Lux & the Shadowmaker

by constance-fleuriot in Bristol, City of Bristol

Every child sees monsters, especially in the shadows... Help us develop a computer game that throws light in a magical midnight landscape.

by constance-fleuriot in Bristol, City of Bristol

We did it
On 22nd December 2014 we successfully raised £8,057 with 171 supporters in 28 days

Lux and the Shadowmaker is a computer game about light and shadows being developed by Constance Fleuriot as Pretty Digital.  The plan is to make a VR version too for Oculus Rift. You can follow the development of the game on prettydigital.co.uk

 

The story

It all starts when Lux is woken up by a finger of moonlight coming through the bedroom curtains at midnight, and goes outside to explore a moonlit landscape. There are magical creatures and trapped shadows to encounter, and a mysterious Shadowmaker to avoid.

Lux is not your average action hero - Lux is a young child who lives on a hill farm with Mother and Granny Lumb; all the men have disappeared and Granny mutters about the Shadowmaker when Mother isn't listening;

“Shadowmaker sucks souls of women dry and disappears men to war..."

Granny Lumb knows that Lux needs to be wary of any encroaching shadows, and keeps a watchful eye on Lux’s wanderings just in case...

Beware the Shadowmaker

(Shadowmaker Image by Stuart Griffin, from an original photo by Constance Fleuriot)

Where did the idea come from?

The story of Lux and The Shadowmaker which unfolds over the course of the game is influenced by fairytales I read as a child, where brave children would outwit terrifying beasts and all would (hopefully) be well in the morning. It will, I hope, reflect the blurring between fact and fiction in children’s sense-making which has always interested me - for example, Lux believes Granny when she says there are people trapped by the Shadowmaker, but have they really just left home? Is Lux dreaming or is it real? What will Lux find in the morning after these midsummer-night adventures? [Trying really hard to not include too many spoilers here for those of you who want to play the game!]

What will gameplay be like?

Children not only create imaginary worlds layered on reality (I've just been on a trip to the zoo with my grandchildren dressed as tigers) but they also experience the world from a different physical viewpoint to that of most adults; playing as Lux will make the player see things from the perspective of a child as they wander through gardens, try and open locked gates and climb up and down trees.

Two other things I really want to do, apart from explore how to create Lux’s world, are

• to write a game/story where it is not clear whether the main character is a girl or boy• to write a game where the interaction and gameplay encourages and rewards exploration of the storyworld, rather than a game that encourages fighting as the main interaction with other characters.

The Characters

Some of my very rough concept sketches, starting to develop the characters in the game…

Lux

There's a bit about why I want Lux to be a gender-neutral character here. I need to draw Lux in a way that stops people assuming girl or boy. And need to find some nice pyjamas.

The Shadowmaker

Child's drawing of a black shadowy figureDrawing the Shadowmaker

Granny Lumb

There's more about Granny Lumb and where she came from here on the blog.

 

Fey Folk

 

The stones

Whispering orbs of light

The soundtrack

I'm delighted that Three Cane Whale are letting me use some of their delightful instrumental music to set the tone for the game - you can hear a bit of it in the video. I'd love to involve them more in developing a soundtrack to the gameplay.

Want to know more about the game?

If you want to know more then head on over to the Pretty Digital website to read about the game as it develops. There willbe info about the story, the images, the people involved. Can't guarantee many kittens.

Where will the crowdfunds go?

I am asking for £5000, which is just about enough to build a working prototype of the game idea, with the money being spent on:

a 3D artist to take the collection of sketches and photographs and translate them into digital artwork for the game

a Unity coder who will programme the game and the interactions, incorporating the 3D artwork and sounds

a writer/designer/producer/pr person (that's where I come in)

a sound designer to work on music and sounds for the game

Any more than that and we will have longer to work on the game before releasing to the beta-test group, as well as being able to afford more music and sound work to be done.

Night version of field with rays

(Photosketch of the field that inspired level 3)

Other support

As well as raising cash to pay a team to develop the game, the project is supported by the lovely folks at Bristol Games Hub. The games hub will provide deskspace and mentoring, as well as be a source of skilled people to work with on the project and enable me to develop the idea properly.

Am I a Queen of Code?… help my chances!

Needless to say, the more money raised, the more time we will have to develop, the more we can put into the game. The more supporters I get, the more chance I have of winning an extra £3000 from Queen of Code  (set up by Creative England and Crowdfunder to support women to develop their own game ideas).

Don't forget to check for updates on the progress of the game on PrettyDigital.

Beta Testing

At the end of one month of collaborative effort we should have a mac/pc version of Lux and the Shadowmaker that we  can share with all our supporters who have signed up to play as Beta Testers of the game. Their feedback will help us to produce the final version that we want to make available for download at £6 ($10, €8). And then there'll be the VR/Oculus Rift phase of development.

About me

My name is Constance Fleuriot and I have a background in writing, research and making interactive art. My first foray into making an interactive game was back in 1993 with a bunch of artists creating Media, Myth & Mania - a game you play as an aspiring Media Mogul, making life choices that you think will help you to make to the top.

image from old game

I also worked on an interactive project called Dreamhouses, where I explored myths from around the world where women didn't get punished for their behaviour. Those stories still lurk in my head and may pop up in the game from time to time...

I've spent two decades mostly working in pervasive/mobile/locative/younameit media research. I rediscovered the joy of making games at the XXGames Jam, the world's first all-women game jam, which was a great way to make tentative steps into the gaming community. Since then I have been lurking around Bristol Games Hub getting involved in jams and talks and suchlike, and this project is me coming out as someone who wants to write and make games.

Don't forget you can follow the development of the game on prettydigital.co.uk

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£2 or more

£2 Reward

BASIC GRATEFULNESS: A public thanks for your support on twitter (let us know if you have a twitter name) and you will be sent project updates via email

£5 or more

£5 Reward

WALL OF FAME: Basic Gratefulness (A public thanks for your support on twitter, project updates via email) AND your name will appear on the project website 'Wall of Fame' - if you send us a mugshot your shadow will appear too.

£8 or more

£8 Reward

WALLPAPER & WALL OF FAME: Wall of Fame (A public thanks for your support on twitter, project updates via email, your name/shadow on our 'Wall of Fame') AND a piece of downloadable digital wallpaper of some of the game art.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

THE GAME!: Wall of Fame (A public thanks for your support on twitter, project updates via email, your name and shadow on the project website) AND one free downloadable copy of Lux and the Shadowmaker game just before it goes on public sale.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

NEW!! THE LAST POST: as well as a public acknowledgment of your generosity we wil send you a thankyou postcard; that's right, a real piece of cardboard will wing its way to you via the postal service and land on your doormat. (UK ONLY - SEE BELOW)

£12 or more

£12 Reward

NEW!! FOR FOREIGN SHORES: the overseas version of the Last Post. The same postcard but more expensive as the stamps to take it across the oceans are heavier.

£20 or more

32 of 100 claimed

£20 Reward

SHADOWTAINMENT: As the GAME level reward PLUS a pdf of instructions on how to cast shadows to entertain the family during powercuts - as long as you have a torch or candle handy.

£30 or more

12 of 100 claimed

£30 Reward

DREAMSEEDER: As Shadowtainment PLUS a pdf of "Make your very own Shadowmaker shadow puppet" to keep the children entertained just before bedtime…

£45 or more

11 of 30 claimed

£45 Reward

ALPHA-BETA: As Dreamseeder above PLUS you get to be part of our group of beta testers for Lux and The Shadowmaker.

£60 or more

9 of 15 claimed

£60 Reward

CARVE YOUR NAME WITH PRIDE: As Alpha-Beta level above PLUS your initials will be carved on a tree in the game

£100 or more

7 of 10 claimed

£100 Reward

BEAUX ART: Wall of Fame, all the thanks, digital wallpaper, free copy of finished game, pdf on shadowcasting, pdf of Shadowmaker puppet, access to beta test group PLUS an A5 signed print of artwork from the game will arrive in the post.

£150 or more

2 of 6 claimed

£150 Reward

YOUR NAME IN VAIN: Wall of Fame, all the thanks, digital wallpaper, free copy of finished game, pdf on shadowcasting, pdf of Shadowmaker puppet, access to beta test group PLUS Your name used backwards by cursing Small Folk in the game. As long as it isn't too rude...

£250 or more

0 of 4 claimed

£250 Reward

PHYSOG: Wall of Fame, all the thanks, digital wallpaper, free copy of finished game, pdf on shadowcasting, pdf of Shadowmaker puppet, access to beta test group PLUS you will be turned into one of the wee Fey Folk flitting about the game (photo required)

£500 or more

2 of 2 claimed

£500 Reward

FLY!: Wall of Fame, all the thanks, digital wallpaper, free copy of finished game, pdf on shadowcasting, pdf of Shadowmaker puppet, access to beta test group, you as a cursing Fey Folk PLUS next time we catch a shadow we will post it to you…

£1,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£1,000 Reward

THE SHADOW: Last, but the very opposite of least: All of the FLY! above PLUS We take your shadow and will hide you in the game... (we will require full length photographs of yourself in trousers, shirt and (optional) hat)


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