About this project
Welcome to the Kickstarter for Phoenix Dawn! It has been an exciting journey to get to this point and I believe the best is yet to come. Phoenix Dawn is the beginning of a journey I started almost 3 years ago. Inspired to start a new company and the hope to bring something uniquely creative to the world. I am excited to have all of you onboard!
I will provide you more information about Phoenix Dawn and myself in the following paragraphs and videos. Sit back, relax, and check out it. I hope you like what you see and consider backing this game, vision, and dream. I will be available full time for the entirety of this campaign to answer questions and update you on the game's progress.
- 9/27: The Final 24 Hours - The final inning! Live Phoenix Dawn Finale tonight on Twitch! Can we hit 1,000 backers?
- 9/26: Reaching for the Stars - Stretch goal of 50K has been met! Phoenix Dawn now confirmed for iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Linux, Windows Phone and OUYA!
- 9/24: No words - just no words - We are FUNDED! Phoenix Dawn is going to happen - it's ALIVE!
- Draft of game demo introduction:
Phoenix Dawn is a role-playing adventure game that I am building for iOS, PCs and Macs which is set in a world filled with magic and mystery. You play the character of Phoenix - a young girl with extraordinary abilities. Her story will take you on a emotional journey about an unspeakable evil tearing her world a part. Armed with only a wand and a limited knowledge of how to use her powers - she sets off on a journey that will take her far from home. An adventure that will forever change the young sorceress and her companions.
Features - Quick Look
- Rich Storyline - Phoenix Dawn is a story about perseverance, beauty, love and the importance of fighting for what you believe in.
- Explore Her World - Explore the unique and beautiful world of Phoenix Dawn. Sprawling sand dunes, deep ravines, abandoned ruins and dark caves. All designed with a combination of low poly and high poly aesthetics to immerse you in the story.
- Vile Monsters and Bosses - Battle the armies of the White Witch and get ready for the final showdown with the sand demon, Lazurus, on the Forgotten Dunes.
- Beautiful Low Poly Design - Each of these worlds are inspired by the low poly art style with rich colors, textures, and characters. Every frame of Phoenix Dawn is set to be beautiful enough to earn a place as your wallpaper.
- Learn Spells - On your journey, you will uncover special relics scattered throughout the world, that are imbued with magical properties. These relics will unlock new spells that you can employ against your enemies.
- Spell Alchemy - As you uncover relics unlocking spells, you will have the unique ability to combine them into over 100 different spells with varying powers - creating a unique skill tree that you can build and grow throughout the game.
- Randomization - Each dungeon found within the world will be randomly generated for each game, providing countless hours of gameplay and a different experience each time.
- Re-Playability - You will have a unique and different experience each time you play through Phoenix Dawn - its unique skill tree and randomized dungeons will create a different experience each time you play it.
- Latest Technology - I am building Phoenix Dawn with the latest tools and tech provided by Apple and Unity to make Phoenix Dawn an incredible game. Technologies like Metal and Test Flight will be integrated into the mobile version of the game right from the beginning. The brand new Unity 5 brings many new enhancements to my workflow.
"This week our podcast was graced with the presence of Eric Trowbridge, the founder of indie studio Apixal and who is currently going through a Kickstarter campaign for Phoenix Dawn. We invited him on because he was clearly very passionate about making games; he quit a job of eight years to try and make his dreams a reality."
"Do you believe in magic? That really is the question that Trowbridge and Apixal are asking you. Can a newcomer indie developer with aspirations of leaving a telling mark on society create a piece of art that has a compelling story and engaging player experience? I can’t answer that for you, but as for myself I believe in the magic that Apixal want to create."
"Created by Chicago-based Apixal, the label for solo developer Eric Trowbridge, this is an isometric RPG that takes cues from Diablo, but also games like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger, with elements of random generation to create unique experiences for each play through."
"If you really want to find out about some exciting mobile games in the works, Kickstarter is the place to go. We’ve covered a couple of them here on Pocketmeta in the past, such as Elysian Shadows and Eminence, but there are plenty more out there worth mentioning. The one that I’ve been eye-balling lately, is a very unique looking RPG called Phoenix Dawn. Although it doesn’t seem anywhere near completion, it has been in the works for over three years now, and the current progress looks phenomenal."
"Visually, Apixal are not chasing after the whole SNES/Genesis aesthetic that most other indies do. They’ve chosen a low poly art style that looks surprisingly polished already."
"So, an art style that looks amazing - requires significantly less system resources to produce - allowing me to reallocate resources to particles, lighting and effects? Ummm... let me think about that.. yes!"
Phoenix Dawn's art direction is inspired by a style called Low Poly. In essence, it is about creating simple geometric shapes to represent what would normally be very complex 3D models. I personally found this style to be incredibly beautiful and there was something magical about it when done well. I just love its simplicity and its ability to visually tell you what it is with just a tenth of the polygons. Phoenix Dawn won't be exclusively low poly but a unique mix with architectural pieces too.
Low poly is somewhat of a controversial art style in the professional design community. Some don't appreciate it calling it "easy" and "an way to hide your technical shortfalls". Low poly may be easier per se than a highly detailed model with hundreds and thousands of polygons but it still comes down to taste - right? I see dozens of high-poly images (I am sure you can too!) everyday that look terrible. Low poly artwork is no exception. There is great low poly art and there is terrible low poly art. It all stills boils down to your abilities to interpret color, emotion, lighting, composition... doesn't matter what the style is - just make it look damn good and no one will care edgewise! I choose low poly. =D
The other advantage of using low poly (outside of how beautiful I think it is) is how inexpensive it is. I am not talking about dollar signs here but about its efficiency running on an iOS device. Low poly objects require significantly less overhead from your GPU and CPU which allows me to dedicate those extra resources to things like particles, lighting, and textures.
So, an art style that looks amazing - requires significantly less system resources to produce - allowing me to reallocate resources to particles, lighting and effects? Ummm... let me think about that.. yes!
"I want to make a game that pushes the boundaries of mobile gaming. I am not interested in making a game that could still be played on a Palm Pilot."
Phoenix Dawn will include some unique game mechanics that I think will bring a really great in-depth experience to the mobile game industry. In a relatively short amount of time, mobile devices have become increasingly more powerful and are close to bringing console-like experiences on the go. I want to make a game that pushes the boundaries of mobile gaming. I am not interested in making a game that could still be played on a Palm Pilot. I would like to highlight a few unique things about Phoenix Dawn that I think will make it great and tons of fun.
Making a game should be an organic process. I have received great feedback since launching this Kickstarter and I am currently re-working the game from an isometric (the video and screenshots that follow) to a 3rd person perspective (as seen directly below). I will continue to update everyone with new videos and images as a change this part of the game.
It is all about gaining experience and developing your skills.
One of my favorite game franchises growing up (and still is today) is the Diablo Series by Blizzard Entertainment. I love these games. Simple to learn, hard to master. There are so many things that I could highlight here, but there is one thing that I kept wanting over and over again. In Diablo, you choose between different races (Wizard, Barbarian, etc...) each with unique powers and abilities that bring destruction to your foes. I usually played as a Wizard (go figure, right?), but there were powers and abilities that I wanted from some of the other races. If I wanted them, I would have to restart the game as a different character and play through it.
In Phoenix Dawn, your objective is simple on the battlefield. Gain experience. Each time you destroy an enemy, experience orbs will drop. Collect as many of these orbs as you can before they disappear and use them to strengthen your spells and create new ones. Sometimes enemies may drop magical relics that will unlock new spells for you to use.
Phoenix Dawn gives you ALL the same spells and you get to choose which types of spells fit your play style. Everyone's Phoenix character will be unique in her own way based on how you develop her.
15 default spells and over 100 can be made with Spell Alchemy.
When Phoenix Dawn launches, there will be three branches of magic: Red, Blue, and Green. Each of these branches contains 5 different spells growing in complexity and power - making 15 total default spells and over 100 spells that can be created with Alchemy! That's a lot! Finding the recipes and combinations to all these spells will require you to discover runes, solve their riddles, and uniquely combine these spells in the right order to create new ones. Imagine, everyone playing Phoenix Dawn will probably be using a completely different and unique skill set in their own game - and the best part is, if you want what they have you don't have to restart the game to be a different race. You just got to find the right stuff!
I was inspired to do this from another one of my favorite games, Chrono Trigger. In Chrono Trigger, you could perform special "Team Attacks" that combined the 3 powers of the people in your party. Each was different, and each was completely dependent on who you selected to be in your party.
"When Steve Jobs passed, it effected me on more levels than I even realized at that time. He reminded me that we all will die someday and it is the things that you didn't do that you would regret. Not the things you did. So here I am."
I was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A small town (and capital) where technology innovations seemed to be the last to reach. For me, video games were my brother and I's favorite past time. There wasn't a whole lot to do growing up in Wyoming - so - as a young kid, I started programming video games with a game engine called VERGE. I released a few small games but most of this part of my past was forgotten about - until recently.
After graduating Highschool, I moved to San Francisco and attended the Academy of Art University for 1 year focusing on Art Direction. I was really interested in making movies and was impatient and wanted to get started right away, so I moved to Los Angeles. Once I was there, I attended the Los Angeles Film School and continued to study art direction. After about a year in "the industry" a terrible realization came to me. I hated what I was doing.
After spending over a hundred thousand dollars in student loans, I suddenly realized that my dream of working in movies simply wasn't what made me happy. Terribly frightened of what was going to happen to me, I went with my gut and got a part time job at Apple with the hopes that I would be able make a stable living to pay the loans.
Fast forward 8 years, and I couldn't be a more different person than I was 10 years ago. I was fortunate enough with Apple to become a manager fairly quickly into my tenure and was able to work at Apple Retail Stores in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. I learned everything at Apple. Leadership, team building, compassion... I would certainly consider the time I spent at Apple as the best years of my life and a much more formal education than the ones I got at the Academy of Art University or Los Angeles Film School. It gave me hands on experience, and in retail, you have to know how to hustle, adapt to change quickly, and think on your feet. I am sure many of you reading this know what I am talking about.
When Steve Jobs passed, it effected me on more levels than I even realized at that time. He reminded me that we all will die someday and it is the things that you didn't do that you would regret. Not the things you did. So here I am.
And with that, I realized that starting my own company would be one of the things that I would regret not trying to do. After a few years more of soul searching and thinking, I decided to go back to my roots where all my passion and creativity come from: Storytelling, Art, and Technology. Those would be the tent poles of my future company.
I left Apple in June of this year to pursue this dream full time.
Here, I wanted to provide a little more details about some of the backer rewards offered on the right.
- The apixal Community ($5+) - This is our "home" on the internet. I wanted to recognize you from the very beginning of our journey by bedazzling your profile with badges. :)
- Phoenix Dawn "Preview" ($20+) - The Phoenix Dawn Preview will come before the alpha and will be a small 10-15 minutes of gameplay (1 quest). Its purpose is to test controls, camera, and the magic system.
- Beta Access ($35+) - More details to come, but expecting to have this phase ready by March 2015.
- Name inscribed on a magical monument ($50+)- Within the game world, you will discover "magical monuments". Your name will be forever "inscribed" into one of these monuments. When you visit one, see if you can find your name! If not, you can message me, and I will have a map of where your name is in the world. :)
- T-Shirts ($75+) - 3 Designs to choose from (see below). Women, Men, and Unisex sizes available.
- Alpha Access ($100+) - Expecting to start introducing people to the game in its earliest forms in February 2015.
- VIP Lounge ($100+) - An exclusive membership board where I will post screenshots, works in progress, and engage in conversation before I post anything on any social media. You'll be the first to see and know what is going on. I will be engaging with the community as I develop the game.
- Founder's Coins ($100+) - Special, limited edition, only for Kickstarter backers! These coins will serve as mementos to your support of apixal and Phoenix Dawn from the beginning. They will be 3D printed and completely designed by myself. I have not yet finalized a design or material yet. I will test them out before selecting something that looks and feels great. :-)
Expected Delivery and Timeframes
Those are the timelines for expected delivery on all the specific rewards:
- Forum Access and Badge Recognitions - Immediately upon reaching our funding goal and signing up on our community forums.
- Phoenix Dawn Preview - December 2014 / January 2015
- Beta Access - April 2015
- T-Shirts - November / December 2014
- Stickers - November / December 2014
- Artcard - November /December 2014
- NPC/Object Design Session - January 2015
- Monster Design Session - January 2015
- Character Design Session - January 2015
- Spell Design Session -February 2015
- Alpha Access - March 2015
- Founder's Coins - November / December 2014
- Limited Edition Signed Art Book - April 2015
If there are any changes to these timeframes I will be in constant communication with every backer throughout the development process!
There are so many way to stay connected with myself and apixal! Can't wait to talk more to you in any of the following ways!
- Phoenix Dawn Subreddit
- Community Forums
- Email - hello[at]apixal.com
"I believe in magic."
Well ladies and gentlemen, that concludes my pitch to you. I have had an amazing time over the last 3 months putting everything together for this Kickstarter and now it is in your hands.
I am available full time to answer questions or address any concerns you may have. I have been completely transparent about what I have and what Phoenix Dawn's plans are. I will continue to post updates and keep you informed on progress. I have addressed additional questions in the FAQ below as well. 75% of the 33K is simply to keep my bills and credit in good standing over the next six months - living off of Lunchables and pizza! Nothing fancy. The remaining 25% goes to miscellaneous monthly company expenses such as my Unity/Developer licensing fees, web hosting, and legal counsel. I have all the tools needed to make Phoenix Dawn. The more you contribute and believe in this project, the faster I can create Phoenix Dawn - get it into your hands - and launch a creative company that I know will be a strong positive force in this world.
With the new stretch goal, I can bring this game to many more platforms including Android,Windows Mobile and OUYA.
Seriously, thanks for your time. Raising a glass to you and the journey we are about to embark on. This is just the beginning of something great, I know it. :)
Risks and challenges
Honestly, there are plenty of risks associated with this Kickstarter! I personally took many risks to get to this point - leaving my full time job being one of them. I am certainly not asking you to leave your job to back this project (imagine that!), but I want you to definitely understand that this is going to be a very organic process and there are more questions than there are answers. I know that - I want you to know that.
To a certain degree, you are going to have to trust me. The question is NOT whether I will be able to make Phoenix Dawn. The question is - how long will it take me? I have the technical abilities to make this game completely on my own. And if I have to, I most certainly will. The outcome of this game SOLELY depends on this Kickstarter and what we raise. The long term goal here is that in six months time I will either have Phoenix Dawn ready for release (best case scenario) or at a stage that I can successfully use what has been make a pitch to venture capitalists to invest in the company and keep it going. Honestly, I will have a better understanding of the situation after this campaign has been completed.
Here is what I can promise you. I will be completely transparent (I hope my Kickstarter proves that) and I will keep you in constant communication about the direction of Phoenix Dawn. Those two things I can promise you - and you can hold me accountable to them. I will not make any promises to you that I cannot keep.
So, in essence, if you believe in magic - like a little risk - ready to start a long term journey with me - then you are the perfect backer for Phoenix Dawn.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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