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£245 pledged of £3,000 goal
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By Pieter Jollans
£245 pledged of £3,000 goal
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About this project

gyroEchoes is a narrative driven third person Action/Adventure game where you play as a lost and damaged robot searching for life and a purpose in an artistically embellished, desolate world set in the distant future.  

gyroEchoes begins when a robot awakens in a valley to find himself damaged; not knowing what he is, what to do, or where to go, scared and alone the little robot ventures out into the mists searching for something or anyone.  

gyroEchoes uses a cel-shaded art style to emulate the look of hand sketched characters in painted environments.

gyroEchoes is set for release on PC, Mac and Linux next Summer should this Kickstarter be successful. I want to create a game that gives the player a sense of exploration, with an enchanting narrative. Inspired by games I love like ICO and Journey where there is joy to be had in simply exploring the environment.

The first part of the game’s title is a reference to the movement style for the robot protagonist who rolls around on wheels. The word “Echoes” refers to audio tapes the player can discover but also draws upon the connotations of emptiness in the word to describe the desolate landscape in ruins, with only remnants of life.

The collectibles will include Dictaphone recordings or tapes as well as some unique objects that detail the history of the setting. All these could be replayed or viewed through the pause menu to allow the player to reflect on the meaning.

Lighting and sound will be used to create atmosphere, the game will be mostly without music to aid immersion, but a few minimalist tracks will be used, using layers with a mixture of violin, piano, drums, synthesised sounds and distorted effects.

 Gameplay:

The gameplay itself will be well rounded focusing on rolling, climbing and sliding (along ziplines) through the environment, including puzzles, stealth, combat and ‘quick-time’ button pressing events all with simple intuitive controls.

Puzzles will be based around being able to pull blocks around, and being able to climb some blocks but not others. Later on there will be portable generators that must be moved to devices to power doors/elevators.  

The levels will have wide corners to allow for fluid movement through areas. On PC this would be controlled with the mouse (or optionally the arrow keys to allow for a more conventional experience).

Combat will revolve around manoeuvering behind beasts while transformed to be able to strike to defeat them within a few seconds before running out of energy.  

Stealth sections would be largely based around staying out of sight and staying quiet while moving quickly across the each area. Movement aside, all actions in the game would be controlled with either a left or right click depending on the context.

Some quick-time actions (in cut-scenes and during combat) would require the player to press (or left/right click) on screen icons within a time limit, during combat these icons would move across the screen for increased challenge.

 Narrative:  

gyroEchoes has a strong narrative that is delivered mainly through the girl character and tapes that you find hidden throughout the game. The tapes are designed to give the areas context and explain more about the history of the world. Here is an example of a recording that you can find early in the game:

“Machines, machines churning away, they take everything, trying and testing, to identify and find the right parts, the real. And separate the rest. It has been years since there was any change of structure here, the machines still work to the original design, but the world is just a shadow of what it used to be. Technical schematics yet to be implemented left unattended. It stands, tryingly, unable to evaluate and eroding away. Awaiting the conventional, expecting the ordinary modern world that won’t come, that lies uninhabited. Yet the machines continue unhindered.”

Everything in gyroEchoes is highly metaphorical, all the characters and environments represent different things. This will all be explained in detail in the art book, and is not integral to the plot, but I’d like players to be able to take away something meaningful from the game.

Artstyle:

Characters and objects in the game have a cel-shaded style which uses cross hatching in shadows to emulate a hand drawn look and feel. The environment however will have a painted look, using water colour paintings for some textures. I intend to develop and refine the artstyle and polish all of the textures throughout production to give gyroEchoes a unique style.

Music:

The music in gyroEchoes will be a mix of piano, drums, violin and electronic music. The songs will be mostly my own compositions like the song in the trailer. It will be composed with the game’s script in mind to create a stronger atmosphere.

 I will be working with Tom Kelly to produce the electronic music for the game. You can get an impression of his influence by listening to this song below that he produced to be used in the game.

Please send me a message or leave a comment if you have any questions . 

Reward details:

gyroEchoes game:

All backers who donate £5 or over will be able to download a copy of the finished game upon release, at this special Kickstarter discount.

Soundtrack:  

Digital versions of all the music from the game.

T-Shirts:

There are 2 types of T-Shirt available to backers, a special limited edition backer only T-Shirt as well as a regular T-Shirt featuring the robot, kitten and logo.

Please note T-shirt designs may change slightly to more accurately represent the characters as they appear in the final game, or depending on printing limitations.

T-Shirt MOCK-UPS:

Regular gyroEchoes T-Shirt:

Front

 Back

 Limited Edition Backer T-Shirt:

Front

 Back

The Art Book:  

The art book will be available both physically and digitally (as a pdf).

The art book will almost certainly be A5 and ring bound, it will include ALL of the concept art for the game start to finish and explain every idea behind the game.

Although I’d really like to give you an A4 artbook if I receive enough funding because I feel that will be better way to deliver such a large amount of content.

Beta Tester:

You will be eligible to download a beta version of the game (for Windows, other platforms aren't guaranteed but will probably be available soon after ). This will feature the opening levels of the game before release. You will also get access to an e-mail address for reporting any issues or bugs. You will also get your name as a tester in the credits of the game.

Design a Collectible:

You can design a collectible to be put in the game, this can be a passage of text, an original artwork of yours or a poem, or perhaps just an interesting object or electrical appliance description that I’ll make and put in the game, description included. Please note This does have some restrictions, It can’t reference the game’s plot or characters as that is all already written, and It can’t be anything that might be offensive, no swearing or depictions of nudity. And it can’t be drastically out of place within the game for example photographs of people or a bit of paper with anything more than subtle humor would not be suitable as it would throw off the tone I’m trying to create within the game.

Invitation to Launch Celebration:

An invitation to come out and celebrate with me and others involved in the project upon release so that I can thank you personally. Provided you're in the area we can talk about the game as much as you like. You will have to pay your own transport and accommodation costs if you don't live around Norwich, United Kingdom. You must be over 18 to attend.

Stretch Goals:

If I receive more funding than expected I've plans to use the money to expand and improve the game as well as bring it to other platforms.

£ 4000 - This will allow me to develop the game for android tablets and iPad as well as PC, Mac and Linux. The game should port over fairly easily thanks to Unity with a couple of small optimisation changes.

£ 5000 - This will give me enough money to buy better equipment to greatly increase production, testing and optimisation time giving me much more time to focus on adding to the game.

£ 10,000 - This would allow me to hire a small team of artists and animators to help with production of the game making the game longer and better all round, improving all of the artwork and adding more animations to the game.

Thanks for reading!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to look at my project, I hope it interests you and that you will consider backing and tell your friends. Your support means a lot.

Update #1:

I’d like to thank everyone who has backed gyroEchoes so far, your support really means a lot and I’m overwhelmed to see that there has already been over a hundred pounds pledged. I know there is still a long way to go and this is an important first step. Almost needless to say over the next few weeks I’ll be very busy trying to get word of the game to the press.

I’m expecting things to pick up once I’ve got the news out a bit more, I’m sure the slow start is a result of the fact I’ve never run any kind of marketing campaign before but I feel I’m getting the hang of it now. I’ve decided to add a graph to show where the money will go as clearly as possible. 

 Funding Breakdown:

 I’m thrilled to see several sites have picked up the press release including Gamasutra, if you’re interested you can see it here: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/203205/gyroEchoes_is_a_new_third_person_adventure_game_that_has_justlaunched_on_Kickstarter.php

After I've done the initial marketing push I’d like to show some more work in progress screenshots of the game and more of the hand painted textures so please do check back in a week or two. I've also had some other ideas for updates that I can’t wait to share with you.

 I'd also like to mention that you can see lots of great Kickstarter projects over at: http://kickingitforward.org/

 I will be posting gyroEchoes up there soon. 

 Don’t forget you can get more updates by liking on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DigitalTivetshall

 and followling me on Twitter @PieterJollans : www.twitter.com/PieterJollans

 You can also watch the trailer without the pitch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1uu4N9sEus

Finally please share this project with anyone and everyone you think might be interested; only with your help will this project be a success.

Update #2: New screenshots
This week I’ve got a couple new screenshots to show you and a video showing how they were made. For these environments I focused on experimenting with the hand painted style using water colour paints, and then adding variation digitally.
Here is a screen from the second chapter of the game where the robot is deep in dark sewers trying to find his way back to the surface, dealing with beasts in tight corners and narrow sewer tunnels.

 I’ve also made this desert environment using water colour based sand textures this I believe better reflects the style of the game and I’m hoping to push this technique further if my Kickstarter is successful. Please spread the word!

 Finally I also have a short video showing the making of these textures which I hope you enjoy and share with your friends, it’s going to take a big push to turn this Kickstarter into a success and I need all the help I can get, however I still firmly believe it is possible to succeed as my funding goal is not huge.

 
Update #3 Concept Art and Script Insight

For this final update, I've little more to say, I figure there is no harm in showing you a little more of the script and concept art.

 Here is a storyboard showing part of the cutscene where the robot and Erimentha finally meet each other.

 And finally I leave you with this, an extract from the game's script. The script features heavy use of metaphors and poetic language, and one of the themes behind the game is the transition of emotion.

This is a poem from the script that can be found as an audio recording in the game, To me gyroEchoes is the illustration of this poem, the script is based on the poem, and thinking about the game in context should reveal insights to the metaphors in this poem from the script. I truly hope you enjoy reading it, and again thanks so much for all your support.

So I’m driving down dark silent roads alone,
and I’m singing songs softly to myself,
Gear shifting and sifting past shadows on the road.
thinking 'Things are going well'.

So I’m running round in circles tearing at my hair alone,
Sitting, subtle shouting softly to myself,
Such strong impulses spiraling, Simple tasks I chose,
Loosing Strength, Something stirring in my chest.

So you know I can’t say anything without two thousand words,
Slipping supposed syllables seamlessly sounding sayings
Failing to speak; to reach silhouettes sail, failed to breach,
I sleep now, above all else, and I feel, I think and dream.
Nothing suspecting vanished, just restrained and drained,
Estranged from myself, Arranging memories to better construct the state of my mental health.
Reflecting, an analysis of my Self.

So I’m trying to appropriate this certain state of being,
Standing seething, sounds set as sentry shapes shattered
Just out of reach. Clearly seeing sense, it’s something sacrificed for the illusion of strength.
To the Nth degree. A testament, to everything seen between,
breathing just below the seams, Seeping into dreams.
And from how it seems…it’s just the latest emotional state, such that will slip past slowly,
So submitted, I’ll just sit here and wait.

Risks and challenges

Independent game development is very challenging. I've spent a long time building up all the skills I need to produce a game professionally however there is still a risk that production may take much longer than expected. It can take a very long time to refine artwork, optimise the frame rate and keep everything within the game consistent. I am well aware of this from previous projects and I am committed and capable of going through this process to make the game the best it can be. I have also spent a large amount of time while at university studying things that can be done to optimise game code so I am confident I can overcome these obstacles as I have in previous projects.
It won't be easy, but I think it'll be a lot of fun, you'll be able to follow updates throughout development on the blog on the website.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    You will receive a copy of the game digitally on release DRM free at this special rate.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $16

    A thank you in the credits, and a digital copy of the full gyroEchoes soundtrack. As well as the previous reward.

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    Pledge £25 or more About $40

    A digital copy (pdf format) of the gyroEchoes art book. This will contain ALL of the art from development of the game, giving a unique insight. Includes all previous rewards.

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    Pledge £35 or more About $57

    A limited edition t-shirt featuring the 'Moderator' character from the game. PLEASE NOTE design may vary slightly to more accurately reflect the character design in the final game. Please add a little extra for shipping outside the UK. Includes all previous rewards.

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    Pledge £50 or more About $81

    Another gyroEchoes T-Shirt! Featuring the robot and kitten from the game. Please add a little extra for shipping outside the UK Includes all previous rewards.

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    Pledge £75 or more About $121

    A physical copy of the art book, this will most likely be A5 and ring bound, featuring all the art work from development and giving a greater insight into the game. Please add a little extra for shipping outside the UK Includes all previous rewards.

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    Pledge £100 or more About $162

    Be a Beta Tester, and be credited as such in the game. You will be able to download a section of the game (the first few levels) before release, and have the opportunity to help discover glitches and help make the game better. Please add a little extra for shipping outside the UK as includes all previous rewards.

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    Pledge £250 or more About $404

    Design a collectible to be in the game! This can be an original artwork of yours, a poem or a short passage of text. PLEASE NOTE restrictions apply (see description). Please add a little extra for shipping outside the UK as includes all previous rewards.

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    Pledge £500 or more About $808

    An invitation to celebrate the release of the game with me and others involved,so that I can thank you personally. You will have to arrange your own transport to and accommodation in Norwich, United Kingdom and be over 18. Please add a little extra for shipping outside the UK as includes all previous rewards.

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Funding period

- (27 days)