As made public on the 15h of April by Creator/Writer/Director Don Thacker on Starr Mazer TV’s customary mid-Saturday stream, fans and followers alike are for the first time being granted the opportunity to get their hands on the much coveted, much hyped prequel to Imagos Softworks’ retro PNC-SHMUP, Starr Mazer. The IndieBox, for those unaware, being a neat little service that sends expressively crafted Collectors’ Editions of a wide variety of independent games to its subscribers every month.
Although the spotlight lies on only a singular game per Edition, hence allowing for its Box to be filled with collectibles, OSTs, developer diaries and more pertaining to it, IndieBox’s do come with their fair share of assorted treats; While the PlayStation 4, MS Windows released 2D sci-fi shooter, Galak-Z is to adorn April’s issue, bundled within it will be a redeemable demo code of the latest functional, pre-alpha build of Starr Mazer: DSP.
Subscriptions to avail of the April IndieBox ends by the 18th of April, 2016, meaning those interested in attaining an exclusive hands-on will have to make haste to book their copy via the IndieBox domain now. And yes, international deliveries stand.
Conceived as a passing feature for a scene in Don Thacker’s 2013 creative feature film, Motivational Growth, and successfully Kickstarted on 21st February, 2015, Starr Mazer is an upcoming retro-modern fusion of the Point N’ Click and Shoot ‘Em Up genres that was originally due for a summer release this year.
Featuring modern gameplay brainwaves such as the unpredictability of narrative unfolding and sophisticated role playing elements, the tale of a DSP Mk. II pilot — that wakes up amid an intense bout of amnesia in the aftermath of the galactic GREAT WAR and sets out to unravel the mysteries of his universe — was postponed when the fleshing out of the team’s self-developed content creation tool Mazer Maker, consumed more time than was originally estimated.
In order to fill the void while also preparing players for the lore and SHMUP barrage that was to eventually hit them with Starr Mazer’s release, Starr Mazer: DSP was announced last Winter as a collaborative PC/Mac/Linux/Mobile venture with indie game developers PixelJam games.
A prequel, DSP will have players control a squadron of DSP Mk. I pilots in the midst of the GREAT WAR, collecting SK: Ore that functions as in-game currency to equip themselves with better quality weapons &ships, fending off twisted beasts and letting loose a plethora of classic space-flick inspired attacks, all the while attempting to resist an invasion of extra-terrestrials known as the G’ell. The game’s IndieBox demo meanwhile, will make available a ‘vertical slice’ of the game as revealed by Imagos’ social media and Community representative Kazuo Mayeda.
‘Players will be given a short tutorial and then their off to battle the G’ell,’ he explains. ‘They will blast enemies, accrue SK:ore and eventually be able to purchase stronger and more bad-ass pilots to aid them through to victory.’ What’s more, said demo will also feature fleshed out voice-overs for the squadron of pilots, contributing to which are a number of independent game developers local to the team’s base in Seattle, Washington. A short feature on their recording escapades is scheduled to go live on Starr Mazer’s YouTube at 3 P.M PST.
Besides making weekly appearances in progressive builds during the team’s Saturday streams, DSP was also taken to this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last month, wherein it was shown off to only a few key press numbers. Response appeared to be largely positive, with some such as Destructoid going so far as to deem it as the highlight of their GDC experience.
‘Right now everyone is a hundred percent in the demo; Crafting dynamic pilot, ship generators and more,’ reveals Mayeda when asked of DSP’s progress and immediate future now that its Summer 2016 release date is barely around the corner. ‘Plus we’ll be heading to PAX East, showing the game with all its updated ships, UI and progress to all those who want to check it out.’ Naturally, we’ll concurrently be getting our own hands on the DSP demo hoping for the first time to jump into the Mazer universe first-hand and seeing what all the fuss around THE GREAT WAR is all about.
Meanwhile, the highlights of nearly 8 months of the Starr Mazer saga’s journey since its hopping on to Higher Eclectic Ground lies documented on its Space; with it being the perfect means to catch up with everything Starr Mazer from the Community’s perspective here, be sure you head down there as soon as you’ve sorted your own IndieBox.
The third race of the iRacing British Sim Racers Touring Car (BSRTC) PRO Series at Brands Hatch’s Indy Circuit concluded this Thursday the 31st of March, leaving Eclectic Motorsport to maintain its position of ninth place within the Season’s standings that was attained during the course of the Season’s second race at Watkin’s Glen on the 24th.
After a tumultuous Season opener at Philip Island that brought along with it its fair share of on-track incidents and dropped the team to the bottom of the standings on the 17th of March, encouragement began to arrive when Shoppe Keep sponsored RESERVE PRO driver George Simmons qualified for 10th place on the grid at Watkin’s.
A relatively disciplined course through the first round of the night saw the driver move to 4th place, before reigning PRO Champion and current Sim Racer Magazine Team Driver Sebastian Job and David Baker of Race Hub took over to have Simmons finish in 6th place. Note however, that any points attained by Simmons do not contribute to the team’s standings and only to his own, given his status as a reserve driver for the team.
Simmon’s eventual 15th place finish in the race’s second round served to further add to the Team’s top-10 finishes of the Season (of which this was the second, following Ben Hackeson’s 6th place finish on race one at Philip Island), when he started the third round in 7th place as the result of the customary Grid reversal and went on to bag his first podium of the Season in third place. The team’s full-time Shoppe Keep sponsored PRO driver Benjamin Hackeson on the other hand had his exclusion from qualification — the result of a Penalty served at Philip Island — working against him, keeping him at the mid-rear of the grid for a large part of the night.
This mid-rear grid stint ended by the final round, when a second place start on account of a Grid reversal led the young sim-racer to his second podium of the Season in third place. The consistently driven, Potshotpete sponsored car of current AM Champion John Roberts meanwhile had managed to reduce his points deficit to 261 — bringing himself up to 11th place on the AM Drivers’ standings as a result — while that of Team Manager Andrew Whitehead’s unfortunately managed to finish only two of the four rounds after being involved in two separate race collisions.
This gradual regaining of the team’s balance was further helped by Ben Hackseon at Brands Hatch Indy on the 31st, when the Shoppe Keep drivers finished in 9th place behind George Simmons in 6th during the first round. Excitingly the duo would go on to maintain their relative positions within the top 10 for the next two rounds, with Hackeson consuming 8th and 9th place while Simmons owned 10th and 5th, before both drivers were taken out by crashes on Race 4.
Nevertheless Hackeson and Simmons’ five top 10 finishes now have them in 12th and 13th place of the overall Drivers’ standings respectively, just as Potshotpete sponsored John Roberts’ four mid-rear pack finishes from the night at Brands brings him up to 9th place of the AM Drivers’ standings. Furthermore, leaving out the incident that ended his race prematurely by the fourth round, Whitehead’s three rounds saw the Series veteran hold his own against the competition by progressively making gains in position within the rear of the pack, where he also finished in good pace. The team will now be seen taking to the oval track of Phoenix on the 7th of this month, at 8.15 P.M GMT.
On the sponsorship front, besides visibly flying their flags on the drivers’ cars, both Potshotpete and Shoppe Keep have been debuting advertisements for themselves during the inter-round breaks at Watkin’s Glen and Brands Hatch Indy. It is worth noting however that the Potshotpete channel broke away from its humble teaser that was displayed during the race at Watkin’s Glen, to make way for a more visually descriptive trailer at Brands Hatch this week. Both sponsors are on track to advertise their respective projects over the next couple of weeks, on account of their corresponding four week sponsorship of John Roberts & Ben Hackeson that ranges from 24th March to 14th April, 2016.
The iRacing BSRTC PRO Series Touring Car PRO Series is an internationally broadcast, simulation racing championship that is currently witnessing 50 talented iRacing users compete for a $10,000 prize fund over the course of its Tenth Season. Besides being streamed to nearly 2,000 viewers every week on Apex Racing TV every Thursday at 8.15 P.M GMT, the races are also broadcast on MotorsTV International with up to three repeats.
By branding the former ProAm XLDesigns team of Andrew Whitehead, John Roberts, Ben Hackeson, George Simmons and James Leggett to Eclectic Motorsport, Higher Eclectic Ground has been offering independent game talent from both within and outside its community the opportunity to advertise their games, YouTube channels, brands and other gaming projects via the event by sponsoring one of the team’s full-time drivers for an inexpensive fee on a monthly basis.
While John Roberts is sponsored by Community member Jack Davison of the Potshopete Channel and Ben Hackeson by indie RPG Shoppe Keep developers Strange Fire until the 14th of April this year, those interested in joining them by sponsoring full-time driver Andrew Whitehead of Eclectic Motorsport — and creatively advertising their gaming projects amid the Series’ widely broadcast races over the course of four weeks in the process — can do so by visiting, learning more and applying for the same via the Independent Gaming Sponsorship Application page.
Watch the Brands Hatch Indy broadcast on Apex Racing TV’s official YT Channel and be sure to catch the Potshotpete & Shoppe Keep advertisements during the inter-round breaks.
For each of the four-round races scheduled on the 24th of March, 31st of March, 7th April and 14th April as per the iRacing British Sim Racers Touring Cars (BSRTC) PRO Series’ Calendar for this year, Eclectic Motorsport drivers John Roberts and Benjamin Hackeson are set to be sponsored by The Potshotpete Twitch Gaming Channel and independent game Shoppe Keep.
While the sponsorship aids in compensating for the respective drivers’ race entry fee on the aforementioned dates, both the Channel and Game are granted all the advertising opportunities that arrive with the Eclectic Motorsport sponsorship package for independent gaming talent.
These include spots to flaunt their brand images on the sponsored drivers cars’ roofs, hoods and side panels that iRacing’s broadcast cameras are most prone to cover, a 30 second ad slot during each of the races’ three breaks between rounds to debut trailers within, and an animated pop-up spot for the races’ eventual MotorsTV International broadcasts.
Furthermore, the participation of the team’s reserve drivers George Simmons and James Leggett at Watkins Glen on the 24th, followed by the availability of a sponsorship slot for full-time driver Andrew Whitehead means that each of the sponsors will have their brand images replicated on a second team car as well during the race. This is of course, until Whitehead’s sponsorship slot is occupied by another sponsor looking to advertise their independent gaming projects.
Jack Davison as is known here, has been one of the Community’s recent additions to its circle of Video Artists bringing it a plethora of live streamed gaming content thrice a week via the Potshotpete Channel. His two week tenure on the Community has already seen the Twitch gamer creatively delve into The Division, The Forest and lend coverage to members TinyAtomGames’ recently released indie 8-bit shooter, Story of a Cube.
Shoppe Keep meanwhile, is the handiwork of non-member developer Arvydas Zermaitis of Strange Fire. Currently available on Steam as an Early Access release, Shoppe Keep continues to garner for itself a considerably positive response — for being a long awaited, RPG shop keeping game that tasks players with selling potions, armour and other apparel to rogues, barbarians, wizards and more in a fantasy themed world of adventurers. Interestingly, the developer has also hinted at potentially sponsoring Hackeson for the entire course of the Season.
The news arrives exactly a week after the BSRTC PRO Series — an iRacing based, simulation Touring Car Championship that comprises of nearly 50 drivers competing for a $10,000 prize fund amid broadcasts on Apex Racing TV, iRacing Live and MotorsTV International — kicked off its 10th Season at Philip Island.
While the action that ensued was typical of Touring Car & BSRTC high speed action, Eclectic Motorsport got off to an unfortunate start as a stream of inevitable incidents and accidents plagued the rounds of Andrew Whitehead, Benjamin Hackeson, John Roberts & George Simmons, causing the team to start the Season at the bottom of the Amateur Division Championship’s Table.
Now as 2015 PRO Series Amateur Division Champion Roberts and Whitehead rest at positions 17 and 16 of the AM Drivers’ table, PRO driver Hackeson — who finished the recently concluded BSRTC Winter Series in 5th place overall — occupies position 25th on the Drivers’ Championship standings. However as is usual with the BSRTC, standings and performance of the team is expected to fluctuate sharply through the course of this nine month season — given the hard-earned talent that continues to reside on board.
By branding the former XLDesigns team of Andrew Whitehead, John Roberts, Ben Hackeson, George Simmons and James Leggett to Eclectic Motorsport, Higher Eclectic Ground has been offering independent game talent from both within and outside its community the opportunity to advertise their games, YouTube channels, brands and other gaming projects via the event by sponsoring one of the team’s full-time drivers for an inexpensive fee on a monthly basis.
While John Roberts and Benjamin Hackeson are sponsored until the 14th of April this year, those interested in joining them by sponsoring full-time driver Andrew Whitehead of Eclectic Motorsport — and creatively advertising their gaming projects amid the Series’ widely broadcast races over the course of four weeks in the process — can do so by visiting, learning more and applying for the same via the Independent Gaming Sponsorship Application page.
iRacing BSRTC PRO Series Race 2, Watkins Glen Broadcast | 24th March, 2016
Catch the Potshotpete and Shoppe Keep trailers played during the first race break at 44.47 & 46.16 respectively; The same were played during the breaks at 1:34.17 and 2:18.39 as well. Also hear driver Ben Hackeson thank Shoppe Keep for sponsoring him at 1:54.
The past week and a half since February’s demise has seen up to four independent Video Game artists, each with their own varied set of skills on show and offer, step onto Higher Eclectic Ground. From 2D & 3D art to weekly Twitch streaming, the following is a quick overview of the Community’s latest additions and what each hope to be bringing to the table shortly.
A 2D asset designer at Evlox Studios, whose third-person, open world RPG Children of Acacia‘s development is actively being showcased on the Community, conversations with Paul Evans began soon after the game’s debut on Higher Eclectic back in February; with a few good years of experience in Texture and Graphic design, the young artist had come in looking for a creative medium to showcase his 2D work.
Picking up on our suggestion of using 3D models to his benefit, the owner of CraftyTextures was soon seen putting together his first 3D scene on social media,’The Alley’, before effectively making use of his created Textures to add color to the same. Deciding then that showcasing his 2D work on 3D models was the best way forward, Evans set foot on the Community on the 28th of February as a member of its circle of 2D artists
Open to Texture design requests and commissions while also offering his services in photo manipulation & texture repair, the weeks since have already seen him put together a second 3D scene showing off more of his work on textures with him currently working on his next. Furthermore, he’s also on the constant lookout for other 3D modelers to share notes with and improve his art form; to get in touch, have a gander at his work or even learn of how his craft has its roots in a lifelong battle with Epilepsy and Dyslexia, be sure to visit his Higher Eclectic Space.
With an Honors in Game Design & Animation and several years of experience as a 3D environment and prop artist at independent studios such as Liquid Melon and Pointless Button, Modeler Indigo Doyle debuted on the Community on the 7th of March with a demo reel embodying her recent portfolio of work.
Offering her services as a 3D Modeler by stating availability to commissions and requests from the Community, the Canadian artist is also preparing to showcase forthcoming 3D art projects here — much of which involves her dabbling in personalized, stylized art and eventually, the Allegorithmic Substance/Designer software. With her currently aiming to develop a stylized, fantasy-themed environmental scene this month, feel free to give her Spot a visit to make a request or keep an eye on her progress.
Game Designer, musician, writer, Graphic, character and concept artist; multi-faceted Jesse Staples debuted JesterDog23’s Character Design Emporium on the 8th of March; a character design banner under which he aims to showcase all ongoing & future character art on Higher Eclectic Ground.
Furthermore, with extensive experience in Graphic and OHRPGC Game Design, Staples is also offering his talent as a traditional/digital artist for 2D characters, weapons, concept art, environmental art, logos and more in a multitude of themes and styles. This is of course, via a set structure of semi-flexible rates that are currently viewable at his Higher Eclectic Space.
In description of his forthcoming artwork on the Community, Staples adds, ‘An original character is to be posted soon, as well as a new band logo, a business logo for a photography/film company, and a random commission of a drunk man laying down in a giant bottle of Old Crow.’ As he doles out more of his independent and commissioned work for others to relish on a weekly-monthly basis, Staples also eventually aims to launch a Character Design Tutorial Series based on popular response.
Deviating from the usual stream of YouTube gamers, the Community’s collection of Video Artists saw its first, full-blown Twitch streamer join the fray in the form of Jack Davison. Having first streamed via his channel, Potshotpete back in 2014 — Davison was subjected to a long lasting hiatus from his passion after real life commitments to family and work stepped in.
Fast forward to 2016 and Potshotpete is back on its feet with greater vigor than ever before; following a strict schedule, Davison streams thrice a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays — keeping his style, unnecessary banter and time wastage at a bare minimum in abidance of his High Quality, no-nonsense streaming rule of thumb. A frequent streaming partner of member writer/YouTuber Mike Blundell, Davison has already begun partnering up with other Video Artists from the Community — jumping into a early evening to late night stream of The Division on the 11th of March with Blundell and Craig Evans in tow.
Furthermore, he intends to provide much of his streaming expertise to the benefit of the other Game Developers resident here, offering to cover their games from unbiased yet fun standpoints. To get in touch with him for any particular coverage requests or simply tune in to his streams every week, be sure to hop in to his Space.
Exactly a year post its inception in the month of February, 2015, members TinyAtom Games’ explosive 8-bit, color-fused Shoot ’em Up tale of Geometry, Story of a Cube, made its public release on Valve’s digital distribution platform earlier today. Available at a 20% discount till the 11th of this month for PC, Mac & Linux, the game’s release is also accompanied by that of its OST; composed by Bocuma, the techno-glitchy beat infused chiptune OST can be purchased as both a standalone DLC and as part of a bundle with the game.
‘While the game isn’t even featured on Steam’s front page yet, people have indeed started buying it and I’m getting lots of emails asking for press keys and more’, reacted creator & developer Frederick Madsen when asked of the release’s early response. Conceived by Madsen after a string of unsatisfactory indie releases, Story of a Cube documents a simple Cube’s vengeful quest to hunt down the gang of vicious Circles that terrorize and kidnap its family.
Equipped with a weapon left behind by the evil Geometric shapes, players are tasked with overcoming six maze-like action packed levels, each with their own set of bosses & lethal obstacles, gradually unraveling the mystery of the Circles’ motives as they go along. Amid the cacophony of gunfire, explosions and multiple endings also exists up to Nine Steam Achievements that bring replayability to the fray. ‘The chapters are quite small but should take 10-20 minutes depending on skill and difficulty’, explains Madsen.
‘A really skilled player can probably get through them in 5. Usually the game takes about an hour to complete, but getting the good ending will take longer than that. Getting 100% took me about 4 hours, and I can do most chapters in under 5 minutes.’ While the 18 year old Swedish developer doesn’t plan on any future expansions or DLC, his current agenda for the game involves development of a Level Editor that lets players devise & upload their own stages to Steam’s Workshop.
Story of a Cube has been a fully independent attempt by Madsen, with the young developer pairing up only with musician Bocuma halfway through last year for the game’s music. By the 20th of December, the game had debuted on the Community in its bug-fixing and optimization stage; following which Madsen episodically walked the Community through its development from prototype to the vivid shooter it stands as now All of that & its following progress of course, will stay documented within the game’s Higher Eclectic Space.
Higher Eclectic Ground member Writers & YouTubers are invited to request Madsen for press versions of the game. Feel free to get in touch via the game’s Space or leave a message with your request on the Bulletin.
In conclusion of the month of February, one that saw his work featured extensively as the Isle of Bass’ music artist of the month, Deep, Dark & Minimal Dubstep musician Steve Philips Durandal debuts a snippet of Space Cruisin’ — an upcoming collaboration with fellow Dubstep producer, The Widdler. Starting its life off as a beat & baseline mix by Durandal that was sent to The Widdler to build on, Space Cruisin’ derives its name from the ‘honking sounds’ that lie within; after Durandal realized they conjured a whole ‘cruisin’ in space while bumping to some beats’ vibe. That is of course, when its not sampling the character McLovin’s ‘What’s up guys!’ from the 2007 comedy, Superbad.
The exact date or period of its release still remains highly uncertain, given the musician’s want for building hype around the track by playing it at musical events first. While the track may or may not be available as a free download later this year, members can still get in touch with Durandal should they wish to use it in any of their projects.
Introduced to Higher Eclectic Ground on the 7th of February this year, Durandal ‘s tenure within Higher Eclectic Ground thus far has brought its gaming community a rather creative selection of Minimal dubstep, ranging from Classic Horror inspired undertones to Conspiracy themed pensive tune,s each of which are available as free downloads. ‘Despite his easy going demeanour, you can really tell he takes his music very seriously,‘ states Isle of Bass co-founder Craig Evans. ‘He wants to help others just as much as others help him! And as we’ve seen & heard from him in the last month, he has very interesting ideas which he turns into music. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!’
As March draws in then, its time to shift the spotlight to the Isle of Bass’ next tending talent — House music infused with lovely vocals, as Evans hints — who will be making his presence known with the Community later this week. Rest assured Durandal’s Space here on Higher Eclectic will continue to exist, showcasing not only the musician’s latest compositions but also the ones featured during his spotlight tenure. Members looking to make use of any of his musical talent in their gaming projects, are always invited to get in touch with him via the same.
Durandal & his work was made available to Higher Eclectic Ground’s independent gaming community by the Isle of Bass; an independent music label promoting underground electronica from around the world. As Higher Eclectic Ground’s music partners, the label provides our independent gaming talent with access to a variety of electronic music by having us feature their most trending artists for a month. Learn more about the label & the artists featured prior by visiting their Partner’s page.
Members PointFive Team’s 21 day giveaway of upto three android copies of their indie puzzler, RAM BOE, concluded earlier this week on the 23rd of February. After subjecting the Steam user ID’s of all participants to a draw, the names picked up by a randomizer were as follows —
Congratulations to the winners, each of whom are already in the process of availing their copy of RAM BOE from the Google Play Store.
Developed by PointFive Team as an entry into the Indie Game Maker Contest last year, RAM BOE follows the tale of one mountain climbing daredevil Beauregard Pete, who takes it upon himself to rid the adorable icy mountain tops of an Ice Demon. One thing leads to another and ‘Boe’ finds his soul trapped in a Jotun stone until what seems like the end of time; before a passing ram inspires the rock climber to possess its being. With four hooves and lots of fur, what ensues is up to 40 levels of mind boggling, Sokoban inspired casual puzzles as Boe heads out on a quest for vengeance — rescuing souls that may have suffered a similar fate as his along the way.
While the game itself might have not won laurels at the IGMC, the developers have not relented — having expanded the Contest build to a fully playable PC version in only a few months. With this PC version submitted to Steam’s Greenlight process in the month of November last year, the developers quickly moved to release an Android version of the game in January to rather positive user response.
In the hope of inviting feedback towards the PC version of the game then, PointFive organized a 21 day long giveaway from the 2nd of this month — inviting puzzle enthusiasts from within the Community & beyond to provide them with honest yet constructive criticism of the game on its Steam page. At the end of the three week period, the names of all those that provided said feedback were subjected to a draw — with the first three participants picked up by a randomizing algorithm being offered a copy of RAM BOE’s Android version each.
Feedback again was predominantly positive, with Steam users praising the game’s ‘cute’ art style and progressive difficulty. Furthermore, the team have also been reaching out to writers & YouTubers from within the Community over the past month, requesting unbiased, creative coverage of the game’s PC demo which resulted in —
PointFive of course are nothing less than elated with the exposure the month has brought them. Now though, it’s time for our staff to pick up RAM BOE from the Play Store and determine if indeed, it is the cute yet strenuous puzzler it is fabled to be. The progress of that as well as RAM BOE’s tenure on Steam will continue to be documented at its Higher Eclectic Space — which also comprises of an exclusive, episodic view of the game’s coming to fruition.
With the saga of a young shepherd’s silent battles & dreams to narrate along with those of their own, Indonesian developers Joyseed Gametribe made their debut amid Higher Eclectic Ground’s independent gaming fraternity to considerable response earlier this week. The saga in question of course being Daydream — their episodic medieval themed, current age fantasy drama of a boy’s quest to see himself turn into one among the very legends he’s grown to revere.
Joyseed are commencing this saga by means of Daydream: The Beginning, an endless arcade game that has been in development for much less than a year and which they hope to launch on iOS & Android devices by Summer, this. With a large part of the game’s asset & character development completed ahead of its pre-alpha version release, Joyseed hopes to not only involve the Community here in the progress of it’s coming to fruition but also muster support for what they believe is truly the start of an epic adventure for both themselves and their saga’s leading character, Mondo.
But just how much of an ‘epic’ can it actually conjure via the endless arcade genre? Set in the world of Ream, inhabited by creatures that exist during the day and those of the night, Daydream will see players participate in Mondo’s seemingly bizarre belief that he’s meant to be a warrior of the DayKnights’ calibre; legendary knights who once put to rest a raging civil war between the day & night creatures of Ream. It is only when the Kingdom of Verdante opens its doors on account of a local soldier recruitment drive will players witness the poverty-stricken Shepherd actually act on that belief, by signing up for them with his best friends in tow.
As one would imagine then, this sets into motion a riveting narrative that will follow Mondo’s rise through the ranks and his subsequent adventures through the innards of Ream. Grand as that might sound, Joyseed reveal that Daydream: The Beginning will focus on only a fragment of that tale i.e. the Verdante trials. As Mondo, players will be tasked with commanding the Shepherd’s friends in attacking a multitude of multi-colored dummies — each designated to a particular character — as quickly as they can before the given timer runs out. Doing so extends the timer which aids players in establishing their highest scores.
Combine this with achievements, leader-boards and a market-place for a variety of costumes to deck Mondo and his characters in — and one has with them a pocket escapade perfect for those mid-office breaks and bus rides. Fun, no doubt, but begging the question of why such an imposing idea of a tale would be granted such a humble start; as Joyseed Gametribe Founder Bernadus ‘Boy’ Dozan admits, its the team’s first joint attempt at creating a top-quality game with the highest degree of perfection possible.
Having founded Joyseed Gametribe with a friend in January last year, Boy started off designing several small-scale endless racing and idle games — the majority of which were abandoned soon after his partner opted to quit the company in the months that followed. Disheartened before he’d barely begun, hope would finally arrive in the form of programmer Michael Sudjono, a programmer whose vision & passion Boy found aligned with his. Opting to start off small in scale while preserving quality of concept & art, the duo were quick to draw inspiration from casual action games such as Tower Boxing & Bishi-Bashi — devising Daydream’s universe & narrative within a few weeks of its inception, before establishing The Beginning’s game play mechanic, primary assets, character designs and even an early build.
As luck would have it though, real life would throw itself in Sudjono’s way by August 2015, causing the programmer to leave Boy with continuing what the duo had started alone, until friends Joseph Putra Wibawa, Yediya Juan and Tommy Prayogo eventually found themselves on the team by September. Interestingly, Sudjono would indeed make it back months later but only as a freelance musician. ‘As a team, we have a lot to learn which is the primary reason for keeping Daydream’s start small’, admits Boy. ‘With The Beginning, our primary concern lies in delivering the most perfect, highest quality game possible by us in all aspects regardless of size. We’re hoping that its success and what we achieve via it sets the tone for the remainder of what we have planned for the Daydream IP.’
A quick look at the game’s concept art & other visual material on its social media profiles thus far, will reveal that this claim of pursuing quality seems to be in no way far-fetched. Citing Vanillaware‘s flawless art style as their primary inspiration, Daydream: The Beginning features fully hand-painted 2D art whose subsequent asset form is being programmed using Unity. The art alone in all fairness, only seems to amplify the appeal of Ream’s human dominated, medieval-themed world that has all the makings of modern-era civilization; Cars, Trains, Traffic Lights, Gyms, Barber Shops & the like.
Furthermore, while its no surprise that only a limited portion of it will be making an appearance within The Beginning, Joyseed’s description of Ream’s lore exudes intrigue. With the dominant population of humans serving as its Day creatures, Ream will comprise of up to four large territories namely Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, each with their own legends & history that stem from the planet’s light sources — the sun & the moon.
Now, with 70% of The Beginning’s pre-alpha version fleshed out — the team hopes to complete the game by May before entering it into this year’s Casual Connect Asia’s indie game talent showcase.‘We then hope to release the final game to the public by June — here’s hoping that date isn’t pushed back’, states Boy when asked about the game’s public release. As for its sequel? ‘We still haven’t thought the sequel through yet. One thing is certain though, The Beginning’s sequels will be much larger in scale and will at its core, continue to build on rhythm arcade. We are definitely going to be needing all the luck in the world for that!’
While one can readily accept the usual onslaught of snippets from their journey on the community here, Joyseed also intend to be walking you through the game’s creative process from the very beginning as it has been doing on social media for a while — beginning with early character art, assets & more to ensure you are fully up to date with its progress regardless of current state. To be certain you don’t miss out on any of that then or should you wish to leave them your thoughts on their game for that matter, be sure to have yourself tuned in to their newly founded Higher Eclectic Space.
From Sheffield, United Kingdom earlier this week, arrived the Community’s latest addition to its circle of independent Video Game writers in the form of Terry Hibberd. A Sports journalist and Video Game enthusiast who’s long learnt to merge his passion for the two by bringing about creative Video Game journalism, Hibberd debuted with with an interesting take on Ubisoft’s upcoming post-apocalyptic opus, The Division — one that evaluated it’s worth while taking into consideration prior delays & the ongoing Beta hubbub.
Contrary to what one might assume though, the term ‘interesting’ emerges not out of the fact that Hibberd offered a never-seen-before evaluation of the game’s graphics, engine or any other pivotal aspect — but rather approached the subject from the less-hardcore perspective of a forty-something man (naturally, since he is one), praising it purely for but the Beta’s ability’s to draw players in for an indefinite amount of time before delivering an absolute blast of multiplayer action with friends. ‘As good as this title looks, it’s about getting stuck in and I don’t think you can ever do a Video Game title like this justice if you don’t do just that’, he wrote.
It is this very sort of casual, ‘mature’ perspective that Hibberd hopes to maintain as he gets back into the saddle of Video Game writing via his blog, ‘The Musings of a Fortysomething’ — after having spent a large part of last year helping professional footballer, Jose Semedo of the Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, promote his auto-biography ‘Win The Day’. By showcasing forthcoming written features that will focus on various popular Gaming trends & industry happenings on a regular basis, Hibberd hopes to not only inspire creative discussion within the Community, but also use 12 years of his experience with writing and PR in providing support to member indie game developers & other gaming artists that need it.
‘I just need to get back into it first’, he explains when asked about his plans on the same. ‘I enjoy gaming — it’s a distraction from ‘normality’. Writing helps me focus on things and now maybe even focus on gaming. I like to talk about games and I want to bring my conversational style to people who want to read about it! As for collaborating with the Game Developers & other gaming talent here, I’ll happily do so with anyone who needs some words to go with their pictures — be it interviews, features, reports, reviews, PR, and more; Just get in touch with me and we can work something out.’
Despite having harboured a strong passion for observing & writing about the things he observed for years, Terry Hibberd would commit to the art rather late in his life — after quite a few prods from the wife had eventually led him to Owls Online in 2004. A portal to England’s oldest football club, Sheffield Wednesday’s news & happenings, Owl Online would have Hibberd deliver periodic reports and more as a Staff Writer before eventually having him rise up to the post of an Editor in 2005. Subsequent years would see him not only earn an Honours degree in Journalism & Media from the University of Huddersfield, but also write for the official match-day magazines of popular English clubs such as Scunthorpe United, Doncaster Rovers, Birmingham City and AFC Halifax Town.
By 2012, his love for writing would finally lead him to articulate his views on his favourite Games. ‘My love of writing, my love of video games.. It seemed silly not to merge the two. When you’re passionate about something I think it was only fair to try and pass on that passion to others’, he states in retrospect. The years between 2012 & 2014 would then see Hibberd write for and moderate OldGamerz — a community for gamers middle-aged & aged — review Xbox360 games on TotallyGN, before eventually landing a role as Staff Writer & subsequent Xbox Department Head at console gaming website, Throwing Digital Sheep.
The relationships forged by him therein with Gaming industry specialists, Developers & Publishers continue to be crucial to the functioning of the website, which he’d only end up leaving by mid-2015 due to personal commitments. ‘Gaming for me, began in 1982; when my Grandad bought a ZX Spectrum with 16k ram and that was it. Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Match Day, and numerous other titles I could spend all day listing, were just amazing,’ recounts Hibberd with regards to his affection for gaming. ‘With their chip tunes and brash colours I looked forward even more to visiting my grandparents house and starting it up.’
‘I moved onto almost every available thing over the years after that, Sega Master System, Mega Drive (I was the first person in our town to own one!), Saturn, Dreamcast, Commodore 64, Amiga 600 & 1200, Atari ST & Lynx, a few PC’s starting with a very expensive DX266, Nintendo 64 and then every iteration of the Playstation and Xbox, onto — Xbox Live. And that was the thing that has kept me going since; Giving me a chance to return to gaming with my mates like we used to in my room as a teenager. We can still mess about like we are teenagers at times! ‘
Interestingly, as Hibberd explains, The Musings of a Fortysomething was already in existence by 2012 more out of need than a personal desire at the time. ‘I started it as a place to just put a bit of my work that I did for local businesses for the London 2012 Olympics. The website where they were first put was to be closed down within six months of the games’ finishing and I didn’t want the people who I had worked with to just be ‘dropped’.’Work’ here referring to articles he wrote on behalf of the Newham Barnsley Partnership — covering the Olympics from the perspective of businesses in Barnsley and their connection with the games. The Digital Media Bursary award was later bestowed on him for his work on the same.
A quick glance at the blog might reveal that besides covering a large plethora of subjects that go beyond games, Hibberd is yet to make the transition to his own web domain.‘It’s been a little bit of a side track, as most of what I do has been football or sport based, not so much about me… Or my thoughts.’, he confesses. I’ve written for others for a long time, not so much for myself — I do hope to be getting back into the thick of writing about Games now more than ever.’
Coupling that with his willingness to providing the indie gaming community here with written & PR experience gathered from both the Gaming & Sports domain then, it will be rather interesting to see what his perspective and tenure on the Community brings. In between now owning & running Owls Online, sport blogging for iTV, feature interviewing for the Sheffield Wednesday match-day magazine, riding & tweeting about his motorbike and tending to Jose Semedo’s Public Relations — Hibberd has already been approached by members Alien Pixel and PointFive for written reviews of their games, Polandball: Can Into Space and RAM BOE respectively.
As he warns though, his writing style and/or opinions on games might take some getting used to. ‘My inspirations are what I see, who I see it with and how I can explain it to you; as close to how I’d describe it to you in a conversation. The downfall to this — My style may not be for all people, but I can accept that. We’re all different, life would be boring otherwise.’ As with all of our members, Terry Hibberd’s gaming articles & musings on the Community can now be tracked via his Higher Eclectic Space. For written coverage requests of your games & more, Xbox live hookups, PR tips or a simple chat, feel free to drop him a line down at the member forums or the comments below.
In a rather humble announcement earlier last month, long time Community member Bill Boulden alias DJ Spruke updated his Kickstarter following with news that his Space themed electronic musical, Music To Die Alone In Space To was now available for purchase via the iTunes, CD Baby and Spotify online marketplaces as three separate mixes. Although the musician only shared links to the US counterparts of those stores, he did later confirm availability in their international versions.
In news that might of greater interest to our members though, Boulden now expresses that while he’s more than willing to share rights on the purchased albums with you for use in your own independent Games, Blogs, YouTube channels & other Video Game creations, it would have to be done by approaching him personally for permission and then going through the required channels. Alternatively, as Boulden continues to toil away at the personalized versions of the album that have been exclusive to his Kickstarter backers, he states that he is now open to a limited number of personalized album requests from the Higher Eclectic community.
While the price of these personalized albums would naturally differ from the $10 of the albums available on the online marketplace, members should take particular interest in them as they arrive with a Creative Commons license that provides the owner with complete & all rights over their usage — allowing free usage in games & other projects as stated by Boulden himself via an Anti-Copyright statement on his campaign’s page. Furthermore, while no two personalized albums sound the same — their owners are given complete freedom of choice over the cover art and voice artists they’d like featured on their exclusive albums.
The news arrives over a month after the 22nd of December last year, when Spruke declared that he’d completed and QA’d to his satisfaction, the mixing, mastering and arrangement of the now publicly available Cepheus, Andromeda, & Tsuki No Usagi mixes of Music To Die Alone In Space To. Each of these mixes also differ in voice artists & cover art based on the results of a two week poll that Spruke had subjected his campaign backers to — to help decide which three of the eleven voice artists & cover arts involved in the album’s creation would make it to the online marketplace.
This led to the Andromeda mix featuring Laura Bailey — whose body of work spans games such as the BloodRayne series, Persona 4, The Elder Scrolls V, Final Fantasy XIII & Halo 5 — as its lead voice artist, the Tsuki No Usagi mix featuring Laura Shigihara — sound designer & composer for Plants vs Zombies — and the Cepheus mix featuring Christopher Sabat of the Dragon Ball series. Artwork by independent digital artists Ashley Lange, Liz Nugent and Martyn Knapton meanwhile clad their respective covers.
‘Nearly all feedback has been critically excellent’, states Boulden when asked about the response the album’s public release has been garnering. ‘I think that largely as a reward for spelling out my target so clearly, and enumerating so precisely what this album was meant to do, there was very little room to deny that I hit the target quite accurately. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a genius album or musically incredible, but it is one way of doing things– Call your shots, tell people “This album is meant to sound exactly like A, B, C with restrictions D and E”, and then they know exactly what yardstick by which to measure your self-stated aims. And I do think I nailed those. It’s exactly what everyone wanted to be, I think because I prepared them very well for what it is.’
Music To Die Alone In Space To narrates — through first person speech and an emotional, introspective, psychedelic play of electronic music — the tale of an Astronaut lost out in Space after a rogue speck of dust disconnects them from their spaceship. Our tryst with the Buffalo based DJ came in the midst of the album’s Kickstarter campaign last September, which led to us showcasing its development here in the hope that our members would one day make use of it in their own Video Game work.
Adrift, the album’s first track with Chris Sabat on vocals.
The campaign’s biggest USP at the time, was that those who contributed above a certain amount would avail of personalized versions of Music To Die Alone In Space To that would be unique to them and them alone. ‘The personalized copies are licensed under a variant of the Creative Commons because when somebody buys an individual album, they deserve to own it in that legal sense too,’ states Boulden in explanation of that particular ingenuity. ‘They’re free to stream with it, make it the soundtrack to their game, use it in a college VR project and so on. All of these things are happening and I can’t wait to see the outsize impact these individual copies will have.’
The album’s tenure on the Community for the past five months then, has been filled with exclusive renders of tracks provided by Spruke himself, an exclusive hearing of the album in its pre-release entirety & even a revealing interview with the man himself where he discussed inspirations & more. It’s worth noting that now with the online marketplace releases behind him, Boulden nears 2,000 of the 3,700 tracks needed to compile the final set of personalized albums which he hopes to send out by April.
That and that he’s now looking to put together a music video for the album — solicitations for which have already begun via his Kickstarter page. ‘Am I losing my mind? Yes. As I typed this, Distant’s 186th render is sounding off right next to me… the hundred-and-eighty-sixth variation of this “I’m losing my mind out here, I’m dying” that I’ve heard,’ he adds, in reference to one of the many tracks from the album, Distant. ‘It’s getting so hard to hear the forest for the trees. And yet the tracks keep having surprises for me. I scramble the RNG again, I try putting a new effects plugin on a pad that didn’t have one before – saying, oh, for 15 renders let’s try that pad Flanged instead of Distorted – and suddenly it’s a new beast. This is the 1,865th variant of any MTDAIST track I’ve exported so far. And this is the halfway point! Right now I want to get out of this with my musical sanity intact and make sure everyone is satisfied.’
Naturally, it is to be a while before we hear of Boulden exploring anything of this scale and size again. When not lurking around our member forums from time to time, he can also be caught going Bump In The Night — a weekly podcast that sees him decorate the Internet with electro & house mixes every Monday. As always, any forthcoming announcements and major developments in relation Spruke and Music To Die Alone In Space To can be found on his Higher Eclectic Space. Do take a walk down there to celebrate how far he’s come.
Requests or queries regarding personalized albums can be left by contacting Spruke personally or via the aforementioned Bulletin. Not a member of Higher Eclectic Ground? Drop us a line and we’ll sort you out. Bought & listened to the album already? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.