About this project
Welcome to the Kickstarter for Happy Hell!
Here you'll find Polygonzo Trismegistus of Occultimate Games (in association with The Devil) revealing a brand new 3D platformer. This is a one-human endeavour to conjure The Spirit of Platformers Past, not for the mere sake of nostalgia! But as a kind of phantom fuel that might propel us into wilder, freakier video space.
Happy Hell begins with Spooky Poo, a cartoon cat thing that wants to make a wish. When The Devil is summoned for this purpose, He agrees on one condition: Spooky Poo must survive nine descending levels of Happy Hell.
No one has ever escaped this wicked wonderland. Luckily, the Devil is willing to sweeten the deal for Spooky! All you need to do is find a Soul Sucker.
These ghoulish grabbies grant Spooky Poo one unique ability in exchange for a little soul. By selling Spooky's soul this way, you can buy greater mastery over the underworld. Your path to power is shaped by your path through Hell and how you overcome its challenges. Search, think and fight to win more powers.
The usefulness of particular magick powers becomes obvious in many situations, but players can choose to favour certain styles of gameplay at their own pace whether it's shooting, acrobatics, or obsessive sleuthing.
Also, the Devil wants to point out that although it's more fun to blow through Hell with black magick powers, it is entirely possible to survive all the way to His doorstep without selling any of Spooky's soul. Doing it the "good" way, whole soul, is for a special kind of player though...
All 9 levels of Happy Hell have goals that can be completed in multiple ways.
The reward for completing each goal is a Good Thing. Good Things are non-evil objects that have somehow ended up lost in Hell.
Demons love nothing more than getting rid of Good Things in nasty ways, so by offering Good Things to these hateful creatures, Spooky can bribe his way to the bottom of Happy Hell.
Though Good Things unlock the world in a way similar to stars in Mario or Jiggies in Banjo-Kazooie, progression in Happy Hell is more organic and even ambiguous. There's a touch of Dark Souls and metroidvania to this game.
And there's no right or wrong way to reach the heart of darkness. There are more Good Things than Spooky needs to claim his wish, and Happy Hell is riddled with shortcuts, warps and alternate dimensions...if you can find them!
Stay tuned to learn more about Stretch Goals and Backer Rewards!
Pretty much everything you see of Happy Hell was conceived of and created by me, Polygonzo Trismegistus, professional game developer for nearly a decade. Six months ago, as Occultimate Games, I agreed to make this 3D platformer for The Devil. I've had my fill of game studios big and small. Now I'm working for the creative freedom to make games with daredevil imagination.
Satan's sponsorship allows me to do whatever I want! Plus, after Happy Hell, we can go our separate ways (aside from some fine print (possible sequel...console releases...)). The only downside is that the Dark Jerk pays crap all. For that reason (and the chance to create a cool community around this thing) I've brought Happy Hell to Kickstarter.
Some more about me...
I first got the idea that I could actually become a game designer after reading an advertisement in Nintendo Power. That convinced me (Jim Burner as I was commonly known then) to apply to DigiPen Institute of Technology which was on the other side of the USA in Washington. In 2005 I received a degree in Applied Arts in 3D Animation. It was my time to unleash years of pent up polygonal fantasies!!
I spent the next year and a half making Disney Channel games for the Nintendo DS (background art specifically, which was often rather fun). After that I modeled crates and caves for a Lord of the Rings game for a while and got my first taste of working at a mid-large game studio. I didn't care for it as a creative gig, but I did learn some things.
Then I worked with a group of friends at a smaller company called Fugazo. We made casual PC games and eventually mobile free-to-play games. After 6 years as a 3D artist/animator, it was there that I officially cut my chomps on Game Design. I made a wonky Hidden Object game, some half-baked prototypes and a versus thing called Bomb Buds which I really dug, but in the end it became vaporware and a mere memory to inspire more skepticism of "studios", "publishers" and "marketing" in general.
However, in of the ashes of Fugazo there were nuggets of good fortune generously shared by owner Andrew Lum (thanks Andrew!) By this I mean computers, software, and the kind of stuff that made it possible for me to build Happy Hell by myself (and also there's the deal with The Devil and its perks (though again, no money to live on...)).
I've put an intense amount of work into this project. Having to know how everything fits together has required obsessive dedication, but I find the results incredibly rewarding. I hope many other people do as well. This game is pretty loopy at times, but it's made with heart and lots of psychic sweat. At the end of the day, I remind myself that the idea is to create fun and let the imagination to run wild.
Kickstarting Happy Hell
The decision to bring Happy Hell to Kickstarter is two-fold. First of all there's money. I don't have much left after working full-time for 6 months. If the Kickstarter goes bits up, I'll have to find another job which means progress on Happy Hell will slow down considerably. That would suck.
The second reason is that Kickstarter can be a great way to build a community of enthusiastic fans. I have a strong vision for this game (I hope you can tell) but I'm also very open to ideas and criticism from players who dig Happy Hell. I can't satisfy everyone, but I will always listen. With the backer rewards, I've tried to leave plenty of room for your ideas...so check those out!
$13,666 will allow me to work on Happy Hell full time for at least 9 months.
About 12% of the initial goal goes towards other things like taxes, fees and licences. About 3% will go to musicians and possibly other developer friends who help out. With 9 months plus the 6 I've already put in, I hope to be able to make an intriguing adventure at least 3/4 the size of Super Mario 64. This game will wear its lo-fi charm on its sleeve while also being one of the most daring and experimental 3D platformers ever.
I plan on spending:
- 2 months locking down game mechanics and level design
- 2 months refining goals and challenges, incorporating events
- 3 months creating final art, animations and audio
- 2 months play testing, bug fixing, polishing and preparing to release
Ideally, I'd like to have a year or more to fully explore the potential of Happy Hell and even hire another programmer/artist to take the game to another level. The more funding Happy Hell gets, the more amazing I can make it (with the goal to release it well before 2017).
Risks and challenges
It's no secret that game development is fraught with risks. I've been making games professionally for almost a decade so I know firsthand! Add crowdfunding into the mix and things can get messy.
However! Spending 6 months on Happy Hell before coming here has given me a solid grasp of my limitations as well as the potential this game has. Being the only person on this project (for now (stretch goals)) IS challenging, but there are also benefits. I don't have to worry about anyone flaking out for one thing. Plus, I have you rooting for me! Let's do this!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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