Update 22 July 2012
All contributions should have been refunded.
Thank you everyone for your support in trying to make this happen. Unfortunately it wasn't to be, but the project will still be worked on as best as can be managed.
Thank you everyone! The support I have had, both financially and not, means a great deal to me and I hope that I can provide a good player experience when I release!
- Jon "Moose" Tetrino
Update 08 July 2012
I have released the first in a series of developer diaries! In this diary I talk about how the core style of the environments you'll see in Spectrum was conceived. You can read it here!
What is Spectrum?
Spectrum is a side scrolling shooter that uses the nature of colour in computing to provide structure for the levels and visual feedback to the player.
In computing, colour is handled by the number of bits available to the computing system. The earliest computers were limited to a single bit - it was either off or on, so black and white (depending on the available monitor) were the only available display options. As computing power increased, the number of available hues and shades also increased - first four, then sixteen, and so on. Today, computers use as standard a 24-bit system, allowing for 16.7 million colours.
In Spectrum, these systems, or "palettes", are used as a method to separate the levels, as you fight through your world in order to return what was stolen: Colour itself. Each target is its own shade - though some may look similar - and the further into the game you reach the larger the pool of targets to destroy.
With an art style based on the works of Piet Mondrian, you as the player receive visual feedback from the world itself. Your health, your ammo count, and even your level progress is shown to you via how the environment -and you - change. The goal, ultimately, is to limit the interface to the target reticule itself.
As a player you will be fighting your way to complete each colour palette from the very first bit to the 16-bit system. As you fight, you will progress and evolve with the colour, working your way from the cellular level through to the high atmosphere.
How will the money be spent?
After working on the design and early stages of Spectrum for the past few months alongside other (now complete) projects, it is my intention to go into full time production. What your money will allow me to do is cover the costs of living and some basics (such as setting up the website) that have currently been out of my financial reach.
By allowing me to go full time on the project, the quality of the product will be vastly improved, along with the speed of completion.
Where and when will you release?
The initial goal is to release the game on PC on various online distributors - primarily the Steam platform.
Depending on the success of Spectrum, it may be ported to Mac, phone and tablet systems. Whether this actually happens depends on the success of this pitch, and the success of the game itself.
There is no set release time for Spectrum. With the challenges of developing a game, I do not wish to place more undue stress on myself by setting a release date that if I miss will disappoint us all. It will be released when it's done, but the progress of development will be a public affair to all who show support. It will not be a silent process.
What do I get?
By showing your support, you'll have access to a newsletter detailing the progress of development.
By Pre-ordering Spectrum, you get a digital, DRM-free PC copy of the game upon final release, along with also being signed up to the newsletter.
While the soundtrack is currently subject to large change from what you see in the video, if you throw in five bucks more you will also receive a full DRM-free copy of the soundtrack in FLAC.
Further perk points are still under consideration, including a hard copy of both the game and soundtrack.
Update 23rd June
Based on feedback from people interested, asking for this specific perk, anyone who donates $25 will be listed in the credits for Spectrum under a "Special Thanks" section.
Update 27th June
You asked for it you get it! Anyone who donates $50 or more will have their credit in anything A Rock Called Steve releases over the next two years - be it film, audio, or game related.
Those who have already donated $50 or more will be automatically bumped to this perk. Anyone who has donated less can bump themselves up by donating more if they wish!
Anyone who donated more than the perk they selected before higher perks were available will be bumped if they reached the next perk target.
Who are you?
I'm a visual artist who has worked in film and animation for the past five years, and I intend to branch into the independent gaming market as a portion of my life experience. Having been an avid game player for almost two decades now, it has been a want of mine for some time. Now, my experience and training in art, animation and project management allows it to become a reality.
Thank you for spending the time to read this pitch, even if you decide not to show your support and fund the project. Despite having pitched ideas to big businessmen, TV executives and magazine editors, pitching to you the general public - has filled me with more nerves than them all combined.
If you decide not to buy in, please at least share it! The more people who see this, the more likely this will succeed - so share, and share alike.
My twitter is very active, so if you wish to follow development (but without the detail of the newsletters) you can follow me @rockcalledsteve. I am very vocal to any who wish to chat, so feel free to ask questions.
Twitter Tag for Spectrum: #SpectrumGame
Facebook page for Spectrum
Facebook page for A Rock Called Steve
Facebook page for Jon "Moose" Tetrino
FAQ (Updated regularly):
How is scoring worked out?
Each level is scored based upon the percentage of targets killed in the stage. A fair comparison to the kind of result you expect would be the score system of the game REZ - Every kill counts to the percentage.
Is colour more than a visual gimmick?
Well, yes. The main point of the colour is to show your progress in a similar way to how a number will show your score in any number of arcade games. However, complimentary and clashing colours do have a benefit or punishment for the player and the enemies as the level progresses.
What about the pacing?
The alpha footage is slow. Very slow. I admit this, however it was a drawback of an early build - I struggled to get a recording at all, actually. The finished product will have a much quicker pace to the action, and it will challenge your co-ordination.
Most probably yes, but I cannot promise.
I am weighing up whether this is viable, but considering I have the entire spectrum of colour at my disposal I should be able to include such a mode. The problem will be making sure that every stage of the game is viable for a colourblind player.
Is colour purely aesthetic, or is there actually a point to things being different colours (and them coloring the background)?
It is primarily aesthetic, however I am intending on including pickups that change the colour you are firing - your basic bullet is white, so multi-spectral, however if you pick up say an Orange pickup, for a limited amount of time your bullets will be Orange, so they will do more damage to Blue targets (which are complimentary colours to Orange) and less to Purple, which is the clashing colour.
Other clashing colour pairs include Blue and Red, Yellow and Pink, Sky Blue and Pink, and so on.