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$5,339 pledged of $30,000 goal
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By Rienzi Gokea
$5,339 pledged of $30,000 goal
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About

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.  

Story

"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.    

Timothy, the main character of Spectrum
Timothy, the main character of Spectrum

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

Timothy seeing the bird sing for the first time
Timothy seeing the bird sing for the first time

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 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) 

The world at the beginning of the game, faded and gray
The world at the beginning of the game, faded and gray

 Similar to the artistic pallet, the music is quite plain, based around simple scales and chords. 

After the Sunset Hotel is cleared, red begins to systematically reappear
After the Sunset Hotel is cleared, red begins to systematically reappear

 As colors return to the city, the overworld music becomes more complex and ornamented.

The Greenwood Forest and Azure's Aquarium offer green and blue back to the world, further filling in the world
The Greenwood Forest and Azure's Aquarium offer green and blue back to the world, further filling in the world

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. 

By the end of the game, the world comes alive with color, and the musical melody is completed
By the end of the game, the world comes alive with color, and the musical melody is completed
Progression of Color throughout the game
Progression of Color throughout the game

Gameplay

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.  

Concept art for the Factory
Concept art for the Factory

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.

Concept art for the Forest area
Concept art for the Forest area

The Team

 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.

Why Kickstarter?

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!

Money Breakdown

Art Costs:

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.

Music Costs:

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.

Administrative/Law Fees:

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.

Unforeseen Costs:

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

Help bring Spectrum to life!
Help bring Spectrum to life!

Stretch Goals

$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

Thank you!

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!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About $5

    Thank You Level -- A set of special kickstarter backgrounds for your computer! Also, be featured in the credits of the game!

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    Early Adopter Level -- Get Spectrum when it comes out at a fraction of the cost! Also have your name in the credits!

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    Listener Level: Music ONLY -- Get a digital download of the musical soundtrack without the game. Includes computer backgrounds and name in the credits as well.

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    Artist Level: Art ONLY -- Get a digital download of the behind-the-scenes and concept art book for Spectrum when it comes out. Includes computer backgrounds and names in credits as well.

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    Spectrum Level: Game -- Get Spectrum when it comes out, the computer backgrounds, and have your name in the credits!

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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About $20

    Patron of the Arts Level: ONLY Music and art -- For those of you who love the game music and artisic style, but aren't gamers yourselves. You can get just the digital downloads of the art and music without the game. (Computer backgrounds included at this level)

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    Musician Level: Music -- Get a digital download of the completely original soundtrack along with the backgrounds and Spectrum when it comes out! Also have your name in the credits!

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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About $35

    Synesthete Level: Music and Art -- Get a digital download of the soundtrack AND a pdf of a compilation of concept art from the game as well as game backgrounds to use as computer desktop backgrounds in addition to the special kickstarter backgrounds and game.

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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About $60

    Blue Jay Level: Early Bird -- Get the first movement (there are three movements) of Spectrum early and help beta-test some of the puzzles for the game! We'll get you the first movement as soon as we are done with it! All previous rewards included

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    Pledge US$ 85 or more About $85

    Scholar Level: Behind the Scenes -- Get access to a special behind-the-scenes series of webcasts where Rienzi Gokea talks about the process of creating the game and answers any (non-spoiler) questions you may have. All previous rewards included.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Trophy-Hunter Level: Statue -- Get an exclusive 3D Printed statue of Timothy! The statue will be around 4 or 5 inches tall and printed in a very high-quality printer. All previous rewards included

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    Pledge US$ 225 or more About $225

    Townsfolk Level: Minor Character -- Get one of the minor characters like a townsperson or someone else modeled after your likeness! Appear in the game! Get a special image of yourself with Timothy as well! All previous rewards included.

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    Pledge US$ 350 or more About $350

    Soloist Level: Major Character -- Be one of the major characters and musicians in the game! Your likeness will be used for one of the main musicians that Timothy helps out on his journey. All previous rewards included. (except for townsperson because it would be kinda weird if you showed up as different people in the game)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Concertmaster Level: Limited Edition Art and Music -- Show up as a minor character (or a major one if there are still spots) + Have one of the musical pieces be named by you. + Get a completely unique, poster for the game featuring your character and Timothy interacting and signed by the entire team!

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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About $2,500

    Producer Level: Team Member -- Sit in virtually on discussion meetings with the team, and be able to give feedback to the creative process of the game! You ideas will be incorporated into the game in some way!
    Have your name listed largely as a team member in the credits and be placed in the game as a townsperson (or major character, if the spots don't get filled). All previous rewards included as well.

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    Pledge US$ 7,500 or more About $7,500

    Founder Level: Team Member for Life + Trip to NYC -- Same reward as producer level + Producer credits and collaboration on all future games or products released by Rienzi Gokea and Energize Studios + Paid trip to New York City for up to three days to hang out with Rienzi and the rest of the team members. Attend a special live concert performed by the musicians on the team of pieces from the game's soundtrack! (Can opt to come for launch party as well)

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Funding period

- (37 days)