A single player, first-person exploration game in which you play as a dog thrust into a world of human problems.
A single player, first-person exploration game in which you play as a dog thrust into a world of human problems. Read more
About this project
NOTE: All game footage is from a pre-alpha vertical slice prototype and does not reflect the final production quality of the game.
Marisa Moreno and Wyatt Jameson are getting married in the next 36 hours. So far, so good: Pictures with the wedding party were taken early, the caterer’s checklist is done, and the cake looks both monstrous and beautiful. The rehearsal dinner with friends and family brimmed with Tex-Mex, joyful conversation, and optimism for their future. The only thing missing was the Maid of Honor, Laurel Hatter, but they made it work. And now, all Marisa wants in the world (and the only thing she’s asked of her fiance and best friend) is to have a day to herself being creative so she can recharge and prepare for the wedding. She might even level up her level 75 holy avenger, if she can squeeze in a raid with her guild.
But Laurel comes home just after the rehearsal dinner with a strange but adorable dog and a handful of bogus excuses about why she never showed up, Wyatt starts bossing everyone around, and even she’s starting to feel a bit peculiar. But what Marisa, Wyatt, and Laurel don’t know is they have someone watching their backs. They have you.
Adopted's story is a branching narrative journey complete with multiple possible outcomes and no intermediary fail states. The game’s story records the choices you and your humans make and adjusts what happens in the game dynamically as it progresses. It uses a technique called delayed branching to allow you to explore and influence the world in real time, but eventually the story will catch up with the choices your humans make, with or without your help.
On a less technical level, it’s an exploration how the way we love others is often deeply affected by the both choices we make and the ones we never realized we should have. How sometimes we can’t prioritize everything that’s important, and inevitably, something has to give. How as a twenty-something you might think you have the whole world figured out, but you actually have no idea how little you actually know. It’s about how some actions appear unforgivable, yet sometimes we find the strength to love one another unconditionally, no matter what.
This story is a very personal one for us, deeply grounded in our team’s own mistakes, struggles, and quarrels, both in relationships and with ourselves.
In October of 2013 one of Clockwork Demon’s co-founders, Caleb, got married. When he and his wife got back from their honeymoon, they were devastated to learn that their beloved Boston Terrier, Jackson, had passed away in his sleep. Afterward, Caleb reflected on the life of his furry friend, how Jackson had brought him and his wife together during rough moments in their relationship, and how the dog’s unconditional love inspired him to be a better person and love others the same. Wanting to pay tribute to Jackson’s memory, Caleb pitched an animated short called “Reason for Being” to the team, but they soon decided the concept could work as a game. One coffee shop meeting later, Adopted was born.
Adopted is a 3D, first-person exploration game from the viewpoint of a dog. You must sniff, bark, chew, and fetch to discover the your owners' secrets and influence them to make the choices you think are best, knowing that your actions will have consequences for both gameplay and story. These mechanics are inspired by the way dogs relate to and interact with their humans in the real world, to better immerse the player in the role of Luchador.
You can sniff items and humans to gain information about the characters' lives, their wants and motivations, and how to progress through the game. When an item or human is sniffed, fully voiced dialogue will play, depicting either an event that has happened in the recent past, or a character's current emotional state.
Though dogs don't really see in black and white, the popular myth inspired Adopted's use of color. Items that can be interacted with and humans start out with a purple aura surrounding them, but when they are sniffed their aura colors will change to give more information about how that item can be used, or how that human will respond to you.
You can bark to get your owners' attention & guide them around the house, chew to destroy items, or fetch to move items either into or out of sight. These mechanics can be used to either help or hinder your humans, and depending on what their priorities are, they will respond to your actions accordingly.
Being a small dog, sometimes a problem is too big for Luchador to tackle on his own, so you'll have to learn to manipulate your humans to get what you want.
Adopted's human AI is driven by a variation of Goal Oriented Action-Planning, or GOAP. This is the same AI architecture used in games such as F.E.A.R., S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It allows the AI agents to decide on a goal and then formulate a plan for achieving that goal, instead of following a series of steps that have to be predefined by the designer. Though GOAP can be computationally expensive for AAA games with lots of agents, it's perfect for a small, indie project like Adopted.
What you do in Adopted matters, both in the lives of the characters and in the moment-to-moment gameplay. When you discover a character's secret, will you expose it to their roommates or keep it away from prying eyes? Who will you support when two characters find themselves facing separate dangers, and there isn't time to help both? Your actions will make or break relationships and decide the futures of Marisa, Wyatt, and Laurel, as well as impact which challenges you face in-game.
All this is done using only the player mechanics described above. When you take action to change the environment or alter a human AI's behavior in some way, the effects of your actions will be recorded and carried forward in the game, sometimes in unpredictable ways.
Through the Eyes of a Dog
Adopted is not a dog simulator, but it does try to immerse the player in the role of a dog as the game's protagonist. To do that, we read the works of dog behaviorists to learn about how dogs see, hear, smell, think, and feel, and hypothesized about how the relationship between people and their dogs might look from our four-legged friends' perspectives. We chose the first-person perspective because it best captures the feeling of running around in Luchador's paws, and literally allows the player to see the world through his eyes.
But have you ever wondered what it's really like to live in a human-sized world as a tiny dog? As we began working on the game, we asked ourselves that question, and decided to answer it with the help of virtual reality. We plan on incorporating full Oculus Rift support for the game at launch, so players can really experience what it’s like to be Luchador.
The game takes place in Hermosa, a fictional megacity in the southwestern US. Inspired by real-world locations like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, or Phoenix, Hermosa is a reflection of modern-day America as experienced by post-college twenty-somethings. Marisa's condo is located in the Armadillo Valley, a place where cultures, economics, and ideas often collide.
Caleb is working on an original soundtrack for Adopted that blends the roots of American folk, blues, rock, and country with old world, traditional styles. For all you non-musicians out there, that means it has a twangy, southwestern flair to match the flavor of Hermosa. We think it’s pretty awesome, but don’t take our word for it! Listen for yourself:
Desert Highway Blues
Adopted Teaser Trailer Song
We’ve already been working on Adopted for about a year. During this time, we’ve developed the story & characters, designed the core mechanics & systems, written most of the codebase necessary to implement these systems, created about a third of the in-game environment and characters assets, built a “vertical slice” prototype of the game, and began playtesting the prototype and refining our design based on player feedback. Now we have a clear vision of the game we want to make, and we’re ready to dive headfirst into building out the content for that game. All we need to move forward is your support.
Clockwork Demon was co-founded by Megan Vokal, Caleb Moore, and Leo Glass in February 2014. Since then, they’ve brought on two more team members to complete production of Adopted. Meet the team!
Other collaborators: Maxwell Kaeter (animation & rigging) and Kaylee Stevens (Laurel's voice over).
Our office is located in the Turbine Flats Project, an ideas community in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s a collection of small businesses that pretty much all have something to do with technology or creativity, and it’s a great place to work! Oh, and it’s also home to the world’s largest mural of Nikola Tesla.
We've used some seed funding and a state grant to get Adopted through pre-production, but now that we're entering the production phase of development we need more funding to keep working full-time. We've explored the traditional investor/publisher options, but we'd like to maintain full creative control of the game as long as we possibly can. If we are funded through Kickstarter, we can stay true to our vision and continue to work full-time on Adopted through production (and maybe longer!), after which we plan to self-fund until release.
Our budget covers everything we'll need to produce the game in time for an August 2016 release. This includes livable wages for the team to work full-time on the game during production, office space, software, equipment, voice actors' wages, legal & accounting fees, and of course Kickstarter rewards, fees, and taxes.
We don’t want to promise you the world, just this one game. Because of that, we’re keeping our stretch goals simple and only offering goals that will make the quality of the game better or make development easier (and thus make the game better), not change our scope.
We're staying tight-lipped about our stretch goals right now, but stay tuned for when we reveal them as the campaign progresses!
Putting Adopted on Kickstarter gives us the unique opportunity to give you tons of cool stuff for your support! We've carefully budgeted digital and physical rewards into our goal so that we can make sure we'll stay on track for producing the game while giving you something awesome to satiate your interest while you wait for us to release! Click on the images below to see pics of several significant rewards or view the tier chart to see what cool stuff you still get when you back at a higher level.
Risks and challenges
This is our first time working on a commercial video game as a team, and for some of us it’s the first commercial video game we’ve worked on, period. Because of this, there’s a lot we’re still learning, and we’re bound to make some mistakes along the way. However, we are very fortunate to have friends in the industry and our local game development community to bounce ideas off of and ask for help when we need it. And if we ever encounter snags that’ll affect you, the player, we promise to let you know as soon as possible.
Beyond that, every game faces challenges on the design and technology side, and Adopted is no different. However, we’ve already done a substantial amount of pre-production work to address most of these challenges, and we have a clear vision for the game going forward. Any remaining risk we plan to mitigate by playtesting each part of the game early and often.
No game has ever been made without some hiccups along the way. But we promise to be fully transparent with you, our fans, and keep you in the loop throughout the goods and the bads of development.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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