Members of Sunside have worked on dozens of titles including Borderlands 1 and 2, Battlefield 2, and Desert Combat, Blacksite: Area 51, and others.
Abducted is a game in which you play an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Abducted by aliens and taken thousands of light years from home, you have one ultimate goal: Escape. But you have so many unanswered questions... How did you get here? What is this place? Who took you and why?
Abducted is an action, adventure, mystery, horror game with a focus on a deep storyline, immersive gameplay as well as a mixture of classic adventure game and RPG-lite mechanics. While all these elements may seem familiar they are combined with intense visceral combat, horrific death, and environmental puzzles, making Abducted a truly unique experience.
Gameplay & Mechanics Overview
Abducted focuses on five main mechanics. Most of these mechanics are really groups of related abilities and things you can do.
- The Arm
One of the most interesting things you will do is interact with an alien computer embedded in your arm, which we simply call “The Arm.” Why and how the computer got there is a critical element of the story.
The Arm computer is your primary source of guidance and information. In truth it’s your only friend and ally in an otherwise baffling and inhospitable environment. You interact with your Arm computer by having conversations with it. We have developed a directed free-form conversation system that allows for near endless discussions. In Abducted the flow of conversation is player-driven and not predetermined.
This is very different than games such as Mass Effect or Star Wars Knights Of the Old Republic where conversions are fixed in their structure.
What does this mean for you as the player? It means that you can discover things through conversation in a very dynamic way. You may uncover information about your environment that gives you interesting backstory, unlocks a new ability or upgrade, or even saves your life.
However you are never forced to use The Arm. You can have deep hour long conversations with it or you can ignore it entirely.
In Abducted the environment can be “manipulated” (moved) by the player. Manipulating objects is a mysterious power that The Arm gives to the player.
Some objects in the environment are deadly unless they are bent or moved by the player to keep them at a safe distance or otherwise restrain them from moving. Others may not obey the player's commands permanently so the player has to be wary of objects that may snap back with deadly consequences.
Many puzzles in Abducted will require you to solve physical challenges by using your Manipulate ability.
Manipulate is also upgradable, making it more powerful and affecting more objects or holding objects in place longer. If the player's Manipulate skill is not high enough he/she may have to find other ways of solving a puzzle.
Your only physical defense (and if used creatively, possibly even an “offense”) is the Shield, an electrically charged air-tight bubble that forms around your character that can protect against most physical threats.
Unfortunately, your Shield is necessarily air-tight and will kill you if you have it on for too long. Over time you may find ways of upgrading your Shield, overcharging it and possibly electrocuting enemies that get too close to it.
Your Arm can fire a bolt of energy that will obliterate anything in its path. It is a scary and often unwieldy weapon that if left charging too long has a good chance of exploding and killing you and anything unlucky enough to be in the vicinity.
Upgrading your Pulse ability will let you use it more often and will unlock alternate modes of operation.
In Abducted exploration is a mechanic in and of itself. The player has to combine critical thinking and his/her other abilities to successfully explore and travel through the environment without being injured or killed in the process.
Sometimes exploration and progression involves run-and-gun intense action where you must use your Shield and Pulse abilities to blast your way through flesh-eating bugs as big as your head. Death in Abducted doesn’t just happen from being eaten. It can also come from falling or being crushed or in other unforeseen ways.
Top of the Line Art
We may be indie, but we don't intend on looking like it. Sunside uses advanced 3D techniques that are typically employed in modern AAA games, but we do this more rapidly and with lower cost than big studios. One example of this is the protagonist named Eve.
For this particular work we use the scanning services at SurfaceMimic. This helps us make advanced characters and environments... everything is more convincing and deeper looking!
This is not industrial factory work. There is a lot of artistry that goes into scanning a real person and bringing them to life in a game. The actor provides a basis and professional artists take it to the next level.
True Cinematic Gameplay
The camera in Abducted is controlled by a cinematic “director” AI system. This is not a typical over-the-shoulder third person view. Environments and levels are built with tracks similar to a movie set, with conditions that control how and where the camera will change and how it will respond as the player moves. This is designed with a high degree of control, giving the game a very cinematic and visceral feel. We use the camera to affect the mood and emotion of the scene and of the player.
Music and Sound FX
This is the alpha quality Title Screen in Abducted. It provides a good example of our atmosphere and music as it stands today.
Music and sound effects are extremely important to our environment and horror theme. We have partnered with Voodoo Highway Music to produce all our music and sound for Abducted, and they have already created a large volume of amazing content for us. Music and sound effect queues are used to great effect throughout the game.
If you can indulge me for a moment I'm going to talk about the episodic design of Abducted in more personal terms. My name is Richard Cowgill and I'm the lead designer of Abducted. I have been working on games for 14 years as a pro, as an indie, and a mod author.
The vision for Abducted is as an episodic adventure. Not episodes that take years to make, but instead are produced in a rapid, high quality fashion like a modern TV show (Dexter, True Blood, etc). Each episode will be meaty, with its own arc, its own story and construction. There will be a lot to do, see, and experience. Abducted will take place across six episodes, developed concurrently by two small teams. Each one will be released every 75 days (approximately 2.5 months).
I have experience doing just this thing: I was the lead level designer for DesertCombat. We committed publicly with DesertCombat to release a major update every 45 days and we delivered on that. DesertCombat was a game with hundreds of thousands of loyal fans in its heyday, and I believe we did a very good job of delivering a fun experience while engaging and supporting a large and diverse community.
I am committing to you that we will deliver a new episode of Abducted every 75 days. And we will do this while delivering each episode with our very high standards of quality and polish. We have been planning and preparing for this effort for years and it will be our pleasure to deliver all six episodes to you on a 75 day per-episode release schedule.
Price per episode is still undetermined, but we have every intention of being competitive with similar titles. This means something in the $5 range for mobile and $10 range for PC/Mac/Linux.
For backers at the highest level, we have special rewards in mind: 6 to 8 inch hand-painted figurines of two of our main characters, Eve and The Tormentor. Depending on your contribution, you can pick one or get both.
This will be a limited run special edition set, hence the high cost. We won't make a lot of money from doing these, but it is our way of saying thank you for investing in us!
And simply put, they'll be fun to make. We really love the artistry that goes into making amazing creatures. So this will be a real treat for us and is something we can't wait to do.
Custom Built for Each Platform
Abducted is being developed using our in-house multiplatform engine, Radiance™. On the PC we have high resolution textures, per-pixel dynamic lighting, shadows, and volumetric fog. We are able to bring these same effects to mobile targets using a number of systems we have designed that allow us to scale our assets across multiple platforms. These techniques are similar to systems in large commercial engines like Unreal™ and Unity™.
The user interface is designed exclusively for each platform. This means full mouse and keyboard support on PC (including user-assignable keys), touchscreens on mobile, and gamepads for consoles.
Each platform has its own perks and unique advantages. For example:
- The Mac and PC version will also include higher resolution textures and FX, Steam achievements and bonus materials like the soundtrack.
- For iOS and the Mac App Store we will support cross platform Game Center and achievements between Mac and iOS gamers.
- We will be on modern Android devices including the Ouya Gaming Console.
- Radiance™ gives us the capability of taking Abducted to Xbox and Playstation.
- Windows XP, Mac OSX 10.7, Ubuntu 12.04
- Intel Core i3
- NVidia GeForfce 600 series, AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series
- 1 GB of RAM
- iPhone 4, iPad 2, or iPod Touch 4
- Most multicore Android phones and tablets
- Ouya Gaming Console
- 512MB RAM
Why Do We Want Funding Through Kickstarter?
Games are expensive to make and when you are really committed to making something good there is inevitably churn as you iterate the game and its mechanics. This means that during this phase, time and ultimately costs are hard to predict. Sunside has already invested over $200K to bring Abducted to an alpha stage which means that we have eliminated most of the risk. We have content and game play and we know it's fun. Now it's time to really step into production.
Funding will help us pay artists, animators, and others to create the most complete, awesome adventure game you've played in a crow's age.
As you can see we're very far along and we have big ambitions. More funding will allow us to make a better game and fulfill the vision for Abducted without having to make any compromises.
It's also an opportunity for us to let you know about the game and engage you directly with what we're up to. We are making one of the most unique and original adventure games you will ever play.
Risks and challenges
Abducted is going to ship even if we don't get funded, that's the truth. But if we are funded, it will give us additional freedom and resources to expand the game and make it better.
Last year we released Crow on iOS and Mac platforms. As an indie developer's first title, we did reasonably well. Crow has over 200,000 players on Game Center and we attracted a small but loyal following of gamers. With Crow we wanted to make something engaging, immersive and unique. We did it on our own and have been self-funded since we started.
With Abducted our goals are set higher. We want to create an episodic adventure story that takes place over six episodes. We are getting close to this goal as we create the content and systems for the game. This does require something of a leap of faith from backers like you. Can we deliver polished, high quality episodes on a consistent schedule? Can we provide you with enough fun and engaging content in each episode that you will look forward to the next?
We believe so. Additional funding through Kickstarter will help us meet these goals.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)