A Musical Puzzle-Adventure Game
Spectrum is a puzzle-based adventure game designed around the concept of synesthesia, a unique ability in which the five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound – overlap. For Timothy, a young synesthete and the main character of Spectrum, sight and sound are intimately mixed. Timothy hears music as color, a skill that allows him to solve the beautiful, original puzzles that Spectrum presents, challenges full of light, sound, rhythm, and color.
"She played Mozart in blue...
Blue Flat Major."
So begins the story of Timothy Bremont, a young boy who has always enjoyed his particular type of synesthesia – the mixing of sound and color. Surrounded by music since childhood, Timothy has spent years listening to performances in his parents’ renowned concert hall, the Spectrum Theater. However, when Timothy’s mother, a talented pianist, falls ill and dies, Timothy’s father ceases to compose and begins to neglect the concert hall. As the music in his life lessens and eventually stops, all the color Timothy once experienced drains away, leaving the world dull and gray, while the Spectrum slowly falls into disrepair.
One day, as Timothy sadly watches the gray world outside his window, he notices a splash of color. A bird rests on a nearby branch, singing a gentle melody that Timothy perceives in faint shades of blue, green, and red. When the bird flies off, Timothy eagerly follows, and is led to an old playbill of his mother and father. A slight glimmer of color flickers along the edge of the playbill, and suddenly inspired, Timothy decides to fill the Spectrum once again with his parents’ music
As Timothy sets out on his journey, he explores a multitude of locations within the city, including the Sunset Hotel, Azure's Aquarium, and the Greenwood Forest. Each area containing one or more musicians with their own problems or dilemmas Timothy must solve in order to continue. In return for his efforts, the musicians steadily join Timothy on his journey to once more fill the world with music, color, and joy.
Art and Music
Spectrum is a striking visual representation of sound and sight, with artwork that flawlessly interacts with the delightful, original music scored for the game. Together the music and animation grow and change, livening in tandem as Timothy clears areas of the city and is rewarded with color and music by the musicians he rescues. Beautifully alive with chords and chromatism, Timothy’s adventure leads him from shadows of color and whispers of music to a fully orchestrated finale, as he revives the full spectrum of color and sound to his world.
(Note: the following shots resemble how the game will look during gameplay)
Similar to the artistic pallet, the music is quite plain, based around simple scales and chords.
As colors return to the city, the overworld music becomes more complex and ornamented.
Clearing these levels produces a melody in the music, interwoven with the previous chord-work, and a new shade of hope appears in the collective sound.
The gameplay revolves around a semi-open world, with various areas that Timothy can explore. He can enter and leave each area as he wishes, discovering the multiple sections of the game in any order. The game itself is divided into three movements, much like a sonata, with each area encompassing its own musicians and colors.
The world of Spectrum is divided into seven different areas, each with its own puzzles and challenges, starting from simple environmental-musical arrangement puzzles, and building up to more involved challenges that layer on different skills on the foundation the first puzzles laid.
Two of the first areas, the Factory and Forest are described below to give a sense to the kinds of challenges Timothy has to face.
Inside the Factory, an abandoned building full of silent machines, Timothy must light up the environment in order to find his way through the dark pathways. Timothy's synesthesia lets him see flashes of light based on the rhythms the machines generate, and so to find his way, he must turn on the machines and fill the Factory with light, based on how his synesthesia translates those rhythms into color.
The Greenwood Forest focuses on challenging the musical ear, as the forest becomes thicker and harder to navigate. Using cues from the environment and animals around, Timothy must imitate the sounds of nature in order to find the correct path proceed deeper into the forest where the musician's family has gotten lost.
Rienzi Gokea: Creative Director, Head Programmer
A true inventor, with the mind of an engineer and the heart of an artist, Rienzi has been playing video games since he was old enough to hold a gameboy. With an extensive knowledge of the video game ethos, Rienzi has a deep appreciation not only for the innovative story lines that inspire game development, but for the as-yet-unexplored artistic possibilities in the video game medium. An engineering and computer science major at Columbia University, Rienzi has made a handful of games as fun projects for himself and worked with Kimberly and Ben to set up a pop/game music ensemble orchestra at Columbia. He hopes - in collaboration with the work of his talented musical and creative team - that the diverse background everyone brings together will lead Spectrum to being the nuanced, artistic game he envisions.
Kimberly Hou: World-Class Pianist and Lead Composer
Kimberly has an incredible track record with music. Playing piano since the age of four, Kimberly has traveled the world competing in classical piano competitions for more than a decade. She’s also loved video games for the same length of time, and has played numerous games despite her busy academic schedule. Kimberly is currently studying neuroscience at Columbia University, and is an active member of the rigorous Columbia-Juilliard Exchange program. Kimberly brings a enchanting, classical touch to Spectrum's score, creating the elegant melodies essential to Timothy's journey.
Benjamin Rosenblum: Jazz Music Savant and Lead Composer
Ben is an amazingly talented pianist who has also been playing piano since he could barely walk, and he has been playing video games for just about as long. His specialty is jazz music, and he has an exceptional knack for creating stunningly smooth rhythms and improvisations. Ben also studies at Columbia in the Juilliard Exchange program. Inspired by classic JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy VII, Ben’s music lends a nostalgic video game flair to complement Kimberly’s melodies.
David Revoy: External Concept Artist and Design Expert
David is a masterful artist who lives in southern France, and has more than 10 years of experience working remotely as a freelancer. He has done artwork for a number of video games and short films and has won numerous awards over the past few years for various illustrations of his. Currently he is doing illustrations his beautiful webcomic Pepper and Carrot, but will be working closely with us to provide background artwork, illustrations, and artistic insight into creating the game
Agrii Tan: Character Designer and Animator
A lover of games and Manga style animation since early Childhood, Agrii has been drawing and working towards becoming an amazing artist all his life. Hailing from the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology in Indonesia, he studied Industrial Product Design, and honed his skills drawing cartoons on the side. He has a strong passion to see this project through and is responsible for concept of Timothy you see above.
We want to be as open as possible with the creation of our game, and that's one of the many reasons we've decided to go with Kickstarter. We thought about taking different routes, contacting publishers and the like, but being students, and leading incredibly busy lives, we wanted the flexibility that Kickstarter can afford us. Moreover, we are a young team without many official credentials, and don't have much faith that any big publisher would even look at us. But despite this, we're an incredibly passionate team and we're very determined to see this game through to make it the best we can! That's why we need YOUR help, Kickstarter!
By far the most expensive part of designing the game. Because we're going for such a beautiful hand-drawn art style, we intend to hire professional artists and animators. There's no way of getting around such a high cost for art other than scrapping ideas and not including them in the game. But that's the least thing we want to do.
Since we will be closely working with students and facilities in the Julliard program, we are able to keep music costs to a minimum. But we still have to devote a significant portion of our funds to recording and paying the musicians.
Again, no way of getting around these. We need money to trademark, copyright, and do everything else a new business needs to do to get off the ground. Luckily we are again utilizing our connections, friends, and family to keep the lawyer fees minimal.
As anyone will tell you, any well-laid plan will go wrong in some way or another. Of course the unforeseen costs may skyrocket, but we want at the very least a small padding to get over any small humps and bumps in the road. This money will most likely go into our art or music assets if they happen to go overbudget.
Note that all costs are speculative and this section is intended to give an idea of how we will spend the money because we want to be open with our backers. Anything more we raise will go directly into the art and music costs to bring up and polish the game!
We Need YOUR Help, Kickstarter!
We're determined, and we're ready to make an amazing game to share with the world! We just need your help! Please help back Spectrum: An Elegy for Piano!
Buying this game later rewards us for our efforts, but buying it now helps us make the most beautiful game we possibly can for YOU! Help be a part of the process and consider backing Spectrum! :D
$40,000: Physical CD! Everyone in the Scholar Level ($85) or higher will receive a physical copy of the CD soundtrack in addition to the digital version
$50,000: Physical Art Book! Everyone in the Scholar Level ($85) or higher will be shipped a physical Coffee Table, soft-bound book of the concept and completed art from the game
$60,000: T-shirt! Everyone in the Blue Jay Level ($60) will get a printed T-shirt with the game's logo, a badge of musical/gamer pride and of our thanks for your help
$70,000+: Surprise Rewards! More to be announced as we approach our goal
Risks and challenges
Each individual team member has plenty of experience in their own fields individually, but it is the first game of such a magnitude that we are coming together and attempting to create, which poses several challenges.
One of the biggest challenges is time constraints. As we are all in school, finding time to work on the game is difficult, but doable. If we are able to reach our goal, and surpass it, Rienzi would be able to take off a little time from school and focus full time on developing the game.
Moreover, January seems short for such a game, but most of the gameplay, puzzles, and story are thought up and just needs to be implemented. The biggest challenge is artwork, but we will be reaching out to various artists and sharing the work between them in order to be able to hit our deadlines.
There are numerous challenges that we probably can't even think of at the moment, but we can assure you that if the project gets funded, all of our time will be dedicated to overcoming these obstacles and creating the best and most beautiful game we possibly can! Thanks for considering Spectrum!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (37 days)