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Community related news, announcements, competitions, events and more from the Staff.

CyberThreat® Story Teaser Out Now, Features Music by Van Reeves

News, Press Releases, Van Reeves

Debuted over the weekend, CyberThreat®’s new Story Teaser offers players their first-glimpse at the progress made by the upcoming RPG’s development of narrative, level and soundtrack design. Created by independent developer Conor McKenna in association with numerous freelance contributors, the game’s Teaser also features the Cyberpunk-themed composition of No Chill by Higher Eclectic Ground musician Van Reeves.

CyberThreat® deems to explore the consequences an evolved, highly intricate cyberspace has on  fictional Edendale.

As an adolescent in their final year of High School study, players are confronted with a string of mysterious disappearances that plague the city with Cyber-bullying functioning as the common link.

This ideal year of juggling courses, social lives and a colorful cast of characters is soon turned on its head however, when players discover themselves to be the next victim of technological harassment. With cases to solve and more than their grades to protect, one must —

  • Set out on a story-driven epic as a character with customizable  stats, hacks and costumes.
  • Put all-of-the-above to use in exploring a beautifully hand-crafted 3D world, enlivened by dynamic calendar system, a huge cast to befriend and a host of mini-games/chores/activities to engage in.
  • Accommodate strategic thinking in their case-solving, thanks to a classic turn-based style RPG combat system that pits them against sinister, virtual-reality enemies.
  • All while an over-arching, re-playable storyline expounds itself over multiple episodes and scenarios playable from the perspective of a male or female protagonist.

Powered by the Unity3D game engine, CyberThreat® is being developed for an intended PC release period of 2018-’19. PS Vita and other console ports are planned, although this will ultimately depend on public interest, support and funding.

Additionally, CyberThreat® will feature in-game art, music and audio assets developed by an eclectic ensemble of freelance talent.

The Teaser’s theme of No Chill was originally developed as a Creative Commons, background music track by Synthwave/Cinematic/Metal/Ambient freelance music composer, Van Reeves for use in game projects.

McKenna’s interest in the three-minute, synth/cyberpunk-injected composition saw the developer not only commission Reeves for an exclusive render of No Chill earlier this year, but also for a remix of CyberThreat®’s title theme that has been written by McKenna himself.

Similar remixes by other contributing music artists will feature on the complete soundtrack.

Besides introducing Byte, a shrewd businessman and prominent in-game character voiced by Thomas ‘TommyNom’ Evans that will prove fundamental to CyberThreat®’s narrative, the Teaser also marks the unveiling of other in-game media in the form of screenshots, character bio’s and more reflective of McKenna’s vision thus far.

The bulk of these are best enjoyed on CyberThreat®’s website, that doubles as a portal to the game’s constantly active social media channels.

Developers wishing to learn more of Van Reeves’ music services meanwhile, collaborate with the artist or connect with him on grounds of original music requests, may do so via the latter’s profile on Higher Eclectic Ground.

Also present therein is a complete overview of his work history, software expertise, references and bio-data. Feel free to direct any queries you might have to myself, representative and manager of Reeves’ freelance music services for games, via sean.b[at]highereg[dot]com.

Will you be following CyberThreat®? Did you enjoy No Chill? Why/Why not? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.

HyperParasite Arrives at Milan Games Week, 2017

HyperParasite, News, Press Releases

Adding to its official reveal of the game from last week, Troglobytes Games announces that HyperParasite will be making an appearance at this year’s iteration of the Milan Games Week.

A three-day, consumer show held from the 29th of September to the 1st of October, 2017, Milan Games Week holds the laurel of being Italy’s premier gaming event, bar none.

Promising 35,000 square meters of previews, tournaments, retro-gaming, cosplay, indie and junior showcases, this year is proving to be no different as up to 50 independent games prepare to debut at the event’s Indie Area.

While HyperParasite’s inclusion within this roster of titles is a milestone in and of itself, it will also mark the first time players and followers will be able to get their hands on a proper, near-vertical slice of the complete frenetic, twin-stick experience that developer Troglobytes has in mind.

This won’t be the first of HyperParasite’s public appearances however.

In the month of June, this year, a prototype of the game made its debut at the 2017 edition of the Bari Geek Fest with its core mechanics of body-snatching between characters, three macro-classes of playable characters (Melee, Ranged & Bomber) and other basics roughly implemented.

Feedback attained at the event proved to be highly instrumental in improving what the team had already started work on.

In contrast, the build Troglobytes Games now intends to showcase at MGW will feature one, fully playable level, an intense boss fight, eight characters derived from the macro-classes that players can body-snatch, special items, a secret sub-level and a lot more.

To commemorate the same and over eight months of development, a September 2017 Update video has been compiled and attached to this press release, serving as a retrospective of HyperParasite’s progress thus far.

The core mechanics may have stayed the same, but the dramatic evolution of its intensity gives testimony to the numerous visual iterations that the game has undergone in such a short span.

 

‘The fact that we’ll be sharing space with 50-odd independent titles is reassuring; a clear indication that Italy’s independent gaming culture continues to grow,’ writes Lead Developer, Luciano Iurino.

‘And yet we’re also anxious to see if visitors will enjoy HyperParasite as much as we have been; seeing strangers pick up the controller to your project is always an enlightening experience, while there’s no denying how beneficial the presence of media and other industry professionals is to networking.’

Following the event, HyperParasite’s production will proceed in full-steam en route to a late 2018 release. A closed beta testing session is also planned for the end of this year, although details pertinent to the same remain to be explored.

If you’ll be in the vicinity of the Fiera Milano Rho exhibition and convention center of Milan, Italy between the 29th of September and 1st of October then, nothing would encourage the team more than having you stop by and play HyperParasite at MGW’s Indie Area.

3D Artist Luca Eberhart and Game Designer Saverio Caporusso of Troglobytes Games will be present with on all three days, so please be sure to leave them with your complete and utterly honest feedback.

For those who cannot make the event, no matter. You can still be of support and influence to HyperParasite’s development by signing up to the official mailing list via the game’s homepage.

For a complete kit of images/GIF’s from HyperParasite, social media profile links and other media, visit the game’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. For any additional press/media enquiries, or to request addition to the game’s mailing list, please e-mail sean.b@highereg.com

About HyperParasite

A top-down, rogue-lite shoot ‘em up at its core, HyperParasite pays homage to an era that developer Troglobytes Games considers itself heavily influenced by.

With players picking up the titular role of a parasitic organism bent on world domination –

  • Being able to dynamically snatch and switch between the bodies of nearly every weapon-wielding Homo sapien they encounter, ensures bullet hell almost never ceases.
  • Persistent wit and dexterity is demanded with multiple character classes to consume, host-specific abilities to exploit and a skill-based progression system to overcome.
  • HyperParasite takes its rogue-lite mechanics very seriously. Procedurally generated levels, multiple game-play objectives, gruelling waves of enemies, deranged bosses and perma-death make it nigh-impossible to beat in a single run.
  • All while Troglobytes’ in-house dungeon-generation technology, Vania, ensures the seamless randomisation of visuals, sub-levels & secrets.

HyperParasite will also feature local co-operative multiplayer, letting players cherish its characters, urban legends, items and pop-culture references with a mullet-wielding friend. In development for a late 2018 release on PC and Consoles.

Website | Facebook | BrightLocker | Indie DB

About Troglobytes Games

Troglobytes is a small independent video-game development studio based in sunny Southern Italy, founded by both veterans and young talents.

As every developer should, it loves both playing and making video games, going so far as to maintain an original arcade gaming cabinet at its HQ to return to for repeated inspiration.

Its mission is to create innovative, high-quality games across a variety of platforms using the latest in technology, while focusing on storytelling and aesthetics.

Additionally, the team’s members are known to frequently take on freelance contracts and outsourced projects within the industry; from game design to 2D/3D artwork & animation, a complete roster of the titles they’ve contributed to so far can be seen on the studio’s website.

HyperParasite is being worked upon by Troglobytes Games’ core members in association with select external collaborators. Besides being a certified Playstation® developer, the studio is also a part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Program.

Twitter | WebsiteInstagram | Facebook | IndieDB | YouTube | Steam

HyperParasite, Rogue-lite SHMUP in Development by Troglobytes Games

HyperParasite, News, Press Releases

A top-down, rogue-lite shoot ‘em up at its core, HyperParasite is now in active development by Bari, Italy based independent games studio Troglobytes Games.

Set in an alternate-history, post-World War III model of the 1980s, the game follows an invisible, body-snatching organism’s quest for global domination in an era of obnoxious pop culture. Herein alliances are formed between battle-hardened law enforcers and the most degenerate of criminals to make way for a global hunt, all while martial laws add to the paranoia of mentally ravaged society.

With players picking up the titular role of humanity’s deadliest adversary-to-date –

  • Being able to dynamically snatch and switch between the bodies of nearly every weapon-wielding Homo sapien they encounter, ensures bullet hell almost never ceases.
  • Persistent wit and dexterity is demanded with multiple character classes to consume, host-specific abilities to exploit and a skill-based progression system to overcome.
  • HyperParasite takes its rogue-lite mechanics very seriously. Procedurally generated levels, multiple game-play objectives, grueling waves of enemies, deranged bosses and perma-death make it nigh-impossible to beat in a single run.
  • All while Troglobytes’ in-house dungeon-generation technology, Vania, ensures the seamless randomisation of visuals, sub-levels & secrets.

HyperParasite will also feature local co-operative multiplayer, letting players cherish its characters, urban legends, items and pop-culture references with a mullet-wielding friend.

The title is Troglobytes Games second IP in-development, the first being its multi-console, Metroidvania ARPG, Tenebrae: Twilight of The Gods. Having concluded Tenebrae’s prototype phase in December, 2016 after more than a year of development, the team decided to alter its production focus due to a lack of sufficient funds.

‘Our vision for Tenebrae is too large to sustain on the limited amount of resources we have been thriving on,’ states Luciano Iurino, Lead Developer at Troglobytes. ‘Despite our best efforts and numerous prospects, we found ourselves unable to secure for the game a suitable financial partner/investor/publisher.’ 

‘As such then, we’ve had to direct Troglobytes’ focus towards much smaller, more feasible projects in an attempt to independently fund Tenebrae’s production. This is where HyperParasite comes in.’ 

Admittedly, HyperParasite pays homage to an era that Troglobytes Games considers itself heavily influenced by; the absurd, pop-culture ridden decade of the 1980s.

The game’s structure and core mechanics is such that it allows for expansion and iteration on existing content (procedurally generated levels, dozens of unlockable character classes, items, powers, skills, etc.), which in turn provides for plenty of publishing options. 

‘Although, we’re yet to decide what’s best for the game yet.’ adds Iurino. HyperParasite is being prepared for a 2018 launch on Steam by Troglobytes’ core team and a selection of external collaborators. Console releases will follow.

Those interested in following its development can do so via the official Website and/or Facebook pages, which continue to showcase progress from monthly builds. The game can also be found listed on BrightLocker, where the team is offering plenty of benefits to those willing to contribute towards the game’s development.

A few closed testing sessions are planned, while a playable build is being primed for an appearance at the Milan Games Week later this month. Tenebrae: Twilight of The Gods meanwhile will continue production, albeit at a much slower pace. Any significant updates with regards to the same will be issued across the game’s dedicated website, indieDB and/or Troglobytes’ social media channels.

 

For ac complete kit of images/GIF’s from HyperParasite, social media profile links and other media, visit the game’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. For any additional press/media enquiries, or to request addition to the game’s mailing list, please e-mail sean.b@highereg.com

About Troglobytes Games

Troglobytes is a small independent video-game development studio based in sunny Southern Italy, founded by both veterans and young talents.

As every developer should, it loves both playing and making video games, going so far as to maintain an original arcade gaming cabinet at its HQ to return to for repeated inspiration.

Its mission is to create innovative, high-quality games across a variety of platforms using the latest in technology, while focusing on storytelling and aesthetics.

Additionally, the team’s members are known to frequently take on freelance contracts and outsourced projects within the industry; from game design to 2D/3D artwork & animation, a complete roster of the titles they’ve contributed to so far can be seen on the studio’s website.

HyperParasite is being worked upon by Troglobytes Games’ core members in association with select external collaborators. Besides being a certified Playstation® developer, the studio is also a part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Program.

State of Wonder Alpha Now Available As Print & Play Decks, Tabletop Simulator Mod

Brandon Crampton, News, Press Releases

Following its 28th May, 2017 launch on itch.iothe publicly playable pre-alpha of skill-based card game, State of Wonder, went on to debut at this year’s Gotland Game Conference for a round of play-testing. Bugs aside, the majority of player feedback stood against the game’s lack of UI Design and Feedback Systems despite being generally well-received.

Production issues encountered in the following months however led now-sole developer of the game, Emelie Rodin, to indefinitely push back the game’s digital release that was originally estimated for 2018.

‘Right now the game has no planned digital alpha again, but there are things being worked upon that will be disclosed in due time,’ she writes.

Consequently all focus has shifted towards development of a physical, tabletop version of State of Wonder, that can now be experienced for free by means of two print and play decks alongside a mod of Berserk Games’ 2015 Tabletop Simulator.

‘Currently we are in an alpha environment, trying to get as much testing done on the elements planned for the launch of the game’s physical version, simply called State of Wonder, as well as planning ahead for the expansions to come.’ continue Rodin.

The Mechanics and game-play components have fallen into place, mostly with card design and art being the biggest problems as of now. ‘

 

Rodin’s goals currently involve fostering a community of players willing to download and try the print & play decks with friends/family, engage in tournaments over the Tabletop Simulator mod, discuss the game’s existing rules designs and shaping development of physical/digital versions via one-on-one feedback therefrom.

Originally a student project helmed by a team of five at Sweden’s Uppsala University circa August, 2016, State of Wonder is a turn-based card game that tasks two-or-more players with competitively expanding their empires through the war-ravaged Kingdom of Scathia.

Following the Queen’s demise, alliances are formed and otherworldly powers are sought between the Kingdom’s various feudal regions in a desperate push for power.

Players choose from one of three such alliances to align with — The Crux Militem, Frifolk and Ritualists —  whose weaknesses and strengths they must then exploit to establish dominance over the land.

This may be achieved via simple military might, training powerful Unit and Hero cards, establishing Fortification and Building cards, strategically working towards constructing a Majestic Wonder.

State of Wonder further does away with all traditionally randomized elements such as that of drawing cards, granting players full control of their decks to rely on decisions, bluffs and planning instead as means for victory.

Each game begins with the entire deck in hand, that players take turns producing and training over Start, Main, War, Battle, Retrieval and End phases. The player that wins is usually the last one standing, or one that reaches a set value on the progression counter before the other; as such then, all that’s required to play State of Wonder’s current tabletop build is a bunch of dice, 7 counters to track progression with (paperclips, beads, etc.), at least one other person and two card decks.

Readers might recall that as current manager and representative of South African freelance multimedia artist, Brandon Crampton‘s services, I’d connected him with Rodin and her team-mate at the time, Simon Lundgren, preceding the game’s pre-alpha launch.

Crampton went on to create various graphic assets for State of Wonder’s play area, user interface, card faces and backgrounds before taking a brief break through the months of June and July.

‘The art style I’ve implemented has personally been influenced by Blizzard’s Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering; as both have amazing top-notch artwork, I figured it would be something to aim for.’  stated the artist then, who has yearned to expand his digital art talent into card-based game design ever since commencing his freelance career.

Since August, this year, production resumed with Crampton at the helm of State of Wonder’s graphic design, who continues to develop various card illustrations and relevant visual necessities ever since.

While a few of these designs are seen through the course of this article, perhaps a more comprehensive look at the game and its imagery can be obtained via State of Wonder’s re-designed website.

In keeping with her renewed focus on community development, the website sees developer Emelie Rodin now maintain a regular developer log, a comprehensive breakdown of State of Wonder’s universe, alongside a detailed downloadable rulebook for those exploring the card game for the first time.

Once familiar with the rules, either jump in to the physical alpha with a friend by printing the Crux Militem and Ritualist decks from the website for free, or by downloading the Tabletop Simulator Mod from Steam.

To interact with the developer, discover other play-testers, provide feedback and get involved in State of Wonder, a dedicated Discord Channel is also in effect.

With Brandon Crampton continuing to work on State of Wonder, expect to hear a lot more from the card game’s development progress and milestones.

Alternatively, you may also sign-up for e-mail updates on Crampton’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground, that also houses a detailed breakdown of his portfolio of work, professional history, experience, references and a contact form to connect.

Will you be trying State of Wonder? Let me know why/why not in the comments below.

Daath Origins, Sci-Fi Space Opera Out Now on Steam Early Access

Daath Origins, News, Press Releases

Developed by Black Lodge Games LLC. and set over a millennium in the future, Daath Origins is an open world, space RPG that places humanity under the clutches of a totalitarian alien rule.

Players find themselves as the captain of an Earth-life sustaining star-ship, with over a million souls that have escaped to forge a path of their own among the stars.

With a massive 36-sector galaxy, 500 handcrafted planets, over 75 playable quests and seemingly infinite strange encounters with spatial anomalies, black holes, criminals and perhaps, enforcers of the Draconian rule themselves to explore –

  • Daath Origins’ game-play uniquely combines turn-based elements of the SNES-era with RPG mechanics and enhancements of its own,
  • Leaves decision-making to the player, letting them choose between incurring the wrath of the crew or the secret rewards of the multiverse.
  • Requires you to be an actual Captain; choose to promote crew members, foster Away Teams to send on missions, align the remnants to intergalactic factions, mine resources, collect items or recharge at space stations when away from battle.
  • Will also arrive in a special physical Collector’s Edition handcrafted by the developer, including a DVD-ROM of the game, Box, Map, Manual, a 31-track, 2 CD OST and a figurine of the player’s star-ship.

With sole developer Jeff Quindlen, a 33-year old science-fiction loving father/programmer at its helm, Daath Origins is in fact feature-complete and was originally set for a full-release via Steam Direct.

‘However this is a huge open-world RPG, created by one person, and beta tested with only a limited number of users. There are stability and ease-of-life issues that I need players’ help and feedback to properly solve. ’ explains Black Lodge Games LLC.’s founder and developer Quindlen.

‘I am open to feedback during Early Access, which may resulting in adding, tweaking, or otherwise altering features or gameplay.  It would be irresponsible to release this game in this state without a fully implemented beta period, and so Early Access seems like the perfect way to allow players to experience the content early, while allowing me to collect the necessary feedback I need to refine the release candidate.’

Consequently each of the space opera’s 100 Collector’s Edition discs will go on sale only once stability is no longer an issue, and all actionable feedback has been duly implemented.

Daath Origins is available now on Steam Early Access at a discounted price of $8.99 USD, playable on operating systems running Windows XP or higher. To follow the game, avail of a complete overview of its features and system requirements, please visit its Steam page.

To request a review copy, schedule an interview with Black Lodge Games LLC. or any other media/PR enquiries, please contact Sean Braganza at sean.b@highereg.com. Images, game-play videos, the complete soundtrack and social media profiles relevant to Daath Origins can be found here on Higher Eclectic Ground.

About Black Lodge Games LLC.

Formed July 3rd, 2015, and based out of Spokane, WA, USA, Black Lodge Games LLC. is owned, managed and operated by J. Allen Quindlen, a lifelong computer programmer and game developer.

With a vision to inspire game players across the world through immersion in fun, diverse, artistic, and philosophically driven role playing game franchises, Daath Origins is Black Lodge’s flagship title.

Quindlen’s goals also involve expanding into other areas of interactive entertainment, with his second project, an open world RPG by the name of Arcana Kira, Greenlit on Steam as of 2015 and currently in development.

Daath Origins, Sci-Fi Space Opera Arrives September 15th, 2017 On Steam

News

Through this month and the next, I’m assisting Black Lodge Games, LLC with the PR and Community development of its upcoming Steam release Daath Origins.

Set over a millenium in the future, Daath Origins is an open world, space RPG that places humanity under the clutches of a totalitarian alien rule.

Players find themselves as the captain of an Earth-life sustaining starship, with over a million souls that have escaped to forge a path of their own among the stars.

With a massive 36-sector galaxy, 500 handcrafted planets, over 75 playable quests and infinite strange encounters to explore the game is coming to Windows PC’s on the 15th of September.

It will also feature a 31-track OST and a physical Collector’s Edition, all developed by a single sci-fi nut, father and programmer by the name of Jeff Quindell. And really, that’s only scratching the surface.

A profile for the game has now been set up on the Catalog, which should provide one with a complete overview of the game’s setting, features and various other aspects.

Besides any development/post-release progress during my tenure on the game, the profile will also document my contributions to Daath Origins — press releases, coverage and/or similar. Should you choose to stay updated, be it as an RPG enthusiast or member of the press, I encourage you to sign up for e-mail updates via the profile or follow Daath Origins on the forums.

I can also be reached for any media queries pertinent to the same via e-mail. Will you be playing Daath Origins on release? What of its open world adventure appeals to you the most? Don’t forget to let loose in the comments after visiting Daath Origins here on Higher Eclectic Ground.

 

State of Wonder Pre-Alpha Trailer Out Now, Art Assets In-Development By Brandon Crampton

Brandon Crampton, News, Press Releases

The two-man game development studio of Better Built Studios has unveiled a first look at its upcoming multiplayer strategic card game, State of Wonder, by means of a special cinematic trailer. Featuring in-game art developed by Higher Eclectic Ground affiliated 2D/3D artist Brandon Crampton, the trailer serves to set the tone for the game’s upcoming pre-alpha that followers will be able to get their hands on Sunday, the 28th of this week.

Originally a student project helmed by a team of five at Sweden’s Uppsala University circa August, 2016, State of Wonder tasks two-or-more players with competitively expanding their empires in a period of post-apocalyptic war and strife.

As the ruler of a city state driven towards expansion of their empire, one must claim dominance over what’s left of the land — waging war against enemy states, building trade economies, bluffing and implementing political tactics to ensure supremacy.

Facilitating all of this is a system of uniquely designed card mechanics, that enables players to train powerful unit cards, build mighty fortifications and send out heroes on their enemies in a race where the only means to achieve victory is by constructing a majestic Wonder.

State of Wonder does away with all traditionally randomised elements such as that of drawing cards or rolling dice, encouraging players to employ a plethora of tactics — from going head-on against aggressive conquerors to constructing superior defence systems that none can oppose.

‘It’s not an easy task,’ states the development team, ‘for the leader to first build a Wonder is sure to be attacked.’ Much of these tactics, mechanics and other elements of the in-game setting are not only previewed in the aforementioned trailer, but will be publicly playable in their pre-alpha form at 13:00 GMT +1, on the 28th of May, 2017, on itch.io.

With a functional game-play system, the pre-alpha will also serve to fuel the development and implementation of others such as in-game account, chat and friends systems, improved menu experiences, card-acquiring methodologies and a shop for added card purchases.

These improvements, along with a greater number of playable card designs, are intended for the beta version that currently sits with an estimated release of Summer, 2017.

Expansions, ranked and tournament play modes are to follow, all en route to a potential 2018 release of the full game on the Steam marketplace. A physical table-top version is also being actively considered, with plans to expand currently dependent on player interest.

As a freelance artist hired by the development duo of Emelie Rodin and Simon Lundgren, Brandon Crampton’s role for the past month has been that of developing various graphic assets for State of Wonder’s play area, user interface, card faces and backgrounds, several of which are seen displayed through the course of this announcement and the entirety of the pre-alpha trailer.

‘The art style I’ve implemented has personally been influenced by Blizzard’s Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering; as both have amazing top-notch artwork, I figured it would be something to aim for.’  recalls Crampton, who has yearned to expand his digital art talent into card-based game design since commencing his freelance career.

‘Putting everything I had into it while having fun, I’ve set out to create aesthetically well-rounded artwork that I hope will leave players going “Oh wow, that is indeed awesome.”‘ More of Crampton’s creations from the forthcoming months are to subsequently make their way into the beta and eventual full-release.

‘State of Wonder began with the original team conducting a survey on random elements in card games in 2016, and discussing how a fun, entertaining card game could be built without random elements.‘ explains Rodin.

 

‘Early production heavily relied on this survey before designs of the card game were established, with an early paper prototype further made available at local conventions. The game was very well received with many returning to play it; local tournaments were also held.’

Despite the game’s development and three of the team’s early members falling by the wayside in the early months of 2017 however, Rodin and Lundgren have pushed forward to transform State of Wonder into a full-fledged game project with focus appropriately shifted towards its marketing, business and public release. ‘Our goal is to build interesting game systems, where the player is challenged to think and work within these systems to accomplish their goals.’ 

To this end, Rodin plays the Studio’s Lead designer, Marketer, Technical Artist and Project Leader, employing her love for analytics, years of experience crafting role-playing and board games for local youth communities since the age of 16 (inclusive of two Gotland Game Conference attendances), along with  the academic study of Game Design in her arsenal.

Lundgren on the other hand functions as Lead Programmer and Designer as he constructs State of Wonder’s digital systems, bringing to the table his fascination for the mechanics involved in the MMO, MOBA and RTS genres, as well as programming expertise that dates back to high school.

‘We at BetterBuilt Studios couldn’t hope for a better person to work with,’ they write. ‘Brandon has exceeded our expectations with both the speed and quality of his work. He is good at both — discussing concepts and understanding instructions, but can also be given free rein to create artwork based only on thematic instructions.’

This is the fourth collaboration Higher Eclectic Ground has succeeded in effecting for Brandon Crampton, a South African freelance video game artist that has been affiliated to the network since 2016. Previous contracts have included avatar work for YouTube/Twitch streamers Evanzo7 and Potshotpete, as well as the complete design, texturing and rigging of a playable character for Two Piece Games’ upcoming 3D-platform fighting game, Melee Masters.

 

While associated professional details, a broader view of his portfolio and bio-data lays centralised on his Space, Higher Eclectic Ground will continue to broadcast various milestones and development related achievements pertinent to State of Wonder with regards to the artist’s contributions henceforth.

Those wishing to interact with the team of Better Built Studios on a first-hand basis, follow the game’s progress more closely or prepare for the upcoming pre-alpha meanwhile, may do so via its Website, Facebook and/or Twitter pages.

A dedicated group for those wishing for a more nuanced involvement in State of Wonder’s development can also be found on Facebook, while announcements linking to the pre-alpha’s itch.io page will be put up across each medium on or before the weekend.

Carried Away Now On Steam Greenlight; Launch Trailer Features Music By Alfredo Sirica

Alfredo Sirica, News, Press Releases

Carried Away, Huge Calf Studios’ maiden voyage into the realm of independent game development, successfully commenced its Steam Greenlight campaign on Saturday, the 22nd of this month.

In light of the same, the team debuted players’ first look at the game by means of the Launch Trailer seen below, featuring a background Swing composition by Higher Eclectic Ground affiliated classical musician, Alfredo Sirica. The track marks Sirica’s first musical creation for the game, that will also potentially feature an entire original soundtrack developed by the Orvieto, Italy based artist himself.

Set amid the clouds of a colorful, low-poly world, Carried Away is a physics based puzzle game that has players construct chairlifts, drag lifts, gondolas, jumps and bridges to help skiers and mountain bikers navigate a range of mountain terrain.

Inspired by the classic bridge building genre, promised are more than 50 levels of tension and comedy as one puzzles over scenarios focused on getting busy mountain-goers to their destinations in all seasons, building impressively strong structures, and carefully managing the tension and compression of cable systems across rolling foothills and jagged peaks, all while teetering on a limited budget.

‘Carried Away flips what we love about bridge building upside down to create an entirely new physics puzzles!’ exclaims Huge Calf. ‘Watch with amusement as the fearless passengers put your creations to the test.’  Also featured is a Sandbox mode, letting players craft their own puzzles and challenge the community with the Procedural Generation tool, and the means to upload the wackiest of creations to an online gallery.

‘After an exciting and nerve-racking opening 22 hours, we’re feeling really positive with all of the feedback that we have had! After 10 months of developing this in the dark, we are relieved that people are enjoying what they see!’ wrote the Huge Calf team in a Steam update on Sunday, the 23rd of April. ‘We’ve set up a buzzer for every yes or no vote we get. It is creating a fun Sunday mood in the office (which is actually Will’s Kitchen!). Keep the ‘Yes’ votes flowing! :)’

From casually working on ‘that ski-lift game’ as a Summer 2016 project to now seeing Carried Away on the public stage, Huge Calf collectively houses Jonny Hughes, his younger brother Will and mutual friend Andy Metcalfe.

With their flagship title, the trio hopes to stay true to their founding mission of creating game concepts that venture away from the tried and tested.

As the puzzler’s status currently sits at pre-alpha, closed alpha testing is expected to commence over May, 2017, with applications for the same currently being accepted via the developers’ website.

The game will then look towards an Early Access release over the summer, with all community feedback thereafter being used towards an estimated 2018 release period.

Carried Away also marks the first independent game collaboration Higher Eclectic Ground has helped effect for its member, Alfredo Sirica, a professional orchestral composer that joined the Network only in December, last year.

With over three-years worth of experience in the composition & orchestration of high-quality, classical soundtracks for films, concerts, cartoons and independent games, the musician spent the former half of this month brainstorming over the trailer’s musical theme with the team.

Explaining how he attempted to add his own spin on the Swing genre, he writes — ‘By adding to the traditional instruments unconventional ones, as well as unusual chords.’

‘The chords used help capture the light-hearted tone of the game, and instruments such as glockenspiels and celestas have always been used as an allegory for snow, which is a huge part of the game environment.’

‘Alfredo has been a pleasure to work with and has understood our requirements.’ Huge Calf affirms. ‘He has gone the extra mile to deliver ahead of schedule to accommodate our timelines, which is very much appreciated. The music he has made has helped to bring Carried Away’s trailer to life and we hope that he can do the same for the OST, which will be relaxing and jazzy in nature.’

Notable updates and progress pertinent to Carried Away’s development, with special emphasis on Sirica’s forthcoming contributions to the game’s original score, will continue to be documented on Higher Eclectic Ground.

To stay updated of the same while also following up on Sirica’s prior/ongoing projects, modus operandi and professional background meanwhile, a visit to his Higher Eclectic Space is recommended. Also please be sure to leave Carried Away with your Yay or Nay on Steam, here.

Are We In This Together? Choice-Making RPG In Production, Antonio d’Amore Helms UI/UX Art

Antonio 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.

 

NTK Gaming, The Zombie Chimp Announce RAM BOE Giveaway Winners

News, Press Releases, RAM BOE

Both Need To Know Gaming and The Zombie Chimp‘s hosted giveaways of Point Five Team’s 2016 indie puzzle, RAM BOE,  attained closure on the 17th of this week with the winning entries being picked by each outlet as so —

The Zombie Chimp has randomly pulled out Shawn Oliver, Admir Brkic and Brandon Taylor’s names as winners.

While Kelly Jo Francisco, Donna Kozar and Tracy Shafer lead Need To Know Gaming‘s vast pack of entries. Felicitations to all!

Each of the above individuals are now entitled to a Steam or Android copy of RAM BOE; developers Point Five Team have already begun reaching out to the entrants in an attempt to determine their respective preferences of gaming platform.

Organised and co-ordinated by Higher Eclectic Ground simultaneously, the giveaways with The Zombie Chimp and Need To Know Gaming served to commemorate the launch of Point Five’s website from earlier this year. Both follow Higher Eclectic’s own giveaway of RAM BOE from March, wherein up to seven participants were awarded PC/Android copies of the game.

RAM BOE being the Sokoban-inspired tale of a rock-climbing adventurer turned ram. To learn more of the game itself, revisit its development history and/or reach out to the development team, please visit its Higher Eclectic Space.