A PC survival game like you’ve never seen. Emergent story, group psychology, and the struggle to endure, in the absurd Owlchemy style. Read more
This project was successfully funded on December 6, 2013.
About this project
Missed the Kickstarter? You can still join the party and get some awesome Dyscourse rewards on our website!
Head to the Dyscourse website for more info!
It will include the likes of Tim Schafer, Edmund McMillen, Phil Tibitoski, Alexander Bruce, Ron Carmel, Robin Hunicke, Ichiro Lambe, Adam Saltsman, Will Stallwood, and Rami Ismail! The best part is that it's not a stretch goal, or backer-only addition. It will ship in the game because we love you folks. :)
We’ve got a little video piece for you today! Devin, Carrie, and Alex got on camera to speak about what makes Owlchemy feel like ‘Owlchemy!’
Also, we've expanded our $30 Reward Tier to include even more documentary goodness!
Check out our latest updates!
You are Rita and she is you.
Two years out of college with a supposedly prestigious art degree and you've been putting it to good use as a full time coffee barista. Your luck may not be the best, but hey -- at least your latte foam art is exceptional!
Speaking of luck... oh, right. Your plane crashed, you didn't watch the boring safety video, and now you're stranded on this wretched island with a bunch of mouth-breathing tourists. It was bad enough having them kicking your seat on the flight -- now they're your only key to survival.
Is Rita compassionate towards her fellow castaways? Does she work with everyone towards the greater good? Is she a harsh survivalist, out for her own interests?
Remember, you are Rita and she is you. What kind of person are you today?
At Owlchemy Labs, we’d played enough resource management-centric survival games to know that we wanted to make something different and focus on the human element. We want to explore people at their best, their worst, and everything in between. Dyscourse focuses on the interactions, tough decisions, bonds, and betrayals of a small group of survivors. What's a greater threat to the survivors: the dangers of the unforgiving island they’ve been cast upon, or the threat of their fellow man?
Dyscourse is coming to Steam! Beta starts May 2014 and we’ve struck a deal with Valve so that every backer receives a Steam key.
In Dyscourse, your choices actually matter! (“Whoa, really?” you gasp “Yes!” we respond excitedly).
Playthroughs on a single scenario in Dyscourse yield vastly different player-stories depending on how you play. If you and 10 friends play one scenario, it’s likely that you’ll each end up a vastly different course of events. Your buddy might be telling you how his group crashed and burned by Day 5, while you managed to get 3 survivors safely to rescue by day 10. Your choices directly determine who does or does not make it out alive in the end.
We not only make the claim to have expansive and dynamic story branching, but are subscribing to that as a core part of our design philosophy. With other narrative driven games, choices can certainly be presented to the player, but the stark realities of game development significantly limit the amount to which a choice can affect the playthrough. In many games, you have expensive voice acting, as well as large 3d environments created by huge teams of artists and level designers. It's simply not feasible to build 10 or 20 different fully-featured environments, only to have a playthrough only reveal a fraction of the content, so every choice ends up looping back to the same core story beats, with slight amounts of customization to make players feel like their choices make some kind of difference. It's the reality of content constraints.
Dyscourse, however, turns that whole problem on its head. We can provide a dynamic story space that branches wildly because we aren't constrained to needing specific voice acting content, or the manual creation of separate new environments for each scene that we want to play out in the game. We use the whole island as our narrative playground, and with new content being driven by text (which is inexpensive and quick), we can allow for tons of different playthroughs with different storylines at a fraction of the time and cost. We think that’s pretty novel and really freaking awesome.
When it comes to the actual gameplay, Dyscourse is not merely a glorified Choose Your Own Adventure story. We’re focusing in on compelling narrative that drives interesting gameplay through multiple innovative mechanics.
We’ve built out an AI interaction system, complete with sneaking, hunting, projectile weaponry, and fight-or-flight mechanisms.
One never knows when a pack of hungry animals, enraged bees, or mob of nasties might sneak up on you. I’ll venture a guess that it’ll be at the worst possible time. Thanks Murphy and to hell with your laws!
Additionally, the island you crash land on is extremely large and, unfortunately, you didn’t think to bring your map to said random island. How unprepared! Thankfully, you have an excellent memory. The ability to recall events and locations stored within the murky depths of your brain is one of the key ways we allow you to navigate our world efficiently.
If you’ve been to a place, you toss down what we call a ‘memory marker.’ Once you’ve placed one or more of these markers, you can pull up your Mind Map and recall that location, which lays down a convenient set of mental footsteps, allowing you to retrace your steps to that prior location. If one of the other characters has been to or has seen a specific location, they too can suggest an outing to that location, and lead you along their own mental path via placed footsteps. Excellent!
Dyscourse is being developed by the charismatic, handsome, and downright adorable Owlchemy Labs; designers, creators, programmers, and window washers of such fine games as Snuggle Truck (Steam PC/Mac/Linux, iOS, Android), and Jack Lumber (Steam PC/Mac/Linux, iOS, Android).
Our team of endearing misfits have been collaborating together as early as 2010, shipping titles together as a cohesive unit. We’ve slowly Katamari’ed to form the great team of Owlchemy members and collaborators you see below, currently cranking away on Dyscourse.
Dyscourse is the kind of game we’ve always wanted to create. It draws inspiration from a multitude of films, books, and other games. To describe Dyscourse in terms of prior successful games, it’s as if you took the interpersonal dramas of The Walking Dead and combined it with the group survival of Oregon Trail, added a healthy dose of Lord Of The Flies, and wrapped it all up in an insanely stylized yet realistic Owlchemy-illustrated world -- then slapped a huge NO FREAKING ZOMBIES sticker on it and called it a day. :)
Why are we still talking? Here’s some pretty pictures and audio.
Here's a track of Work-In-Progress music from our audio guy Jason.
Song 1: Jungle, Long Days
Since the story adapts to how you play, we figured the music should adapt as well. The musical score in Dyscourse is arranged on the fly. Jason is working on creating sounds and musical themes that are based on various states and emotions, and our music manager will dynamically put together the proper tracks to represent the current mood on the island.
Dyscourse is the most ambitious game Owlchemy has ever done. We don’t think it’s glib to say that this game would be an ambitious title for most any company. With your support, you'll help to contribute funds to help push us to our goal of bringing this title to the public.
This money will directly fund our game development, helping us realize our vision. We've put our blood, sweat, and tears into the game thus far, and have put money from our prior games right back into the creation of Dyscourse because we truly believe in it. Polishing is tough and sometimes quite expensive. Your contribution will help us reach the level of polish that we strive for in our games. It will help to increase the quality level, not just of the visuals, but also of the story, gameplay and the overall experience.
Additionally, we’re coming to Kickstarter to achieve a strong level of community interaction. With our prior titles, we’ve been generally unable to interface with our fans on a deep level, partially due to the technical limitations of the platforms, but also due to the development style of creating games in a closed cycle and then releasing them when they’re complete and polished. We want to show you what we have as early as possible, and we want your input! Opening ourselves up to the Kickstarter community is both exciting and scary for us. We can hear what you think, for better or worse, much much earlier than ever before, which we believe will make for a better game.
We've gotten some brilliant mentions in the press these past days! Let's recap:
- Rock Paper Shotgun!
- IndieCrowd.de! (German)
David Helgason, Unity's CEO
Check out this quick interview with David, where he speaks candidly about us and about Dyscourse.
Twitter / Facebook!
Of course, like any rad bros, we're on 'the Twitters' and 'the Facebooks'. You should check us out there, as we've been sharing info about the game's development as well as other fun snippets!
Risks and challenges
Developing a game that tries to do things differently is always a bit of a risk. We do have a lot of risk mitigators going for us, including the fact that the majority of the team has all collaborated together before, successfully shipping multiple indie titles on various platforms. We’ve also put in a considerable amount of time and money into the project thus far, have a great team of behind-the-scenes advisors telling us when we do really dumb things *wink* and are extremely passionate about the success of this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We will be launching the game on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux simultaneously.
To be determined, but system requirements should be fairly standard-fare for Unity-based games.
Yes, if you’re shipping outside of the US, the Kickstarter payment form will require an additional $10/$15 fee for international shipping.
Our timetable puts us at Private Alpha in March, and a Beta launch in May and release of the full game in September. Our merch will start shipping a few weeks after the full game's launch.
You mentioned a scenario being able to produce multiple stories. How many of these scenarios are you creating?
We are planning on authoring multiple scenarios in Dyscourse. When we launch the game in Beta, we’ll be shipping scenario 1, where you play as Rita. This allows us to get the game in your hands as soon as possible and gather feedback to improve our next scenarios, where you play as another ill-fated survivor in a different crash.
Right now, we are building a single player game and focusing on making that the best it can be. In it’s current incarnation, multiplayer doesn’t fit our vision for the game and as such, it’s not on our schedule.
A game like this definitely costs more than $40,000 to make, you’re right. We’ve been able to utilize money from sales of prior game sales but we need some extra help to reach the required amount of money to make this game possible. Also Space Marines.
Right now, no. If you really, urgently, painfully need to pay with Paypal, please contact us so we can get an idea of how many people are interested in doing that.
We are currently focused on building the best experience we can for PC, Mac, and Linux on Steam.
There are ways to do stretch goals that don’t affect the timeline of the deliverable, and we’re looking into those, should interest arise. We don’t believe in artificially increasing the scope or timeline of the project just because there’s a small chance that we might receive a butt-load of money through Kickstarter. We want to be very careful about any stretch goals, should that become a thing in the future. We’re building a game of a certain size, scope, and with a specific core vision that we're proud of and insanely passionate about, and keeping to that is numero uno in our mind.
Pledge $1 or more
CARRY-ON - Support the scientists at Owlchemy Labs to further their goal of spreading tasty, tasty games to the unwashed masses. Also, your name in the credits.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or more
300 backers All gone!
EARLY BIRD UPGRADED PASSENGER - Grab the Upgraded Passenger package at a reduced price! Beta access, plus digital art book, digital wallpaper, and digital soundtrack. All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or more
PASSENGER - Get the game on Steam plus DRM-free downloads (PC/Mac/Linux). Previous reward included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or more
UPGRADED PASSENGER - Beta access, plus digital art book, digital wallpaper, and digital soundtrack. All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or more
103 backers All gone!
ROUND TRIP PASSENGER - Beta access, plus an extra Steam key for a friend, as well as a platinum Kickstarter badge displayed in-game. All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or more
ROUND TRIP PASSENGER - Beta access, plus an extra Steam key for a friend, a behind-the-scenes documentary on Dyscourse, as well as a platinum Kickstarter badge displayed in-game. All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $65 or more
WELL-DRESSED TRAVELER - Dyscourse T-shirt, plus Owlchemy's prior Steam titles (Jack Lumber and Snuggle Truck). All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $85 or more
PRE-BOARDED TRAVELER - Early Alpha and physical goods ahoy! Sticker sheet, art book, character pop-outs, T-shirt and one invite to the Private Alpha (access to the Private Alpha forums, special thanks in the game's credits as an early tester, estimated Alpha date of March 2014). All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
30 backers All gone!
EARLY BIRD LUGGAGE TRAVELER - Grab the Luggage Traveler package at a reduced price! A killer retro metal suitcase replica, with all your goodies packed inside, including a sweet metal Dyscourse flask. All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $115 or more
LUGGAGE TRAVELER - A killer retro metal suitcase replica, with all your goodies packed inside, including a sweet metal Dyscourse flask. All previous rewards included.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $150 or more
12 backers Limited (8 left of 20)
COMPANIONED TRAVELER - Pick the name of one of the domesticated animals within the game (No profanity and we have veto ability). Names are randomized on each play-through of the game. Also includes Luggage Traveler.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $175 or more
FIRST CLASS TRAVELER - Includes the Luggage Traveler tier, with all items signed by the Owlchemy Labs Boston-area development crew.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $300 or more
4 backers Limited (1 left of 5)
EXECUTIVE TRAVELER - Your name appears in the game, incorporated into the narrative. (For example, one character is reminiscing about an old friend from back home. That friend is you.) Also includes First Class Traveler.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $350 or more
0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
FIRST OFFICER - A character portrait created for you in your likeness (or of an object of your choice) in our game's art style, digitally delivered to you. Also includes First Class Traveler.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $500 or more
0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
PILOT - A custom item in the game of your design, added to one of the main character's outfits (hat, shoes, scarf, something weirder... we retain veto power) and Kickstarter Founder in credits. Also includes First Class Traveler.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $1,000 or more
0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
DISTINGUISHED PILOT - A character in the game of your design. It could even be you! You work with our artist to define the character to your specifications (we retain veto power). Also includes First Class Traveler.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
PAMPERED TRAVELER : You get to fly yourself out to Boston, MA to buy the Owlchemy team a four-course meal. Does not include copy of game.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
- (30 days)