Cedaria: Blackout takes a Middle Eastern spin on well-known RPG elements in a Steampunk setting influenced by real world events. Read more
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About this project
Find and reassemble all the pieces of the Phoenix machine, scattered throughout Cedaria. How you find and acquire them, and the choices you make along the way, will shape the world of Cedaria.
Read our blog on Gamasutra about crafting meaningful choices.
All donations will go towards packing more content like quests, wild animals encounters etc. With your help we can produce more concept art, a professional soundtrack and overall make Cedaria a lot more awesome than it already is! The smartphone version will be produced as a supporting app.
However, the desire to dominate the island’s newfound wealth soon gave rise to trouble – bonds between the different clans shattered, fights ensued and frequent skirmishes threatened to collapse the very foundations of the island... then the unthinkable happened.
The Phoenix broke down.
While the causes remain a mystery, the consequences are evident - with no way to piece the Phoenix back together, Cedaria plunged into a state of industrial decay and stifling darkness, penetrated only by the few primitive generators scattered around the island. The demand for inventors and engineers became high as different fractions of the population scrambled to seize and monopolize as many natural power sources as they could before anyone else.
Into the chaos now steps a wayfarer, returning home to unite with their family. You.
Can you unite a country?
- Explore the dark and dingy nooks and crannies of an island plagued by a severe lack of resources and teetering on the brink of a full-blown civil war.
- Select from a number of professions with unique dialogue options and tools. Are you an alchemist capable of crafting powerful healing concoctions and wondrous elixirs, or are you an inventor able to create tools and amazing contraptions such as Rocket Boots, Pneumatic Arms and Telescopic Lenses?
- Our conversation system presents choices that affect gameplay; solve problems your own way and experience the results and consequences. Will the next person you meet be an ally - or your nemesis?
- Cedaria is home to many social issues and corruption trends, ranging from inequality, racism and crime to monopolization and blackmail. Will you tackle them head on or play the innocent bystander?
- Each decision you make affects the world, each playthrough of the game is different, each legacy your character leaves behind - unique.
- End the game when you want - an interactive and dynamic ending will show you the repercussions and effects of your actions during your journey.
- Each playthrough of Cedaria: Blackout is unique to how you play the game. Who do you ally with on your journey? How will they affect the future of Cedaria? You have the power to change the world - your way.
- Cedaria: Blackout is an isometric view action RPG with emphasis on conflict resolution through dialogue that borrows elements from acclaimed titles such as Diablo and Planescape: Torment.
- You start the game by picking from one of several careers or professions and then create and name your own custom character.
- Through your character, you will interact with many objects and NPCs and tackle the problems of the world through a dialogue system that offers extensive conversation trees and there are multiple outcomes in every interaction.
- If dialogue fails, and you find yourself in a conflict situation, you may resort to harsher tactics. Your character has a variety of combat skills that can be acquired through progression but be warned that resorting to violence may have unforeseen consequences down the road... Combat in game is similar to existing ARPGs. You will directly control your character to fight your opponents, and use skills through familiar interfaces.
- In addition to the NPCs, the world is crowded with wild animals who may not appreciate you incurring on their territory. Fight, sneak or find a way to blend in.
- Cedaria is a world of exploration. It consists of areas that are connected to each other by borders. There will be a wide range of geography to explore, ranging from cities to forests and mountains.
- You can acquire items in the world through exploration or as quest rewards. Alternatively you can purchase the necessary provisions and implements from merchant NPCs. However, the best items will be available through crafting.
- You can learn specific crafting professions ranging from inventors to alchemists, which will allow you to progress more easily through the game.
- While exploring the wilderness you may come across harvestable resources which can be collected and used to create powerful tools or and concoctions -provided you have acquired the necessary know-how or schematics, of course.
- Multiplayer is supported throughout the game; Cedaria plays equally well in both singleplayer and cooperative mode, and you have access to the same game areas in both modes. The game includes common tools such as chat windows, party windows and a lobby to facilitate multiplayer.
- By teaming up with other players, you may discover new and alternative ways to overcome challenges that were not possible in singleplayer. While it is possible to finish the whole game in single player, you are encouraged to band together with friends to complete the game together.
- The ultimate goal of the game is to fix the Phoenix Machine and bring electricity back to Cedaria. There are a number of ways to achieve this and the game has multiple endings. The choices you make and who you side with will dictate the future of Cedaria.
Cedaria is inhabited by four different clans - the Vaytori, Kythiens, Thunes and Ozar. Each clan has its own set of ideals and political agendas.
While each clan wields considerable power and influence, they alone do not determine the politics and future of Cedaria. Several factions have been established over the years, some clan-exclusive and others open to all, but each with their own ideals and objectives. Sometimes they are at odds with the clans, and other times with each other. While some factions have a very clear agenda others focus on more pressing concerns and helping their members with their day-to-day business. Examples of factions in Cedaria include The Miners Guild, The Delanty Brotherhood, The Society of Female Artisans, the Explorers Guild and the Aeronaut Alliance.
Cedaria: Blackout features a colorful cast of NPCs, each with their own goals and conflicts. Here is just a sample to whet your appetite!
Josephine "Josie" Doughtry
Captain Silas Burcombe
Edwin Westlock III
For Cedaria we are using a mix of Lebanese and Ottoman architecture from the 19th century as a basis and infusing them with elements of Victorian era steampunk to create a unique art style.
The old Lebanese architecture is distinguished by its arches, big windows, small doors and famous red tile roofs. The arches of the upper floors were designed in a way that gave buildings an aesthetically-pleasing appearance. The big wooden windows were intended to let in as much light as possible light, as there was no electricity back in those days.
In Ottoman Lebanon, wooden front doors were purposely low in height to prevent the Ottoman soldiers from entering the building on their horses, buying the citizens some escape time while they dismounted.
The houses were built using large stones and had very thick walls (60 to 80 cm in depth), constructed from the inside out as multiple arches joining in the middle to create what is known as “aaked” (عقد) in Arabic, holding up the roof and acting as a perfect insulator that keeps the house cold in summer and warm in winter.
You can read more about how we incorporated this style on our blog.
First music track
Second music track
Third music track
Fourth music track
The sound and music will be designed to support and reinforce the art style we are going for. Each zone will get its own unique theme, and in addition we will have recurring themes like combat music and tension music.
Our plan is to use and mix in a lot of Middle Eastern instruments and if time and budget permits, we will also record with vocals and live instruments! Our goal with the soundtrack is to make it memorable so you will want to listen to it also outside the game. Help us make an awesome soundtrack!
To make sure Cedaria: Blackout becomes a memorable game, we have teamed up with veteran industry developers with previous experience from several AAA video games like Assassin's Creed I, Assassin's Creed II, Far Cry 2, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and The Secret World. So without further adieu:
• Before he founded Matsuko in 2010, Matus Kirchmayer (also called "Snarflecorn" by his friends) began his career as an analyst-programmer in EuroComp. From there he developed his programmer skills further and has since worked on many game-projects, including the Ubisoft games Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Rainbow Six (amongst others) that have all been touched by his divine hand.
• Robert Halvarsson started his career as a game designer as many others by creating mods for games like Quake and Quake2. He was picked up by Funcom in 2005 as a designer, working then on NPC design, effects and general gameplay on the game Age of Conan and later on as a team lead for The Secret World. In his free time, Robert makes small games for himself as well as playing D&D, Traveler and other pen and paper RPG's. And eating donuts. Don't forget about the donuts!
• Ole Herbjørnsen was hired by Funcom at the same time as Robert, which is likely why they've stuck together for so long. That and their shared love for indian food and pen and paper roleplaying games. Ole started out as an NPC-designer and quickly rose through the ranks as a team lead and has donned responsibility for art, animation, optimization and NPC-teams alike while working on the Age of Conan and The Secret World projects.
• Gwen (or Gwendoline) has been in the gaming industry for five years, first working as a 3D character artist in a small studio in Paris called F4, then worked for three years with Gameloft Montreal on the Dungeon Hunter series, finally leaving to pursue more indie projects. She believes that a good game character is one that combines an easily-read silhouette and coherent color schemes, naming Sora from Kingdom Hearts as an example. She tends to get obsessive over the faces and works hard to give them as much personality as possible, and Dishonored characters allow her to play around with that best… as long they’re not wearing their masks! She likes games that look beautiful without employing any difficult techniques, namely Ôkami and Radiata Stories. Gwen enjoys upside-down paragliding on her free time. Occasionally increasing the difficulty by blindfolding herself.
Matsuko will work in collaboration with local video game 3D designers and writers to ensure that the game will be culturally relevant and well-grounded in the local context.
For Zen (officially known as Zeinab), writing is not so much mashing ideas together as it is arguing with her characters and wrestling her plot bunnies into something readable. Cedaria is her first foray into the world of game development, and past experiences include work as a translator and editor, and publication of her own fantasy novel, titled Puppet Parade. Some of the most exciting aspects of her job include seeing her characters brought to life, first as HD concept art and then as fully textured and animated 3D models. More often than not you will find her buried in a book – with favourites like Harry Potter and the Discworld series – or living up to her title as a chocoholic. Zen has always been fond of Dungeon Siege, American McGee’s Alice and – though she won’t admit it in a hurry – Crash Bandicoot, a childhood favourite!
Ryan. In one sentence “FUS ro DAH! “ Born under the skies of Asgard! Wielding a mighty hammer in one hand and… a mouse to do 3D Art in the other. He started as a 3D Generalist at Blacksmith Studios creating architectural scenes but recently seized the opportunity to dive into the gaming industry because he knows his true mission is to reforge the great Mjolnir! He does have a hard time sticking to reality and is often poked to wake up from his daydreaming. After a hard day's work, he prefers RPGs to sleep -after all, who needs sleep when you have stamina potions? Ryan loves all aspects of 3D art be it genre blending or new techniques and more efficient ways to build realistic art. He takes everything as a challenge, deadlines for him are timed quests, knowing there is no ESC - LOAD last save!
Rony. The multitask-can-do-everything-dude. As a 3D Artist, there is absolutely nothing he can’t do. Tricks and tweaks are his specialty and he is a walking encyclopedia for 3D art. Rony has a strong foundation in Architectural Visualization, and he is on a personal quest to eradicate non-tiling textures from the face of the Earth! When it comes to games Rony does not play them, he consumes and digest them! He likes to tear the games apart and inspect every element, prop, texture and model to see how it was created. Oh, if he does not answer his phone it is probably because he took it apart to study the internals! Don’t worry, he will call you back as soon as he has put his phone back together again (or bought a new one)!
Born to an artistic family of composers and performers, Serouj Baghdassarian (or C-rouge), developed a passion for music at an early age. Experimenting with remixes at first, C-rouge released his debut single, “Groong,” in 2005. Influenced by his father, as well as his Armenian background, C-rouge reflected his heritage in his debut album, “genoTrancide”, carefully blending modern trance sounds with traditional Armenian melodies. He continues to produce and perform in various festivals and concerts in Lebanon, Armenia, Jordan, Dubai, and the United States. Serouj invents things on his free time. He claims to have invented a number of things, including trees, the color ‘red’ and air. His favourite composer is Hans Zimmer and he likes to relax playing Call of Duty, but Cedaria will endeavour to teach him some less adversarial conflict resolution techniques!
In high school, Shawn had a reputation for getting sent to the principal's office, not for getting in trouble, but because a fight had broken out, and he was called in to mediate! After studying communication and psychology in university, Shawn traveled the world and developed a passion for addressing conflict on a much larger scale. Today, he serves as the Director of Leadership and Training for Search for Common Ground. He is a leading expert in “Adventure-Based Conflict Resolution,” which merges the fields of experiential learning and conflict resolution. In other words, rather than just sitting around and talking, Shawn prefers to take "enemies" on wilderness expeditions together… kinda like a video game. In the game of life, Shawn believes that solving conflicts peacefully can be just as exciting as the alternatives.
Risks and challenges
SFCG is working with industry veterans from different game companies who have experience with both single-player, multiplayer and massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). While the team in Lebanon handles the artwork, music, character design and story, they handle the technical side of game development. Experience is no guarantee for success in the gaming industry however, and we are taking several steps to mitigate risk and overcome the challenges we are facing with this game:
During pre-production we performed a detailed analysis to identify the most complicated features from the game design and also analyzed both design and art workflows. Based on our findings we have selected a number of middleware products which will help streamline production and reduce risk:
- Unity3D game engine.
- UnityPark network middleware for Unity3D - a huge thanks go out to MuchDifferent for sponsoring us with a license to UnityPark Suite. This is a huge time saver for us and allows us to offer a robust and powerful cooperative experience!
- ChatMapper allows us to write and test the dialogue for our characters outside the game to improve the pacing and flow. It also simplifies translation and allows us to support Arabic characters.
- Allegorithmic substance designer which allows us to design procedural textures. Again, a huge time saver which allows us to update the textures on the fly based on the players’ actions.
We have adopted the Scrum development framework which is an Agile method that allows us to adjust our focus and priorities very rapidly. We use JIRA and Confluence (wiki) from Atlassian for task planning and intra-team communication. JIRA will also simplify the reporting of bugs during Alpha and Beta.
At the end of pre-production, we locked down the feature list. We also estimated how much time it would take to develop each feature and performed a series of cuts to trim the scope of the game and increase the likelihood of finishing the game on time and within budget.
The game has already entered the production phase, and we are developing the most critical features first. Basic multiplayer which was risky for us, is now working and we have a lobby search feature and you can transition from singleplayer to multiplayer. We have our first 3D characters with animations setup and we have started to build the first zones (levels) for the game. Look for an update on this later in the campaign!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The game is planned to contain 14 zones or levels. In singleplayer we expect the first playthrough to take 10 to 12 hours. You can finish it earlier or you can spend more time. It depends on what your focus is
You can play through with different characters that have their own abilities which affect which options are available during play. Also playing in a group will be different from playing in singleplayer.
Do you have any plans to offer a physical copy of the game? Crazy people like me will pay $100-$150 for them.
Not at this time. Our organization is not setup to handle the logistics. However, if there is a big interest in this, we might arrange for you to get permission to use the artwork from the game to design your own t-shirt, cups and wallpaper online. There are several sites online which offer these services
We will reveal more about the other factions early next week so stay tuned!
The game will support English and Arabic. We may add additional languages if we hit additional stretch goals. It will be up to the community to decide exactly which languages we should localize for!
5 USD: you get the Smartphone app
10 USD: you also get the singleplayer version of Cedaria: Blackout
15 USD: you also get the multiplayer version of Cedaria: Blackout
Everybody who donates to the game will get a serial key to unlock the game. There are no draconian DRM solutions in place and you can play the singleplayer version whenever you like. For the cooperative version of the game it requires us to have game servers online to route traffic, and we plan to have these game servers online for several years.
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