A huge THANK YOU to all the backers who took us to our goal and beyond. The Kickstarter phase of this campaign is over but if you missed out don't worry: you can still join in right here. Seriously, thank you: we wouldn't be making Chime Sharp without your support. See you soon.
The Kickstarter target we've set is the very lowest it can be for us to deliver Chime Sharp. But I've had years to think about this and there's a lot I want to do beyond the minimum, and that's exactly what stretch goals are for, right?
Support for User Generated Content!
We know the biggest thing people want from Chime Sharp is more levels. But "three more levels" seemed like a bit of a dull stretch goal (though we're working on a way to add extra tracks for backers to the 12 we've promised; more on that soon, I think), and we also know that we won't be able to satisfy everyone's desire for #content forever. I don't want to end up with an orphaned game and users begging for DLC, like we did with Chime 1.
SO. Here's the solution. If we make it to £15k we'll add basic support for User Generated Content, allowing you lot to create your own grid layouts, define your own palettes and piece sets as well as build and import your own music tracks. It'll be simple and it's not going to be pretty -- but it'll work, and it'll let you put whatever you want into Chime Sharp. Infinite content, forever. You'll be able to make a Chime level out of you singing in the bath. In fact, I insist on it. DO IT. DO ITTTTTTTT. >:(
This is the huge secret I mentioned before. We will make another game called Chime Flat, a 2D version of Chime with a chiptune soundtrack and retro graphics. Everyone who backs above £15 will get this new, standalone version.
Q. Why is Chime Flat a stretch goal?
There are a few answers to that. Partially because it seemed like a cute idea that will encourage new people to back the game, and current backers to upgrade their pledges to help us get there -- everyone wants more levels, more songs, and we know some people prefer straight up 2D visuals to Chime Sharp's new 3D thing.
We'll put Chime Sharp on PS4 and Xbox One (and backers at £15 or above will be able to select that as their version)
A console version is not that far away, technically. The problem is that, while Unity allows us to develop cross-platform it doesn't mean it's free to put games on PS4 and Xbox One. So we have to be sure that we're going to make that money back that. Am I sure we would, right now? No, not 100%. This is game development.
But I want it there, and you want it there (I think), so this stretch goal is to prove the desire and soften some of that risk. The money we make by hitting that target (if we hit that target) will go towards making a console happen. Chilled Mouse will cover the remainder. They'll do that because we've agreed £25k is enough evidence that it should exist: proven by the people who committed because we said there'd be a console version (and provide the boost we'll need to take us there), by the press interest (if there is any) and so on.
Q. Who gets a console copy of the game?
If we hit £25k anyone who backs at £15 or above will get to choose the version of Chime Sharp they want from these options:
PC (Steam + DRM free)
HEY: Before we say anything else this is important: we've already built a working demo of Chime Sharp. Go and play it! And definitely, definitely come back when you're done.
WebGL (newer browsers): http://chimegame.com/game?lib=webgl
Unity (older browsers): game.chimegame.com
OK. Hi. I'm Ste. I'll keep this brief: In 2009 I directed a brilliant game called Chime. I've worked on a lot of games, good and bad, but Chime is my favourite and the one of which I'm the most proud. Now I've been handed an opportunity to make a sequel -- and I'd like your help to do that.
Chime is a music puzzle game, initially prototyped by "The Lab", a team I ran while I worked at Zoë Mode. People have compared it to Lumines, but I always describe it as part-sequencer, part-Tetris. You place pieces on a grid and those pieces are read as sounds by a beatline. As you tessellate the pieces to cover the playfield you both augment and progress through a piece of music.
Gamespot called it "captivating and inventive"; IGN said it was "easy to get sucked into"; and I gave it 7/10 on my radio show, the highest score we've given anything! How's that for ethics?
Chime is both addictive and ambient, competitive and relaxing. But this is a music game -- words can't do it justice -- and the best way to understand is to play. So we've made that possible: you can spend some time with an early alpha build of Chime Sharp right here. Hopefully you've already done that. Hi.
And hopefully you want more than one level, one mode, one piece of music and one set of blocks. The reason the demo exists is that it was important for me to run a Kickstarter which offered something to backers from the start and the good news is there's already more: if you back Chime Sharp right now you'll receive a download of the three-level version of the game as it stands, the moment the Kickstarter finishes. That means a playable PC version with two more levels and two more tracks, by the brilliant Chipzel (Super Hexagon) and the equally amazing Andy Hung (F*** Buttons), and you'll continue to receive updates as we move towards release. There are also tiers that allow you access to the work-in-progress dev version and access to the design group.
OK. Good question. I've been playing the "hypothetical sequel to Chime" game in my head for five years. As soon as the chance to do this arrived I knew exactly what I wanted:
- Chime Sharp needs new music (How many? Minimum 12 new artists, 12 new grids)
- Chime Sharp needs a new aesthetic (It does? Sure: blocks don't have to be boring, and neon is so 2009)
- Chime Sharp needs new rules and ways to play (What are they? Hm. I have some ideas, but we need some time to try them)
The last bullet point is a bit vague, I know. I can be more specific: I want to fix some of the things I still find broken and dissonant in Chime -- balance the Fragments, encourage Perfect Quads, improve the relationship between the music and the game -- and try some new rules too. That's the part of the future I can't see yet. I'd like a ruleset that removes the timer, I'd like a shorter form of the game, but we need some space to see what works, and that isn't as simple as it sounds. The most important thing is to not break what makes Chime Chime.
So: Chime Sharp will be a prettier version of the game that everyone loves, distilled, with extra game modes and all new music. And again, you can already get a glimpse by playing the demo you've already played. Right? RIGHT? Right.
Right now, Chime Sharp (which you've played, right? OK, good, just checking) is a solid, straight remake of the original with a new aesthetic and some new music. It's still the same strong, ambient experience -- and if we had to finish the project tomorrow everyone would still have a new version of Chime to play.
But I don't think it counts as a sequel. At least not yet. And to get to that place I need your support. What does your money buy? For you it buys the game, the early access version, some super-pretty rewards, that kind of thing.
But for me, as I say in the video, your backing buys three things:
- It buys me music. I've a huge list of bands I'd like to see in Chime; maybe you recognise some of them in the video, and there are dozens more. We've begun conversations with some already and the more backing we get here, the easier licensing Chime's perfect soundtrack becomes
- It buys me time. The more money we manage to raise through Kickstarter, the more game modes I'll have the budget to
investigate (and early access participants will get to see the things we try, too)
- It buys me trust. Chilled Mouse, the publisher whose support has brought Chime to this point, want to know there's an audience for the game. This Kickstarter allows them to gauge your interest
So that's why we're here.
There are plenty of rewards for helping us out and here's an example: if you're one of the people who backed us on Kickstarter we'll give you a permanent badge of honour on the high score table.
Chime was backed by a diverse soundtrack of brilliant artists. We want to take what we learned from that game and push into new genres, too. Pause the video at the right time and you can see a glimpse of that. There'll be more news about our current artists as the Kickstarter progresses.
But while the music is crucial to Chime Sharp, the way we treat it is even more important. The intention with the original game was to make an experience where you're playing with the music, deliberately or ambiently. In Chime Sharp we're going to further emphasize the connection between interaction and audio, and look at new ways we can let the player remix the artist's work.
Chipzel is the alias of Niamh Houston, a London based independent chip-musician from Northern Ireland who indulges in the use of Gameboys to create energetic, melodic dance tracks.
Andrew Hung is a producer/musician/artist. He is one half of the musical troupe F*** Buttons whose accolades include countless tours of North America, South America, Europe and Asia, featuring on the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, releasing 3 critically acclaimed albums and having a swear word in their name. He produces albums for bands and musicians. Rave Cave is his first foray into public solo work, and its concept is an emphasis on simplified process, from the actual creation to the form of delivery. Its hope is for a simplified process which will allow maximum space for dialogue between the artist and the listener. A DJ for the people.
Tom is a film director, music composer, and photographer working in London. He has composed acclaimed and award-nominated scores to films and theatrical productions and has worked with clients such as M&S and Lost Boys Inc.
We've been pretty busy over the last year: we've rebuilt the Chime Sharp engine from scratch in Unity, we have a brand new beautiful style, and we have an approved slot on Steam, so we can guarantee we'll be there on release, too. That means we'll be on Early Access as well -- and some of the backer tiers will bring you lot into the development process through that.
But we have a little more work to do we get there, so we're inviting a limited number of you for TEA. Not literally; I don't like tea very much and besides, you could be rich, generous murderers. No: TEA is Too Early Access, named because you're the sort of backer who doesn't mind seeing things too early, and also because it has a nice acronym. By participating in the TEA tier you'll get frequent and earlier access to development builds, starting the day the Kickstarter closes, and you'll be able to talk to the team directly in weekly hangouts / private video streams. This deeper level of engagement for TEA participants will continue throughout the game's development.
Left to right: Connor - Programmer, Ste - Designer, Tom - Audio Consultant & Composer, Adrian - Programmer, Lana - Associate Producer, Ian - Producer, Jonathan (taking the photo) - Executive Producer
Risks and challenges
The main risk with any videogame Kickstarter is this: will it actually get made? Making games is expensive and always more expensive than you expect. But Chime Sharp already has a publisher, and (to a limited extent) already exists. Those who back will receive something for their money. The scope of that thing depends somewhat on the total pledged, but Chime Sharp is provably "real" already.
The other risk is whether any of the modes we hope to try will work. Early access backers will get to judge that for themselves as they arrive (and perhaps leave) the Laboratory section of the build. In the very worst case scenario, where no improvements can be made, Chime Sharp will exist as a beautiful, polished version of Chime 1. I'd be happy with that, and I think most of our backers would be too.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)