download later this year, members can still get in touch with Durandal should they wish to use it in any of their projects.
Introduced to Higher Eclectic Ground on the 7th of February this year, Durandal ‘s tenure within Higher Eclectic Ground thus far has brought its gaming community a rather creative selection of Minimal dubstep, ranging from Classic Horror inspired undertones to Conspiracy themed pensive tune,s each of which are available as free downloads. ‘Despite his easy going demeanour, you can really tell he takes his music very seriously,‘ states Isle of Bass co-founder Craig Evans. ‘He wants to help others just as much as others help him! And as we’ve seen & heard from him in the last month, he has very interesting ideas which he turns into music. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!’
As March draws in then, its time to shift the spotlight to the Isle of Bass’ next tending talent — House music infused with lovely vocals, as Evans hints — who will be making his presence known with the Community later this week. Rest assured Durandal’s Space here on Higher Eclectic will continue to exist, showcasing not only the musician’s latest compositions but also the ones featured during his spotlight tenure. Members looking to make use of any of his musical talent in their gaming projects, are always invited to get in touch with him via the same.
Durandal & his work was made available to Higher Eclectic Ground’s independent gaming community by the Isle of Bass; an independent music label promoting underground electronica from around the world. As Higher Eclectic Ground’s music partners, the label provides our independent gaming talent with access to a variety of electronic music by having us feature their most trending artists for a month. Learn more about the label & the artists featured prior by visiting their Partner’s page.