Transform between different Chinese Zodiac animals and use their unique skills to overcome the ever-changing Gauntlet of Enlightenment.
Transform between different Chinese Zodiac animals and use their unique skills to overcome the ever-changing Gauntlet of Enlightenment.
An imperfectly incarnated Buddhist monk must come to terms with the duality of his own soul by traversing the Gauntlet of Enlightenment. Transform between different animals from the Chinese Zodiac to overcome a variety of harrowing obstacles. Push down walls as a mighty Ox. Glide over pitfalls as a noble Rooster. Or soar to the heavens as a majestic Dragon! Only when you have let go of your human soul will you attain Nirvana; only then will you break free of Samsara, the Wheel of Life!
A 2D platformer for the PC based around transforming between twelve different animals, Samsara is a game that blends mysticism, variety, and mechanics as metaphors to deliver a truly unique gaming experience. No two playthroughs will be the same, thanks to the ever-changing modular level design! Samsara challenges players to forge their own path through the Gauntlet by combining the abilities of different animals, all the while providing them a dynamic arena to explore the unique mechanics of each beast at the player’s own pace.
- Swap between 12 animals on the fly
- Unique mechanics for each animal
- Module Editor (Level Editor)
- Multiple paths
- Each playthrough is unique
We are currently going through Steam Greenlight. We would appreciate any support you can give us! You can give us your support by up-voting us here. Being on Steam would give us access to the Steam API which will allow us to integrate things like Steam Workshop, Achievements, and Trading Cards. Share it around, it would really be a huge help to us!
In Samsara you have the ability to swap between different animal forms in order to traverse the Gauntlet of Enlightenment. This treacherous gauntlet is always shifting and changing, as we all are in life. At the end of the gauntlet you will reach enlightenment, thus freeing you from the endless cycle of Samsara.
While there are twelve animals in total, you will swap between four at a time. Every so often the animals you can swap between is changed and the level will shift and adjust itself to conform to your new abilities. Each animal has its own set of mechanics to traverse the deadly hazards! In order to quickly surpass all the obstacles ahead of you, you will need to master swapping between your various forms on the fly!
There are multiple ways through each level, and the level itself is randomly assembled, so each playthrough will be unique. As you go through the level, it will be shifting and changing based on the current animals you have access to. The Gauntlet of Enlightenment is a fickle beast; if you fail too many times it may get impatient and change!
Currently there are 5 forms for you to play as, with another 8 planned. The forms we have finished now are: The Human, Rooster, Ox, Rabbit, and Monkey. Upon release we will have all the animals in the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. Each form will have its own set of mechanics:
The Monkey can jump higher than most, with plans to allow him to climb surfaces in the future.
The Rabbit can run faster and jump farther than other animals, allowing it to cross large gaps. It can also fit through small spaces.
The Ox is slow, but powerful. He can push large blocks around and charge through some obstacles.
The Rooster can glide across long gaps, allowing for more precise platforming.
The human is currently average in all aspects, but he won't stay that way forever! We currently have plans for him to be able to operate levers and other various puzzle elements.
So, how far along is the game currently? Samsara began its life as a Global Game Jam project for 2015. What we have now is very much a proof of concept. The team wanted to see it through to completion, so here we are trying to raise the capital to do so!
Since then, we have reworked the game's overall design; for instance you can now switch between animals on the fly! The game has also received a complete coding overhaul. From our Monk to the level generation, everything has been rewritten. This is the framework we needed in order to efficiently add new content to the game. Our overall workflow is now more consistent as a result.
On top of that, we now have a fully functioning Module Editor (see the Module Editor section below)! This editor is already able to create level pieces which the level generator can piece together. It has been improved in many ways, one of the most visible being that verticality is much more prevalent. This is because level chunks, called modules, no longer have to be the same height. Mind the blue cubes, they were put in as a placeholder!
So overall, we have a game that can be played from start to finish. The level generation is complete and the Module Editor can create modules to feed into that level generator. Now we just need to fill in those missing pieces!
We will be going through several phases of development. The first phase is to polish up everything we already have to the state in which we would like to release it. This will set the bar for what we want the rest of our content to be like. After the first phase the Module Editor will be feature complete and the game will be playable from start to finish as a polished product.
The second phase will be to add new content. This content includes the other eight planned animals from the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. We will design and create these animals to the standards set in the first phase and begin to roll them out one at a time. Along with the animals new objects will be added to the module editor to utilize these animal's new mechanics. We will also be adding various bits of cosmetic objects with which to dress your levels. After the second phase both the game and the module editor will be feature complete, and playable from start to finish.
The third and final phase will be polishing. We will take everything we have, smooth it out, and make it run slicker and faster. Optimizations, visual tweaks, and bug fixing will be another priority. Quality of life improvements will be made, and QA testing will go into full swing. After this phase the game and module editor will both be ready for launch, and on its way to your games library!
We will be releasing the Samsara Module Editor which will allow you to create your own module packs that other users can download and play. This tool is the same tool we ourselves will be using to build modules, so you can bet it will be feature complete! It will be simple to use, but allow for a great degree of freedom, building your own traps and puzzles that you can pack together to put your fellow players through! The Samsara Module Editor will be fully documented so rest assured you won't be left in the dark as you one-up our official modules with your masterpieces. Now the rest of this section may get a bit technical!
What is a Module?
The modules are essentially mini-levels of various shapes and sizes. Every object in the game can be placed within these modules. Each one contains a left and right hook, where it hooks onto the modules that come before and after it. They are also assigned a category, which the game will use when you fill out the questionnaire for level generation. Modules are the basic building blocks of the level.
Modules themselves cannot just be dropped straight into the game, however; they are packed into module packs! Module packs are simply multiple modules all bundled together. When you want to share your levels, you can simply give them the module pack and they can drop it into their "Modules" folder; it is put right into their game! If you do just want to share one module, you can pack it into a module pack by itself, so fret not.
We are currently going through Steam Greenlight. If we are approved, we would like to take full advantage of Steam Workshop to make it easy to create and share your modules with the community. Importing will be a simple one click operation, allowing you to reach as many people as possible with your modules!
The editor itself is simple to use. On the right hand side you have the object selector, which contains every object you can place. Simply click on one to begin using it. They are divided into 5 categories:
- Blocks - Solid objects such as platforms that have no function attached to them.
- Hazards - Objects that can lead to your death.
- Functional - Objects that serve a function, such as a checkpoint or a switch.
- Decoration - Objects that are purely cosmetic.
- Editor Specific - Objects that are not seen in game, but play a role within the editor. These are used to do things such as connecting a switch to a door or placing the module's hooks.
At the top of the Editor is the toolbar, which contains various functions. Things like starting a new module, saving and loading, and adjusting the module size are located here. In the editor view itself, you can see a basic level made up. The two green arrows are the hooks we talked about earlier!
That is a general rundown of the Samsara Module Editor! There are also various little convenience items that we didn't cover like being able to select an object to use straight from the level instead of through the object selector. If you have any questions about it feel free to ask @KristianSkistad on twitter!
Samsara will feature a full soundtrack composed by two experienced audiophiles. The music listed below is what they managed to make in just two days with free audio software. We look forward to seeing what comes out of them once they get a full audio setup! The complete Samsara soundtrack will include roughly 13 tracks.
So why are we coming to Kickstarter? Because the Kickstarter community is a fantastic one, funding hundreds of projects monthly! We have put what we can into funding this game, but we can't do it without the help of backers like you!
When you think about it, Kickstarter is a community of creators all working together to bring their ideas to life. From dreams to passion projects, Kickstarter supports them all! So many wonderful things have been brought into our lives that never could have existed without it, and that is just magical to us.
We already have the platforming mechanics in (though they need a lot of polish) and a good head start on the module editor, but we are missing some essential software to continue forward! Our audio engineers want to fully explore their potential, our programmers want to be able to move ahead without the restrictions put in place by using the free version of Unity; and for that, we need money to give them the right software.
So what are we asking for and why? We want to be totally open and honest about where your money would be going. The goal we have set is the bare minimum of what we need to make Samsara. Of course if we had more, it would increase our production values, and you can learn more about that in the stretch goals section below.
Here is a breakdown of our budget:
Development Software - $2000
Legal Fees (Attorneys and Copyright) - $1200
Kickstarter Fees - $300
With our minimum budget being set at $3,500 how much more could we need? Well the truth is there is always something towards which extra funding can be put. The extra funds would allow us to work more consistently by improving our workflow, getting better software for all members of the team, or even adding a few new members to the team!
$4,200 - Our audio designers will both get an upgrade to their software, allowing them to produce higher quality music!
$4,500 - We will bring on an additional artist!
$5,000 - Linux release of Samsara!
Any money we earn beyond that will go into upgrading both our equipment and paying our starving artists!
Founder of Spark Games and lead programmer. This code monkey sees ones and zeroes in his sleep! He has been practicing game development since he was twelve years old. Ever elusive, he can often be found buried in his work.
Lead Narrative Designer at Spark Games. He enjoys doing homework and going to classes in a timely manner in his free time. Don't call him Indian; he's from Bangladesh, thank you.
Lead Artist at Spark Games. An adventurer extraordinaire, Chris lives to find new experiences every day. At the age of eight, he found his passion in art and began to hone his craft. Now, he spends his days slaying zombies, conjuring magic, and saving the world.
Audio Engineer & Behind the Scenes Producer at Spark Games. Interested in music, games and film, Jared works hard to hone his many skills so that he may use them to help others with their goals and projects.
Nolan Hansen @NolanLHansen
Audio Engineer and Composer at Spark Games. Nolan loves writing, playing, and composing music. Anything with music and he is on it! He began learning and playing music in 5th grade, so you know he knows what is up; he is hip with the kids and what-not!
Artist at Spark Games. Relaxed by day and spontaneous by night, Debbie is an individual that knows how to have fun. With an incredible repertoire of graphical design in her back pocket, she has been given the ability to create worlds in a matter of seconds. Maybe someday she'll gain superpowers and fight crime like she's always wanted.
Artist at Spark Games and professional cat lady on her own time, Paula hails from Bogota, Colombia. With a flair for artistic precision and an unrelenting perfectionist spree, Ms. Rodriguez’s talent and compassion for the team make her an integral part of our art department.
Tyler Tobeck: Tobeck Animation
Animator and artist at Spark Games. Tyler loves to watch and create his own animated creations. At the age of eight, all he wanted to do was find a way to make his own visuals and animations. Now he has the knowledge to make those visions a reality.
Programmer and Level Designer at Spark Games. An ever humble soul, this friendly giant spends most of his time laughing and having fun. When you don't seem him doing either of these two things, he is probably doing Physics.
Tiffany Sommer: Portfolio
Behind the Scenes Producer at Spark Games. She started filming and editing while in college. In her spare time, she likes taking sports photos and writing stories. When not doing any editing, she can be found reading or writing.
Artist and Animator at Spark Games. Legends speak of a boy who was born with a Nintendo 64 controller in his hand. That boy was Dillan. Dillan started getting into video games and drawing at the age of 5 and fell in love with both mediums. Often quiet, when he isn't on a console or PC, he is found sketching whatever comes to mind.
Risks and challenges
We are a team comprised entirely of full time college students. That is not to say that we lack the experience required for this project, but that our time is divided between this project and our studies. We hold frequent meetings and stay in contact daily to keep on top of things, but if there ever was a delay, this would be the most likely culprit.
Should the game be delayed, we will announce it as soon as we have made the decision. We would also give a new estimated release date as soon as we have it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)