Are We In This Together? Choice-Making RPG In Production, Antonio d’Amore Helms UI/UX ArtAntonio d'Amore, News, Press Releases
Higher Eclectic Ground affiliated multimedia designer, Antonio d’Amore, officially began work on Pointless Button Studios’ upcoming post-apocalyptic adventure, Are We In This Together? (A.W.I.T.T), on the 31st of last month. In his capacity as a functioning UI/UX artist of the development team, the United Kingdom based Italian artist’s role is currently that of crafting various aspects of the game’s upcoming user experience and interface.
A 2D choice-driven adventure, A.W.I.T.T’s dystopian view of 2059 sees the world ravaged by Nanites; volatile, untested mini machines that although created for the advancement of science and robotics, end up turning half of mankind into a murderous, savage breed.
This infectious outbreak culminates in the Nanite War of 2064, before all sense of society, government and order is lost. From the chaos of dormant, lifeless cities emerges a group of ragtag strangers — Exiles — that players will follow across multiple, unique play-throughs thanks to the game’s structure of dynamic scenarios, strategically manage resources for and venture into uncharted territory with by means of an RPG-like, turn-based combat system.
‘When A.W.I.T.T was being conceptualised, we wanted to create a game that didn’t follow conventional rules.’ explains PBS founder and Technical Director, Amina Khalique. ‘We aimed to form a heavy RPG game structure that was dynamic enough for re-playability but at the same time able to be constrained in a controlled game design environment.’
With this emphasis on unique game-play experiences driving A.W.I.T.T’s core mechanics, its narrative bases itself on multiple short story events rather than one extended backstory. Players will be able to dive into hundreds of short scenarios, the outcome of each of which will stand influenced by player choices; so much so, that this underlying story structure alone has been complex enough to warrant the development of a Story Content Creation Tool to provide for maximum flexibility in game and story design.
Supplementing each play-through will be a unique list of Exiles, whose various skills and abilities one must utilise across the game’s Real-Time Turn Based Combat System in their defence against enemies, while also manipulating a Character Trust System to attain the highest probability of survival.
‘Character design was also a very important component to us as game developers, as we wanted to portray diversity in our characters’ ethnicities, genders, professions and really break some game character stereotypes,’ continues Khalique. ‘Our game dev team is a heavily diverse group with large skill sets and unique backgrounds too so we wanted A.W.I.T.T’s character’s to be a reflection of that diversity and really celebrate it.’
Pointless Button’s core team is largely online based, comprised of three talented Artists situated in Britain, two Story Designers based in Canada and the United States respectively (the former of whom, Indigo Doyle, is also a freelance artist affiliated to the Higher Eclectic Network), followed by a Sound Designer, Game Designer and Programmer all housed in the Canadian city of Toronto.
The company’s founding traces its roots back to real-life couple, business partners and current team members Amina Khalique and Bradley Widner in the year of 2015. Once students and now graduates of a Video Game Design Program offered by the Toronto Film School, the duo’s first steps produced Prison Air for a local three-day game jam; a casual adventure infused with slapstick humour and rag-doll physics, Prison Air was quickly Greenlit, is pending release and can now be downloaded as a demo for PC.
‘Production on A.W.I.T.T had already taken off with such an unexpected force with the new team, that time and resources prompted the decision to pause a full-release of Prison Air and focus on A.W.I.T.T instead.’ the team states. ‘We have been so enthusiastic to create a game with a much deeper concept — something thought-provoking in multiple arenas — and demonstrate that in A.W.I.T.T’s art, story and music, aiming to create an iconic indie game experience.’
With all progress documented on the game’s development blog, A.W.I.T.T is currently aiming for an October 2017 demo release with participation at the the next Independent Games Festival in mind. As one would imagine then, Antonio d’Amore’s role will be that of fleshing out numerous screen layouts and associated effects for both the upcoming demo and eventual, as of yet unscheduled, final release.
The collaboration with Pointless Button Studios is the first of several Higher Eclectic Ground has helped effect for d’Amore, whose specialities lie in both, the 2D and 3D design of illustrations, characters, assets/props, environments, storyboards and animations, since his joining the Network in February, this year.
Originally a Flash animator and illustrator by trade, the artist brings to the table more than a decade’s worth of experience in the creation of diverse visual content for a variety of e-learning applications, casual indie games, fables and animated cartoons, as both a freelancer and multimedia designer within the digital art industry.
‘Antonio’s upbeat attitude and excitement about A.W.I.T.T is awesome! He’s a big fan of the project and we can already see that coming through in his work!’ Pointless Button writes. While similar announcements of d’Amore’s collaborations will follow, one may choose to learn more of his professional history, portfolio of work and modus operandi via the designer’s Higher Eclectic Space.