Eyes Open is being developed initially as a Windows game. We will be attempting to create a Mac and Linux version of the game after launch regardless of what stretch goals we reach. However, we can not promise when the ports will be released or how - we can only tell you that what we'd like to do. At the $10,000 dollar tier, we guarantee that the game will be released simultaneously on Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile platforms. You will be able to choose which version of the game you would like to receive.
Eyes Open is a top-down horror/stealth game that asks you to stave off insanity by navigating its levels blindly. You'll explore an abandoned asylum while constantly being pursued by a huge variety of monsters. Plus, the whole experience, from the levels to the creatures you encounter will be randomly generated every time you play.
Avoiding monsters isn't your only threat - your rapidly degenerating
mind will be constantly assaulted by your environment, and to prevent a
complete breakdown you'll have to occasionally block out everything
around you by closing your eyes.
Be careful though: feeling safe and being safe are two entirely different things.
We've found that most tightly designed stealth experiences feed off of a sense of empowerment - the thrill of stalking an unaware opponent or the rush of executing a perfectly timed series of jumps and leaps to leave an NPC scratching their head and wondering why there are so many rats in their castle.
We want to do stealth differently by instead exploring the terror of inching towards a door in a dark room or huddling in a corner and praying that a creature turns left instead of right when it comes down the hallway. We want to make stealth feel dangerous again.
It's not a new concept: If you've played games like Amnesia or Siren: Blood Curse, you'll immediately know what we're talking about. We're taking an additional step forward by focusing on stealth above all else; there are no RPG elements or inventory systems padding out the experience and getting in the way of the rest of the game.
On the contrary, we want to make a game where you can figure out the core gameplay concepts in about a minute, and then we want to explore those concepts and revel in them for as long as possible. Eyes Open is first-and-foremost an experiment in mechanics-driven horror. It's an experience driven not by blood, gore, and graphics, but by the gameplay-situations and problems that you are confronted with.
Eyes Open is a short game that's meant to be played through multiple times. Every time you play, we'll randomly generate the environments you'll be exploring and randomly choose new monsters for you to run into.
Additionally, Eyes Open features a metric ton of secrets and hidden pieces of information, so you can decode who you are and why you've been incarcerated. Throw additional difficulty modes on top of that, like a hard-core permadeath unlockable, and you'll find yourself revisiting this asylum again and again.
Eyes Open has the ability to record gameplay footage and replay it using a more detailed "Spectator View", making for easy creation of Let's Play videos on sites like youTube. Your viewers won't see the blank screen you experience when you close your eyes, which means they can know exactly how close you were to death when you ran through that room.
Eyes Open is a designed to be a challenging game: monsters can't be killed or fought off, so your only recourse is to avoid them and stay undetected. The game isn't cruel though - we want you to succeed, and if you keep calm and think clearly about the situations you find yourself in, you'll find ways to cope with your disabilities. No matter what we ask you to do, and no matter how dangerous the monsters around you are, there is always a way to survive. We promise.
We've already advanced a long way from when we first started experimenting with Eyes Open, and we're looking forward to going even farther. You can help us do that.
We're a group of three college kids studying different forms of media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. We're not a huge studio, or a group of industry veterans, or lead designers from Doom.
Our goals are twofold:
Above all else, we are going to make a great game.
Secondly, we want to to further our own development as producers and designers, and during that process we want to make our experiences available to you in a concrete observable form.
We're convinced that the best way to show you our vision for the game and why it will be great is to be as open and honest as we can be about the entire development process. We want to give you an unedited and unfiltered look into what game development looks like on a small scale, and because we truly believe that Eyes Open is going to be a fantastic experience, we're interested in showing you every step of the journey that this game becomes.
We hope you're as excited about the game concept as we are, but we also hope you're interested in the design philosophies behind the game. Our studio is approaching horror differently than most indie titles; we're designing first-and-foremost a tight mechanical system, and building our fear around that.
Our game draws a lot of inspiration from classics like the older XCOM games, and even earlier titles like Hunt the Wumpus. Those were games where fear came from the choices you made and situations you found yourself in, and they were games that valued memorable experiences over temporary jump scares or panic.
Eyes Open is a game about making deliberate choices quickly and calmly in stressful situations. It's also a game about asking interesting and sometimes slightly disturbing questions. What would it actually be like to be insane? How would you cope? We've been inspired by conversations we've both listened to and participated in talking about what it means to be in possession of an unstable mind.
We've taken that experience and crafted it into a sophisticated world where players are forced to confront the unfortunate truth: "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you."
Working from college allows us to keep the costs of game development down, but it doesn't totally alleviate them. $8,000 dollars will help us cover Kickstarter fees, pay team members, purchase licenses and keep our hardware in working order, and commission audio and additional sound effects.
In return, we're offering some great reward tiers.
Our first backing level allows you to get access to the game (DRM free and for any OS we release on) some basic recognition for your contributions, and a digital art booklet showing the concept art from development and pixel art from the final game. This section is built around allowing you access to the game essentials without being too expensive and comes with some great perks, like the official Eyes Open font and free wallpapers. It's great for people who are looking to contribute without investing too much.
The second backing level is all about giving customized access to our development process. If you're interested in following the game's journey, you can get access to our developer blog: it's a super-detailed look into every part of development that we're able to share.
If you're more interested in the graphics and concepts, you can choose a
collection of expanded artist notes containing videos of different
stages of concept art, and even some source files, plus immediate access
to our artist's blog.
Finally, if you really want to be able to watch the game evolve in real time, you can also choose to get access to our development builds as we make them. Until we run up against spoilers, you'll be able to access every change and new mechanic we test as we publish them.
If you can't decide which reward you want, we've also included tiers to let you pick any two of your choice or to get all three together at a reduced price.
The final backing level offers two different physical rewards.
The first reward at the $75 tier is either a 20x16 inch poster or a 12x18 inch poster of your choosing. Each poster will be signed by the entire development team. We'll be adding more designs as the Kickstarter progresses, so be sure to check back here in the future as you decide whether or not to back the tier.
The second reward is special: at the $150 tier, you'll recieve one of the original pieces of concept art showing the birth of a monster or environment in the final game. Each of these pieces of art will be totally unique, and we'll only be offering 25 of them throughout the entire Kickstarter campaign. They can be signed by our development team or left unsigned for cleaner displaying: it's your choice.
This project will be participating in the Kicking it forward challange - 5% of our game profits will be donated to other Kickstarters from small and indie studios.
We're all college students, and this will be the first game that we commercially release. There is a strong level of risk associated with being in that position, and we don't want to downplay that. However, we also want to emphasize the positives of where we are.
Working from college allows us get input both not only from you, our backers, but also from a community of deeply engaged designers and programmers both in our fellow students and in our teachers. It allows us to keep development costs way down, and recruit new talent dynamically as we need it. And because we're not developing in an isolated bubble, we can be much more honest about what we're doing and why we're doing it.
Once our Kickstarter campaign ends, we'll immediately start looking for people to work with us on audio and music. We're in a position to scale accrding to our resources, so depending on how much money we have, we'll offer more for services and look farther away from campus. We plan to be very organic; if we're swamped with work, we'll commission additional programmers and artists as needed. We'll get the game done, no matter what we need to do.
Our hard deadline for release is December of 2014, although we will release early if development goes well. We'll keep you updated every step of the way; our goal is to be as transparent and open as possible about everything we do, without sacrificing any of that sense of anticipation and joy you get waiting for a final product to come together and finally be realized. If you're interested in indie development on an extreme level, this is the project for you.
Music and musicians used in this project under CC Attribution: flatwound - The Long Goodbye, PerlssDj - Lucid Formula, onlymeith - Truth, cdk - Look to la Luna
1. Eyes Open has a strong narrative component, and it uses a lot of environmental cues to tell that story. That means that when we build a beta, we're stuck pretty much just choosing between having a bunch of spoilers, or custom building something that will take a lot of time away from the actual game itself. We're reluctant to build a full beta version of the game if that actively detracts from the final experience.
2. We've decided that demos and gameplay tests should be available either universally or at the very least to all backers. Especially because any beta or preview will attempt to hide spoilers and mostly be about showing off gameplay, and because our game experience is so tied up in that gameplay, we don't feel comfortable restricting that experience to just a small subset of people.
If you're still really interested in getting your hands on some gameplay early, we have a $35 tier with access to most of the development builds we make. Think of them as micro-previews of different mechanics, as well as an opportunity to see how those mechanics evolve and submit feedback.
Not at all. We do plan on releasing a playable version of the game at some point during the Kickstarter. We're continuing development throughout the entire campaign. This will probably be pretty small and very alpha, but it will be enough to give you a feel for some of the ideas we're exploring.
Although we'll probably do an initial release within the youTube Let's Play community before we grant access to backers, rest assured, you will get a chance to not only see additional gameplay, but try out a bit as well.
Keep in mind that whatever we distribute will be a very early prototype, and that some of our gameplay concepts and mechanics might change as we move forward.
We've launched this Kickstarter in order to get funding to improve all aspects of the game. What we'll do immediately after the campaign ends is start commissioning audio work. That stuff is expensive, even if we're working with other college students, so we need the funds to get a soundtrack written and make sounds for monsters, environments, and the main character.
Lest you worry from the trailer, our main character will be unvoiced, although we will be commissioning an actor to do audio work for breathing and different states of panic.
The footage you see above is in a very early state - every aspect, from the art to the gameplay to the audio, will improve dramatically by the time we release the final game. Whether what you hear sounds great or terrible to you, it will only be getting better.
Looking for just a little bit more for your money? We'll send you a digital booklet with illustrations of our monsters, environments, and other concept art. If you like illustrations and art books, and want another perk above the base game, this is the tier for you.
Full List : Digital art book, final game, name in credits, name on website.
For people who think art is cool, you'll get a much expanded digital booklet filled with not only concept art in various stages of production, but annotations about the thought that went into the different styles, videos of the creation process, and even some source files. Plus, while you're waiting you can get access to Sarah's artist blog. If you're interested in the visual process behind designing a game, this is the tier for you.
Full List : Expanded/annotated artist notes, digital art book, final game, name in credits, name on website.
We'll be documenting our journey every step of the way to make available sometime after the final game is released. At this tier you'll get immediate access to most of our blog posts (anything we can show you that's not too much of a spoiler) as we write them. You'll be able to see our decisions pretty much at the same time we do and follow the game's development every single step of the way. If you're interested in game design or the psychology of making a game, this is the tier for you.
Full List: Early access to blog posts, digital art book, final game, name in credits, name on website
For backers that really want to watch the game unfold in real time, we'll give you access to all of our initial dev builds. Until we run into spoiler territory, you'll be able to see the most up-to-date version of the game at any time, as well as access previous builds.
Full List: Dev builds, digital art book, final game, name in credits, name on website
Get a collectable poster of the Eyes Open logo signed by our entire development team.
Full List: Signed poster, all three of the $35 tiers (annotated/expanded artist notes, immediate blog access, and livestream access), annotated/expanded artist notes, digital art book, final game, name in credits, name on website
Each monster and environment starts out as an idea that is hand-drawn onto a standard piece of notebook paper. Own one of of those sketches, signed by our entire development team, or left as is: your choice.
Full List: Physical concept art, signed poster, all three of the $35 tiers (annotated/expanded artist notes, immediate blog access, and livestream access), digital art book, final game, name in credits, name on website