Play the prototype of Talk 'Em Down in your web browser here:http://www.beeinthecar.com/games/TalkEmDownPrototypeGame.html
Talk 'Em Down is an experimental game where you use your keyboard to save the life of a digital human on the verge of death. Inspired by the pop-culture trope, Talk 'Em Down tasks you with talking a suicide jumper down off of a building. Each jumper has a dossier with a plethora of relevant and publicly available information that you must use to empathize with the person. Would you know what to say to a person teetering on the edge?
With a darkly humorous tone, Talk 'Em Down experiments with the idea of saving a person using only your communication skills, your ability to think rationality in a time of crisis, and your ability to empathize with another person.
As the game progresses, the jumpers because more outlandish and the usual pleasantries might not apply to them. Can you talk the masochist down from the ledge? Can you talk the Renaissance fair worker down from the castle tower? Talk 'Em Down will feature dozens and dozens of unique characters and will task the player with delving into their inner most happiness - or watch as the jumper and your words come crashing down! Each level will be filled with environmental objects that will break, move and react to the jumper hitting them. So, the hilarious aftermath of a failed conversation might end up being as much fun as winning.
Talk 'Em Down attempts to create a gaming experience where the English language is the controller and the only thing restricting the player is their own vocabulary and people skills.
Things to expect from the full release:
- Tons of levels!
- Tons of characters!
- Tons of physics-filled environments!
- An "overworld"
and story to connect each level together in a narrative!
- A bunch of clever
- A progression system!
- Backspace functionality! (stop asking, please.)
Bee in the Car Games is a two-man studio run by me, Tre Vaughn. I do the coding, art, design and anything else that doesn't rhyme with "music". Since I don't know the first thing about music and sound effects, I was super lucky to find Aethernaut, a musician that shares the same innate love for all things gaming. He has done the audio side of things for Bee in the Car's previous games and is excited to be on board for Talk 'Em Down.
You can listen to Aethernaut's music here: https://soundcloud.com/aethernaut
Talk 'Em Down will be developed using Unity, which I have used for the last two full releases from Bee in the Car Games, as well as a handful of prototypes and minigames. Unity allows me access to a robust physics engine to easily make the environments dynamic and destructible (because watching a ragdoll break through countless environmental objects is way more fun than a "game over" screen.) Unity also makes it incredibly easy to have Talk 'Em Down run on many different platforms - but more on that below.
So why Kickstarter?
I am asking for $9,000 to fund Talk 'Em Down. As stated above, Bee in the Car Games is a very small studio. We are small enough that most of the work lands in my hands. Funding for this project allows me to look for help elsewhere, which in turn will add more mindpower to the ideas, design and concepts of Talk 'Em Down. It also allows me to offload some of the art and code, making for a higher quality project done in less time. As it stands, $9,000 will fund Talk 'Em Down development for roughly 7 months. While a full development schedule hasn't been finalized, I am confident that this will be enough time to develop Talk 'Em Down from the basic prototype into a full release. With that said, any funding over the initial $9,000 will only add to what we can accomplish. This means more than just additional content, it means that we can take our time and really play around with the mechanics in the game to fully playtest new ideas.
Will there be any developer blogs?
I love the idea of developer blogs, but instead of going the traditional route, I want to do something that is more involved. I will be streaming the development of Talk 'Em Down over at: http://www.twitch.tv/sussyphoes. This means that monday-friday, you can see what I'm working on, chat with me, ask me questions (about anything, really.), watch me get distracted by my cats, watch me get confused at my code, listen to some sweet chiptunes with me, or anything else that the livestream might entail.
Tier 1 Rewards:
For $8, you get a digital copy of the game. This includes a key for any and all distribution services that Talk 'Em Down may be on. You also get a nice little spot in the credits. (And a giant and sincere "thank you" from me.)
Tier 2 Rewards:
For $15, you get the tier 1 rewards as well as a download of the lovely soundtrack by Aethernaut! As always, you can listen to his previous work here: https://soundcloud.com/aethernaut
Tier 3 Rewards:
For $30, you get all previous rewards as well as access to periodic builds of the game through-out development. Think of this as early access to the game! This also means you can send me emails with your feedback, which will be used to guide development.
Tier 4 Rewards:This is a fun one. For $80, you get all previous rewards as well as 10 custom phrases to put in the game. Do you have an inside joke with you and your friends? Do you have an absurd catch-phrase? This is your opportunity to get it immortalized in the game.
Tier 5 Rewards:
And now we come to the grand-daddy of them all, the infamous tier 5. For $200, you get all previous rewards as well as the ability to have a custom level in the game. This means, the level stars a character (the jumper) inspired by you, in an environment of your choosing, with a dossier full of information inspired by you. This also means you will have a 3D modeled likeness (in the undecided art style of Talk 'Em Down, of course) standing on the edge of whatever structure/environment you want! Who better to talk yourself down from a ledge than yourself? Since there is no limit to the number of custom levels I'm creating as rewards, it means that for every backer of $200 or more, the game ships with one more level!
Talk 'Em Down is currently being developed for PC, Mac and Linux. Depending on the success of the game, an iOS port has been talked about, so let us know if that is something you'd want to see.
Talk 'Em Down will have a Steam Greenlight page up in the coming weeks, where you can vote to have it released on Steam! If all goes well, Talk 'Em Down will be released on Steam, and thus all 8$+ backers will receive Steam keys on release. If for whatever reason we don't get it released on Steam, the back up plan is to release it on Desura and directly through the Bee in the Car Games website (BeeintheCar.com).
The current "early estimate" release window is June of 2014. We plan to sell the full version for $9.99, but this may change depending on the amount of content in the finished product.
Risks and challenges
When analyzing the risks and challenges of the project, very few come to mind. We are using an engine that we are very familiar with (Unity), we have experience with projects like this, and we have a good idea of how long it will take to make. I feel like many small developers can get overwhelmed with ambitious projects and they don't realize exactly what it will take to create the final product. Not us! When we create projects, the first thing we make sure is that the project is going to be fun and that it's obtainable.
The game concept is laid out in a way that if we run out of funding, we will still have a game to release - it just might not have as much content as we'd like - but it won't be an issue of vaporware.
The most obvious challenge now is trying to secure a release on Steam. The Steam Greenlight community can be rough at times, and they don't usually approve of very early concepts like Talk 'Em Down. One risk we run into, is that we put a ton of development time into the game only to have the Steam Greenlight community not choose it for a release. I plan on waiting until we have the art style nailed down first, so the prototype graphics don't scare people off. (Which I hope they haven't already!)
Other challenges come from how do we continue expanding on the basic concept and try to find ways to enhance the experience? Do the giant floating letters that then become obstacles that the ragdoll bounces off of come off as too cartoony? What balance will we need in the art direction so that the game comes off as darkly humorous and not simply morbid? Will the more outlandish personalities in the game come off as believable enough? These are all questions that will only be answered through play testing and brainstorming new ideas.
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