Harold Halibut - A Handmade Adventure Game
Harold Halibut - A Handmade Adventure Game
*A modern adventure game about the daily routine on a spaceship stuck undersea. Stop-motion look, exploration, story and humor! ~(☉º☉)~
*A modern adventure game about the daily routine on a spaceship stuck undersea. Stop-motion look, exploration, story and humor! ~(☉º☉)~ Read more
Update #10: Gameplay Session & Q&A Online!
Update #8: New Teaser!
Update #7: Kickstarter Live: Gameplay Session, Q&A, and Teaser Release on July 19th!
Update #6: New 40€ DIGITAL DELUXE EDITION + BETA ACCESS reward tier! All reward tiers above 40€ will also include access to the beta version of the game!
Update #3: The PC Version of the game will be for Windows, Mac & Linux! (Steam & DRM free)
Update #1: German localization (Subtitles) is now part of the main goal!
Harold Halibut is a modern adventure game, with a strong focus on storytelling and exploration. Set in a spaceship, stuck under sea on a distant water planet, you slip into the tiny shoes of Harold. As a young janitor and lab assistant to Professor Jeanne Mareaux, one of the lead scientists on board, he tries to help out in her attempt to find a way to relaunch the ship.
Hundreds of years ago, in the 1970s the generation ship was sent out as humanity’s last chance to continue life elsewhere.
But poor planning and silly fights in the cockpit led to the mission crash landing on a planet that turned out to be water-only. So Harold never witnessed the heroic spirit the people on board once carried with them, as he was born way past the crash date. Currently you will notice a limboish state inside of „Fedora I“.
Technically the plan is to find a way to relaunch the ship and get out of the water but the diversity amongst the inhabitatants leads to various interest groups standing in each others way.
Taking in the atmosphere and being a part of this utopia-turned-awry is key here. Enable communication within a society that has long been fixated on (and eventually disillusioned with) being the last outpost of humanity. Your choice of engagement in conversation unfolds and affects the personality Harold quietly carries inside of him.
Wander around the Station and be prepared to make most things around you bleep and bloop. Do be careful, though. If you break the wrong thing someone might hold a long-time grudge with you. You may also randomly be challenged to a thumb wrestling match. Or chill out in the former planetarium and count weird fish floating by. Or hang out at the arcade. Or do other things besides the point!
You can even zoom around to get a closer look at everything around you!
All that can be seen in the game is carefully built in a real-world workshop using classic sculpting, set building and clay and puppet fabrication techniques. We’re not even buying supplemental model train trees or anything.
Our love of stop-motion films, childhood nostalgia and respect for traditional craftsmanship are some reasons for this. Patience and taking a break from an ultra-fast paced digital reality are big factors as well.
„There’s something about working with your hands that just can’t be replicated by using a computer. We wanted the feeling of traditional stop-motion films and still benefit from the possibilities of the digital world.“ Is what Ole said in the video and what he’s referring to is our decision to switch from stop-motion animation to 3d scanning all objects and animating them via motion capturing technology for the most part.
When we're done building tiny things we 3D scan them using a process called „photogrammetry“. It mostly means taking a bajillion pictures of each object from any conceivable angle in order to make a 3d model from it.
Finally we’re using a material scanning method which our friends at Apec Visual developed. Their proprietary machine from the future picks up the tiniest details of the handmade surfaces. Eventually when this is released you need to find a way to play this game on a 4k monitor. You’ll see what we’re talking about.
Harold spends most of his time in his mind. After all there isn’t much to do if your life is limited to the walls of a spaceship trapped undersea. He takes an outstanding interest in the strange flora and fauna populating the aquarium above his bed. Not much attention span beyond that, though. An impending (close) encounter (of the third kind) becomes a motivator to spend more time with his peers. The sudden awareness of what might be found outside the thick metal walls brings a newfound sense of curiosity with it. Through his spirit-guide/employer and more so by accident than intent he may become responsible for finally stirring up the stale soup people call society.
Mareaux is Harold’s direct superior and constantly has new work for him. Throughout time she has garnered enough accomplishments to have her own independent laboratory on board of the ship. She’s frustrated with witnessing the ships crash and the apparent uselessness of their century old mission. Her kind and focused personality and the fascination for earth’s nature in particular drive her towards finding a way to relaunch. She’s also still your boss so get your head out of the clouds!
Investigations have concluded that a group of ne’er-do-wells appear to be responsible for smearing ominous slogans on the walls. They leave personal messages with individual locals and sabotage the stations infrastructure but remain unseen and unidentified as of yet. Due to the poetic and drama-ridden nature of their messages their cause is also yet to be unriddled.
All Water Corporation
As part of the somewhat clumsy attempt at restoring corporate powers on board of the ship, introducing a currency and unnecessary amounts of hierarchy, All Water Corp. was built to facilitate transportation under water. Basically the ship consists of many isolated capsules that were cut off from the original corridors and elevators used in space. That’s where All Water introduced their water tube system and tried to use the control to gain power on board. Their actual standing amongst people remains unsaid, but let’s just say there’s a lot of imagination involved with their image.
Another Party yet to be revealed, potentially ... of the non-human kind
Not much to add here. But brace yourselves. There’s something in the woods… wait no! But seriously. There’s something in the water.
The Games Soundtrack is composed by Onat Hekimoglu. His classical piano background and years of experience scoring everything from films to commercials paired with the synthesizer collection in his bedroom set up the foundation for the game’s musical diversity. Picture a really old wooden piano, a weird rubber keyboard with way too many buttons and an archive of whale singing to get into the mood. A first impression can be heard in the trailer or downloaded below.
Sound design is provided by the incredible Sascha Haus (totally German.) In accordance with the games handmade ways the sounds all consist of analog recordings. He’ll either come in and ask for a tiny pair of shoes or a miniature door in its frame and sit in front of it with a microphone recording steps or creaking or a slam. We have also found him trying to find a perfect hum between an old modem and a floppy disc drive. Not sure where the guy came from but we do know the end results sounds incredible!
The idea for the game is a few years old at this point. From first working on this amongst friends to becoming a company we've undergone many revisions.
We eventually were able to secure funding from the „Film- und Medienstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen“ (wondering how this sounds to an international audience…) which is a government program that supports film- and media/game projects in our state. We have since been mostly finding creative ways of living with minimal amounts of money and working on making the two main fantasies we had a reality:
Developing a story for the world that has been sitting with us and growing for such a long time now and figuring out a way to build a game from handmade miniatures that didn’t feel like it was stuck in the nineties.
Luckily we’re able to report that we have succeeded on both ends and beyond.
Concrete achievements locked down:
- There's a stable and working vertical slice of the game.
- The technical foundation is set.
- Story outline is super set. Details are being written in accorance to game design. Because games are at their best when you can feel the story and actual tasks interwoven properly.
- Most of the over 30 Characters are defined already. Characters everywhere.
- Places / Environments. Key locations are also set in stone. There may be a secret chamber here and there that still needs to be figured out in the future. There might also be additional locations (see stretch goals)
Things left to do:
- The main mission here is the actual building. Not everything can be hammered out .... Building stuff is laborious and it’s where we need your help the most.
- Refining story details and dialogue.
- Additional gameplay mechanics/minigames.
- A lot of animations
- Voice Acting (Stretch Goal)
- Localization (Stretch Goal)
Here's what the kind people from the internet have had to say about us so far:
You can download our Press-Kit here: www.haroldhalibut.com/press
In order to facilitate the use of the funding we had to found a company for this whole ordeal, this is our first game release as a group. And while it started with a core of four friends we have grown to add a couple of new friends since. We come from all backgrounds- primarily games, film, animation, editorial illustration, apparel, carpentry and ... biology!
Kardelen Babal (3D Artist)
Daniel Beckmann (3D Artist, Writer, Finance)
Ilja Burzev (3D Mastermind)
Sascha Haus (Sound Designer)
Onat Hekimoglu (Game Design/Dev, Composer)
Fabian Preuschoff (Miniature Carpenter/Architect)Holle Schlickmann (Costume and Textile Design)
Ole Tillmann (Art Director, Illustrator, Writer)
APEC Visual(Material Scan Experts)
Our initial goal for the campaign is set at 150,000 €. Your help and enthusiasm has the potential to enrich the game way beyond, though. Here are some plans for what could happen:
We have a lot of unique goodies in store for you! It'll be tough to part ways with our carefully built tiny world but we really look forward to the idea of them living on in their new respective homes!
A lot of time and experimentation went into balancing out the combined factors of our games foundation. It’s challenging to build an immersive, modern game while keeping everything handmade.
Almost all of us come from a freelancing background because we cherish realizing our own ideas in collaboration with others. When we started development on this game we agreed to work for the idea behind it, not for a corporation’s motives.
In order to continue letting interesting ideas rule over sales and staying independent we need a place like Kickstarter- we need you :)
Our effort of staying independent has been made possible in part through the generosity, encouragement and support of the following insitutions:
Risks and challenges
Since the foundation of the game in terms of technical feasability is set and we have a working build, and the production is thoroughly planned we don't expect any big surprises.
At the same time, the development of indie-games tends to have a jack-in-the-box moment at one point or another. We would not be able to set ourselves free from that as any game no matter what size runs into unforseeable business eventually. We have been spending a lot of time on this beforehand and would like to think that we've put the major surprises behind us. Plus we have some major industry players behind us for mentorship.
We have worked for other game companies, including Disney (got that in there, yuss), and we have worked for large companies in other creative fields. We’ve seen enough large scale deadlines of some kind successfully reached through and by us.
Plus we’ve already been working on this eyes bleeding through nights full-time for a while now, not seeing the dedication fade anywhere. In fact our art director tattooed the games flounder on the game designer last year. (and it’s his only tattoo..)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)