Project image
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£961
pledged of £8,000pledged of £8,000 goal
77
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, April 19 2014 3:51 PM UTC +00:00
£961
pledged of £8,000pledged of £8,000 goal
77
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, April 19 2014 3:51 PM UTC +00:00

About

Ra is a Green Caster. Torn from his village on the desert planet of Kama by the Red Stratocracy, he is forced to undertake dangerous missions on far-flung worlds - under the promise that, one day, he may be allowed to return home.

Uplift began life several years ago, as a slight frustration at the shortage of ‘proper’ games on mobile. I’d grown up playing brilliant handheld games like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda, and couldn’t see any reason why these new, powerful devices couldn’t offer the same gaming experiences.

Meanwhile, the seed of a story had been growing in my head for some time. I’d always been passionate about writing, and decided that by combining this with my other fascination - software development - I could create something really special.

I was lucky enough to have some extremely talented friends, and so I joined forces with Matthew and Wiwa, and we started our very own game studio. Thus was born Uplift, the first game from Bearwaves - the tiny game company with a very big story to tell.

Combat in Uplift is based around Ra's ability to use magic. Lightning is the basic spell that you'll begin the game with.
Combat in Uplift is based around Ra's ability to use magic. Lightning is the basic spell that you'll begin the game with.

The game plays like a cross between A Link to the Past and Mass Effect, and takes some inspiration from Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels - along with whatever else can be scraped from an imagination fired by years of reading brilliant science fiction. Gameplay focuses around Ra’s ability to use magic, and the player can find many new spells as they explore the game’s universe. It’s not all action, though - players will come up against a variety of puzzles, ranging from mildly vexing to fiendishly tricky.

Along with a carefully crafted plot, our other main focus for the game is a world with depth. We want to create a universe that players can actually get lost in, tell their friends stories about their discoveries, and, at times, maybe even think, “I bet not many people have found this...”. The science fiction setting gives us total freedom of creation - Uplift’s universe is teeming with unique characters, intriguing side-quests and amazing worlds.

Alien Races

Uplift’s universe is ancient, and densely populated by a wide variety of sentient life. Here are just a few of the many weird and wonderful species you’ll meet along your way - we’ll reveal more as the game approaches its target!

The Greens are a small, primitive civilisation from the arid desert planet of Kama. They have almost no technology, and are totally oblivious to how teeming with life the stars are.

A small percentage of the population, known as Casters, have the ability to use magic - this usually manifests itself as electricity from the fingertips, but a skilled magic user can channel the power into other spells. Ra is a relatively inexperienced Caster.

The Greens live in small, tight-knit communities, each presided over by an Elder; usually female and always a Caster. It's Ra's Elder who starts him on his journey, by asking him to investigate a fallen meteorite...

The Reds are a technologically advanced, space-faring race. The Red Stratocracy's military is one of the largest in the galaxy, meaning that the they hold an extremely powerful position in the galactic community, with bases on many worlds.

The Red Stratocracy has been engaged in a seemingly-endless war for the past two millennia. The war has been in something of a stalemate for centuries, the only encounters with 'The Enemy' being small skirmishes, impossibly far away - the details of which only the Reds' elite commanders have access to. This means that most Reds have no idea who their enemy is, or even what they look like. 

However, the Stratocracy have a plan to end this stalemate once and for all - and it seems to involve Ra, somehow.

Thousands of years ago, the Pinks were the dominant civilisation in the galaxy. Incredibly technologically advanced, they ended their reign by leaving this universe entirely, for who-knows-where.

Many planets are dotted with ruins from this once-great empire, though these have nearly all been long-since plundered by scavengers and traders. 

A tiny fraction of the species chose not to go when the Pinks left the universe - the descendants of these individuals, though very small in number, still live on in the galaxy. Known as The Shell, and stripped of their awe-inspiring technology, these Pinks live as nomads, travelling amongst the stars in small groups, and never settling in one place for very long. They are treated with reverence by a few species, and with scorn by most of the rest.

Locations

Exploration is key in Uplift, and so players will visit a staggering variety of different worlds. From arid deserts to icy tundra, crumbling ruins to futuristic cities, lush forests to volcanic wastes - and every one of them featuring something interesting, exciting or just plain weird. Here is just a tiny sample - more to be revealed as the funding target nears.

We began work on Uplift around May 2012. Originally an Android-exclusive title built with the AndEngine framework, we got to the stage where we had a small demo running a few beta testers, along with some rather encouraging feedback from places like Reddit.

However, about nine months ago, we decided that it would be preferable to abandon AndEngine and rewrite the game from scratch, in a graphics framework called LibGDX. This set us back quite a bit. However, we’re now at the stage where the game is back to its original functionality, along with a couple of extra benefits - its performance is greatly improved, and it’s now much easier to get the game running on Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS.

Uplift quite happily running on Ubuntu.
Uplift quite happily running on Ubuntu.

Much of the core game framework is implemented already, and Matthew and Wiwa have been hard at work on the graphics and sound; you’ve been looking at some of our assets already, in the banners on this page. We’ve also developed some of our own in-house level and mission editing tools. The bulk of the work left to do is creating new levels, planets and missions, along with the various puzzles, enemies and characters the player will encounter.

All three members of Bearwaves are students, and so we’ve had limited time to work on the game. Occasionally someone will have a free Saturday or a few days off and some progress will be made, but as our respective courses get increasingly intense, these opportunities are becoming rarer. At the present rate, it’s rather unlikely that Uplift will be finished in anything less than several years, unless we somehow take a few months to do nothing else but work on it - that’s where Kickstarter comes in.

If you back our game, as well as receiving your reward, you’ll be helping us pay rent on a house in London and a flat in Edinburgh, as well as any bills for food, electricity, gas, mobile, internet and the rest, for three months. Normally we’d have to get jobs to cover these expenses (student loans don’t run outside of term time), but with Kickstarter funding we can afford to work full-time on the game.

We’re confident we can have Uplift finally completed in this amount of time - but we need your help to make it happen!

Demo

Around a year ago, we released a very, very rough demo of the game - this was built using the old engine, and as such isn’t really representative of the current state of Uplift. However, if you’re interested, you can have a go! Unfortunately it’s Android-only, though of course the full game will be multi-platform.

Just to stress - please do bear in mind that this build is ancient, and extremely buggy!

Click the screenshot to check it out!
Click the screenshot to check it out!

Screenshots

Here are some more recent screenshots of Uplift in action:

Ra's house, where Uplift begins.
Ra's house, where Uplift begins.
Space exploration is a big part of the game.
Space exploration is a big part of the game.
The in-game menu.
The in-game menu.

Here are some older screenshots, from the original AndEngine build:

And a couple of screenshots showing some of our development tools:

We use these boxes to debug collisions in the game's physics engine.
We use these boxes to debug collisions in the game's physics engine.
Our level editor, written in Python/GTK.
Our level editor, written in Python/GTK.

Music

The background music in our video is actually a medley of three tracks from Uplift's soundtrack, composed by our very own William Watson. The three tracks are:

  • Desert Theme
  • Ice Planet Theme
  • Evil Space Station Theme

Have a listen! Of course, this is just a tiny sample of the many wonderful ear-candies Wiwa has been cooking in his beat-kitchen.

The Bearwaves team may be small, but it has the talent of a large pack of bears. Bears are one of the most skilled creatures in the animal kingdom. Grizzly bears, one of the more active members of the bear family, have been known to create traps for their prey. They work in groups; the more bears in the group, the higher the yield of salmon.

...anyway. Bearwaves has three members: Joel, Matthew and William.

Joel is Papa Bear at Bearwaves, and the lead developer on Uplift. He’s the one moving his hands around too much in the video. He’s been programming since he was 14, having contributed to several open-source projects, and is currently studying Computing at Imperial College London.

He’s also quite active on London’s spoken word scene - here he is doing a terrible dinosaur impression.

Twitter: @JoelOtter

Matthew is Bearwaves’ graphics artist and resident ginger. He’s currently on a year-long industrial placement, after which he’ll go back to studying Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast.

He’s also a talented drummer and avid Rubik’s Cube solver, and has probably the best hair in all of Bearwaves.

Twitter: @matthewfitch23

William “Wiwa” Watson is in charge of the music and SFX in Uplift, and is additionally responsible for some of the level design - in particular, the fiendishly tricky puzzles that Uplift’s dungeons will present players with. Stuck? Blame him.

Outside of video game music, Wiwa is a really talented producer - his unique genre of ‘derpstep’ has been played on BBC Radio Ulster’s Across The Line, as well as BBC Introducing on Radio One. He’s also living proof that Vikings once visited Ireland.

Twitter: @Wiwa44

We’re quite keen for everybody who backs this project to get something out of it, even if they pledge only a small amount - that’s why the Android version of the game costs just £2. For those who’d like to pledge a little more, though, we have some really cool rewards. Read on for the details!

Android Tier: £2 gets you the Android version of the game - as well as Kickstarter backer-exclusive beta access a few weeks before the game launches to everyone. Can’t say fairer than that, really.

iOS Tier: Alternately for £2, you can choose the iOS version of the game. We’ve had to limit these to 150, and unfortunately we can’t offer beta access on this one - this is due to Apple’s restrictions, and is beyond our control! Don’t worry if you’ve missed out, though; the game will launch on the App Store when it launches fully.

PC Tier: For £5, you’ll get the PC version of the game. It’s DRM-free, and will run on Windows, Mac and Linux - you’ll get the beta access, too.

Combo Tier: £6 nets you both the Android and PC versions of the game - again, DRM free, with beta access.

Soundtrack Tier: For £10, you’ll get everything in the Combo Tier, as well as a DRM-free download of the game’s soundtrack, by our very own William Watson.

Physical Tier: We think it’s nice to have something ‘real’, to hold in your hand. For £15, you’ll get a DVD copy of the game (containing PC and Android versions as well as the soundtrack) along with some Uplift stickers! Of course, you’ll also get downloadable versions of the above, along with beta access.

T-shirt Tier: For £30, you’ll get downloadable versions of the Android and PC games (with beta access), along with the soundtrack - as well as a backer-exclusive Uplift t-shirt. You’ll also get some stickers; everybody loves stickers, right?

Bundle Tier: £40 will get you the DVD, the downloads, the beta access, the t-shirt and the stickers! As if that wasn’t enough, for this and all the following tiers, you’ll get your name in the game’s credits - because we’ll love you. A lot.

Inclusion Tier: For £70, you’ll get everything from the Bundle Tier - as well as getting to design your own character, who will feature in Uplift.

Involvement Tier: This is our top-tier reward. For £100, you will get absolutely everything from the Inclusion Tier. You’ll also get to work closely with the Bearwaves team, designing your own side mission. Characters, locations, plot - the works.

Regardless of which tier you've chosen, we'd like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting this project. It truly wouldn't be possible without you. See you starside.

We have limited time in which to complete Uplift. However, we'd like to give our backers the chance to have some input as to the things they want in the game.

We've left this section intentionally blank, for now - please, don't hesitate to leave a comment, or get in touch, with your suggestions! After all, it's you guys who will make this project a success.

Risks and challenges

Since we all currently live in different places - Joel in London, England, Wiwa in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Matthew in Belfast, Northern Ireland - we won't be able to be in the same place for the entire duration of the summer while we work on the game.
This will naturally make communication more difficult (although, of course, the internet does help quite a bit).

However, we plan to spend as much of the summer as possible in the same location (at home in N.I.) so that we will minimize any problems associated with our long-distance relationship!

Our other major challenge is depth - we want Uplift's universe to be as vast as possible, with as many opportunities for exploration as we can squeeze in. This will obviously be quite a lot of work - however, we're putting a heavy focus on building our own in-house level editing tools, which will hopefully ease this burden somewhat.

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    ANDROID TIER: Getting nothing for smaller pledge amounts? Nah. For just two quid, you get the Android version of the game - including backer-exclusive early beta access.

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    iOS TIER: Got an iPhone? Not to worry - we have some iOS keys available too. iOS backers will receive their key at launch, and are limited to 150 backers - this is due to Apple's restrictions.

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    PC TIER: You get a DRM-free copy of the Windows/Mac/Linux version of the game, as well as backer-exclusive early beta access.

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    COMBO TIER: You get both the Android and PC versions of the game, DRM-free, with backer-exclusive early beta access.

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    SOUNDTRACK TIER: You get the Android and PC versions of the game, with beta access, as well as a downloadable soundtrack album.

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    PHYSICAL TIER: You get a DVD containing both versions of the game, along with the soundtrack - and some Uplift stickers!
    You'll get access to the beta too, don't worry!

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    T-SHIRT TIER: You get an exclusive Uplift t-shirt, along with downloadable versions of the Android and PC games and soundtrack, with beta access. And stickers!

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    BUNDLE TIER: You'll get the DVD, downloads, the exclusive T-shirt, beta access, stickers and your name in the credits!

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    INCLUSION TIER: You get to design your own character that will be featured in the game, plus everything from the Bundle tier.

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    INVOLVEMENT TIER: You get to design your own side mission that will be included in the game, plus everything from the Inclusion tier.

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Funding period

- (30 days)