About this project
It’s not too late to back The Eyes of Ara. To continue support visit the game’s website:
All pledges go towards the Stretch Goals, and many of the same rewards from Kickstarter are available!
To keep up to date with the game’s progress, follow 100 Stones Interactive at the following links:
The Eyes of Ara is an immersive, fully 3D Puzzle-Based Adventure game, inspired by genre classics like Myst and modern exploration-based storytelling like Tomb Raider. A game full of devious puzzles and countless hidden secrets!
All of the video and screenshots you see here are captured directly from the game, running in real time.
Videos from Updates
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The isolated old castle has remained abandoned for many years, and few but the most foolhardy ever approach its weathered walls. Yet odd and troubling events have started happening recently. A powerful radio signal has suddenly begun broadcasting from the topmost tower, and the locals have reported sightings of strange lights moving in the mist.
Years ago it was once the home of an odd and reclusive family, but they have not been seen or heard from in many years. With the sudden activity the townspeople begin to recall old tales of ghostly figures, violent storms, and vast swarms of eerie lights.
After years of silence something inside the castle has awoken, its identity and purpose unknown. It's up to you to venture inside and discover the truth!
The Eyes of Ara is a modern evolution of a classic genre, built upon inspiration from old classics like Myst, through to modern games that focus on exploration-based puzzles and environmental storytelling, such as the 2013 Tomb Raider.
You will explore an immersive, fully 3D environment, riddled with secret rooms and hidden passageways. Each room contains multiple puzzles and hidden secrets, ranging from simple lock-and-key style puzzles to complex multi-stage puzzles that may even span multiple rooms throughout the level.
Each puzzles leads intrinsically to the next, but not all of them need to be solved in a predetermined order. You are free to explore the castle and tackle many puzzles at different times, unlocking more rooms or returning to complete previously inaccessible puzzles as you progress.
Every puzzle in the game is unique, and beyond the main puzzles each level contains a series of advanced, optional puzzles, that once solved will reveal the true secret of the castle.
Furthermore, after completing the main story each level also includes a host of further secrets to discover - Including the lost stories of the castle’s occupants, hidden treasures, and secret bonus rooms.
Only by solving these puzzles and finding these hidden items will you achieve 100% completion.
The Castle is split up into four areas, with one Chapter of the game taking place in each.
The Undisturbed Halls: Explore the great halls and antechambers of the Castle's ground floor. Work your way through its ancient corridors while an ominous presence awakes at this unexpected disturbance.
The Silent Home: Wander among the bedrooms of the former occupants and discover their stories. Search for secrets and clues in the Library and investigate the the story behind the increasing number of mechanical creatures now tracking your every move.
The Great Tower: Computers and complex scientific equipment litters the floors of the Great Tower, while the generator in its depths supplies power to the castle. Investigate the mysterious research that took place here, and uncover the truth of the strange creatures.
The Tower of Night: Only after solving the bonus puzzles in the previous Chapters will you unlock the sealed door at the base of the tower. Climb the steps to the roof of the tallest tower and discover the final secret in this Epilogue to The Eyes of Ara.
I'm a Senior 3D Environment Artist and Level Designer by trade, something I've been doing in the Australian Games Industry for over ten years now. So when it came to creating The Eyes of Ara I wanted to draw upon this experience and build a game in which the environment was the central character.
The Eyes of Ara tells its story, not by relying on characters and cut scenes, but organically through exploration and interaction with the environment. This technique, known as Environmental Storytelling, is central to the Eyes of Ara experience.
The story is told visually through the puzzles you solve, the items you collect, and the dusty old artifacts scattered throughout the environment. Hurriedly abandoned rooms, cluttered desks, and cobweb covered trinkets all serve to tell a visual story and give insight into the lives of the castle's former occupants.
The Eyes of Ara also utilities more traditional storytelling techniques. Throughout the game you will locate notes, journals, computer logs, artworks and more. Delving into to each of them will reveal a little more about the history of the lost family and the secret of the strange presence.
However, simply completing all of the puzzles and finishing the game will not reveal the full story. It’s up to you to search through the rooms, discover the hidden compartments, and put all of the pieces together. Only then will you understand the complete picture. The Eyes of Ara is not a game that holds your hand, this is a mystery that you will have to solve for yourself.
The Eyes of Ara is built upon the Unity3D game engine, and all of the screenshots and videos that you see here are captured in-game running in real time from the PC version.
After previous experience using Unity, it was obvious that The Eyes of Ara would utilize this technology. Its streamlined development pipeline, ease of use, and one-click deployment quickly made it my engine of choice.
Thanks to Unity’s versatility, The Eyes of Ara will be available on multiple platforms. The game will ship first on PC and Mac with features designed to take full advantage of the power of these platforms. This version features exclusive content designed with desktop gaming in mind, as well as high resolution art, detailed pixel shaders, and beautiful post-effects such as Depth of Field and Screen Space Ambient Occlusion.
Following this initial release, a version optimized for mobile and tablet platforms will be made available at a later date. This version will feature a redesigned UI for small touchscreens, optimized graphics, and revised puzzle interaction to meet the unique playstyle of these platforms.
100 Stones Interactive was founded by myself, Ben Droste, with the dream of forming my own games studio. I am a ten year veteran of the Australian Games Industry, working as a Senior 3D Environment Artist and Level Designer.
During my career I have worked on a lot of professional titles and a range of personal projects, but after SEGA Studios Australia shut down in 2013 I decided that it was time to carve out my own path. It was time for me to work on my own games, tell my own stories, and craft my own experiences.
The Eyes of Ara marks the beginning of this endeavor, the first step on the road to realising my dream of becoming a purely independent game developer.
But this dream needs your help to become a reality. So if you are a fan of adventure games, or would simply like to help an independent studio get its start, I hope you will join me in this endeavor and support The Eyes of Ara.
Kickstarter offers a wonderful opportunity for small, independent developers such as myself to fund their dreams without having to tie themselves down to publishers. With the community's support, it allows developers to build the games we want to build, and cater specifically to the fans we want to cater to. We can build detailed games for specific audiences, without a publisher demanding that we dumb the game down for mass market appeal.
Your support means that you, the player, gets to have input into the games you want to play. A chance to influence the genre’s you love, and help shape the future of independent development. Kickstarter represents an amazing future for independent game development, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.
I have already invested a lot of my own funds into the development of The Eyes of Ara, and funding from Kickstarter will be used to help complete the vision I have for the game and bring it to market. It will help pay for expenses such as software licences, hardware, asset creation, marketing, and legal costs.
Thanks to everyone's amazing support The Eyes of Ara has been officially Greenlit! This means that everyone who pledges $10 or more for a copy of the game will have the option to claim their copy through Steam (a DRM free option will also be available though another distribution service).
This is very exciting news for me as a small, one-man indie studio. As one of the largest game distribution platforms on the web, having my game on Steam is a big deal. So thank you all again for helping to make this possible.
You can view the Greenlight page here.
Achieving the initial Funding Goal will allow allow me to develop the core vision for The Eyes of Ara, but should the target be exceed, all extra funds will go towards creating an ever better experience.
The first stretch goal will see The Eyes of Ara localized into multiple languages, expanding the audience and allowing more players to enjoy the game. This goal value is based off correspondence from professional translation services.
Further stretch goals will fund additional Chapters, released as free downloadable updates after the game ships. The first of these will be the Castle Grounds, featuring a unique exterior art set (some early in-game concept of which can be seen in the screenshots above and in the opening shot of the trailer). This goal value is based off the estimated workload for creating this unique Chapter.
New rewards have been added to certain tiers!
NOTE: Kickstarter does not allow the text of reward tiers in the sidebar to be edited once someone has pledged in them, so they will not show these new additions. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Picture in the Backer's Gallery is now included in all tiers of “Trailblazer” ($45) and above. If you pledge enough to get the Beta, you get your picture in the gallery.
The Backer's Book reward is now available for all tiers of “Archaeologist” ($150) and above. Scattered throughout the castle you will find hidden books dedicated to Backers. Each backer with this reward will have a place in a book, which includes:
- Your picture on one page.
- A short message by you on the adjacent page (a story, a poem, whatever you wish to say).
Naturally, there will be an achievement for finding and reading all of the Backer Books :)
Physical Copies of the Game & Soundtrack are now available as an optional inclusion for backers of the Field Agent ($100) tier or above. This two-disk set contains a copy of the game on DVD and the soundtrack on Audio CD.
This reward is optional and replaces 1 digital copy of the game (at no extra charge). After the end of the campaign, you will receive a survey in which you can opt to replace one of your digital copies with a physical copy.
Become A Prior Owner of the Castle is available for the new reward tier: "Historical Figure". The Castle has a long and troubling history, and stories of the former lords and ladies that resided there all tell a similar tale: They became reclusive, prone to unsettling and lucid dreams, and some say driven to madness in their isolation. It is even said that many of them took to locking themselves away for days on end, and attempting to commune with ghosts and spirits.
Paintings of these people can still be found throughout the castle. At this reward tier you can name one (with your name or a made up one), and if you wish, have your likeness used for the painting.
The Backer's Gallery Secret Room
A special, hidden room located somewhere in the castle, this room is a special acknowledgement to all the backers for making this game possible, allowing you to leave a lasting impression in the game that you helped to create.
Inside you will find extra bonus puzzles, hidden pickups, commentary from the developer, and special backer recognition: a Portrait Gallery displaying the pictures of backers who contributed $45 or more, with large scale portraits of the Top-tier backers alongside details of the art and puzzles they designed for the game.
The Backer's Gallery Secret Room A special, hidden room located somewhere in the castle, this room is a special acknowledgement to all the backers for making this game possible, allowing you to leave a lasting impression in the game that you helped to create. Inside you will find extra bonus puzzles, hidden pickups, commentary from the developer, and special backer recognition: a Portrait Gallery displaying the pictures of backers who contributed $45 or more, with large scale portraits of the Top-tier backers alongside details of the art and puzzles they designed for the game.
You can now get a Physical Copy of The Eyes of Ara as an add-on! Inside this two-disk set you will find a copy of the game on DVD and the Soundtrack on audio CD.
Simply increase your pledge by the appropriate amount without changing your tier, and after the end of the campaign you will receive a survey in which you can confirm the inclusion of the add-on.
Please note: all rewards that include a contribution to the game from backers (including names, photos, text, art, and puzzle design) is subject to final approval by 100 Stones Interactive.
This campaign lists reward tiers in Australian Dollars. The table below is based on recent exchange rates and should be used as a guide only. For accurate, up-to-date figures please refer to a currency conversion site.
Risks and challenges
100 Stones Interactive is a small studio, consisting only of myself. While this was a considered and deliberate decision for my own personal development as a game developer, it also means that the biggest risk is the limit of my personal skill set. As such, all of the budgeting, scheduling, and design decisions for the game were made with this in mind.
Playing to my strengths, the design of The Eyes of Ara focuses heavily on environmental art and intricate level design.
The support of friends and colleagues from my time in the industry has been, and continues to be invaluable in areas of development in which I have less experience.
Long before any art was in the game, multiple levels were completed and fully playable in a "grey-box" state. It was only once this major milestone had been accomplished to my satisfaction did work begin on the art you see above.
With the bulk of the programming and design tools already developed, all that remains is to complete production of the remaining levels. This means that the game can scale easily.
With all of this in mind, I am confident that I will achieve my goals for The Eyes of Ara. Already the feedback from those who have had the opportunity to play early builds of the game has been extremely positive. With your help I can complete the game and release it for gamers world wide to enjoy.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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