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.
Higher Eclectic Ground proudly welcomes Alfredo Sirica to its roster of professional, freelance video game music talent; based within the Italian town of Orvieto, Sirica will now be seen offering his now three-year expertise in the composition & orchestration of high-quality, classical soundtracks towards the development of independent games via the Network.
Having broken into the freelance scene circa 2013, his work record so far is one that constitutes the soundtracks of short-films Wither, Paint Your Life Away and The Bookkeeper, full-feature film Porches & Private Eyes, as well as the student game project of Project Hourglass and Cowcat Games’ point n’ click tale Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure.
This expertise comes rooted in the use of a blend of traditional instruments and high-end synthesizers, with the former often recorded live against a professional setting in the midst of hired talent.
Indeed, depending on a project’s scope and budget, Sirica goes so far as to include, hire and conduct an entire orchestra of professional performers for purposes of crafting an assigned soundtrack.
‘While my requested rates depend on the project, its genre, how much promotion a game is going to get, its potential and the available budget, I am very open to negotiation,’ he states.
‘The client is free to choose when to pay me for my services, as long as the agreement is set through a written contract. I am also open to sharing the final revenue, as long I see potential in the project.’
Naturally, his modus operandi thereafter provides ample room for creative discussion and period of brainstorming; once the base flavour of his client’s required musical style is established and agreed upon after an extended study of their game’s various media, work on the rest of the assigned roster of music continues on a per-track basis with the musician developing relevant handwritten/printed notations, recording them live or via high-end synthesizers, before shipping them to his employers in an orderly fashion.
This work ethic of Sirica’s stands influenced by a childhood immersed in music; having begun taking piano lessons at the tender age of nine, the Italian was quick to recognise his thirst for expanded creativity.
‘I felt restricted by having to play tracks that weren’t mine at the time, which I considered a process that was slowly destroying my creativity’, he recalls. ‘I felt the urge to play something new, something that sounded fresh and that would make my performances sound unique.’
Nevertheless a large part of this yearning would express itself in his stint as an actor — studying theatre for seven years, performing in plays with several diverse companies and even appearing on local television during the time — while subsequently functioning as an Italian/English translator on numerous online comics and Hammerfall Publishing’s strategy game, Warhammer 40K: Regicide.
Before long, his intense, two-year study of professional orchestration & composition under the wing of an experienced Russian professor had commenced in 2009, taking him all the way to Oberammergau, Germany.
‘The studies were always freelance,’ he adds. ‘I followed the same routine in Italy as well — I continued studying after returning and still am — caring more about preparation than certification. I believe there is always something new you can learn, so I constantly try and reach out to people who are more experienced than me.’
Thereafter Sirica would find himself competing with various other freelancers over online job openings, leading several of the aforementioned film & game soundtracks to fruition. ‘Since then, I’ve been constantly contacted by artists who ask me to bring my music to their projects. I couldn’t be happier to have finally reached my dream job.’ This is of course besides performing at various concerts in Italy, introducing podcasts featuring popular Italian writers à la Corrado Augias and composing musical themes for the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano, usually referred to in English as the Italian National Trust, created to nurture and protect Italy’s cultural heritage.)
‘I’m currently intensely working on Cartoonable, which has now changed its name to “Lampadino e Caramella”.’ he announces.
‘It’s an Italian TV cartoon that is the first of its kind, directed at autistic, deaf and blind kids, and which has been made possible through crowdfunding. It’s hence supposed to be carefully crafted both in terms of audio and visuals, and will release by Q1 2017′
This is be followed by Running Wild Film’s Bride of Violence, a horror flick that begins production in January, 2017 with Sirica working on its soundtrack soon after, along with the demo release of upcoming point n’ click adventure Happiless that has him tied to the project as its official soundtrack composer.
As is the custom here at Higher Eclectic Ground, much of his forthcoming, current and prior professional work will now be documented on Alfredo Sirica’s newly created Higher Eclectic Space —
which besides serving as his online portfolio and the go-to resource for all professional information pertinent to his services henceforth — has already begun showcasing his work on what recently became his first feature film project, Porches & Private Eyes.
To collaborate with Alfredo Sirica on your own projects, simply leave him a comment here, at the aforementioned Space, or by leaving the team an e-mail using our contact form.