with Julie Morley
The Fine Young Capitalists is an indie game project intending to promote equality in the game industry, tossing gender, race, and sexualities to the side. The primary focus of TFYC’s current project is to educate people about women in the gaming industry and get more girls involved. With their recent project, they asked women from all over the world to submit their game ideas. Five were chosen and given to concept artists to help refine the ideas. TFYC launched an IndieGogo campaign to raise funds for the game’s development and opened up the voting to the internet. People vote for one of the five games, the game is developed, and the bulk of the profits go to charity. Recently, I spoke to Danielle, a passionate up and coming game designer/developer, about her experience with TFYC and her game idea, Afterlife Empire. We will, of course, not be disclosing her full name out of respect for her privacy, but don’t worry, we she’s still sharing a lot. To learn more about Danielle and The Fine Young Capitalists please visit their website at http://www.thefineyoungcapitalists.com/ for more information.
Cliqist : Firstly, how did you come across The Fine Young Young Capitalists project?
Danielle : A friend of mine heard about it from someone at a con he went to and mentioned it to me, knowing I’d be interested, and I was! It’s an amazing opportunity for anyone, and I’m so excited to be involved.
Danielle : I’ve been a gamer since I was a kid. I grew up playing any video games I could get my hands on, and I still own just about every console available, and of course my Steam library is filled with games I’m dying to play. I didn’t realize I could actually turn my love of creating games into a career until I got a bit older, but I immediately knew that was what I wanted to do. I went to college with that dream in mind and I have degrees in Multimedia and Game Design.
Of course, every gamer, regardless of education or experience, will have at least one great idea for a new game. I can’t claim to be unique with that.
The games that most influenced me into the field growing up would have to be Chrono Trigger, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. Those three games alone pulled me in for hundreds of hours and fully immersed me in their unique worlds and plots. I have always wanted to create immersive experiences like that for other gamers.
Cliqist : What inspired the idea for Afterlife Empire?
Danielle : If I had to say what specific games influenced me most when I came up with Afterlife Empire, it would have to be the old Tycoon and Sim series combined with my eternal love of horror games. I enjoy twisting perspectives to see what things would be like on the other side of a story. In this case, it’s the hows and whys behind a haunted house and its spirit.
The original idea I had for Afterlife Empire was actually back in college for a group indie game project I led. I had two ideas – the haunted house sim being one – but we ultimately went with the second for the project itself. Over time, I’ve developed the concept further.
Cliqist : The point of Afterlife Empire is to keep building the haunted house as much as possible by scaring the living daylights out of people. Is there an increase in difficulty the more your ghost’s empire expands? What sort of challenges would there be, if that is the case?
Danielle : Yep, the challenge will ramp up the more nights you play. The idea is that the people coming into the house – the player’s victims – will have their own personalities, phobias, and fear tolerance level. The player will have limited resources to deal with the victims. Strategy will become very important in the later levels.
Here’s an example of what type of people may show up and how you’ll have to plan carefully for each encounter:
- The Music Lover – Never takes off their headphones, so pure audio scares will not work on them, only visual.
- Exorcist – The longer they are in the house the more scare points they drain from the player. They need to be frightened away quickly or the player will lose reputation and scare points.
- Police Officer – Will attempt to locate NPCs already in the house to kick them out for trespassing. Must to be kept away from the NPCs so they can be scared before being kicked out, but if the police officer NPC witnesses a big scare it will fill the bar for destroying the house as if someone had died of fright. That makes these NPCs more dangerous than others.
These are just some examples. The further you get in the game, the more types of people will show up. Your resources will increase as the game progresses as well, and you will be able to lay more traps and scares for the increased number of victims.
Danielle : Not sure if it would end up in the final game, but in my original pitch the player can actually choose from a few different types of ghosts, which each have their own abilities based on how they died. It would also visually change the ghost’s aura.
- Drowned – Ghost has water dripping off of them for the aura. Able to appear in any water source and scare victims into believing they’re drowning by creating an illusion of a flooded room.
- Beheaded – Their head floats separate from their body. They can stick their head into places for victims to discover while their body sets traps.
- Fire – Fiery aura surrounds the ghost. They can create ghostly flames to scare victims, or create smoke to make it harder to see, causing further panic.
Again, I’m not sure how much could make it into the final game. It all depends on funding and time. If these don’t work, it could be something unlockable within the game itself, or just a visual aesthetic add-on.
Cliqist : Can players expand to additional houses to haunt?
Danielle : Actually, originally I was going to have the ghost move into a new location once they gained enough fame. I realized this wouldn’t make as much sense as the ghost simply expanding their own territory, since the idea is that spirits become linked to a specific location and can’t move away. So no, the player won’t move to new houses.
They will, however, be able to customize their house how they want. They can add rooms, floors, and furniture. I’d love if we were able to add in different styles for the house to be unlocked, so each player will truly have their own design.
Danielle : There would be a campaign mode of sorts, where the end goal is for your ghost to become legendary. This would end when enough fame is accumulated, and that would likely be a set number of levels.
I’d also like if we could add a never ending mode where the player gets max resources and has to scare the most victims possible, and where every type of victim would be going into the house.
Cliqist : Will you continue designing games after TFYC project? Do you already have some plans in mind for any future games?
Danielle : Of course! I’m really hoping for a boost to my portfolio with this, win or lose. I’ve been trying to get into the industry for a few years now with no luck. I’d love to keep working on my own ideas, but I’ve not had the resources, money, or team to do so.
I know there’s amazing developers out there able to do everything on their own, but the reality is that for most, game development is a group effort. If I can’t get hired by an existing studio I would love to be able to create my own.
Cliqist : If you had to sum up Afterlife Empire in five words, what would you pick?
Danielle : Not sure if you mean a tagline or description of the game, so here’s both.
Scare your way to infamy.
Theme Hospital meets Haunted House.
Thanks to Danielle for taking the time to answer our questions! If you’d like to learn more about Afterlife Empire, or the Fine Young Capitalists efforts be sure to head over to their IndieGogo campaign.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/julie.jpg” ]Julie Morley is a freelance writer and comic artist from Spring, Texas. She attended the Academy of Art University for two years, studying Animation and Illustration. Whilst here, she learned about writing comic scripts, storyboards, and general storytelling. Since leaving college, she has been working on personal comic projects, stories, and illustrations. She aspires to release a self published comic within two years. For the majority of her life, she has been playing console games, typically being third-person shooters and sandboxes. Her favorite game of existence is Dark Cloud II (Dark Chronicle) and her favorite Indie game is Gone Home.[/author]