About this project
(Both desktop mode AND VR support included -- see Readme. Oculus Mode in the OS X version has a few rendering issues that we are working hard to fix, check back for updates!)
[NUREN] is a collection of music videos forming a feature-length story, presented in virtual reality. Unlike a traditional 3D movie, [NUREN] is rendered in real-time on your computer, so you can look in any direction, and see things happening all around you. Each segment has its own unique artistic style, set to a gorgeous vocal music track, with voice-acted interludes tying them all together. Join the android twins, RIX and QGK, as they go from fugitives to heroes!
[NUREN] combines influences from sources including Fantasia, Space Channel 5, TRON, Ghost in the Shell, Pink Floyd's "The Wall", the Animatrix, and the technically and artistically brilliant PC demo scene. Dancing robot girls, synchronized light shows, vast panoramas, and starry skies await you.
We have assembled a team of veteran game developers, artists, and musicians to create this unique experience, which will be enjoyable on traditional Windows / Mac/ Linux setups, as well as in full VR with Oculus Rift support.
While our first segment (seen above) shows a dark and moody cityscape, that's only the beginning. A different art team will work on each track, from hand-drawn animation to modern 3D, from sterile laboratories to burning deserts.
[NUREN] is designed to look gorgeous and run smoothly on traditional displays, using mouse controls to look around, but if you have a chance to experience it on an Oculus Rift head-mounted display, the feeling of immersion defies belief.
[NUREN] is proudly powered by Unreal Engine 4, allowing us to make full use of the latest advances in graphics technology, while maintaining a smooth frame rate on any platform. And now it's free to use without a paid subscription or any up-front costs, so using one of the industry's leading game engines is a no-brainer.
Here's what some of the coolest sites around are already saying about us on the first day alone:
- "It's quite an experience to be able to look around these futuristic locations while listening to the music, really giving a sense that you're watching a concert in person on some ever-shifting distant world." - Joel Couture, Indiegames.com
- "The music is the story here, the art a trance-like escape from distraction. Either way, it's the kind of weird, risky project that a fledgling medium like VR deserves." - Adi Robertson, The Verge
- "I’m beyond excited to see where Kaufman and his team will go with this. The dawn of virtual reality has provided us with an exciting frontier, and I can think of few teams better-suited to explore it." - Geoff Thew, HardcoreGamer
- "The lighting and art direction is clearly not an afterthought, using a style that allows for impressive visuals without dragging performance down." - Ben Lang, Road to VR
This breathtaking musical odyssey begins in a post-war future where humanity has become controlled and sedated; such was the price of peace. There is the illusion of a perfect society where androids are programmed to cater to mankind, assuring that their minds remain untroubled and unstimulated. They care for us, they serve us, they protect us.
CSP Industries has unveiled the latest android model, the first to possess genuine thought and empathy. They will feel for us what we no longer can.
QGK and RIX, their new flagship prototypes, suddenly malfunction and begin to show signs of an unintended human trait: self-awareness. In a world where provocations such as music have been banned for a century, this glitch has enabled them to sing. When this is discovered, they are forced to become fugitives.
Their on-the-run adventure of self-discovery draws them deeper into a futuristic dystopia, and the industrial wastelands cast in shadows below. Together with escaped human rebels and long-forgotten robot models, these twin renegade androids unwittingly find themselves leading a movement to restore music and art to a peaceful but joyless world!
Jake "virt" Kaufman [ Director, composer/lyricist, 3D artist ]
Jake just won IGN's "Best Game Music of 2014" award for his work on Yacht Club Games' platforming masterpiece (and Kickstarter success story) Shovel Knight. He has worked for over a decade as the main composer for WayForward's beloved handheld and console games, and is a veteran of the video game fan-remix and chiptune communities. Having recently left his day job to launch a freelance career and form a development studio of his own, [NUREN] is his first project with his "dream team" of artists and programmers.
Jessie Seely [ Director, character designer, vocalist/lyricist ]
Jessie is perhaps best known by gaming fans as the singer on Jake's "Mango Tango - Neon Jungle" track from WayForward/Majesco's Double Dragon Neon. Her fabulous voice can be heard on a half dozen other game soundtracks (Including Bloodrayne: Betrayal and Adventure Time: Hey Ice King!) However, in addition to her years of experience as a vocalist, she is also a skilled professional artist. She has applied her talents to bring RIX and QGK to life, to give them a voice, and to make them memorable and iconic. Plus, she can work a convention show floor like nobody's business! Learn more about Jessie and her music here!
Andrew "cancel" Richards [ Lead programmer, audio mastering ]
Andrew is an incredible Tokyo-based programmer who has worked on everything from high-frequency stock trading to porting Skullgirls to arcade hardware; he combines a huge range of engineering and math skills with expertise in audio programming. For [NUREN], he has developed a custom, realtime "VJ" system that dazzles viewers with lights, colors, and 3D shapes, while giving musicians a level of precise control that goes far beyond any mere "Winamp plugin" visualizer, choreographed by hand in extreme detail. [NUREN] runs at 400 frames per second on our test rig. Just saying.
Justin Moravetz [ Tech artist, animator ]
Ask anybody in the VR community / industry and they will gush about Justin and his company, Zero Transform, who are at the forefront of virtual reality game design. After years as an effects artist with Sony, he is currently leading his own project: Vanguard V, an epic space shooter designed specifically to take advantage of VR headsets, with the production values of a full modern game. With Justin's guidance, we are navigating the "wild frontier" of VR, from driver workarounds to novel rendering techniques.
Max Hancock [ 3D character supervisor ]
An astoundingly talented character modeler and designer, Max is a force of nature with all things 3D, and modeled and textured RIX and QGK from Jessie's sketches. Although we will have many other guest artists on board for the various tracks, Max is our "main guy" for 3D characters, and will help give the production a polished, modern look.
Theotime Vaillant [ 3D / concept artist ]
Theo is a recent graduate of CalArts, the alma mater of some of Hollywood's most legendary animators and artists. He has independently developed many gorgeous game concepts during his time in school, and with an eye for industrial design, has helped to establish the look of [NUREN]'s world by creating props, stasis pods, computers, and the lab environment.
Robert Altschuler [ Music recording / mixing ]
Robbie runs Command Studios in Valencia CA, which is where Jake leases his own studio space. His recording and editing work can be heard all over WayForward and Yacht Club games, including Double Dragon Neon, Shovel Knight's trailers, and the infectious title track for Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero. If you've heard The Impresario (Opera House) from OCRemix's Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin album, then you've heard how Robbie can transform good music into something awe-inspiring.
Each segment will be designed by a different team of artists. By pairing up traditional 2D and 3D illustrators and animators, we can give the project a huge range of visual contrast, telling a cohesive story that flows across many different settings.
So far, our list of contributors includes:
Charmwitch [ Website ]
CHARMWITCH is a Puerto Rican 2D artist currently based in Los Angeles, California. She has worked on titles such as Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!!, Mighty Switch Force, Wonder Momo: Typhoon Booster, and is currently an in-house artist for Yacht Club Games. Her current passion is creating a webcomic called Solstoria, a comic about a young girl who wishes to become a knight in order to save the day. Her main influences come from games such as Breath of Fire III, Valkyrie Profile, Lufia 2, and many other Capcom and Sega-related franchises.
Lindsay Collins [ Website ]
LINDSAY is a 2D artist from Toronto, Canada. She's worked with developer WayForward and designed their famous April Fool's character "Cat Girl Without Salad." Lindsay has also worked with developer Nicalis, contributed to art shows like Comics VS Games and an episode of Game Grumps, and loves all things pink.
Michael Lambert [ Website ]
MICHAEL is a 2D and 3D artist from Toronto, Canada. He worked at Nicalis as an artist and animator on Cave Story 3DS and Blinding of Isaac: Rebirth. Occasionally, he'll do art for Destructoid and has worked with Jonathan Holmes on his Super Smashed Bros cartoon. Smaller indie projects featuring his work include Curse of the Crescent Isle and Castle in the Darkness.
Pixelseed [ Website ]
PIXELSEED, aka Sean Smith, is a visual artist who hails from Baltimore, MD and has over 20 years of experience in the industry. His intense and high impact visuals create a kinetic wall of light that expands beyond a low bit abstract using new and recycled gear. He plants tiny movie-seedlings for the short-attention-span theater. Pixelseed germinates ideas with light.
Sara Pocock [ Website ]
SARA earned a BFA in animation at MCAD in 2006 and an MFA in Experimental Animation at CalArts in 2012. Her films have screened on Channel Frederator and at festivals such as the Palm Springs International Shorts Festival, Animation Block Party, Animation Breakdown, Los Angeles Animation Festival and Castuka TV. During her time as art director at WayForward she worked on a number of titles, including Mighty Switch Force HD and Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land. Her animation has also appeared in the television shows Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Community and the film 22 Jump Street. Sara lives in Los Angeles, CA and currently works as an animator at Cartoon Network Studios.
More artist announcements are on the way - make sure to check back, or if you back our campaign, you'll get updates by email when we add someone new to the roster!
While we take our work extremely seriously, we are a friendly gang of internet miscreants, and enjoy making new friends and finding new super-talented people to work with!
If you are an experienced artist/animator yourself, and think you could help kick our visuals up a notch, feel free to get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Guest Artist Inquiry - Your Name" in the subject line!
Anyone who has followed crowd-funded indie games for the past few years has most likely seen Jake Kaufman's name mentioned a few times -- he has been involved as a composer in over a dozen projects that were funded through Kickstarter, including Shovel Knight and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.
Until now, Jake has never actually crowd-funded a project of his own; he's been waiting for the right idea to come along, and the right people to collaborate with. Finally, the time has come.
It's our hope that lovers of music, art, film, and VR technology will all come together and help us to fairly pay our amazing artists and programmers, and bring something into the world that has never existed before.
Most of our rewards are intangible but personalized, and this is by design - you'll be able to have your name immortalized in a video segment, see your face used in a creative way, or even co-direct your own entire segment!
We're sure that you, the Kickstarting public, have seen how easy it is to promise all kinds of crazy physical reward tiers, figurines, posters.. and then run out of money to actually finish the project. We want to put as much as possible directly into creating [NUREN], so the few physical items we're producing are going to be extra-cool, and extra-exclusive!
For example, here's the original $50 tier reward (SOLD OUT for the $50 tier itself, but higher-tier backers will still get one!!) A custom-machined USB thumb drive, containing the complete [NUREN] production for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as a copy of the soundtrack in MP3 and FLAC! (Colors and final design will vary; this is just a prototype!)
UPDATE: THE USB THUMB DRIVES HAVE SOLD OUT! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!
Not wanting to leave you $50 backers out in the cold, we are proud to announce A BRAND NEW $50 tier: The COMPLETE VIRT COLLECTION -- Every album that Jake has released on Bandcamp, including game OSTs and original albums, all in a single download, PLUS an entire SECRET BACKER BONUS ALBUM of exclusive material, which has never been made available on Bandcamp, with custom artwork! And who knows, there could be a few more hidden soundtrack gems that you never expected to hear! But even just 16 albums for $50, PLUS [NUREN], PLUS all the lower tiers, is a pretty good deal, if you ask us.
Is there anything lasers can't do? We just got some custom made METAL COLLECTABLE CARDS! You can get one red or blue metal card of your character of choice for $50. These cards are anodized aluminum and heavy with a laser etched image on one side and the NUREN logo on the other. If you can't decide which card to get you can also grab our new $200 tier featuring the PLATINUM CARD COLLECTION. This collection includes all 4 combinations of red / blue cards with QGK / RIX and one platinum colored aluminum card. This is five cards total! The platinum card will have custom art and will be signed by the crew. These are very limited in quantity and will be individually numbered. No two will be alike!
We will unveil pictures of the collectible art book and T-shirt during the campaign, as soon as we've finished the prototypes!
If demand is high enough, we MAY consider doing a physical run of soundtrack CDs, but the flash drive is something you can actually use! We're wide open to suggestions, so be sure to tell us if there's something you really want to see us offer!
Risks and challenges
Our team consists entirely of professionals who work in games, film, and music, with decades of combined experience. There is no question that we can complete this project with an incredibly high level of creativity and polish.
Your support will go directly toward hiring artists and engineers; the two co-directors won't be taking a cut at all until [NUREN] is out for sale to the general public. We still have to pay bills and eat during development, so we must continue to take on freelance work with other clients.
Knowing this ahead of time, we've assembled a phenomenal team of support staff. Having spent years working with (and as) off-site contractors, we know that logistics can make or break a project, so we're not taking any chances, and we're getting the help we need.
To help mitigate the cost of our physical rewards, we have friends and colleagues who are in the business of making things, with their own fabrication plants or direct access to otherwise costly services.
We're keenly aware that [NUREN] is already quite ambitious. By limiting our scope to 7 main segments, we can avoid the over-commitments that frequently doom large projects. If we are lucky enough to over-fund, we will "build up, not out," hiring additional artists to make each existing segment and interlude even more stunning.
We hope you'll put your faith in our vision, and help us bring [NUREN] to life.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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