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Monsters. Calamities. Fun. Read more

Boston, MA Video Games
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pledged of $167,000 goal
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on January 31, 2013.

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Dear friends,

Thank you so much for the support. After working so long in the dark it's exciting to see the number of people that are excited about Dreadline. Unfortunately we fell far short of our fundraising goal. Rather than dwell on what went wrong, we're working to find alternate ways to fund the Dreadline's development. We've invested a huge amount of time and energy, and aren't quite ready to let go.

Thank you again to all of our supporters. We'll do our best to find a way to get this game out into the world.

Please check out for future developments.

thanks again,

Steven Kimura

A New Interview Up at VG247

Steve and Bryn were interviewed about Dreadline and their choices to go indie on VG247. Check it out!


We're working hard to make DREADLINE a reality, but we need your help!

Thank you to all who have supported us thus far, and please help us spread the word! We need the support of gamers like you!

Mr. Kimura Builds a New Level for DREADLINE.

Level building is a very organic process. I start by sorting through online and print reference, and doing some drawings to get a feel for the architecture, and how it might work for our game. I'm not interested in accurately re-creating historical places. I want the space to be recognizable, but the last thing we want in this game is to be bound by the facts.

Once I have a basic idea what the architectural vibe of the level is going to be, it's time to consider the larger picture. Is it going to be primarily interiors or exteriors? Will it be hilly, or flat? Doors? Fences? There are all kinds of ways to shape spaces to create tactical interest, as well as all kinds of ways to visually represent what those spaces are.

For this level, inspired by the 1657 Great Fire of Meireki, I wanted to create smooth transitions between interior and exterior spaces. I'm often struggling with the boring, but handy conventions of traditional dungeon-crawling. Turning hallways into bridges over water, and walls into trees is one way to make the space more engaging.

The level map serves multiple functions. It's a freeform way to develop a decorative object vocabulary for the level, show scale, show how spaces are interconnected, and as a visual concept that can give me a real feel for what the level is supposed to look like. I used this sprawling drawing as a basis for drawing all of the world’s textures, like stony paths, grass, fences, walls, and trees. Even as I’m working in 3d, I’m constantly referring back to the original drawings. They keep the level feeling fresh, as I’m forced to find ways to reconcile what’s going on in a drawing with how I can really make it work in 3d space.

It’s always incredibly gratifying when it goes into our engine for the first time, and I get to run our little monsters all around, and explore it from that fresh perspective. It’s even better once it’s filled with hapless humans to kick around.

Please check out our Kickstarter campaign for DREADLINE, now in progress!

Thank you for your support.

The “Sketchy Renderer”

We've received a number of comments about the renderer used in Dreadline, so I thought it would be interesting to some people if I talked about it a little bit. When we first started working on the game, we knew we wanted monsters to visit calamities, but we didn't really have a visual style worked out. I originally wrote what is known as a “deferred renderer” that works a bit like the Unreal and Unity engine. Unfortunately, we weren't really feeling it. At one point Steve remarked that the Titanic looked a bit like an old school Metal Gear level.

I spent some time looking at Steve's concepts, which tend to be very loose and have an amazing childlike innocence to them. I thought it would be cool to be able to play as a group of rampaging monsters in a world that looked like Steve's cute but twisted fairy tale illustrations. Steve agreed, but I wasn't quite sure how to start.

I decided it would make sense to attempt to copy the way Steve drew his pictures. Basically, he would make a black and white sketch, and then hastily color it in, sometimes going outside the lines. So, I decided to make a renderer that would do the same thing. First, I render all the visible objects with black and white textures that look like the outlines. I also use a technique a bit like the game Okami to produce the silhouette of the object, but also mess with it to make it look like it was more crudely sketched. Here is an example of the Titanic level's black and white pass:

Next, I do another pass of the visible objects using colored textures. The objects in this pass are also “bent around” a bit in order to make it look like it's coloring outside the lines. This pass is blurred to make it appear even smudgier. This is the point where lighting and shadows are also added. Here is an example:

Finally, the two passes are combined so there are the outlines, but the objects also get colored in. The renderer also adds additional effects at this point like bloom. Here is the final look:

And here is a close up of our character Ghost:

We're pretty excited about the final look of the game. I think I came close to giving Steve the tech he needs to bring his concepts to life. It may not be Crytek, but it looks unlike any other game I have seen, and that was far more important for us with this project. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments at