All the writing here on Higher Eclectic Ground — from the regular stream of member related updates to the grander news piece or game analysis — and I still can’t figure out how this one needs to be prefaced. Nor how it should be titled, but I’d say we’re doing fine so far.
While also contemplating how this first, major round-up of the vast multitude of changes and transitions that have transpired across Higher Eclectic Ground since the rising of Spring this year should be laid out in the most interesting of manners, it occurred to me that we are a little over a month away from our first anniversary. This article would then be clichéd eternally were I to state that I haven’t really noticed that time go by, but so be it. Where does time go?
Where the energy did, here. Ever since I set out with the intention of building a hazy Gaming Community in the month of August last year, my days have been fully enveloped by Higher Eclectic Ground; it’s no exaggeration when I say that there’s barely been anything else in between. In retrospect, it’s been a year of learning more than anything — Learning how a vision isn’t always perfect, learning that it’s meant to be moulded and built upon every day, and learning that the necessary knowledge for this purpose is best gained from those participating in the same vision.
As all of you, Higher Eclectic’s existing base of affiliated gaming creators have already been informally briefed both personally and by means of the Bulletin, the months since the propping up of our website in January have been ridden with numerous updates to what was the existing order of things. Several of these stemmed from a personal dissatisfaction with where the Community (at the time) was headed, setting into motion a period of cleansing that’s not too unlike The Great Flood.
It’s a big list, and one that I’m probably going to take more than a day to reiterate. But here follows an elaboration of every change that Higher Eclectic Ground has inscribed into itself, laid bare for your understanding and knowledge as to where we are truly headed. Note that I am also going to be populating this report with snippets from our members’ own creations, giving your eyes a bit of breathing space from time to time.
By the winter of 2015, with its base on Facebook more than anything, Higher Eclectic Ground was already being regarded as a social media based promotional service of sorts. And to be fair, there was reason behind this reasoning; I had set out to develop a free-for-all gaming Community wherein every independent creator affiliated with the Gaming Industry — be it a Game Developer, Writer, Musician, you name it — would make for themselves a place to showcase and promote their creations.
In doing so, they’d also grow in awareness of each other’s craft — leading to mutually beneficial collaborations that would facilitate the development of quality games. To first develop a sense for the lay of the land and build a brand however, a decision was made to keep this proposed Community running on social media until such time a web based Community was needed and called for by all parties involved.
It was simple; anyone with anything remotely gaming involved was brought on to this social media based movement, a few discussions were held and without much ado our staff — which at the time comprised of a few gaming enthusiastic interns, an old writing peer and myself — would spend our days representing them on Higher Eclectic Ground.
Based on constant interaction and without any financial solicitations, we’d proceed to document the development of each member’s creations and crafts on social media. Yes, the Community involved mediation by the staff in maintaining Facebook albums for each member project, entering updates into these albums, making sure their updates reached out on all our social media channels and that it differed from a simple social media group.
Game Developers would have us put out progress snippets, artists put out daily drawings, musicians put out regular compositions; it was more than interesting. We’d then proceed to show off these daily documentations within Facebook groups and other social media based gaming communities in the hope that these would bring about external attention towards our members from a base of gamers and gaming creators that weren’t necessarily following Higher Eclectic — and grow our own organic audience in the process.
But social media has turned into a noisy place; between getting members and social media users to take heed of our members’ creations up to a level that would be deemed constructive, what was supposed to be about fostering a community of independent talent and encouraging their collaboration had admittedly turned into a race to have member content reach out wider on social media.
Developers with finished games and pending Greenlight campaigns, YouTube gamers with inactive channels and the like, had begun writing in to promote their work for views and clicks — and yes, we not only took them in but even appealed to those who didn’t. We were building a community after all and it was meant to be open to everyone, weren’t we? And eventually, this member base would be shifted to a grand web-based Community haven where everyone would work to facilitate each other’s growth, wouldn’t it? A closer look at our own member base then began to reveal that besides occasionally having us put up an update on themselves, most would pay no concern to the other members or happenings of the Community whatsoever.
Several had even gone on to turn inactive; dulling not only the personal effort and energy we were putting in but also the schematics for the eventual Community-for-all on the highereg.com domain. What good would this envisioned Community be then besides serving as another portfolio based website, a noise-packed arena, a glorified Facebook group?
Admittedly, the whole concept of this Community was botched from the very start. In March, 2016 finally, this vision of developing a free-for-all gaming Community began to fade. When looking for one thing that kept active members benefiting from what we did while also appealing to new ones, it dawned on me that it was the level of personal representation on the web, attention, care and effort that was being offered to each existing gaming project.
Personally tending to each member on a daily basis, documenting their projects’ progress via personally written press-like briefs on social media and articles (that came with the setting up of this website in January this year) and ensuring that this data not only reached our own organic, gaming social media audience but target groups on social media in a manner that encouraged interaction — was what was truly helping those affiliated to Higher Eclectic Ground in the first place and not some twisted vision of a Community playground.
This was what set it apart from having a developer blandly go on to a forum and drop a link to their trailer for hits in the first place. Deciding to build upon this, the word ‘Community’ from all references and mentions of Higher Eclectic Ground was dropped — as we moved to transition it into being a purpose-built Network.
With respect to its affiliated members then, it was decided after much consideration that henceforth Higher Eclectic Ground as a Network for independent gaming talent would provide —
- It’s member Game Developers with progressive web & social media based press-like exposure, organic audience development, feedback & quality assurance through every stage of development, social media growth advice and networking opportunities crucial to their game’s release,
- It’s member Artists — inclusive of only those freelance musicians, voice artists, 2D/3D designers, writers, journalists, video creators and more who were interested in providing their services towards the development of games — with equally dedicated creative and constant exposure for their services that brought them opportunities within the industry.
Its primary purpose would always be that of furthering the development of innovative, quality games — with all other artists involved playing their own unique, fundamental roles towards the fulfilment of that purpose. It would function as a reservoir of professional gaming talent, that outsiders could collaborate with, follow, support and/or hire under its terms; Via a clear specification of each member’s roles, vision and requirements, gaming creators not affiliated to Higher Eclectic Ground would be encouraged more than ever to look to the Network’s select list of talent for their gaming and game development needs.
Looking for a musician to contribute to your next game — royalty based, free or paid? Take a stroll through Higher Eclectic. Need a YouTube creator/artist to review your game without bias? Higher Eclectic, why not. Then came the start of its implementation.
The month of April saw us commence a careful revaluation of our base of members that has lasted all the way till the month of June, 2016.
First, those not directly affiliated to a gaming related craft or keen on providing their services to the gaming industry per se were disassociated from Higher Eclectic Ground. All attempts to get in touch with the non-respondent, inactive members seized, followed by us parting ways with several existing artists, writers and video creators from the old Community after a clear statement of reason.
Following this, it was also decided to abandon the Cosplay and Technology project categories on account of their irrelevance to the Network’s purpose — leading to a cumulative of nearly 30 creators were disconnected from Higher Eclectic Ground at the end of the three month period.
Effectively, every project and individual that is now visible on the Member Catalogue has a purpose of which both parties are aware of and work together to support. Their presence on the Catalogue is neither whimsical nor one to be taken lightly, given how Higher Eclectic Ground allots all its available resources in providing them with progressive, personalised support throughout the lifetime of their projects and crafts.
Meanwhile, those members and projects that are no longer viewable on the Catalogue are not supported or endorsed by the Network anymore . Availing of their services henceforth would be on their own terms — and it is recommended that one check with the Catalogue or mail Higher Eclectic directly to confirm a member’s affiliation to its Network before doing business with them.
Rearranging Member Spaces
For us to effectively provide long-lasting press coverage for our members, their creations and services, it became mandatory to ensure that their work was being appropriately conveyed by us.
This began by a re-calibration of Spaces that were provided to each existing member. These Spaces were tweaked sufficiently to ensure that they served as coherent, in-depth documentations of Gaming Projects and as concise portfolios for other Artists. To this end, the list of changes that were introduced were –
- The inclusion of clear, conspicuous links to each member’s relevant social media and other web based profiles,
- An intuitive slider to document progress reports in the case of games and creations in the case of other artists. This is in contrast to the Spaces earlier importing data from their respective members’ Facebook albums, making for inconvenient tracking and reading of information. Moreover, while the design of these sliders are subject to change — one will find that each legibly allows one to backtrack to a member’s first content posting on Higher Eclectic Ground and follow their progress there from.
- A meaningful structure; Each Game’s Space now clearly specifies its proposed premise, game-play and status, allowing first time visitors to easily determine the same. Note that the content of these Spaces are dynamically modified by our staff as the game takes form, ensuring data is at all times up to date.
- The inclusion of a comments area for visitors to leave feedback and queries.
The Network’s About and FAQ pages were then amended to reflect the new order of things in May. While this change was conveyed to all existing members, I’d like to draw attention once more to our FAQ that can be navigated to via the bottom of the About page.
Besides for the first time, breaking down the vision, purpose and other trivia associated with Higher Eclectic Ground’s creation for public viewing much like the first quarter of this article, the FAQ also publicly laid out the terms of the Network.
The most glaring addition to these were the fact that YouTube/Twitch gamers and Journalistic Bloggers affiliated to Higher Eclectic Ground were to in no way request or accept financial payments from a developer in lieu for coverage of their games. The reasoning behind this term was two-fold;
- Any financially solicited coverage — be it a review, preview, interview — offered on a game is prone to be regarded as tainted, biased and unnatural. Higher Eclectic in no way aims to nurture such talent or method of journalism — encouraging at the same time that freelance journalists, be they based on YouTube, Twitch or their own independent gaming websites, develop a revenue stream that relies on crowdfunding by an organic audience via means such as Patreon, advertisements on their channels and so forth.
- It also reflects the Network’s shift in focus from providing YouTube/Twitch gamers and bloggers with ‘views/clicks’ on their written and video content, to fostering freelance journalism. While the older community may have appealed to writers/video creators from a promotional standpoint, the Network now aims to appeal only to those independent aspiring and existing journalists who relish providing constructive coverage across multiple genres.
The other additions to the Terms included requiring member artists to notify the Network of any commissions received via it, cementing inter-personal communication between both parties to ensure that Higher Eclectic Ground is playing a purpose in their respective fields. As time goes by, these terms will be seen taking a more legal sense — the implementation of which will be conveyed to every member ahead of time.
The revamped vision, clarity of the Member Catalogue and each member’s purpose therein now allowed us to work beyond simply dishing out social media posts for each member only for them to get lost in the crowd. Efforts have now moved towards implementing a more personal level of communication with each of our members’ target audiences, ensuring that the content shared by the Network is not overlooked.
These efforts include —
- Establishing a relationship with the creators and administrators of several social media based groups that comprise of the target audience of our member’s content. These administrators have now been briefed before hand on Higher Eclectic Ground’s purpose, the reason behind any posts shared, while their members have been introduced of the same.
- Those that engage with said content are interacted with at a higher level than before, with me personally clearing their queries, acknowledging their criticism and directing them to appropriate information in relation to a game/member.
- Every update made to a gaming project is now not only beamed out across social media, but finds itself onto relevant forums and communities on the internet, news portals such as N4G and the appropriate sub-reddits that see me interacting with their respective moderators to determine the best way content is received by their members. The earlier modus operandi saw us do this on a very sporadic basis.
- With respect to the other gaming artists, rather than simply rely on our channels to have our member’s services and skills reach potential employers, efforts are actively in progress to have their services reach out to those who need them first. This involves putting up ads for our member artists in classifieds and forums of their target customers, browsing through existing ads on a daily basis and directing advertisers to Higher Eclectic’s artists by sending them links to their Spaces along with personally communicated supported briefs for consideration. Once it is determined that their terms of employment match with the artists’ own, these potential employers are connected with our artists for further discussion.
- One of the biggest issues experienced with the old order of things, was that Higher Eclectic Ground came to be seen as a Community exclusive to ‘indie games’ or part of an ‘indie gaming’ cult; The Network attempts to steer clear of that distinction by now working to attract a more mainstream gaming audience as well, which in turn translates into a more varied audience base for our members than a collection of ‘indie developers’.#DailyTrivia sees us put out the most trending industry news from the day, our social media feeds are subject to more mainstream conversations with other users, periodic social media themes invite discussions on classic games and more.
- While previously rules were set to prevent self-promotion within the Bulletins and the like, our social media forums have now considerably opened up as it welcomes new talent to share their creations and progress provided they maintain an active presence. This coupled with daily moderation rules out the self-centred, while also letting creators not affiliated with the Network provide feedback, ask for help, gather opinions for their own selves — and keep everyone busy with new content/discussions on a regular basis in the process. Naturally, this also brings our members a more diverse audience they can poll, ask for opinion themselves and hold events with.
Accepting New Members
While the old order demanded that we simply look into a creator’s creation/services to determine if their work was gaming oriented before bringing them on to the Community, the Network now sees us adopt a more formal and probing stance wherein each Game Developer/Artist that is being considered as potential additions to Higher Eclectic Ground is studied over an extended period of time.
In relation to games, Higher Eclectic Ground’s emphasis now lies in establishing a long running relationship with Developers that will see the Network support it from the early stages of its development all the way till release. Developers looking for promotions/coverage of their Steam Greenlight/Kickstarter campaigns are no longer valid candidates for Network affiliation, and those that do reach out are aptly directed to our YouTube/Twitch/Blogging journalists for coverage.
While considering a potential affiliation, E-mail and Skype discussions are held to understand the developer’s vision, drive, quality of the project, progress and goals. If it is felt that therein lies an inconsistency — the developer is asked to make further progress with us keeping check on the same, before another round of discussions is held after a set period of time to determine if both parties’ working together would truly be beneficial. Studies of the team’s members and their past endeavours is also conducted.
With respect to other Artists, similar deliberations are held to determine their terms, potential audience, rates, skills and the true nature of services being offered. References are then contacted to evaluate their history, work record and customer satisfaction before both an agreement to the Network’s terms are determined.
Higher Eclectic veterans will recall a partnership formed with the Isle of Bass in November last year; an independent electronic music label, the Isle of bass and its founder (Craig Evans, also a member of the Network) would have us highlight one trending electronic artist from their label on a monthly basis.
Highlighting involved setting up a Space for these musicians and bringing to the forefront a popular music number of theirs every week to give the old Community’s gaming members a grasp of their talents. In doing so, we’d hoped that the Network’s existing developers, YouTube gamers and the like would be encouraged to make use of this electronic musical talent for their own needs.
This however failed to receive the response we’d hoped for, with only a couple of our prior members making use of Isle of Bass’ royalty free music instead. And so, the existing structure of the partnership was scrapped earlier this year for us to renegotiate its function.
The plan now involves bringing our members access to exclusive royalty free electronic music, that will primarily be geared towards artists — for use in their demo reels — and YouTube/Twitch gamers for use in their channels. However I still feel that this not only needs to be thought out in greater detail than before, but that it also requires a larger number of YouTube/Twitch journalists and artists to truly make use of the music. And so until both parties are satisfied, the Isle of Bass-Higher Eclectic Ground partnership will be at a status quo for a few weeks or months until further notice.
All of this has opened up a new dimension for Higher Eclectic Ground, I must boldly admit. While this is evidenced by a simple study of our statistics that indicate how the aforementioned assortment of simple tweaks continue to bring every member renewed attention that continues much after their last update, the question now arises as to how this renewed vigour will be kept relevant to all those involved.
Which cheekily brings me to the closure of this article with an iteration of what Higher Eclectic Ground’s plans are for the rest of this year;
- The Spaces of Higher Eclectic’s member Artists will be further broken down to clearly depict their skills, styles, preferences, availability, rates and more.
- While the Network will naturally continue to be receptive to all incoming membership requests and considerations, there’ll be added energy put into building its base of affiliated written and video journalists — an area that is most beneficial to developers with released games.
- With the foundations of a strong, experienced social media presence in place — a renewed press presence is called for. In the weeks post this, I will be getting in touch with everyone on a personal basis to discuss the implementation of a press release service; This will see us dole out their choice of project updates as press releases, helping them build a stronger presence for their own services and games in the process.
- With this in place, efforts will commence to establish a relationship with several popular news outlets to ensure these press releases are acted upon.
- Work is also being done on converting visitors to our members’ Spaces into returning followers — à la ‘Subscribe to a Member For Future Updates’.
- A personal messaging service will be included to enable visitors and potential clients to get in touch directly with Higher Eclectic’s project creators/artists.
- The addition of a forum will come down the line, allowing for interaction via a more consistent means.
- The year ahead will also see the Network actively work on branching out wider in terms of the services offered to its members — ensuring a more rounded package of support, from the early stages of development to eventual release is provided.
The purpose of this report has been to make transparent every decision made and the reasoning behind the same, allowing you to fathom their relevance to each member in the grand scheme of things; I hope that at least has been accomplished. Whether Community or Network, Higher Eclectic’s passions will always be driven by those of its members.
I do thank you for being the fuel and motivation behind the place’s daily existence; it is what keeps it breathing, evolving and grounded. With this also being a pre-anniversary declaration of sorts, it remains important for me to recall each of those who have been integral to the growth of Higher Eclectic from behind the scenes each at their respective points of time in the year that as been — Salman Iza, Siddhesh Karekar and Rohan Mahadev, each of whom have devoted their time and creative energy to sharing in what has been my passion for the entirety of twelve months.
And of course, the small group of tech-savvy ramblers and countless other prospects who this time last year — were hearing me talk on an overseas phone about how I needed to build the first free-for-all gaming community of its kind. Oh, Sean.
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.