Not too long ago, i shared some news about indie game developers Enyx Studios. The two man team of Don Hileman and Andrew Pavlick are passionate creators looking to make the world a little more fun, one game at a time. At present, that one game is called Unholy, a storytelling video game of dark horror and desperate survival planned for release episodically.
Since initially speaking with Don and Andrew and visiting their studio, they’ve come a long way. Several exciting developments have emerged, three of which we’ll dive right into here. Plus there’s a contest for Long Shot readers to receive a digital copy of Unholy Episode One when it is released later this year.
Last night at midnight (technically it was today, but i subscribe to the belief that the day doesn’t change until you go to sleep and wake up again) Enyx Studios released the first teaser trailer for Unholy. Digital Pimpin hosted the release, and viewers who leave a comment are entered into an Unholy giveaway contest.
And right here!
Steam GreenLight Launch
On Friday, June 12 at noon EST, Enyx Studios will go live with Unholy on Steam GreenLight, which allows developers to present their games to the Steam community. Once there, users can vote on titles and after a certain threshold of votes is met Steam works with the developer to bring the game to their digital marketplace.
Through the GreenLight process, developers can upload things like screenshots, different builds of a game and videos like the trailer or whatever else they wish to share with the Steam community.
Once the GreenLight Launch goes live, i’ll share more information about that as well so stop back tomorrow, June 12 for an update.
Enyx Studios team
Don and Andrew have accomplished an amazing amount of work on their project, and after meeting and talking with them i was so impressed by their pursuit of their goals as independent autonomous creators. Sharing stories of these sorts of people is one of the cornerstones of The Long Shot, and it’s my great pleasure to do my small part in spreading the word about folks like them and others who have graciously taken the time to speak with me.
In an incredibly exciting turn of events, i’d like to share a little something i was astounded to find in my inbox on April 30:
Good Morning Doug,
I have a rather odd question for you. Have you ever considered getting into story design on games?
IIRC i responded in about two seconds flat with an enthusiastic affirmative. As a lifelong gamer and writer, hell yes i’ve considered this!
Great gameplay experiences aside, i’ve always enjoyed the story aspect of games. My favorite genre, role-playing games, are founded on the notion of immersive storytelling. Since childhood days of discovering tabletop Dungeons & Dragons, all the way to today playing Dungeons & Dragons Online and everything in between, my favorite part of games has always been the story unfolding within them. My absolute favorite game of all time – the Mass Effect series – is all about the story, so much so that i can’t even replay the series for enjoyment because my Commander Shepard’s tale is complete and anything else doesn’t seem right.
i’d be lying if i said the task of contributing to Unholy isn’t daunting. What do i know about video game design? But i’m giving it my best shot. So far, Don and Andrew are happy with what i’ve come up with so i’ll continue to forge ahead.
What i’ve enjoyed most about working on this project is recognizing someone else’s vision and helping to achieve that. i’m no stranger to ambitious independent projects build on speculation and a dream, and if i’m honest it’s refreshing to join someone else’s team to help them. My own experiences with similar endeavors have taught me that the best you can do is stay positive at all times and put your strongest foot forth, both for yourself and your team, and that’s exactly what i’ve seen so far.
As for what i’ve been working on, each day for me begins by opening a growing number of Google docs and diving in to whatever part of design needs focus.
At first, there was only a simple list of notes and ideas that i compiled from various emails and resources Don and Andrew had already developed. Next came a script very much like a film screenplay, which was a ton of fun to create since i got to pull those skills out of the bag that i haven’t used pretty much since the days of Bad Service.
After that i started on a script for the game’s backstory using the same screenplay format. This has proved immensely useful to me, planting the seeds for many of the characters, scenes and plots that will emerge through gameplay. Lots of twists and turns to the story evolved through working on the backstory that takes place before gamers hit that Start button, which i truly hope pays off in players’ enjoyment throughout the breadth of the various episodes of Unholy.
Things starting getting technical with the Game Design Document, or GDD, which is a highly descriptive document not unlike a business plan. This is something development teams use within the industry to communicate with not only among each other but to outside business partners. In a lot of ways, it’s like a television series bible, used as a reference to keep continuity and also help any newcomers to the team understand the series.
Emerging from the GDD is the document i most work in now – the flowchart. This ever-evolving beast continues to grow new limbs as different puzzles, challenges and obstacles are added for players to overcome. i enjoy this format the most so far, since it offers the opportunity to combine creativity with logical organization. When i first started working on the flow of the game my thinking was more linear, like find a key in room A and it unlocks the adjacent room B. Now, the spidery tendrils of the flowchart give players much more opportunity to explore and progress. The flow is still linear, but only in the sense that lines connect the dots for players to follow. The way those lines maneuver around each other, though, is much more complex.
Win a free digital copy of Unholy
Long Shot readers who leave a comment below will be entered into a giveaway contest to receive a free digital copy of Unholy, so be sure to include contact information. You can also enter by Tweeting a link to this post with the hashtag #LongShotUnholyGiveaway. The game is planned for release in Q4 2015.
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