The Electric Adventures of Watt: Playable Demo

A 3D platformer focused on action-packed, head-to-head game play for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
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Called Shot LLC
Gaming
St Paul, Minnesota
United States
4 Team Members

Short (40 Sec) Trailer Here!

TEXT "TEAoW playable demo"Visual intro 3D action Platformer for mac windows and linux.


TEXT: "the team" 

Hello! We are John Koenig and Gabriel Brockman (gabrielbishop) and together we form what the IRS lovingly calls Called Shot LLC. John is currently a PhD student at the University of Minnesota studying parallel and distributed real time simulation and Gabriel is a freelance artist specializing in concept and 3D art.

Over the past two years The Electric Adventures of Watt (TEAoW) and the creation of its underlying engine, Ymir, have been the focus of much of our free time. Both of these projects are very large in scope and, in order devote more time to these endeavors, we will need financial support. That is why we have come here to ask for your help in staving off the distractions of outside work so we can give both of these projects our full attention.

This is a community based project and we will show our thanks by keeping the fruit of our labors available to all. The contributions to the community that will be realized by the funding of this project will be threefold:

  1. The Game: An action-packed, head-to-head platformer will be unleashed upon the world. The playable demo will be short but fully capable and will enable you to destroy your friends (or enemies) in new, fun, and creative ways. Furthermore, a fully functional demo will allow us to seek out additional funding we will need in order to evolve TEAoW into a full single/multi-player experience.
  2. The Engine: The distributed, parallel game engine powering TEAoW, Ymir, will forever be open source and licensed under GNU GPL. We want to see Ymir enabling others to power their worlds over many cores and across multiple machines.
  3. The Game Assets: Game assets used to create TEAoW will be licensed under Creative Commons and disseminated to the community through popular channels (i.e. opengameart.org).

Help Called Shot raise 14k and forever be a part of the open-gaming movement.

Below you will find sections discussing the game, engine, and project in greater detail.

Inspiration

The gameplay for TEAoW inherits from many platform titles that we have enjoyed in the past. Great games such as Psychonauts, Limbo, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Bomberman, and Super Mario just to name a few.

Thanks is owed Justin Castaneda (http://wheniwaslittlebook.blogspot.com/) for sharing a piece of his artwork on HitRecord (http://www.hitrecord.org/records/467868) which originally inspired us to imagining the world for The Electric Adventures of Watt. An hour spent browsing HitRecord and we have been dreaming up Watt's adventures ever since. Thank you Justin!

 

Text: "the world of TEAoW" 

A Dark Planet

On a lonely, dark planet in deep space the story of TEAoW unfolds. This solitary rock hurtles through open space, ominously orbiting a black hole which has long fed from this remote region of space.

Power Plant concept board 

The only light which shines upon the planet's harsh, jagged surface originates from distant stars. Very little organic life exists here. What atmosphere the planet had has long been lost and the only organic life known to exist are strange vining plants, so-called power plants, which feast off what faint radiation happens to fall upon the planet. Quickly these plants grow, branching their vines outward and upward in attempt to gather as much radiation possible. As vines mature, they produce small buds in which they store excess energy.

Although distinctly short on organic life, the planet is home to two warring factions: mechanical citizens of Illuminaria and the mysterious Creep.

 

Illuminaria

Illuminaria as seen from an overlook.

 

The city of Watt and his people, Illuminaria is a bastion of light and innovation. Illuminaria's citizens, all constructed according to the designs of The Engineer, play out their peaceful lives in the life giving light emanating from The Core which hangs high overhead. No one knows exactly who The Engineer was or why he (or she) built Illuminaria, however, it is by the protocols set forth by The Engineer that Illuminaria has prospered.

Every citizen has a specialized role to play. While most citizens never leave their city, a select few are purposed with venturing out into the darkness to harvest the rippened power plant buds and deliver them back to The Core where they are ultimately used as fuel. These harvesters are outfitted with incandescent bulbs in order to ward off hostile Creep. These light sources must be used optimally, however, as harvesters have a limited amount of mechanical energy to power and too much direct light renders harvested power plant bulbs inert.

 

Three models of bulb-class illuminarians.

 

Creep

Denizens of the darkness and seemingly conjured out of the shadows of your own fearful imaginings, the Creep inhabit the parts of our lonely planet that are most devoid of light.  All too often they can be found in and amongst mature power plants. These shadowy creatures hate the light and will do all in their power to extinguish any source of it. 

three shapes taken by the Creep

 

Creeps appear to be entirely ephemeral and take on a multitude of sinister shapes, despite this, they have some ability to manifest, either to throw or push objects. Their origin is unkown.  Where did they come from? Why are they here? Are you brave enough to venture out into the blackness to discover their secrets?

 

Text: "the Engine"

Ymir

(This section is for those interested in the technical aspects of Ymir)

Ymir has been designed since its inception as a cross-platform, open-source, and openly licensed game engine capable of making full use of modern gaming platforms. The future of gaming platform performance is no longer dependent on regular increases in processing speed a single processor (core) but rather the inclusion of additional processors (cores). In order for any game engine to make full use of modern CPUs it must emply simulation methods capable of using multiple processors.

 

Aren’t other game engines already doing this?

Traditionally, games developers employ the so-called game loop to drive their game. Everything is handled within this game loop: User input is gathered and managed, game objects are moved, collisions are resolved, and the entire scene is redrawn to connected displays. This sequence is done over-and-over again until some event causes the entire process to stop.

While this method has served the game development community well, the traditional game loop can only be performed by a single processor. In other words without some sort of intervention the traditional game loop does not make full use of modern multi-core processors (scale).

To our knowledge, there are no other modern game engines available to independent developers that effectively scale over multiple cores. Sure, many make use multiple cores when loading a scene or when sending or receiving data over a network, but this only makes marginal use of the additional processing horsepower provided by multiple cores. As a result the entire game simulation can only proceed as fast as a single processor can execute each step of the game loop.

There are many challenges to making a game engine capable of making use of multiple cores, however, a foundation exists within state-of-the-art research for those bold enough to take on this challenge.

 

What technologies does Ymir use to accomplish this? 

Ymir currently makes use of several technologies to realize its mission on Linux, Mac, and Windows. In order to simplify the task of computing over many cores and across many machines a majority of underlying game engine is written in Erlang. Erlang interacts with various other components written in other languages to draw scenes, gather user input, play sounds, and perform the other tasks that Erlang is ill-suited for. Currently, online rendering is provided by Ogre3D and offline rendering is provided by Mitsuba.

We are excited by both modes of rendering as we will soon be able to support both modes simultaneously. Imagine being able to capture in-game footage which can be later rendered into the amazing quality that only offline rendering can achieve!

Stay tuned to our development blog as John will be documenting Ymir more completely in the coming weeks.

Disclaimer:

Many of you who are familiar with game development are likely uneasy about the use of non-canon languages being used for a game engine. We are firm believers in not reinventing the wheel and using the best tool for the job. Higher-level language constructs and a robust, battle-tested runtime currently makes Erlang the best tool for distributed computation on a single platform as well as across heterogeneous platforms. It is not our intention for developers using Ymir to know Erlang. It is on our road map to provide front-ends to Ymir which will enable Ymir users to develop their games in more conventional languages (e.g. Lua, C, Python). 

 

That's nice, can it be done?

Yes, and we have some very promising early results! Below is a graph which demonstrates how well Ymir scales while rendering the dynamic scene contained in our video section: 

Speed up vs no. of cores

Not bad, eh?  Game simulations are not easily scaled so we are very pleased with the performance gains we are seeing.   Below you will see our frame rates rendering the same dynamic scene: 

Frame rate vs step size

 

We are not stopping here though!  We will continue to tweak our existing approach and experiment with new approaches in order to bring both the blue and red lines as close to ideal as possible!

Music

We all know how essential music is to the gaming experience. That's why we are thrilled to welcome the newest member of the TEAoW team, Peter Wallin. A gifted musician and writer Peter brings some much needed skills to the team. Already hard at work Peter has gifted us with the song that accompanies our pitch video. This is only the beginning.  Peter has concepts for at least 6 additional tracks and spends much of his free time banging out more on his guitar.

Stay tuned for updates from Peter in the days to come.

 

TXT: "crowd-funding" 

Indiegogo

Why fund Ymir and TEAoW?

In exchange for funding you get:

  • An action packed game
  • Openly licensed game-ready assets
  • A game engine with access to source code
  • PERKS!

With all you can get for your pledge of support; from a digital high-five to full inclusion in project planning as well as a some wicked cool ONE-OF-A-KIND artwork, game assets and source code, we feel confident in a fair exchange.

Your funding for our passion and hard work ultimatlely resuliting in a hugely shareable gaming experiance.

We need funding for:

  • Creating our art assets
  • Feature development for Ymir
  • Polisihing and testing
  • Recording music and sound FX

In order to devote ourselves full-time we need funding. We feel that full-time focus is the BEST course of action at this time.

Why 14k?

Being a small team we have to be realistic. Most game titles these days require years of work and big teams to shoulder the workload. So how are three guys gonna get it done with only 14k and about nine months? Well, full time work for starters. Also, we have intentionally designed the playable demo to be less asset intensive than, say, a full story-mode title. Finally, we must consider that part of the battle is already behind us, the concept is complete and Ymir is already being tested. 

The majority of the 14k will go to the development and integration of 3D game assets as well as commission new works from our musician.  We assert that - given 9 months of full time labor and 14k to cover production costs and living expences - we feel confident that we produce a playable demo which will not only bring enjoyment to you, but also allow us to push forward and seek additional sources of funding. 

Why flexible funding? (What if we don't make 14k?)

There has been some flack floating about regarding flexible funding and we think that the fears and concerns are largely a product of ignorance. We chose flexible funding because we know what we have; the right project and the ability to deliver. Should we fail to reach our goal rest assured that the Watt will go on. Here are three possible futures:

We meet our goal and all is well. We would expect to release the playable demo in second quarter of 2014!

Plan B: We will use the funds we do raise as leverage to generate additional investments to make up the difference. 

Plan C: In the worst case scenario we would need to cut our hours, relying more heavily on third-party assets to fill in some gaps. We prefer to see TEAoW done sooner rather than later and will avoid release delays at all costs. 

Whatever comes to pass, we will be frequent in our communications. Whether via project updates here or on our blog, you will know exactly what is going on and how much longer you have to wait.

Stretch?

What's that you say?  What if we EXCEED our goal?  Now we are talking!  We want to stay focused and gorunded in reality though, so we haven't spent too much time thinking about this scenario. By exceeding our goal we will have proven what we already know in our hearts to be true; that Ymir and The Electric Adventures of Watt is bigger than any one of us.

Should TEAoW funding breache 14k we will certainly address this with more thought, in the mean time here are some strech goals we have in mind.

16k - More, better music. Music is essential to the gaming experience and we do not wish to skimp!  More money means we can actually pay our current musician the wage that he deserves, for work he has already done and commision additional peices. 

24k - See those Illuminarians and Creep all greyed out above?  We want to make those playable characters in the demo!  We just need to keep Gabe fed and happy so he can get them modelled and animated. 

250k - We make the whole game!

 

I love Watt but I don't have the scratch!

Tell someone or, better yet, a whole bunch of people about us!  We need your help to expand our reach.  Take our links to the streets or talk about in your favorite corners of the Internet.  You can even share directly from Indiegogo!  It's up there just under our pitch video at the the top of the page. 

You can help create a buzz by leaving us comments either here on Indiegogo or subscribe to our blog at www.calledshot.org, or visit our artist's blog. Gabriel publishes frequently and is always posting cool new images from TEAoW. Join the story there! You can comment and even take his images and create derivitives and share them with us. Who knows maybe we will even incorporate your ideas in to the game.

 

Visual list of perks

Find This Campaign On
$1,335USD
raised by 33 people in 1 month
10% funded
0 time left
$14,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 17, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    The Five-Spot

    Congratulations, you just earned yourself a digital high-five. We will proudly proclaim your support far and wide using the various social-type websites at our disposal. We'll even add your link (as long as it's clean and lawful). You'll have to send us your name, as you wish it to appear, along with the above-mentioned link.

    1 claimed

    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $10USD
    Better...Closer...Warmer

    Every dollar counts, thank you. Your name shall be digitally inscribed into the credits for The Electric Adventures of Watt for all time.

    1 claimed

  • $15USD
    Your Adventure Begins

    Pre-order complete! After we put the finishing touches on the demo you will receive your very own digital copy. Get a few friends to kick in at this level or higher and enjoy the co-op! You will also be listed in the game credits with a special designation for pre-ordering.

    13 claimed

  • $25USD
    Something To Tide You Over

    Gabriel produces fantastic art. While you are waiting to play the demo, feed your excitement with a selection of high-res art work from The Electric Adventures of Watt. Should our world inspire you, don't hold back! We would love for you to share any derivative works you create. You will be added to Gabriel's Google+ circle and automatically have access to any images he shares with the team. Many of these images will never be seen by the public.

    1 claimed

  • $30USD
    Part of the Family

    Be a part of the family for a day. Gabriel will cook his world-famous west african beef stew for you. You will be invited to Gabriel's home. This perk will reserve 1 of 30 places at the table. *must be able to travel to New Glarus on the 18th of Oct to collect.

    0 out of 30 claimed

    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $50USD
    Early Access

    Waiting can be hard. We get that. In addition to the previous rewards, get an early look at The Electric Adventures of Watt with your beta access. As a reward for helping us find bugs and improve game play, tell us what features you would like to see added to either Ymir or The Electric Adventures of Watt. We will even listen to you! Credited as Beta Tester and Contributor *Also get the Digital copy of the final demo.

    1 claimed

  • $75USD
    Signed 8x12* Digital Print

    Get a digital print of TEAoW art work, numbered and signed by our artist. Select your favorite from either the gallery here on indiegogo or the Google+ public album. Gabriel will sign it and send it to you. *approx. size some cropping could occur depending on image selected.

    0 out of 30 claimed

    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $100USD
    Head And Shoulders Above

    Wow, thank you so much. We want to you have access to the playable demo as early as possible. You will have alpha access. Playing an alpha may not always be glorious, but we have nothing to hide from you. Credited as Alpha Tester and Contributor *Also get Beta acces and the Digital copy of the final demo.

    3 claimed

  • $1,000USD
    Part Of The Team

    Holy waa! Your generosity astounds. We now consider you a member of the team. We will grant you read access to our source code while it is in development. Furthermore, we will keep you in the loop by receiving a copy of the minutes from our bi-weekly meetings. If you would like to jump in on development just let us know. Together we will a way for you to get your hands dirty. *Also get Alpha and Beta acces and the Digital copy of the final demo.

    0 out of 20 claimed

  • $2,000USD
    Something Special

    We are humbled. After our work on the playable demo is complete, you may choose from our stock of digital images. Your selection will be printed and enhanced using traditional mediums; this will truly be one of a kind, signed by our artist with a special dedication for you. You will be credited as a Team Member. *also get Alpha and Beta acces and the Digital copy of the final demo.

    0 out of 10 claimed

    Estimated delivery: May 2014
  • $5,000USD
    Creme De La Creme

    Such a mighty gift. Our artist is also a traditional painter, please accept an oil on canvas painting of the exclusive designs offered at the previous level. Furthermore, we offer you a seat at our bi-weekly meetings. Come listen-in or add your input as we press forward and make both Ymir and The Electric Adventures of Watt a reality. You will be credited as along with John and Gabriel as a Creator. *also get Alpha and Beta access and the Digital copy of the final demo.

    0 out of 5 claimed

    Estimated delivery: June 2014
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