What is Neptune Flux?
Neptune Flux is a deep sea adventure game that takes place in the near future. You take on the role of an employee working for a dystopian corporation called A.Q.U.A. carrying out their oceanic operations. As you explore the open ocean you'll discover supernatural wreck sites, ancient artifacts, lost treasure, and dark secrets. Neptune Flux is inspired by games like Myst, Minecraft, Fallout, Bioshock, and classic Lucas Arts point-and-click adventures. If you like story-driven exploration, this game is for you.
Neptune Flux will be available for Windows & Mac. It can also be experienced on VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, however a VR headset is not required; you get to decide how you want to play.
Neptune Flux is getting close to funded, so it's time to announce some stretch goals. I sent out a survey to backers recently asking what everyone would like to see, and overwhelmingly the response was a PlayStation 4 release and more content. So let's do both!
PLAYSTATION 4 RELEASE - $9,500
I've been exploring the possibility of a PS4 release for a few months now, and at this juncture, it's simply a matter of having the extra cash to do it! Releasing on the PS4 would be huge because it would help give the game more life beyond next year's initial release, including future updates.
CAVES - $11,000
The terrain in Neptune Flux will have lots of trenches and pits, but one of the technology limitations of Unity (the game engine running Neptune Flux) is that it's technically challenging do caves that actually go underneath the terrain. But I still want you, the players, to be able to explore cave systems and experience a new part of the story. Extra funding will go towards contracting a 3D artist to help build out some of the cave assets, which will free up my time to do the programming involved in making caves work.
SARAH'S PROLOGUE - $14,000
Let's shoot for the moon! :) The writer for Neptune Flux, Brandon Tenney, has a fantastic prologue written for the game that sets up some of Sarah's backstory. Presently, this is going to be mostly voice over as opening credits play, but it would be way cooler to make this an intense playable part of the game. Extra funding will go towards more voice acting along with contracting a character animator to help flesh out a playable prologue that reveals more of Sarah's past.
The world above the water is a dust bowl and an escape into space is just out of technology's reach; humanity's last and best hope of survival is the untouched ocean depths, and A.Q.U.A. is the global conglomerate tasked with colonization preparations and resource harvesting.
A.Q.U.A.'s funding comes from political puppeteers, desperate celebrities, and shadow governments all hoping to escape to a new beginning while the rest of the world ends in a whimper. A.Q.U.A. has over promised a bright future and now there's pressure to deliver.
In Neptune Flux, you take on the role of Sarah, an A.Q.U.A. employee trying to keep her mind off of her troubled past. Working for A.Q.U.A. means being in the dark, literally and figuratively. Sarah has learned to stop asking questions about her missions, but when her assignments become increasingly unusual, she begins her quest to learn the truth. As Sarah uncovers the ocean floor, she finds more than just sand and lost cargo.
Glow-in-the-Dark Sonar T-Shirt
A new reward level has been added that includes a super comfortable American Apparel shirt with glow-in-the-dark ink! All higher reward levels will also include this shirt featuring the visual sonar iconography seen in the game. Here's a mockup of what it looks like:
Neptune Flux is driven by exploration and solving mysteries with unusual solutions. It's like a classic point-and-click adventure game for the modern age.
In the deep sea there’s no natural sunlight, so you’ll need to use tools on your vessel to see in the dark. Your dive pod is equipped with flood lights, but you can also use other tools like flares and more advanced upgrades like visual sonar. A.Q.U.A. headquarters will give you missions to accomplish, but you’re also free to explore the open world and discover supernatural wreck sites, ancient artifacts, and lost treasure. Successful missions and treasure are immediately rewarded with cash, which can be used for upgrades to your dive pod at any A.Q.U.A. base.
As you carry out missions and explore the sea floor, you’ll advance through the main storyline, and learn about some of the dark secrets that lurk below.
The ocean floor can be a beautiful place; from sunken ships to coral reefs to futuristic underwater bases, Neptune Flux features an incredibly detailed setting that's filled with amazing places to explore.
Neptune Flux uses the Unity 5 game engine and takes advantage of physically based rendering, image based lighting, and global illumination; all combining to create a beautiful and dynamic virtual world.
The game can be played on a traditional computer screen or with a VR headset. Both experiences are immersive and fun! If you do choose to play the game with a VR headset, you'll also be able to explore the ocean in stunning stereoscopic 3D and look around in 360 degrees at the interior of your dive pod!
An immersive experience like Neptune Flux would not be complete without a vivid soundscape. You'll hear every bubble, sonar ping, and flare in exceptional clarity. Neptune Flux uses positional audio to help capture the full spectrum of sounds all around your dive pod as you explore.
The game will also feature an original score by Chris Zabriskie. You can learn more about Chris and his work in the "Collaborators" section below.
It's now possible for individuals and small teams to create fun video games, music, movies, and more. This digital democratization is enabled by powerful software and hardware tools that save time and close the gap between inspiration and creation.
Making a game like Neptune Flux involves software subscription fees for a game engine, 3D modeling software, texturing software, licensing fees, code plugins, and more. It also involves several pieces of development hardware that are updated frequently, such as the Oculus Rift development kits and hardware upgrades to support them. There are also costs involved with delivering the game to some distribution platforms. None of these things are expensive on their own, but taken together, it can add up.
And that's just the beginning! There are lots of cool enhancements I have in mind for Neptune Flux and Kickstarter is a great way to fuel their creation. If this project is successfully funded before the deadline, stretch goals will be announced that will make the game even better.
Zoxide Games is a one person company created by me, Nick Pettit. By day I teach 100k students how to make websites through Treehouse, an online school that teaches web design, web development, mobile development, and much more. I've worked on many large software projects in the past, including mission critical applications in the healthcare field. I am the one solely responsible for the end product and I will deliver. If you have any questions for me, feel free to send a Kickstarter message or tweet to me; I'm @nickrp on Twitter. This project wouldn't be possible without the help of a few talented artists. Games are an interdisciplinary medium, so it takes a lot of different skills to make it all work together. Other talent may be added as development continues, but here's the roster so far.
Brandon Lee Tenney is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles, California. Earlier this year, Brandon sold his feature film script THEY CAME FROM ABOVE to Focus Features with Appian Way attached to develop and produce. Brandon traffics most often in grounded science fiction thrillers via film and TV scripts as well as short stories and long form prose. He has a keen interest in viewing our future through the lens of our present in hopes of learning the lessons present in our past. Brandon and Nick have known each other for well over a decade and have collaborated on many short films, web content, and various other flights of fancy throughout the years that Nick has always managed to hone into reality. Brandon is represented by William Morris Endeavor and Art/Work Entertainment and lives with his soon-to-be wife, Melissa, and their two cats, Barnaby and Liam.
Chris Zabriskie is a music producer and composer who specializes in ambient soundscapes and minimalism. Songs from his Creative Commons-licensed albums can be heard around the world in everything from YouTube videos to Academy Award-nominated films, and his clients include NPR, adidas, Kotaku, BBC, Major League Soccer, The Museum of Modern Art, and many, many more. His music can also be heard in dozens of video games, including Mind: Path of Thalamus and the upcoming A Light in Chorus. Chris first met Nick while working together at Treehouse, and, despite his best efforts, he has yet to defeat Nick in a game of Hearthstone. Chris lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, son, and cat.
Risks and challenges
Any idea worth pursuing involves risks and challenges, and making a video game is no exception. It's a balancing act to invent interesting gameplay, build software that works as intended, write an engrossing story, and bring it all to life with artwork and sound. The interdisciplinary nature of games is both exciting and stressful; it's beautiful when a game starts to harmonize and become more than just the sum of its parts, but it takes a lot of iterations to get there.
I am well prepared to overcome these challenges. My background in both art and programming includes many long-term interdisciplinary projects and I thrive at the intersection of art and technology. My experience includes everything from putting on art shows to writing mission-critical healthcare software to teaching hundreds of thousands of students online. I've been working on Neptune Flux for over a year now and my passion for the project has only grown stronger. There may be bumps in the road ahead, but with my experience and the progress I've made so far, I'm confident I can overcome just about anything that might stand in the way.
If you back this project, I promise to keep you informed of the game's progress on a regular basis and deliver the best video game that I can make.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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