Project Eth3rn1a Explanation

This is a call to everyone, programmer or not, to join us in creating a world where video games are known as an accessible art form. If that appeals to you, take a few minutes to read through what we’re offering and hopefully you’ll join us on this  over-half-a-year-in-the-making ambitious project.

Our project, in the shortest summary possible:  a collaborative video game development experiment aimed at opening the art form of video game creation to the masses.

We are starting by creating two connected games around a reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece (and other myths). Shakespeare’s story interprets an older legend concerning the founding of the Roman Republic.  Shakespeare’s poem muses on the thoughts of the rapist and the victim, and in essence, is the consistent fantastical revenge story.  We reinterpreted the story in a slightly different way, focusing on the effects of the act, and the choices made after by those around the victim, rather than an unrealistic revenge fantasy.  While that is the overarching story, Episode 1 is based on the myth of Medea, a tragic play that portrays the betrayal of an unwavering love and the revenge that follows.

 

Our presentation is divided as such:

1. Crecia (Game Description)

2. The Splitting: Episode 1 (Game Description)

3.  Concept Pieces 

4. Future Ambition

5. How you can join us 

 

The first two two games are Crecia and Episode 1.  Let’s start with Crecia.

1. Crecia (Game Description) 

Imagine this island is one big game, split into seven smaller games.   These smaller games are called “Scenes” represented by the letter “S”.  As you can see, we have seven of these planned.  This island is called AI, or Act I.  The title of this is Crecia: Act I. This island is built by experienced programmers and game designers.


Note: The mechanics will remain mostly static, but will slowly be developed from scene to scene depending on user feedback from the previous scene.

Story: While on a mission to quell a rebellion in a neighboring kingdom, the town is attacked by unknown beings.  Blame is put on you, igniting war after 15 years of uneasy peace.  You soon find you may be at fault after all when you’re ordered to find, and eliminate, the source of these new malicious creatures.

This game is in its stages of pre-production with a game design document well in progress!

However, here we present “The Splitting”: Episode 1.  It is made in Stencyl,  and was first released early 2013!  We have a devblog devoted to it here on its progress.

2. “The Splitting”: Episode 1 (Game Description)

 

These islands surrounding Crecia Act 1 represent seven Episodes, part of a series, which we are calling “The Splitting,” wherein the back story and lore of Crecia Act I is expanded by NPGDs (Novice Programmer Game Designers).  They are working with us to learn how to make their games, choose what characters or story they want to expand on, and then doing it with our assistance and mutual mentorship!  NPGDs are people with little to no programming experience using a game maker of their choice.

These episodes created in game makers connect with the main game, made without any game makers, in unique and interesting ways. For instance, things learned in the Episode 1 can be used to unlock extra story and items in Scene 1.

Now, here’s a summary of Episode 1…

Player Character: Inzo

Story Summary: Trekking up a strange mountain trail, the protagonist searches to find the mysterious song that haunts her dreams while sent out on a mission, which she will end up regretting for the rest of her life.

Gameplay: The player will explore the tower, solve puzzles, and search for items. Combat may be present, but will not be the main focus of the game. The player will be constantly going up and down the levels of the tower, exploring more and more as items are found and goals are completed. Puzzles will consist of platforming, switches, item collection, and discovering secrets.

Art: Art will be hand drawn character sprites on watercolor-styled ink backgrounds.

Music: The music will change in volume and tempo based on the progress through the dungeon, but there will be long stretches without music where the player will only hear ambient sounds and sound effects.

The game’s first level has been released! Following the feedback we gathered over the month of its release, we responded with an appropriate revamped version. Our producer expands on it in his blog post here.

You can find the original first release on Kongregate here (Note: beware of the cats).

And the revamped version uploaded to Newgrounds here (Note: no worries about the cats here).

 

 3.  Concept Pieces 

Below we present some concept art and music, along with some more background from our early preproduction.

These are Inzo’s face studies.

And her main weapon, a flute with a hidden dagger design, along with her other weapons, primarily daggers.


Character Description:

Name: Inzo

Gender: Transgender female (mtf)

Class: Rogue

Weapons: A concealed dagger flute, with a variety of devices and weapons to be used in various situations.

Role in Game: One of three playable protagonists in Crecia: Maldea.  Main playable protagonist in The Splitting: Episode 1.

Background: Daughter to two prestigious doctors, she was separated from her parents during the tail end of the Purga Wars 20 years before Crecia Act 1 and put into a refuge camp.  While there, she was taken in by a cult of assassins who pose as minstrels. They trained her and, working her way up, she became second to only the head of the cult.  She was eventually exiled after becoming the first known “mala” due to a traumatic event concerning the death of someone close to her.  Brandishing an unassuming flute which she can pull apart to use as an efficient dagger, her secret desire has always been to live the life of a musician, and identifies strongly with her cult’s presentation as minstrels to outsiders.  Most importantly, she is the first known “split” or “mala”, wherein after suffering a traumatic event, two other beings split from her: Ira (playable protagonist) and Maldea (an antagonist).

The scene below, “Djinn’s Adoption,” depicts another character from a different region, Djinn, holding his sister before a daunting and at the moment secret character.

The environmental sketch of the Kinneraht Ruins are the remnants of his hometown, with Samos, another playable protagonist in Crecia, standing before them.

———————-

4. Future Ambition

Zooming out, we see the full archipelago of our game project.   That ship represents a queue of writers, programmers, game designers, artists, musicians, and NPGDs (novice programmer game designers, i.e., anyone!) ready to sail into our archipelago and contribute what they wish to. Note: The amount of episodes are subject to change as well as the amount of scenes.

And when we zoom out even further, we have other people making their own games without our direct story input. We will then rank them in the canon: Canon, Semi-Canon, What If, and Exploratory.  Parts of their stories will be integrated back into the main game as it’s being developed.

5. How you can be a part 

Above we’ve presented to you part of what we’re working on now–but it’s only the tip of the ice berg. Within all this, we’ve found we’re implicitly developing a community and training system for a wide variety of skills; Project organization, lean development, agile management, on top of the use of game makers and an overall unique process for game design.

We’re looking for more contributors, anyone, even those with no experience, who want to contribute to the creation of a video game.

If you’re interested in joining us, you may not be taken on immediately, but when a space does open up, those that apply first will be given the chance to make or contribute to their game ahead of later applicants. Contact us here.