Update: New video shows speech in CopQuest (bottom of page)Update: New Kickstarter Video (embedded in title image)
Verge of Brilliance LLC is a Seattle-based game company that’s working on a socially conscious video game about police brutality in America. In this game, we take real life accounts of police brutality and undue escalation and put those stories in a fictional video game for people to play through from the perspective of the cop. The goal is to create a safe space for healthy dialog on the subject to occur and hopefully inspire dialog that leads to positive change.
Our mission is to make a game that promotes thoughtful discussion on the issue of police brutality. We also seek to facilitate connections to initiatives that similarly seek to raise awareness and end police brutality in America.
- In case you read nothing else on this page, here is the project in a nutshell!
- It’s a game about police brutality in America
- Game narrative is based on real incidents that have been reported in current events
- Text-based adventure game with modern twist.
- Features a language understanding model trained by many play-testers
- We've built game art. The game has been featured as a museum exhibit in Seattle.
- As it exists today, the game is too short. We want to make a bigger, better, and more polished version and release on many platforms.
CopQuest is heavily influenced by old school game play of text-based adventures like King's Quest (or my personal favorite, Peasant’s Quest) but our text parsing engine takes it a few steps further with our own natural language intent-model. This allows the game to understand many of the various natural forms of written communication people use while playing. As long as you type your commands in the form of instructions for Officer Bob, we are going to do all we can to make sure that Officer Bob understands you. We employ data analytics that run in the background of our game that track the many ways people try to communicate in-game so the more people play the better our model gets!
We are seeking funding for a feature length version of the game with this Kickstarter. A free exhibit-style version of the game is already available on our website. The problem is that the game is too small and barely touches on the potential depth and reach of our message.
We anticipate that meeting our goal will gain us an additional 2 to 3 months of extra development time so that we can make a longer game with more endings, more missions, more art, more music, and optimize the game to play nicely on mobile platforms. Stretch goals will all be centered on hitting a broader audience by deploying on more platforms and localizing to different languages.
CopQuest is a text-based adventure game where the player makes use of an advanced text-parsing engine to interact with the observed game elements on the screen. The player controls the protagonist by commanding him to interact with his environment, for example, “try looking at the desk” or “speak with the chief”. The player assumes the role of Officer Bob Allegedly conscience, a rookie learning the ropes on his first day as a police officer. (yes, his full name is Bob Allegedly)
We encourage people to try many ways of dealing with the problems, not just ways things have gone down in the media.
Do you want to play the demo of the game? Check it out! And please leave us comments. Let us know what you like and what you don’t! And please… please discuss the subject matter…with civility!
CopQuest was the brain-child of Havilah Farnsworth and Evie Powell upon the start of the 8bit History Game Jam that was organized by Maxwell Bennet and Seattle's Academy of Interactive Entertainment. Impacted by recent reports of policing incidents in media, we were challenged to create a game themed around a global social issue. We felt compelled to make a game about what the underprivileged go through when dealing with law enforcement.
Fueled initially by bafflement, despair, and outrage we started building a game that recreated many recent events that had been archived on YouTube. We built our game doing our best to tell a complete story about what we saw happening around us, and what we found was deeply rooted in the fabric of law enforcement and society in general. We delved and what we found was even more troubling than we initially considered. American law enforcement today is stuck, tied to a set of implicit biases, policies, and traditions that make it hard for good-hearted well-meaning people to make decisions that don’t end in escalation or violence. It’s not enough to just get the bad-apples out and to hold them accountable; we have to think bigger. Like our beloved Officer Bob, American cops are players in a much larger game. We can’t just change the players; we need to change the game.
Evie founded Verge of Brilliance in 2014 with one goal in mind: be brilliant. The company mission is simple but ambitious; use games to change people and use people to change games.
We started our first year by learning our team and establishing our development pipeline. During our first year we developed several contract titles including 80’s Mania Wrestling, Escape From Clowntown, and Paper Goalie. Now confident that we have what it takes as a team to make high quality game experiences, we are now directing our focus on our own internal brilliance, working on games that truly exemplify what it means to be brilliant and change the world through games.
"The shooting of Walter Scott became available on YouTube the day before our scheduled game jam... We pulled up the video and watched it and, of course, there were many emotions that erupted in the office that day. We were ranting: outraged and baffled. We laughed. You know, laughing that incredulous laughter that really doesn't indicate humor as much as it indicates confusion and despair. We laughed at how overwhelming evidence had to be on the side of law enforcement before any kind of justice or accountability could be seen. We were then given the theme of our game jam event: social change." -Evie
CopQuest Intro Cut Scene
Risks and challenges
Backers may find the youth of our game company concerning. Our core team, however, is very familiar with shipping game titles and software / hardware in general. Evie was on the team that shipped Xbox One and drove the release of several initial Xbox Speech features. Havilah, a member of 50 cubes studio before joining Verge, worked on Award Winning “Mall World” for Facebook.
As a team, we’ve worked on several contract projects in our short time as a company including 80’s Mania Wrestling (now available on iOS and Android) and “Escape From ClownTown” to be available November 2015 on iOS and Android.
Our team is committed to making brilliant games and getting them into the hands of as many players as possible. Games for social change are a space that traditional publishers and investors are unfamiliar with. Despite this, we haven't given up on giving this game and its message the attention it deserves. We know we can tell a good story and tell it in a way the reaches a lot of people, but we need your help to do so.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)