About this project
UPDATE #8: PS4 and Xbox One stretch goals announced!
UPDATE #13: Limited-edition poster revealed!
UPDATE #20: You can now back with Paypal!
What if each time you played The Legend of Zelda it was a different world with unique secrets and mysteriously new dungeons?
Songbringer is a Zelda-like action-adventure-RPG in which you can explore over 300 million unique worlds overflowing with recently awakened demons, virus androids and other sullied creatures. Along the way you will uncover long lost devices and combine them into powerful artifacts. If you are skilled with the nanosword you will vanquish giants and save a planet from being overrun.
In a cave in a jungle on planet Ekzerra in the Bellatrix system there is a sword which jails both hero and foe...
The game will be released on Steam and DRM-free for Windows, Mac and Linux. Other platforms such as iOS, Android, PS4 and Xbox One if certain funding goals are met -- see Stretch Goals.
Songbringer takes inspiration from 8-bit and 16-bit classics such as Crystalis, Sword of Mana and Final Fantasy II.
You can now back with PayPal at Songbringer.com!
You choose a 6-letter world seed every time you begin a new quest. This seed is used to procedurally generate the planet, overworld, secrets and dungeons.
As a player, you can choose to enter a unique seed and play an entirely surprising world. Or you can enter a seed you are familiar with and can rip through at a speed run pace. Maybe you are going for the global record?
Lore, cooperation and competition can be shared between you and friends because entering the same world code will always generate the same world.
While the events of Songbringer take place on a single planet, if a sequel game is produced, the same world seed can be used to continue into a wider galaxy based on that seed!
STEAM GREENLIGHT STATUS: Songbringer has been given the green light on Steam! All reward tiers that get copies of the game will also get Steam keys.
You play the role of protagonist and accidental hero, Roq Epimetheos. With a propensity for partying and making music, he cruises the galaxy with his friends aboard the ship Songbringer, searching for verdant planets absent the presence of galactic police.
When Roq finds the nano-sword hidden in a cave on Ekzerra, he unwittingly awakens an ancient evil army. The sword is pretty fraggin' sweet though. It... hums.
Songbringer is an open, non-linear game where progress is made by discovering items and vanquishing bosses. In other words, there are no experience points (no XP). As a player, you can't just kill 500 slimes and get to level 50. In fact, there are no experience levels.
Some items can be combined to produce entirely new artifacts. Find a teleport orb and fire in a bottle? By taking these to the droidsmith -- who is one of the secrets to be discovered in each procedurally generated world -- you can craft a fire teleport orb:
Another example: microcord + tophat + poison = poisonous boomerang tophat:
Here's a few more items which are planned:
- Telekinesis palm -- stuff will fly into your hands
- Rocket boots -- allows you to momentarily burst into the air, clearing short obstacles
- Proton shield -- repels some enemy attacks as long as you are not attacking
- Force gloves -- allows you to move heavy objects
- Fireball -- a craftable combo of fire in a bottle and a projectile orb
- Ice in a bottle -- can you guess what this does to orbs?
- Bomb cubes -- blow up stuff and reveal secrets, w00t!
- Cactus -- a rare item that upon ingestion gives you psychadelic powers, revealing secret walls and other stuff
- Electric guitar -- this baby cranks out the amps, soothes monsters and opens secret portals and sometimes entrances to dungeons!
Open to suggestions!
This gorgeous, limited-edition poster can only ever be gotten if you are a backer of the project! Choose any of the $128 reward tiers and above to get yours. There may be more posters available after the Kickstarter, but they won't be this one.
Hidden secrets make the exploration of a game world tantalizing. Songbringer is going to be littered with secrets. At least one dungeon will be entirely hidden and easter eggs will be concealed in the most unexpected places.
By eating cacti, you gain psychedelic powers and are able to perceive secret walls and other hidden schtuff.
Several factors of your game play are quantified to produce an overall score:
- Time to complete
- Percentage of secrets uncovered
- Percentage of items obtained
- Game mode: regular or permadeath (permadeath gets a healthy score boost!)
Your overall score is logged onto a global leaderboard which displays in all versions of the game. You choose an arcade-style six-letter name (different from your world seed) whenever you successfully complete the game. The leaderboard will be sorted by world seeds. It will automatically cycle through the seeds by popularity and freshness, or you can manually override to view a particular seed.
Roq likes to play guitar and his flying robot friend Jib plays beats. Together they will make an EP for the game. If certain stretch goals are met the EP will become an LP!
There's something magical about how the original Zelda game felt so open and limitless, yet the overworld was entirely just a simple 16 x 8 screens. It is this simplicity that is a constant beacon on the path to creating Songbringer.
I personally enjoy games where the size of the overworld is roughly known. It gives the feeling that the spatial limits of the world can be felt. (By contrast, if there are multiple overworld areas -- think Crystalis -- it quickly becomes unknown just how big the world is.) That's why each of the 308 million possible overworlds of Songbringer will be roughly the same quantity of screens and there will always be only a single overworld area per game.
Scrolling? Who needs it. There's never any! Yeah, I guess the game scrolls when you transition from screen to screen, but there's never actually any scrolling going on while enjoying a single screen. This is partly another homage to Zelda, and partly to simplify co-op play so that both heroes are always visible (see Stretch Goals).
In times of peace the people learn to party. This story is not about one of those times.
Songbringer is the name of an interstellar ship full of 400 art-warehouse comrades. As our story begins she sails the solar hyperspace winds, her tack for the sun Bellatrix.
The ship herself, along with 9 other spacecutters, sails to Ekzerra, mystical, mysterious and mostly unexplored planet where law enforcement rarely make appearance.
It’s the yearly gathering know as Breakbeat. It’s the year 13,003 BC as we would count, and just about nobody is sober.
When partygoer Roq Epimetheos eats a cactus and decides it would be a fine idea to explore the planet’s surface, he unknowingly triggers a war. And not just any war neither. The Second Great War of Wizards, involving not only all of Songbringer and Ekzerra but much of the galaxy...
To complete the minimum viable game and EP album, I plan for about 6 months of development. The initial funding goal will keep a roof over my head and my belly full while making the game and album full time. Yep, $9,000 is all I really need to fund 6 months. This is primarily a labor of love and I will continue to pour all of my time and money into the project.
Here's about what the minimum viable game will look like:
- 1 overworld with about 128 screens and 3 or 4 art styles to create variety
- 9 dungeons with 9 different bosses and 3 or 4 art styles to mix and match and color differently to create variety
- 2 different weather styles: fair and rainy
- About 25 enemy types to inhabit the overworld and dungeons
- About 20 items that can be combined and crafted
- 7 songs on the EP
- An intro cutscene showing how Songbringer gets to Ekzerra and why Roq is shirtless
- An outro end-of-game cutscene
The alpha build will become available to some backers as soon as the overworld and dungeons are complete, creating an early playable version. I'm shooting for about July 2015.
The first beta build will become available to $64 and up reward tiers about four months before the game's release. The timeframe depends on stretch goals that are met. At the earliest this will be first beta in September 2015.
The second beta build will become available to $32 and up reward tiers about two months before the game's release. (Timeframe depends on stretch goals.) At the earliest this will be second beta in November 2015.
The game will first be released on Steam and DRM-free. If stretch goals are met, the next platforms will be released in succession. First iOS, then Android, then Xbox One and PS4.
Besides the minimum viable game, there's so much more to the vision for Songbringer that can be unlocked through stretch goals. Keep in mind that these will take additional time to complete.
Note that the extra copies of the game mentioned here apply to all reward tiers from $8 and up! That means if we hit these stretch goals, just about everybody is getting additional copies of the game.
Hi, I'm Nathanael Weiss and I make all the art, music and code for Songbringer. One great advantage to flying solo is that I can really nail the aesthetic. Another is that I can save a lot of time by not having to be subordinate to anyone else in the decision making process. Absolutely zero red tape!
I've been a game developer for 20 years now and this is my first game doing it all myself. I can say for certain that it feels totally amazing to have the art, music and code all flowing at once!
One of the disadvantages to being a one-man team is that I cannot produce content as fast as a multi-person team. I like to mitigate that by keeping things simple. Why spend days creating something complicated when something simple will do? Often the simple solution ends up being better and more beautiful anyway!
Every single day of developing Songbringer I'm live streaming for about an hour or two. You can watch the live stream, lurk, chat, make suggestions, share your ideas, send encouragement and watch live coding, pixel art and even the music making process. If you cannot make the live streams then check out the Youtube archives.
Follow Songbringer on the Internets:
Risks and challenges
Songbringer is my one and only full-time project. I have no other major projects to split my time with. The main reason for this Kickstarter is to be able to continue working on the game full-time. Without funding, I will have to stop working on the game full time, get a job and Songbringer may take years to complete.
One risk is that even working full-time I won't complete the game by Q4 2015. Please be patient with me if the game does take a few more months to complete! This often happens with games. Also, depending on the stretch goals reached, this date will also be pushed forward a little.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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