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A science-fiction visual novel exploring the nature of time, technology, and the human desire for power.
A science-fiction visual novel exploring the nature of time, technology, and the human desire for power.
168 backers pledged $6,059 to help bring this project to life.
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Orion -- A Sci-Fi Visual Novel

$6,059

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It's a lesson we never seem to learn... time isn't meant for human manipulation...

Sam Acacius is afraid. And why wouldn't he be? He's just been told that his home, Section 6 of the Orion Torus, is going to be destroyed within days. Encoded messages like this have been sent to people all across the ship by members of the underground dissidents; could this just be a ploy to rain instability on government control? Or is there a deeper meaning behind this information? In the back of his mind, one fact repeats itself: this message was given to him and only him... 

But why?

Orion is a science-fiction visual novel that takes place on a circular torus-shaped-ship orbiting above 25th century Earth. Through the eyes of Sam Acacius, an introverted, but bright student, Orion explores themes such as the effect of human control over science, the nature of time, and political power in an era of advanced technology. As Sam struggles to understand the meaning of that strange message, you'll have a chance to delve into a world where the mechanization of life is limited only by the choices we make. 

The international team behind Orion includes an array of talented voice actors, artists, composers, and game developers. For a narrative to be three-dimensional, it requires the depth of storytelling that only beautiful music and art can provide. As an example of both the story Orion will tell and what content we're able to produce with just limited pre-Kickstarter resources, we've included a link to a playable demo below!

Unzip/Extract the download and you'll then see the playable demo!

The story of Orion is told through the visual novel format, where the reader not only has character and background artwork to look at, but also text and the characters' voices. The game itself will work on any computer.

The full story will feature a total of four paths you can take, based on critical decisions you, the reader, make. Each of the four paths has two possible endings, resulting in a series of eight different ways your journey can go. We will also include a 'secret' ending, which will be unlocked upon finishing the other four paths.

Additionally, we're excited to include a pair of talented composers on our team who have contributed an amazing original soundtrack for Orion. Take a peek at just a few tracks below.

These screenshots and music pieces (along with the demo itself) are all works-in-progress and may change if we're given the opportunity to develop a full game. Nevertheless, the feel of Sam's world will remain the same as illustrated in this alpha test.

As introduced in the KS video above, we have a cast of eleven characters, each of whom are voiced. 

P.W. Gerkman plays our protagonist, Sam Acacius. Along with his best friend, Cyrus (CV: Steven Kelly), and his brother Louca (CV: Jonah Scott), they make up the first characters you'll meet in the world of Orion.

Charles Nguyen & Michaela Laws play our resident gamers, Zachary & Zevera. The Kaitos siblings are experts at PAX, an immersive reality game popular on the Orion Torus.

In a world where technology is king, scientists are part of every government agency. Of course, few are as independent-minded as Arwa Hakim (CV: Adrienne Cox) or her mischievous A.I. creation, Virgil (CV: Ryan Lawhon).

Though never in agreement, Director Faye (CV: Stanton Nichols) and his deputy, Kiyomi Muranami (CV: Rachael Messer), hold the unique authority to decide the future of Sam's home. 

The spiritual belief system on the ship, called Unionism, has made individual rights subject to one's ability to contribute to society. Mari (CV: Jill Harris) and the mysterious Issaku (CV: Timothy Kohler) will do everything they can to force a change in that system.

The majority of the Kickstarter budget is dedicated to paying our skilled production team and voice actors. 

  • Programmer, VAs, GUI, & sound design: $2,500 
  • Character, BG, and CG artists: $1,300
  • Music: $600
  • KS Fees: $600

The KS fees are a conservative estimate to ensure we have some breathing room between what we raise and how much we need to pay our team. Every dollar goes to the actual production of the visual novel. As our physical rewards are extremely easy to prepare, none of this budget will be wasted on such costs.

  • $7,000 -- Find Orion exciting? We do too! At our first stretch goal, we'll be able to extend the length of the game, add character sprite variations, more CGs, unlockable content and more! You'll have the chance to learn about the history of 25th century Earth and gain a greater understanding of the characters Sam interacts with.
  • $8,000 -- The Rebel Path unlocked! We'll include a full-path that explores the dissident group aboard the Orion torus, including their leader, Issaku. What information can they shed on Sam's past and what is the truth behind their movement?
  • $10,000 -- We'll be able to hire a professional background artist for the full version of the game! 
  • $15,000 -- The Orion production team will add in audio-visual sequences (e.g. cut scenes) throughout the story! At this stretch goal, having already unlocked the world of the rebels, we'll also have a chance to learn about Mari's backstory. Why did she join Issaku's group anyway?

Reuben Lack is the creator and producer of Orion. He is a student at Emory University where he studies history and works extensively in student government. Reuben also runs the post-production startup, "Cylight Studios," which produces original audio content and provides audio services for creators of visual novels, audioplays, and other creative projects.

Ethan Nakashima is the associate producer and programmer of Orion. He studies computer science at California Polytechnic State University and is part of the executive staff at Cylight Studios.

We are excited to include Polina Garanina, Natalia Sorokina, and Ellen Curtis as our artists. Individually, they are wonderfully creative minds; together, they make this project unique. 

Original music for the visual novel is composed by Tav Lyn and Nathanael Platier, both of whom are involved with a diverse range of projects both in the United States and abroad. 

Sound design and audio mixing for the project is done by Jonah Scott, who also serves as the VP of Production at Cylight Studios.

Risks and challenges

This kind of project involves a lot of moving parts, from artists to voice actors to actually programming the game. With this in mind, I've gathered together a talented production team that will ensure the final game will be done on-time and without too many hiccups along the way. Delivering the physical rewards will pose some administrative hurdles, though those are fairly easy to overcome.

I'm committed to keeping backers updated throughout the creation of this project. Just as it is with any internet-based work, organization is absolutely essential. Our demo is the best evidence that the Orion team will deliver what we've promised.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    ~ELECTOR~

    We thank you for your support of our project! Backers will be kept up to date on Orion's progress!

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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    ~CITIZEN~
    You'll get access to the Orion visual novel, what this whole thing is about!

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    62 backers
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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    ~CADET~
    Your name will be listed in the credits as a thank you for your support in addition to access to the visual novel.

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    18 backers
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    ~SYSTEMS CONTROL~
    You'll get a digital art book in addition to VN access and your name in the credits.

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    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    ~MACHINE INTERFACE~
    A downloadable version of the OST (used and unused musical compositions) for Orion, the art book, and access to the visual novel.

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    25 backers
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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    ~BACKDOOR ACCESS~
    At this level, you'll be given exclusive access to a beta version of the visual novel at least a month before the full release. This comes with a downloadable copy of the OST, the art book, and access to the final VN in April.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    ~WAVEFORM SYNC~
    You can commission the project's creators, Ethan or I (or both of us together), to voice anything you want! Additionally, you'll have a downloadable copy of the OST, the art book, and access to Orion at its full release.

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    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    ~TRANSMISSION~
    Get a personalized message from your favorite Orion character! Also includes access to the beta version of the VN, the OST, the art book, and a copy of the final release of Orion.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    ~DEEP PROGRAMMER~
    Have digital access to production notes, scripts, and planning materials for a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Orion! Comes with access to the beta, the OST, the art book, and a copy of Orion at its release next year.

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    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    ~ALTERNATE TIMELINES~
    If you're a fan of Orion, you may be a fan of another Reuben Lack creation: the Attack on Space audioplay. You'll have access to the audio assets from that project, in addition to the beta, the OST, the art book, and a copy of the visual novel next year.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    ~DIRECT CONDUIT~
    Hold a copy of Orion in your hands at this level! We'll give you a physical copy of the game along with a signed copy of the script and a personal thank-you from the producers. Comes with everything from the DEEP PROGRAMMER reward.

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    Pledge US$ 180 or more About US$ 180

    ~VIRTUAL WORLDS~
    Hang out with the cast and crew of Orion in a Google Hangout or Skype call! Get a chance to meet the amazing voice actors and production team. This also comes with everything from the DEEP PROGRAMMER reward level.

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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    ~UNDERGROUND REBEL~
    You'll have exclusive access to a stream/video of the cast members going through the game, as a chance to experience the project in a whole new way. This reward level includes all the cool stuff from DEEP PROGRAMMER above.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    ~PARALLEL CREATION~
    You get to be in the story! We'll use your own voice for either an AI in the game or one of the many people Sam will encounter. Additionally, you'll get the rewards included in UNDERGROUND REBEL.

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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    ~MODULE DESIGN~
    Love our composers' music? We'll have our talented team give you a custom-made track! You also get all the rewards included in UNDERGROUND REBEL, from access to the game to commentary from the cast and crew.

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    Pledge US$ 350 or more About US$ 350

    ~PATHWAYS~ Comes with the rewards in "Module Design," (the music commission and the lower-tier rewards included) in addition to a voice commission from Reuben and/or Ethan as listed in "Waveform Sync."

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    ~CANDIDATE~
    You get to name and design a character who'll make a cameo appearance in the game! This character will get a few lines from a voice actor we hire! Also get all the rewards in UNDERGROUND REBEL.

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    Pledge US$ 650 or more About US$ 650

    ~CENTRAL TORUS~ This reward comes with the Cameo character in "Candidate" and all the lower-level rewards included there, in addition to the following: An original music composition and a voice commission from the project's creators

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    Pledge US$ 700 or more About US$ 700

    ~KRONATE~
    At this level, we'll allow you to design a character who'll be given a larger role in one of the story paths. Along with being voiced, they'll have a full sprite set and will appear in CGs. Comes with the rewards in CANDIDATE besides the cameo (as this already includes the larger-role character).

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Funding period

- (30 days)