Refuge is a 2 player hide + seek survival game set on a mysterious settlement named 'The Ark'. Will you hunt your opponent or attempt to out-survive them? The choice is yours.
The aim of the game is simple: to eliminate the other player. This is achievable in many ways - such as directly hunting them down or alternatively by out-surviving them...
Refuge will initially be developed for the PC on Steam, with plans for Mac and iOS in the future.
To see the atmospheric trailer in crispy pixel version:
Refuge is a game concept - I have been building the first prototype, but it needs support to become the real thing. Below is a short introduction to the world of refuge. I look forward to hearing any thoughts, questions or opinions you have. Enjoy!
The support so far has been truly overwhelming for Refuge. Here's a few select quotes from the internet community.
“The most impressive premise for an indie game I’ve seen in years. Already looking forward to visiting the Ark.”
Alex Pell, former Games Editor, The Sunday Times.
"I am a sucker for gloomy games with dark themes so Refuge really did catch my eye in a heartbeat [...] Personally, I’m sold on this one"
Stephanie Smith, Cliquist
"A lovingly crafted monochromatic world [...] I don’t doubt that the game will be beautiful visually [...] I’m excited to see where this is going"
Hundstrasse, Game Blogger
"A Darkly Beautiful and Atmospheric 2 Player Survival Game"
Clovis L. Dye, Jr., iFanzine
"Artfully creeptastic [...] an unsettling sense of isolation- one that is hard to shake even after looking away."
Roberta Pagnotta, Gameprincess
"When you take the concept and combine it with the atmospheric beauty contained within the world of Refuge, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited…"
Jason Heimbach, Averagenobodies
I've truly been taking the community feedback seriously. Lots of you wanted to see in-game play, which I am now working on, wholeheartedly! Here's some updates to the project - or simply scroll down to see the original pitch.
Refuge was inspired by all the games and films that have moved me growing up - I remember watching my first Studio Ghibli film and sitting in awe about how they made the atmosphere so charming and captivating - it was practically humming of mystery. It is moments like that along with many other moments playing game titles such as Journey, Myst, Bastion, Monument Valley, Limbo, Ico and many others that convinced me to attempt to make a beautiful experience of my own.
I grew up in a small village here in England - as a child I loved being outside. My friends and I would play a variation of hide and seek called "manhunt", with almost no definable borders (some of us would run a mile or so away to the next village). When I was creating Refuge, I wanted to capture that feeling of anticipation - not knowing the tactics of the other players and deciding on your next move with bated breath.
Somewhere in the ocean there's a place littered with the remains of a civilisation. You've been drawn to it your entire life without even knowing it existed. Every decision you ever made has led you to this place.
The Ark has chosen you.
A bizarre jumble of strange buildings which look like they have grown out of the rock rise up around you, both familiar and alien at the same time. The lights are on, but there's nobody around - or at least that is what you think.
There is another being in this place. Only one of you can may find refuge here, the other must die.
...Is that someone there?
Refuge will be a 2 player survival game. Explore the lost civilisation, hide in buildings and caves, survive the harsh conditions and discover hidden secrets that can help you to uncover more about the mysterious Ark...
Beautiful lighting in a black and white world and dynamic weather will alter and change your journey on each play.
- Battle against the hazards of the Ark - weather, temperature & supplies will affect the way you play the game, the risks you take, and the experience you have.
- Explore the reaches of the Ark searching for gear - struggling to survive the dangerous setting whilst attempting to avoid (or hunt!) the other player.
- Challenge the scenario. Will you risk your life to hunt the other player? Is your weapon powerful enough? or should you lay low and attempt to out survive them, the choice is yours.
- Experience a rich world rife with mystery, hidden items and surprises. Uncover the truth about the Ark.
Some early concept art for refuge. I wanted the environment to feel somewhat fantasy-like - whilst still keeping a gritty, desolate undertone.
You can choose who you wish to play on the Ark - each character has a slightly different strategic advantage and a unique backstory about how they found themselves on the ark.
Some illustrations of the characters.
Character Example #1: Jeremy Fisher
A Drunk, a wash-up, a former lieutenant in the police force - by this time, there isn't much Jeremy Fisher hasn't been called.
Prone to recklessness and violence, fueled further by a number of addictions, Fisher lost his job, turning to sleazy private detective work to pay the bills - although too often it felt like the only case Fisher is cracking wide open was a case of beer.
Determined to clean up his act, Fisher drives to meet his ex wife, however, his driving isn't so good. Maybe it was all that alcohol. The car loses control, and next thing he knows, he's on this damn island.
A skilled marksman with an extremely keen eye for detail. Fisher rarely misses a thing. He's incredibly good at Shooting + Tracking.
Supplies are scarce on the Ark - You begin the game by choosing a starter pack - each pack contains a number of supplies that will either aid you in surviving or in assaulting. What you receive your starter pack will be totally random so cross your fingers and hope you won't be fighting the other player off with a stick...
Just a small amount of the loot that is findable on the map or in your starter pack.
The mechanic for weapons and survival is very simple - it's a "top-trumps" style inventory system. Each weapon or item is given a 1-10 rating - if your weapon trumps your opponent on an encounter, then you'll win (with a small chance of a random turn of events) - this adds another layer of tactics to the game - as you could fool your opponent into hunting you, then turn the tables on them when they realise you're equipped with a badass revolver.
Characters with certain traits can boost their items' rating.
Each cave or house has its' own interior, find places to hide, search for loot, or look for secrets!
When deciding how to play Refuge, you'll be making one of two choices - do I want to be seen, or not? Will you hide in one of the houses and be protected from the harsh conditions? Or choose to camp out and be more discreet, but more exposed to the harsh weather - There are risks to either choices - one of the main risks being that you might leave a trace.
Traces are triggered events where you leave a visible indication of your whereabouts on the map. This can be smoking chimneys, lit windows, smoke, footprints, leftovers. All of these are caused by a mix of carelessness and chance - but they'll be highlighted to the other player and make you easier to find (or avoid!).
I'm using Unity to create the Refuge World - Unity has been an amazing so far and will allow me to deploy Refuge on loads more platforms if it is successful. I'm hoping to deploy Refuge on a whole bunch of platforms - at the very least, running on PC + Mac, with the hope to run on IOS as well.
I've built a lot of the assets and basic gameplay into Unity already - here's some screenshots from in-engine.
Here's a little diorama to showing the style of my 3d artwork - minus some of the lighting and atmospherics.
Music is really integral in Refuge - It was extremely important from the start to create something that will be part of the experience- sometimes haunting, sometimes atmospheric, sometimes epic.
I've been working with the very talented workmate Sonny Matheroo on the first pass of the soundtrack, too! Check it out below. You can also visit his own page, here.
I'm coming to Kickstarter because I have a vision - not a game. I started this journey only a few months ago in September 2015, with no previous experience in any 3d software and with no development knowledge whatsoever, I'm out on a limb trying to create something as vivid and beautiful as my mind is painting it.
The project is a in a 'working concept' state. And you can already see a lot of my development in Unity 3D coming to life, but i'm still a far way off creating a truly working prototype.
Long story short - I need developers. I want this game to be better! I've created the fundamental pieces to bring the art direction to life, but to truly make the game amazing, I need a team. I've already been chatting to a number of developers, and now I just need the funds to bring it all to life.
The money I am asking for isn't to support me to learn more, but actually to allow me to take a more directional role so that I can work with people who will make it exceptional.
I'm a designer working and living in London - day to day I work as a branding and digital designer delivering digital projects for EVOL (here), who are an emerging experimental digital design studio.
In the past i've been lucky enough to have been awarded by D&AD for digital design and since have worked with amazing brands and people over the course of my career so far.
This is my first movement into game design, i've never done anything like this before- but I believe practice makes perfect and i'm super passionate about this project - more so than anything i've done before.
The TL;DR version: I like games. Wanna make one.
Risks and challenges
Every game project presents obstacles - especially when it's your first venture. I'm a big believer of doing things well - that's why I'm trying to source amazing developers for this project. The risks would be so much higher if I were to make Refuge by myself. Succeeding to kickstart Refuge, I'll be able to work with more people, and the outcome will be better.
Being in such an early stage now there is also a risk is that the game could end up with different visuals or game mechanics than those shown - these challenges will occur naturally as the project develops, but rest assured, any changes made will be for the betterment of Refuge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)