The Lost Pisces: An Indie Adventure Game
The Lost Pisces: An Indie Adventure Game
The Lost Pisces is an indie sci-fi video-game that re-imagines the Little Mermaid, with an emphasis on a new emotional approach to AI.
The Lost Pisces is an indie sci-fi video-game that re-imagines the Little Mermaid, with an emphasis on a new emotional approach to AI. Read more
THIS IS GOING TO BE COOL...
Now that you've watched the initial film about our vision (you watched it, right?) you're likely asking yourself: "Alright, so it's a small indie team of designers trying to make something cool... I getcha. But what about the actual gameplay? What does that look like!?!?" Well, good question!
We're so excited to bring you a mock up of what we'd like to do with it. Think of this as a sketch! It's not a finished game (hence, why we're looking to kickstarter for funding... otherwise we would just sell it, if it was finished!) but hopefully it gets the idea across. Animations, art, voices, music, etc. aren't finalized... but it should get our vision for what to expect across. We've used Unreal Engine 4 as our platform to bring this idea to life, because it's an amazing piece of technology that can deliver exceptional visual fidelity. Plus, if you're a team of artists like ourselves, this particular engine makes life 50-times easier.
AND IT'S GOING TO BE PRETTY...
So watch the video below! Like we mentioned, it's an early build with plenty of things to work out, but hey, that's why we need you guys! So watch, critique, hopefully support, and have some fun!
GAMEPLAY PROTOYPE DEMO
TWITCH Q&A SESSION 01
KINECT IS A FUN ENHANCEMENT, BUT NOT REQUIRED!
The Kinect is entirely optional! As you can watch in our first twitch video above, we think it's an awesome device with tons of potential that opens up a lot of neat avenues for gameplay (especially since it allows Pisces to actual see your face and reactions!) but it's not a requirement! Let me just repeat that: KINECT IS NOT REQUIRED TO PLAY THE LOST PISCES.
We understand there's plenty of folks out there that don't own a Kinect and aren't likely to buy one for our title alone. That's fine, and we want you to be able to experience the game anyway! Plus, as an update, we'd like to bring the game to Playstation's network, and obviously that console doesn't include Kinect technology. As you can see in our twitch Q and A video above, we have so many great things in our game for all versions. Dynamic changing worlds, rapid decision based events, mysteries and puzzles in the ruins of Atlantis, the face that all choices the gamer and Pisces make have consequences, and that interacting with Pisces and our Emotional AI is the core of our game play. And besides all of that, the story and art can stand on their own too. If you choose to play with the Kinect you are getting an enhancement layer, but it is not a core part of our experience.
GAMERS DESERVE SOMETHING NEW. HERE'S OUR VISION.
At it's core, The Lost Pisces relies on Procedural Emotional AI... an artistic approach on how AI characters can interact and grow with you, the gamer!
When we began Pisces, we wanted to give you, the gamer, a new experience. We've seen graphics get better. We've seen action evolve and new interactive peripherals emerge. But what about characters? The human being connects to characters. It's through characters that we relate to a story. And so we wanted to make a character that you'll fall in love with... because she grows to understand you. It's called Emotional AI.
WHAT STYLE OF GAME IS THIS
The Lost Pisces is a new path to gameplay. At a top level the game will play like a third person adventure style game. We blur the line of strategy, open world exploration, and elements of a FPS. But the core essence of The Lost Pisces gameplay is around building a relationship with Pisces, using our Emotional AI concept. Pisces will act as a compass to the gamer, and through your interactions you will shape her perception. It is her perception of you that is the core game mechanic to our story.
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
We have a vision for a new path for how we interact with a story and it's characters. We have been fortunate to have the right core team with the right skills to get us this far. But it still is a conceptual prototype. We're serious about what we put out into the world, and we wanted to make sure our ideas had a solid base before we reached out to the community. Now we have finally gotten to that point and that is why we need your help. We want those who support us to also help us map out the path forward. To shape the path to reach as many gamers as possible, we need to fund the next stages of development. This includes bringing on additional talent to help us move our prototype into a full fledged game. In addition we utilize developing technologies and need support to push those technologies forward. We want to grow our Emotional AI into a serious new path for story telling. With funding we can take these next steps.
WE BEGAN WITH THE LITTLE MERMAID. WE WENT FURTHER.
Hans Christian Anderson created a piece of art in 1837, named "The Little Mermaid." It was a story about a creature looking for a soul. The concept of death with no continuation of consciousness terrified the character... and so she became obsessed with the idea of gaining an immortal soul. Same as a human being. That's where The Lost Pisces begins. It's a re-imagining of a beautiful, meaningful story.
The setting has changed... it's set sometime at the end of humanity's technological peak (though we're not saying it's set in the future... wink wink), and instead of a mythical mermaid, we've created a synthetic creature that desires the same thing... a soul. But her journey is similar. It spans an amazing science-fiction world. One filled with massive denizens that stand in the way of our Little Mermaid.
A WORLD TEEMING WITH BEAUTY.
See that water in the image above? You can dive into it. In fact you'll be spending half of your time under those waves... this is a retelling of The Little Mermaid after all. The massive denizens that occupy the land are spawned from those icy depths, and they know no bounds when it comes to hunting their prey. The world beneath the surface becomes especially treacherous the more Pisces becomes human... it's hard to survive under water when you need air to breath.
The tides of time have drowned the world, and there's plenty of valuable items hidden in the crevices of the ocean floor. Sunken ships, cities, and technologies hold the keys to defeating your foes. The only way to reach them, is to dive in.
THE CHARACTER MATTERS
The Lost Pisces is an experiment in connecting the human to the story.
From the beginning, we understood that to make you fall in love with a story, you need to fall in love with its character. We're human beings... we connect to other human beings. Empathy, passion, heartbreak, jealousy... we're complicated creatures. By nature we look for those qualities and shortcomings in the people we interact with. And so, we didn't want to construct Artificial Intelligence... we needed to grow Emotional Intelligence. Something that notices you, the gamer.
Like The Little Mermaid's original heroine, Pisces begins her journey devoid of a soul. She's reborn into a world of emotions and dangers and personalities. Even more so, because in our version of the classic tale, she begins her journey as a machine.
As the story progresses, she grows to know you. And you'll grow to know her. That's what makes a good story... one where you deeply connect to the character. That's what you remember.
A NEW WAY TO FALL IN LOVE
What if she could see you? We mean, really see you. See your emotions. Could it give a piece of AI a better insight into who the gamer was? And how to react to them?
Our faces tell each other an incredible amount of information. Without even speaking, we can communicate a great deal about our current emotional response to a situation. The gamer has to develop a relationship with Pisces. Because like the little mermaid our Pisces looses her voice as the human condition weighs on her. Communication between the gamer and the girl have to take place on a different level. A deeper level. Let's use the 3D Sensors for something more.
Sensors, such as the Kinect for Windows V.2 (along with a few others) allow for the computer to see you. The real you. The one that expresses itself subconsciously throughout the day. By watching the gamers face, Pisces will understand a deeper version of you. This is only one element of many that Pisces will use to understand you, the gamer. And it's her response to these emotional queues that will make her more alive to the gamer. If you are to care for the character and story, you need to fall in love with her. She has to mean something to you. You, the gamer, has to want her. Want her to survive. Want her company. You need to miss her when she's not around. That will force you to remember her, and her story.
This is something we've been toying with for a bit. Instead of sticking with your usual path-finding and nav-mesh AI components, we wanted Pisces to have a memory. But not in the traditional sense... in a very special way. She captures moments, images, from her adventure with you. Images make up "neural pathways" that resemble sequences known as memories, and based upon negative or positive outcomes, these memories become a method of learning about her world and the person most important to Pisces: you, the gamer.
There's more coming...
This is just the surface of something big. There's a lot more to be revealed in time, so stay tuned to kickstarter launch, and we'll soon be adding a development blog to compliment our efforts and achievements.
CONTRIBUTE AND BE REWARDED
We've worked on The Lost Pisces for over 3 years now, and while we've enjoyed every minute of it, we want to bring additional talent onto the team here at Sirenum.
Why? Because artists and designers feed off of one another. We act as multipliers to one another. We inspire each other, because every creative individual brings their own unique skill sets and perspective to a project. Additionally, we're a simple team of 3 artists, 1 programmer, and a writer. While Unreal Engine 4 has provided exceptional opportunities to design without the need to code, some of the more advanced features The Lost Pisces includes requires additional personalities to complete our vision.
Music, software, and marketing all cost something too. It's for these reasons that we've decided that now is a good time to seek additional funding from the indie-gaming community (or anyone really!) as we've laid much of the groundwork for the game. We would like to complete The Lost Pisces within the next 1.5 - 2 years. In order to do this, we need crowdfunding support.
We've compiled a list of compelling rewards for those who choose to contribute, and encourage you to look at them yourself. As a "thank you for believing in our vision," anyone who contributes $15 or more will receive the game, be included on insider info, and invited to provide feedback as a part of the community. Anyone contributing $30 or more will be provided with BETA access when we're at that stage, and so those patrons will be able to experience the game as we develop it... which we think is pretty exciting.
Let's do this. Coming to XBOX, PC, and Playstation. Everyone's happy.
If you're here, let me thank you for at least checking our project out. That's huge enough that you saw something special in The Lost Pisces. If you choose to contribute, then thank you even more for taking a chance on our project and our team.
The Lost Pisces is a part of me. It's like a child that I've watched evolve and grow into something i couldn't have imagined in the beginning. It's taken a lot to get it to here. A lot of sleepless evenings. A lot of weekends given up. It's not a matter of martyrdom... its a passion. It's a love for the piece of art and an absolute devotion to its eventual completion.
One of the reasons I avoided launching a crowdfunding campaign up until now has been because I wanted to be confident that what I offered on the campaign site was achievable. There's been rashes of dishonest characters in the crowdfunding community that have unfortunately resulted in over-promising results that were never very likely to succeed. That's unfortunate, because crowd funding is an amazing phenomenon that has propelled many otherwise impossible-to-fund ideas into the consciousness of the populous. It's brought products and artwork to life that would never have seen the light of day, had it not been for the generous and confident backers who provided that funding. They've donated money while knowing the risks involved, and as a result of their selflessness we have a more imaginative society.
So crowdfunding is something special. I don't take it lightly. And as a result, I promise that our team will devote themselves to trying to finish this game the way that we've dreamed it should be. We will try our hardest... and then try some more.
The Lost Pisces has taken 3 years to get to a crowd-funding point because our team has lofty goals... most of which were initiated by myself. But we believe we can deliver on the ideas we've set forth here, on this website, and in the crowdfunding campaigns. We believe we can construct an amazing new AI that builds a relationship with the gamer. And we believe that using a Kinect for Windows, or the XBOX ONE Kinect in subtle ways, will enhance the gameplay for some truly unique experiences to play out between a real-life gamer, and their digital female companion... our Little Mermaid... Pisces.
Pisces is a character I think you'll fall in love with. Because unlike other NPCs (non-player characters), she will create a memory of her experiences with you. She will imprint her surroundings and experiences with you. She'll see subtle expressions in your face. A smile, a look of confusion, bored expression, and frustration. She will learn from your actions in game in her own way, and in doing so, I hope she'll become someone to you. Not just some-thing.
REWARDS!!!! Cuz that's what you really want anyway.
Alright so we've put together some pretty cool rewards for anybody who helps out. Whether you donate a little or a lot, you'll still get something fun (and a sense of being an awesome person, of course) that you can treasure forever, and look back fondly upon this moment as a time when you helped The Lost Pisces become a reality! Exciting.
So check out the gifts we've come up with. And if you have another awesome idea, just let us know! We'll consider it. We like awesome ideas.
IT'S COME A LONG WAY...
And finally some of the art that led to the game you see before you! It's always fun to see how thing came to be, so take a quick look through the gallery... you'll see how the game appeared back when we were first concepting it out in Unity, as well as some sketches and other work. We figured it would be good to look back at how The Lost Pisces came to be where it is today... we hope you do too!
Risks and challenges
There's plenty of challenges along the way... after all, this is an experiment in uncharted waters.
However we're a group of designers by trade, familiar with the many stumbling blocks and pitfalls that any creative en-devour can experience. We encounter constraints and tricky situations continuously, and understand that adapting the vision to meet the technical limitations is something that any artist has to deal with. But we wholeheartedly believe that we are at the beginnings of something magical. Something impressive. Something that will change perceptions of what AI should be.
That said, we've been working on this project for a few years now. While we had planned to release the project to crowdfunding a while ago, we chose to hold off until now, when we believe we can create something fun and engaging that plays with the gamer as much as the gamer plays with it! We're of course faced with the usual project constraints... budget, time, and resources. Items such as motion capture can be quite expensive and timely, and there is of course the fact that the Unreal Engine 4 is still a work in progress, making it challenging to finalize certain items. But in the end, we've gotten a fair amount of the leg-work down for the general concept. The idea and characters and world are in place, and we want to continue to develop the project to its fullest potential. This is an experiment! It's a fun one... a game trying to do something different. So let's have fun building it together!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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