Ashen Rift is a first person survival horror game for PC, Mac and Linux that places you and your canine companion Bounder in a barely recognizable Earth which has been twisted and drained of almost all life. Together you seek to stop the remaining life from hemorrhaging Earth by disabling the "Rift" rumoured to be the cause.
You must find your own path and discover your own methods to get to the Rift alive.
All around you are the twisted, barely recognizable, still-live husks of what use to be men known as Feeders. They are bent on devouring every last living thing on Earth, including you and your dog Bounder.
You must learn to use the weapons and world around you against the feeders while depending on the senses and strength of your dog, Bounder, as he depends on you.
The back story to Ashen Rift is to be gleaned through dialog and other findings from within the game. What will be made clear to the player from the onset is a vague recollection of the events from the perspective of the games hero which have left the world an increasingly barren wash of ash. The rest will become clearer as the story progresses.
Listen to the dialogue intro here:
Ashen Rift: A man and his dog will join the player and Bounder as they are about 25 miles away from the Rift that they have spent months traveling towards in an attempt to shut down.
The game will follow their journey as they leave the crumbling rural area of what use to be the central United States of America. As they eventually find themselves staring across the now barely recognizable Rocky Mountains, the path will become increasingly ashen and barren as they are continually introduced to desecrated areas of Earth like they have never imagined possible.
As they traverse the unstable, strange and ever shifting world they will encounter natural and unnatural threats, from man and beast alike. Together they work their way towards the facilities that they have come to believe is the location of the "Rift" at the root of Earth's dire situation. They know little about what actually happened, or is happening other than the ashen wasteland they live in.
Join them as they learn more about the world's plight.
The goals for Ashen Rift are simple, yet will require attention to maintain the “simple” yet delicate balance.
For starters, I really want to shy away from the trigger-happy standards of a first person shooter. I want to make ammo and guns sparse, forcing the player to find new methods of surviving hostile encounters.
The strength of Ashen Rifts design does not come from blasting bad guys with bullets for hours on end. It comes from the player's ability to play the game the way their personality dictates. Some people may be averse to combat situations and thus spend the majority of the game avoiding conflict. Others may just feel that the only way to progress is to kill everything in sight, and that is for them to decide and then figure out how to act on those impulses.
The back bone of the game is the idea that the players are in the shoes of a man with his dog in a world full of creatures which seek to devour them both. This leaves the player with 4 major elements to interact with: 1 The world. 2 The dog. 3 The objects within the world. 4 The Enemies and other non-player characters (NPCs).
Interacting with the world will include anything from the demolition of natural terrain to the typical flicking of switches. Both of which can drastically change the dynamic of any given situation.
Interacting with Bounder will be done through a circle menu which will enable the player to shout commands at Bounder which may alter his behaviour, thus changing the dynamic of the situation. Bounders reactions to sights, sounds and smells will help guide you safely through the world if you learn to pay attention to him like he does to you.
Interacting with objects within the world will either be picking up weapons, finding items and storing them within your backpack(inventory) as well as picking objects found within the world (rocks, building/road debris and much more) and placing them elsewhere or throwing them.
In some more creative cases this may even include emptying a gas can by pouring it on the ground and then igniting it, allowing the player to use these objects creatively.
Interacting with enemies will either be with the intent of killing them, manipulating them, or avoiding them all together.
Killing the enemies can be done a variety of different ways, such as destroying a near by rock pillar, sending large rocks and debris to crush the enemies, or directly killing them with melee and ranged combat.
Manipulating enemies can be done in a number of ways because they are reactive to touch and sound. This will allow the players to create things such as distractions and traps. For example a well tossed rock may draw the feeders attention, potentially granting you and Bounder an opportunity to sneak by unnoticed.
Creative players will do things like gather wood planks and place them in a way that prevents feeders from walking down a path, or place propane tanks on gasoline soaked ground creating initially a fiery distraction and moments later an explosion which kills those feeders drawn to it.
The four way dynamic created between the world, the enemies, the objects and Bounder is subtle and full of potential. On the surface it's a man with a dog, which follows, listens and helps you in a decrepit world full of toss-able objects and monsters seeking to eat anything in their path. Although, the world itself and moments of interaction within will be wide open for the player to craft into their own version of what they think should happen.
AAA First Person Shooter Gameplay.
Multi Platform release - PC - Mac and Linux.
Companion Dog and Interaction system.
Heavily Destructible Terrain and Environment.
Melee and Ranged combat.
Use almost anything in the world as a potential tool or weapon.
Inventory for carrying extra ammo, weapons and found objects.
Multiple Paths and countless ways to traverse each.
3 to 5 hours of game time.
Complex and reactive Enemy AI behaviour.
"Hello! My name is Barry Michael Collins and I am a games industry freelance artist with 14 years experience. Recently I started this project by dedicating 2.5 months of my time to work on it. I embarked on this project with the intent of being able to walk away from my life of freelancing while moving towards the goal of producing a game in the artistic and narrative style which appeals to me rather than the highest bidder."
"Having started this project with virtually no prior experience with Unity3D I dove in and after the initial 2.5 months, only working part time, I had a playable proof of concept demo. I am not only proud of what I had achieved during that time but I also feel at this point, as evidenced by the reactions I received from play testers and online comments, that all of the sleepless nights and hard work was well worth it and is already a great success which I am thrilled to explore further. I firmly believe that this project will be a unique and rewarding experience for those who play it."
The plan for the project has evolved a great deal since the production of the initial demo, especially after I got some play testers and time to write/plan/design the setting/story/game systems.
It is time to take Ashen Rift to the next stage! I would like to be able to raise enough funds to work on this game full time until December of 2014. This would allow me a bit of a budget to pay for a Unity3D licence, outsource some aspects of development (Music, SFX, Voice overs, Coding and Art help etc) with the end goal being Ashen Rift as a 3 to 5 hour game.
Remember, The demos I am showing here represents under 5 months of mostly part time work! Imagine what the results of 10 more months full time work could yield. Please help me take this project from the demo it is now to a solid game for Mac, PC and Linux.
Please Note that the term "Previous Pledge packages" does not include "Limited" packages
***Disclaimer******Disclaimer******Disclaimer*** Please note that the pledge packages have been heavily expanded since launch, thus the term "Previous Pledge Packages" does not apply like it previously did. You must refer to the Pledge Package Chart below for an exact break down of what you receive for each pledge package
Exactly what it sounds like, Digital Copy of Ashen Rift
Early Access for Ashen Rift will entail 2 to 3 releases during 2014, giving Early Access players the opportunity to stress test the majority of the game as it develops. This build will be largely spoiler free, leaving the Early Access players something to look forward to when the game is completed.
Ashen Rifts sound track is composed by Billy Hepper and ranges from intense industrial tracks to beautiful orchestral compositions. Here are a few samples from the sound track.
The Private Testing program is different from the early access builds in that it will have many more updates throughout 2014; it will also have nothing withheld, allowing the private testers to provide testing for every aspect of the game from a very early time. You will also be granted access to the evolving design doc, story and other private development files. This is your chance to provide the developers with direct feedback which can potentially change how the game is developed!
Be included in the credits of the game as a Patron and Tester.
A Kickstarter Exclusive jacket patch.
The game Ashen Rift: A man and his dog on CD, In a DVD style case with manual.
The Ashen Rift Kickstarter Backer exclusive T-Shirt in any one size from XS to XXL in a mens or womens fit.
A pass for the Ashen Rift Launch Party which grants admission to 2 people. (travel not included, you've got to find your way to Vancouver on your own buddy)
A 50 Page book comprised of the best conceptual, 3D, 2D, Environmental and Graphic Art from the development of Ashen Rift.
Custom design an object to go within the game! 1 of 25 collectible "easter egg" objects to be placed throughout the game! This can be anything you want! (within reason)
This is a chance to name an area within the game, specifically a survivor refuge camp. Name it after yourself or name it whatever you want! (within reason)
A limited 3D printed Diorama of Bounder and his master as they encounter a Feeder.
This is your chance to have your likeness masterfully crafted into a character within Ashen Rift. Be one of the few remaining people on Earth!
Executive Producers will have a once monthly Skype meeting with Barry to chat, brainstorm ideas and see how everything is progressing. An excellent chance to have your voice be heard directly. Credited as "Executive Producer"
I need a place to sleep, eat, work and repeat! I pay these expenses by working as a freelance artist! Lets change that to working full time on Ashen Rift!
I have the funding goals set to the absolute bare bones minimum which allows me to work full time while covering fees and taxes associated with Kickstarter. Any funds raised beyond my target will go towards expanding the development team and the quality of end product.
Other ways you can help support Ashen Rift aside from becoming a backer on Kickstarter:
Share this Kickstarter campaign any way you can, from Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, face to face or whatever method you want to share with your friends!
Thank you so much for your time! The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. I look forward to hearing more from you all.
Thank you to those who support and follow Ashen Rift and especially those who have put hours upon hours helping make this a reality.
Barry Michael Collins.
Risks and challenges
Risks and Challenges associated with Ashen Rift first and foremost are loss of life and loss of data! I must stay healthy and make sure all of my data is backed up!
Beyond the obvious, it is a massive challenge to build a game and having done this professionally for 14 years I feel confident in my ability to take these challenges on head first. This game has been a fantastic learning experience for me and I am sure it will continue to be just that.
Executing the story as well as it plays out in my head is what keeps me awake at night. I won't cut any corners but I will be able to do more and more justice to this game and its story with every dollar beyond the initial funding goal.
Thank you for taking on the risks of this game with me. With your help the project will be something we can all be proud of and together we can turn this game into a long lasting and thriving story line.
Yes, I will be requiring the more in-development and Spoiler laden content be kept Confidential. But Don't worry, If you're a Youtuber or just want to share, You will also have access to the "Early access" builds which I will encourage you to share information about it, as well as record/share videos!
EARLY BIRD! Ashen Rift Physical Rewards and Patronage: You will get the above Rewards as well as your name in the credits of the game as a Tester and Patron of Ashen Rift + The Ashen Rift Jacket Patches and best of all you get the physical backer-exclusive packaged and signed Ashen Rift: A man and his dog! (Regular $75 pledge)
Ashen Rift Physical Rewards and Patronage: You will get the above Rewards as well as your name in the credits of the game as a Tester and Patron of Ashen Rift + The Ashen Rift Jacket Patches and best of all you get the physical backer-exclusive packaged and signed Ashen Rift: A man and his dog!
EARLY BIRD EASTER EGG! Previous Pledge packages plus you get to DESIGN one of 25 collectible "easter egg" objects to be hidden throughout the game. Your childhood teadybear? your grandfathers antique watch? whatever you want! (within reason) (regular 600 dollar pledge)
Previous Pledge packages plus you get to DESIGN one of 25 collectible "easter egg" objects to be hidden throughout the game. Your childhood teadybear? your grandfathers antique watch? whatever you want! (within reason)
Executive Producer pledge package: Once a month Skype meetings with Barry to brainstorm and see how everything is coming together. An excellent chance to have your voice be heard directly. Credited as "Executive Producer"