Friday, 9 November 2018

126% Funded on Kickstarter!

 We did it!

OFF GRID was 126% funded on Kickstarter in the end - that's a whopping £5,252 over our goal.   THANK YOU!





We hit the first stretch goal late yesterday afternoon, then kept building to our final tally of £25,252.

That means OFF GRID has the extra funds dearly needed for art and sound, AND we'll be sharing even more with you as we shift into a more open mode of development!

PLUS, by hitting that stretch goal, OFF GRID will benefit from the addition of an in-game social media app, and those of you that took advantage of that extra tier (and all those who backed above it!) will get the satisfaction of seeing a message of yours in the game.

Thank you to everyone that followed along with the countdown - whether in person or via the livestream.  It was great fun to share the success with you all!

We will be back in touch soon with updates on the game, development progress, and importantly, details and questionnaires about your rewards.

THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

12 HOURS + MORE New Characters!

It's the LAST DAY off the OFF GRID Kickstarter campaign!

If you are following the project but have not yet backed, we need you to do it now, even if just $1, a quid, a yen, a euro!

We are SO close to unlocking that first stretch goal - can you help us do it?!




There’s officially less than 12 hours to go now, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over…

Character Reveals

We have two new characters joining the OFF GRID lineup to share with you:

Naomi Colvin


Naomi is a writer, digital rights campaigner and activist who has been involved in casework around some of the highest profile hacker court hearings in the UK, specifically that of Lauri Love’s extradition. She writes extensively on the subjects of human rights and digital policy and is a well known figure in the world of privacy and digital rights advocacy.

Her involvement in OFF GRID is important as she has an incredible knowledge of digital policy and law, and knows about how the most seemingly innocuous of miswritten laws can have massive effect and cost on the liberties of society.



Barrett Brown


Barrett Brown is a US journalist, essayist and satirist, and founder of the Pursuance Project an activist and journalist collaboration toolset.

He is best known for having founded Project PM, a research collaboration and wiki, to facilitate analysis of the troves of hacked emails and other leaked information concerning the inner workings of the cyber-military-industrial complex, and was imprisoned for charges relating to the 2011 Stratfor hack.

He’s previously been described as an unofficial spokesperson for Anonymous, has written two books, and multiple articles about politics and journalism in the digital age. In 2012, the FBI raided his house, and later that year Barrett was indicted on 12 federal charges.

While in prison, Barrett continued to write a column from jail for The Intercept, for which he has won a National Magazine Award and a New York Press Club journalism award.

MORE TO COME!

Expect more as OFF GRID’s development continues!

Remember, characters in OFF GRID can be virtual instead of physical: you just need to find their public key and then you will be able to speak to them via the CryptoChat app. There will be an array of hackers and activists you can eventually meet in OFF GRID: we’ll continue to announce some of them, and others might just stay secret for you to find!

Here’s a clue towards one of them!




We have our Kickstarter Countdown Party tonight in London at the fantastic Loading Bar in Dalston, and we'd love for you to join us!

There will be:
  • OFF GRID cookies
  • A prize for the best hacker fancy dress 
  • A LIVE livestream with interviews and Q&A with the dev team and hackers like Lauri Love, “March” O’Neill, and Hacker Fantastic
  • A demo of the game to play and chat about
Get your free ticket here.  Hope to see you there in physical form, or joining us with your wonderful digital presence on the stream!

And once again, THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

36 Hours To Go + New Characters!

It’s been a busy week with smashing through 100%!  We are now sailing along - nearly half way towards our first stretch goal, we had a big news piece released, and we've announced a couple fun new characters!

36 HOURS (just under!)



WOW.  It’s absolutely awesome to be nearly 110% funded at this point!  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - we are SO GRATEFUL to each and every one of you backers! THANK YOU!

A lot can happen in 36 hours - so let’s see what we can do! Will we reach that first STRETCH GOAL?! We hope so! The in-game social media app would really add to the gameplay experience.

New Characters

If you have kept an eye on our twitter feed, then you will be aware of these fun additions. We had a great livestreamed interview with Biella Coleman, an anthropologist who studies hacker cultures on Monday. Yesterday, we announced security researcher Hacker Fantastic.





Biella Coleman

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as an anthropologist, her scholarship covers the cultures and ethics of hacking. She is currently working on Hack_Curio: a curated ensemble of hacker-related videos that will be accompanied by short reflections on the featured clip written by researchers, writers, and journalists working on these topics. The site will launch in the late fall of 2018.

She has authored two books, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso, 2014). Her work has been featured in numerous scholarly journals and edited volumes. Committed to public ethnography, she routinely presents her work to diverse audiences, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, and has written for popular media outlets. She sits on the board of The Tor Project.

She is a fairly significant chronicler of hacker culture and perfect addition as a character to the OFF GRID universe.






Hacker Fantastic

Hacker Fantastic is a professional hacker with over 15 years experience providing security services to a global client base. He is widely known for his research on vulnerabilities in North Korea, exploiting the late Prime Minister of Singapore's code and his hacking of Microsoft's “ransomware-proof" computer during 2017.

HF’s research on exploits powering the WannaCry ransomware, NSA leaks, and Shadow Brokers in 2017 were published to an audience of over 500 million. He is an expert in his field and is highly sought after, to lead long-term engagements that accurately reflect real-world security challenges, simulating attacks on global and high-risk environments.

Fantastic’s work is known globally and he has been at the forefront of discovery and dissection of state level hacking tools.  His background in the professional research side of hacker culture creates interesting balance within the world of OFF GRID.

Countdown with us!

If you're in/near London, join us for a little celebration as we countdown to the campaign's end tomorrow night!   There will be a livestream countdown, too - sign up for a reminder and watch it via the OFF GRID Kickstarter page!

Please keep sharing the campaign - it’s not long to go now!

THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team



If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Monday, 5 November 2018

STREEEETCH GOALS!


How fun it is to be talking stretch goals!  Stretch goals are a tricky thing, especially with this amount of time left: it’s plenty of time for a nice little burst of activity, but it isn’t ages either…

We wrote a little bit about our attitude to stretch goals yesterday here, and so, building on that, here is our plan…

We’re not gonna go mad, but we do have a few nice ideas that we’d like to put out there and see how people respond to them, and if they prove popular, we have further things to expand upon based on uptake too.

We’ll be revealing 2 possible stretch goals to start with, and then revealing a new one each time one is met (if they are met!).

To start, we have these stretches for you:

Stretch Goal #1: In Game social media feed!

How about it: an in-game, fictional social media app that does some world building and can provide hints for both narrative and mechanic discovery?

We are on our way already with this one: the campaign currently sits at £20,593 so we’re 13.5% toward it already! :)
Apps...
Apps...
This will give you more insight to what's going on in the game world outside (rather than just what's going on in the mission you are playing), through a short message-based social media feed. Not unlike certain real-life one with a bird as their logo.

We feel this is something that would make the OFF GRID world feel more alive, *and* that we can do without it affecting our release schedule since we already have built similar tech for other parts of the game. The feed would be a combination of procedurally generated messages from the "outside world", pre-made story telling messages, and ones created as a response to player's actions and choices in the game. This would also create an additional way to learn about people in the levels, and perhaps gather some useful information as well. After all, people post all kinds of things on social media!

To go with this, we'll add a new limited edition tier to our campaign, giving you an opportunity to create your own message and have it included in the game.

What might you put in there?! Get to thinking - it’ll be up on the reward section once the stretch goal is met!

(We reserve the right to veto inappropriate or ill-fitting content of course, but will work with you to get everything edited into something that will work with the message generation system we use.)

Stretch Goal #2: New hackable interfaces!

Now this one is niiiiiice!

The game currently has one device user interface (UI) which represents something you'd have as a back-end settings menu on a device. With this stretch goal, we'll add some new ones to represent the front-end side, what any normal (non-hacker) user would see when using a device.

...after all, all the devices in the game are actually used by other characters too, and surely they aren't doing it by hacking to their back end settings menus like you are! So the player should be able to see the same end-user side as well.

We think this will make for some potentially interesting variations on hacking techniques and puzzles too.

Let’s do this!

“How?” you say...

  • Tell others that you’ve backed OFF GRID and want to see it go further!
  • Tell your friends they might like the game too!
  • Post the campaign wherever you hang out online
  • Do you write about games? We’d love you to write about OFF GRID!
  • Do you stream? Stream the demo and talk about the campaign!
  • Retweet, share, and like our posts as much as you can
  • Start thinking about what social media message you want to adorn OFF GRID with and back the new tier once it's unlocked!
If you haven’t already, and you like what we do, back us at any level you can! Remember, if you are tempted by the stretch goals and have already backed, you can up your pledge too! Even just by £1! Every single little bit helps!

THANK YOU BACKERS! 

The Off Grid Team

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

WE HIT 100%!!

You have all helped us raise over £20k for OFF GRID so far…

AMAZING.




..and there is still quite a bit of time to spare too - a good few days in fact!  As all money over and above the goal will go straight into making OFF GRID even better - let's keep it going!

If today is anything to go by, we are really rolling!

Since hitting 100%, we have doubled our usual average daily pledge, with ~£500 coming in in just a few hours - could this be the start of another mad rush like the astounding beginning of the campaign?!  It’s a bit early to tell, but apparently the last couple of days can have a similar effect. We can't wait to find out!

Feeling good!


It feels SO good to have the support of you all behind us!  We were pretty confident that we have a caring and passionate audience from the get-go, yet still nervous about putting that assumption to the test!

This moment was *terrifying*:



From the very moment we hit the GO button, you backers took us for a wild ride!

  • OFF GRID was 35% funded in 5 hours
  • We hit 40% funded in 7 hours
  • AND THEN we hit the 50% mark within 21 hours!

50% funded within 24 hours?!  That blew our minds!  We are so grateful for all of that early support - it set the tone for the campaign and gave us the boost we needed to keep things going strong.

These last few days as we crept toward our goal have been pretty exciting!   We have been busy too: there's a big piece on the IRL hackers and principles behind OFF GRID hopefully going live tomorrow, and some cool announcements to make over the coming days, including new hacker / activist characters!   All this could make for a very busy final few days!


Rich Metson and Lauri Love being prepped for the camera in the Sky studios on Friday.

So what is next?


A few of you have been asking about what we plan to do if we over-fund, and with the amount of time spare, it is likely we will by some degree!  What scale that is though, is anyone's guess.

At this point it is worth reminding folks that stretch goals can be a length of rope devs can do themselves a disservice with, and the key thing to really point out is that any funding over and above our goal will go straight into improving the game.  Funds, broadly speaking, will go on:

  • covering cost overruns 
  • better polish
  • expanding upon the content and depth of the world

All that being said, we do a have a few nice things that we would like to do, and a little extra funding would help them become realities!

We polled some of you in the Discord just before launch about your feelings are on the subject. The majority of people seem to feel the same way we do:  that the key thing is to focus on the core game and ways to improve upon it rather than adding bells and whistles.  A couple of  key things folks in the Discord said they would like to see avoided were:

  • over-promising
  • anything that would cause delay to the main game

Our whole campaign (and indeed our development approach before and after) has been very carefully structured in order to avoid these issues

So with all that said ...

Tomorrow we will announce some manageable and realistic stretch goals that will add value to your core experience of the game!

Stay tuned!

More backers, please!


Do keep spreading the word, and if you haven't backed yet, please do:  every penny counts towards improving OFF GRID and making it the best it can be - *especially* every penny over the initial goal!

We have a bunch of folks who are following the project’s progress that we would love to convert in to backers!  If that is you, now is the time to BACK!


Converts!

If we can convert these 280 or so backers-in-waiting, it would be an additional 66% on top the backers we already have!  Remember:  the Kickstarter rewards are exclusives, folks, so what are you waiting for?!

Celebrations!


Now is the time to celebrate!  If you’re in/near London, why not come and do so with us on the final night of the Kickstarter?!   Grab a free ticket here, and then head to the Loading Bar in Dalston for 6:30 pm this Thursday, the 8th of November.

There will be: 

  • Some drinks 
  • Some swag 
  • A prize for the best fictional hacker fancy dress!!

Don’t worry if you are not able to come along in person - the whole point of this event is to create a fun livestream countdown that you can take part in from anywhere in the world!

We will get the dev team and some of our hacker friends along to do interviews and Q & A throughout the evening as we countdown to the campaign's end.

You can subscribe to the event to get a reminder when the stream goes live here.

Be sure to tune in, and if you would like to post some questions in advance to the Discord in #kickstarter or on the KS live event in the 'submit a question' field, then please do, and we will be sure to cover them!

Thank you!!


Finally, a HUGE thank you for helping us achieve our goal!  Let's get some more in the bag over these next few days!

THANK YOU!


The Off Grid Team 

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Friday, 2 November 2018

95% FUNDED ON KICKSTARTER!

Things are looking good, everyone! 

We made a big jump yesterday and today OFF GRID is 95% funded!

THANK YOU!

There's just 5% - that's £1000 - left to go before we reach our target of £20,000!

Let’s raise that £1000 as soon as possible!

LET'S DO THIS.

Help us reach 100% funded:
  • Tell others that you’ve backed OFF GRID and want to see it succeed!
  • Tell your friends that you think they might like it, too
  • Post the campaign wherever you hang out online.
  • Do you stream? Stream the demo and talk about the campaign!
  • Retweet, share, and like our posts
This is an incredible place to be and we are SO grateful to each and every one of you backers!

If you haven’t already, and you like what we do, back OFF GRID at any level you can! Every single little bit helps!

DEMO OPPORTUNITIES

There’s two fun events we’re taking part in!  If these are in your neck of the woods, go get check 'em out!  OFF GRID is in fantastic company with loads of other interesting indie games:

TONIGHT in London:  DevSpace Winter Mixer

TONIGHT - SUNDAY in Macedonia: 
PLAY Arcadia 2018

Don't forget you can play the OFF GRID demo from the comfort of your own home, too!  There's a fresh, new demo build on itch.io - Pontus did an update with a few small fixes yesterday.  Enjoy it!

Happy Friday and THANK YOU, backers!

The Off Grid Team


If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

ONE WEEK TO GO!

SEVEN DAYS.

The one week countdown begins….

OFF GRID is 82.73% funded today (£16,546) and there is just one week left in the campaign!

That means there is £3454 left to raise within the next seven days - that’s under £500/day! 

We can do it.  Help us smash it!

All or nothing.


Kickstarter campaigns are all-or-nothing:
  either we hit our goal, get the funding, and everyone gets their rewards, OR we fall short, and backers get their money back without the rewards.  <-- We do not want that to happen. 

You want your rewards.  We need the funding to get them to you.  Help us make it happen!

If you have been thinking:

“There’s a group I should really post this in... “  Do it.
 
“I have a mate that would really like this.”   Tell them. 

“I don’t have a big following, my tweet won’t matter.”   It totally matters! 

“Having a name in the game would be a super cool gift.”  YES IT IS! 

“I’d really like the goods in the next tier..”  Up your pledge!

“Could this be a good use for my bitcoin riches?”  Definitely. 100%.
 
“I wonder what being a character in a video game would feel like?”  This is your chance to find out!  Go on!

Now is the time.  Together we can do this! 

To everyone that has backed OFF GRID so far:  THANK YOU!  Your support means *everything* to us!  

LET'S DO THIS!

The Off Grid Team

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Trick or treat! 80% FUNDED!

Happy Halloween from all of us at Semaeopus!

What a treat!

We’ve hit the 80% funded mark!  THANK YOU!

If we’re *exact* about it, we’re 81.355% funded at time of writing - backers have funded us to the tune of £16,271!  There’s just 8 days to go for us to raise the last £3,729.

A quick reminder:  it’s an all-or-nothing campaign, so we absolutely must hit the £20k goal in order to receive the funding.  Help us get there by continuing to share the campaign in any way that you can.

Real life trickery

We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s surprise character reveal!

Hackers and hacktivists have become iconic figures in recent times, making a huge impact on the public dialogue around data privacy, information security, freedom of information, whistleblowing, mass surveillance, and digital rights.

Having real hackers in the game is an opportunity for players to dig into the themes of the game in a more meaningful way.  After all, their stories helped inspire and shape OFF GRID

Our halloween themed scare is all about these scenes from the OFF GRID intro...

Each represents a real scare that happens regularly.

They are not fiction. They happen. Governments really do smash their way into homes (or use trickery to gain access), and bundle away teens and other souls with little, poor, or even no substantial evidence.

The people we are featuring in the game have been through this, and they’d be the first to tell you that’s a trick-or-treater you don’t want knocking on your door.  So whatever you do this Hallows Eve - stay safe on the interwebs!

Help us reach 100% funded!

If you haven’t backed OFF GRID yet, what are you waiting for?!  Go ahead and treat yourself - it will help us make this game the best it can be, and shine a light on the aforementioned issues.

If you are quick about it there’s still some early bird £14 copies available as an exclusive to Kickstarter! SO BACK NOW!

Just 8 more days to go!

Happy Halloween and THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team


If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

SURPRISE Character Reveal

Remember us harping on about some big news?

Well... today is the day!
"Surprise characters to be unveiled"
"Surprise characters to be unveiled"
Did you happen to spot this image on the Kickstarter page, scratch your head, and wonder who it might be?


Drumroll please... 


Former LulzSec, Anonymous, and other well-known hackers will feature as characters that players can meet in OFF GRID!  

Hackers to be featured include:

Ex-LulzSec and Anonymous members and now security researchers
  • Mustafa Al-Bassam
  • Jake Davis
  • Darren Martyn
Alleged Anonymous hacktivist and digital rights campaigner
  • Lauri Love
Noteable whitehat security researcher
  • “March” O’Neill
. . . with more to come!
Hacker characters to feature in OFF GRID:  Mustafa, Jake, Darren, March, Lauri
Hacker characters to feature in OFF GRID: Mustafa, Jake, Darren, March, Lauri

This will be a very cool feature of the game as it builds on the notion of exploring hacker culture in the game world with an authenticity that is hard to come by in mainstream media.

It will give the hackers themselves the chance to tell some of their stories about the future of the internet, and if this proves popular, will provide something to really expand upon.
Some of the early concept art
Some of the early concept art
We have found it hard to keep from blurting this one out, and it has been excruciating working on the art without saying anything.  Turns out well known hackers know how to keep a secret too! 


Hacktion figures

We have exported the models in a 3D printable .stl format so that you can print your own characters from the game.
Ever wanted your own Lauri Love action figure?
Ever wanted your own Lauri Love action figure?
They are released under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 so feel free to share and remix, have a play!

Get the files from here!

They will all be up on our Github page shortly too.
Mustafa in progress
Mustafa in progress
If you do do some printing, be sure to take a picture and post it at us on:
HACK THE PLANET!

Thank you!

The Off Grid Team


If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Monday, 29 October 2018

The Art of Prop Making & Set Dressing


Good morning, backers!

OFF GRID is 78% funded right now!  THANK YOU!

We've got an update directly from Sophie, who works as an artist on OFF GRID.  She is fairly new to the team, but she's been doing a stellar job!  We hope you enjoy:

- -

Hi!  Soph here! 

I’m here to keep the art side of things rolling on smoothly.  Which mostly means asset creation, like props, but also set dressing.

Modular Props

Let's talk modular:  doing things this way allows you to have just a few meshes that you can make a lot of things out of.  For the Apostle level, I made a couple pieces of modular furniture to speed up asset creation.

Think of it like an Ikea range where you could buy a desk, drawers, cupboards, etc. that all fit together physically and look like part of a family.  Some of the pieces in that range will share exact parts, and some will have unique ones. This is the basics of modular building.

Modular desk components.
Modular desk components.
With these six pieces I can make six variations of desks.  Going beyond these, you could make a broken desk with only three legs that is being propped up with other assets, or you could scale the length of the straight desk-top as much as fits the space you want (since the textures are vertex-painted faces there’s no distortion).

Modular sofa components that can be put together in endless ways
Modular sofa components that can be put together in endless ways

Different from these desks, this four-piece sofa set is mostly one-off models (they all share the same feet).  Yet when placed in the scene, there is no real end to the possibilities you can make with it.  Make a snaking three mile long sofa if you so wish!

The modular sofas creating a comfy space in the Apostle level
The modular sofas creating a comfy space in the Apostle level

Set Dressing

Set dressing is pretty straight forward as a concept. You’re placing things around the world to make it feel like a more real lived-in environment.  It’s a little more than just throwing assets around the place (although that’s a lot of it), you need to think about each environment differently.

In the run up to the Kickstarter, I spent a lot of time in the Apostle offices discussing with the team what the general feel of the place is, and then looking room to room talking about what happens in these rooms in a gameplay sense.

The Apostle is being closed. There are boxes everywhere as stuff is being packed away to go elsewhere. These boxes are great for the stealth aspect of the game, but also tell the story of what is actually going on. Most of the larger offices are quite sparse, having already been packed up, but a few offices are still very much in use.

Set dressing has to work alongside the game in making the environments look more interesting but not distract from what the player needs to do. This means I can’t place new hackable devices around the place and not block the player’s path. But what I can do is direct the player to places of interest.


Set dressing is cleverly used to direct attention to this office in the Apostle level.
Set dressing is cleverly used to direct attention to this office in the Apostle level.
For instance, most of the offices don’t have much in them that the player needs to notice, these are kept very sparse and all packed up. But there is a particular journalist's office that is a key place in the Apostle level, and it’s one of the few offices that’s still in use.  There’s things scattered around the desk, a coat that’s been left on a hanger, a board with all the bits of information that the journalist has been working with.

Fun with set dressing - a DIY standing desk.
Fun with set dressing - a DIY standing desk.
There were a few other places less important to the player that I was able to just have fun with. Such as this office where it’s being packed away. A friend of mine wanted a standing desk but her work wouldn’t give her one so she stacked things up to make her own one. I made a little desk in honour of her here. I bet it really annoys the person on the opposite desk!

A secret corner for slacking off!
A secret corner for slacking off!
Here the occupants of this office have used the fact the office is moving as an excuse to move furniture around and create them a secret coffee corner for slacking off.

Hope you've enjoyed!

Help OFF GRID succeed!

We have just 10 days to go with the campaign and need to raise another £4,318 in order to meet our goal.  Please help us!   Share the campaign with others:  if each of you shared just once, the campaign would be shared to thousands of others.  We need this exposure!

THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team

p.s.  Did you read the last update?!  BIG NEWS coming Tuesday! 

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Friday, 26 October 2018


OFF GRID is 76% funded and officially loved by Kickstarter! <3

The campaign was given a 'PROJECT WE LOVE' badge earlier in the week!  We had hopes and dreams of getting that nice little bit of extra love from Kickstarter before we started, and now we’ve got it.  It feels good. Thanks Kickstarter!

BIG NEWS IS COMING

We have some tremendously fun news coming next week!  Stay tuned - the news is going to break on Tuesday, October 30th.  You don’t want to miss it!

Once the news is LIVE - please do us the favor of sharing it to the masses. Tweet, blog, write an article, do a little video, share, retweet, or write us a poem.

Would you like a clue?  OF COURSE you'd like a clue!  Here you are:


To celebrate the release of the aforementioned news, Rich will be doing a dev stream on Tuesday to chat about it all with you! Tune in via twitch.tv/semaeopus at 5pm UK time. 

Now, let's get to smashing the 80% milestone as soon as possible, folks!  Share and chat about it as much as you can!   Perfect conversation for all those Halloween parties this weekend... the mass surveillance state that surrounds us all is downright frightening, after all. 

THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

HALFWAY, 73% FUNDED & NEW DEMO BUILD

We’re at the halfway point!

Halfway through the Kickstarter campaign and 73% funded is a great place to be - thank you!

You backers have given us a seriously wild ride: OFF GRID was 35% funded in 5 hours, 40% funded in 7 hours, AND THEN we hit the 50% mark within 21 hours!

It has been super exciting to have the support of all of you behind us. To be 50% funded within 24 hours? Astounding!

We still need £5,330 to meet our goal - and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

If you have yet to back OFF GRID on Kickstarter - now would be the *perfect* time.   Help us reach 100% funded!  Every single £, every single $, is hugely appreciated - please, please, please share far and wide throughout your own networks.

Don’t forget about the playable demo on itch.io

There's a fresh new build of the demo up today, complete with:
  • better keyboard & mouse controls
  • inverted axis support
  • rebindable controls
  • and more!
We’d also like to hear from you: what would you like to hear more about in these updates? Character backgrounds? More on hacking gameplay?   You tell us!  Let us know in the comments below or in the discord - join it here, if you haven't already.

There are 15 days left in the campaign, and a lot can happen in 15 days.  We are excited!

THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team

P.S. If you havent already, wishlist and follow OFF GRID on Steam!

Hero character concept art: The evolution of Joe


OFF GRID is 73% funded!  THANK YOU!

If you’ve read anything about OFF GRID or played the demo, you will have picked up that our hero, Joe, is a technophobe dad who relies heavily on his hackivist daughter, Jen, for everything:  to get his phone to work, keep the smart fridge firmware up to date, and make sure the IoT toaster doesn’t get any funny ideas.

Our last update showed some of the early art tests we did, and explained that we landed on following a low poly art style pretty quickly.  Environments in this style are somewhat straightforward - you can make some really interesting scenes quite quickly. Even ‘programmer art’ doesn't look bad in a low poly environment, which is one of the reasons we went for it!  But when it comes to characters, it takes something a bit more special.

We started by mocking up a very basic low poly character so that we could get straight into prototyping movement and mechanics. We didn't really have a story or background for him at that point, we just knew that we wanted the character to be a bit of a luddite and incredibly dull  - the very opposite of the superhuman, infallible secret agents of most games.

Our initial model was made as a placeholder and he was seriously vanilla:

The very first Joe - a placeholder!
The very first Joe - a placeholder!
We quickly pushed it on by defining the ‘shapes’ of character that could be used to portray different attitudes.  As you can see in the bottom half of the sketch below, we felt that rectangular characters, and especially ones with a lean to them, a bit like a parallelogram, provided a nice dynamic. Over time, this lean also seem to fit the notion that our lead character is ‘forced into situations’ unwillingly.

Shape studies during Off Grid character development.
Shape studies during Off Grid character development.
There is some interesting theory around shapes and personality floating about on the internet, but essentially, the shape of a character will often convey their attitude.

Pixar are a great exponent of this, and a good example is Carl from UP.  He’s a grounded and steadfast character who is immovable and difficult - until he is changed by another character with the ability to always bounce back and right themselves, even if a little naive:

Character shapes from Pixar's UP.
Character shapes from Pixar's UP.

 ...and so we starting experimenting along these lines.  Sazacat, our character artist, started speed painting some thoughts on how we might make some extremely normal-looking folks in game.

Early OFF GRID character concepts.
Early OFF GRID character concepts.
Reaching the concept below really defined how we wanted the characters faces to convey emotion in OFF GRID.

A defining concept for OFF GRID hero character, Joe.
A defining concept for OFF GRID hero character, Joe.
We then progressed to the more twisted / awkward style that all OFF GRID character bodies (especially the knees and hands) carry:

The Joe concept art that truly began to define OFF GRID's character style.
The Joe concept art that truly began to define OFF GRID's character style.
That style was largely brought about with the drawing above, which very quickly translated into a model for our player character, Joe:

The 3D model for Joe that brought together all the early concepting work.
The 3D model for Joe that brought together all the early concepting work.
You can see the kink in the knees, and the slightly crooked fingers, as well as the uncomfortable stance (even in A-pose!).

We also defined our style with the use of specific hard and soft edges all over the character, but most prominently around the jaw and forehead.

The final iteration of the OFF GRID hero, Joe!
The final iteration of the OFF GRID hero, Joe!
These couple of major points have set the style for the rest of the characters in the game.

We hope this provides a little insight into the process.   Don't forget, if you like this sort of thing, you can get your very own copy of the 'Making Of Off Grid' book by backing at the NAMESPACE level or above! 

We look forward to showing you more soon!

THANK YOU!

The Off Grid Team 

P.S.  Please continue to share the campaign as far and wide as you can.  Every single $ or £ backing is so important to us!

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

AWARD WINNERS!


We won an award!

In case you didn’t see us shouting about it all over social media: Off Grid won the Indiecator Award at Sweden Game Conference!

It came with the giant cheque of our dreams (literally - a HUGE check!) and a very pretty bouquet of flowers!  Rich was in Sweden speaking and demoing the game, and was the lucky one to receive the award on behalf of the team. We might have to stage reinactments next week so that all of us can feel the glory of being handed a giant cheque! 
Rich recieving the Indiecator Award for Off Grid at Sweden Game Conference last night!
Rich recieving the Indiecator Award for Off Grid at Sweden Game Conference!
All of us still have huge grins on our faces today.  Thanks Sweden Game Conference - you've totally made our week!

Concept art, anyone?

We want to give you a little look at the beginning of Off Grid's visual style and whet your appetite for the 'Making Of' book!

Off Grid was destined to be low poly from the start. It’s an aesthetic style that we like and that is achievable for an indie team.

Here’s one of our first low poly environment tests:
An early low poly environment test for Off Grid
An early low poly environment test for Off Grid
Another view of the early low poly environment test.
Another view of the early low poly environment test.
We also knew from the get-go that we wanted to create a world where data was visualised and tangible. Not immediately visible with the naked eye, but with the help of augmented-reality glasses.

This is was our first pass at what a 'data view' layer might look like:
An early concept of how 'data view' might appear.
An early concept of how 'data view' might appear.
We knew we were getting somewhere when we hit on this idea of using stealth mechanics to 'hide' your data.

Next up was working out what the overarching objectives were for the meta game. We wanted to create a dark, dull, dystopian near future, that could be liberated with a new free internet (free as in open, not as in cost). This led to thinking through what the liberating of zones or areas of the world with 'mesh network nodes’ might look like.
Here's one of our first imaginings of what completing a level by installing a mesh network node might look like.
Here's one of our first imaginings of what completing a level by installing a mesh network node might look like.

It's fun to look back and see how far the game has come, what has carried on, continued through, or has been left behind.  

If you like this sort of thing, there will be copious amounts of concept art, sketches, notes, photos, and loads of other behind-the-scenes exclusive content in the official 'The Making Of Off Grid' book! 

Secure your own copy by backing at the NAMESPACE reward level or above!  If you've already backed, remember you can easily up your pledge, too!

Funding update:

WE ARE 70% FUNDED!  

Yesss!  What a relief it is to say that!  We've been steadily climbing the £14k mountain this week, and it's possible we have hit refresh more times than we care to admit over the past few days. 

We have had the best time sharing Off Grid with the world through this campaign so far.  Nineteen days remain!  A LOT can happen in 19 days.

If you have yet to back, please do! If you’re thinking about backing, please do! If you keep meaning to tell your friends to back, please do!

THANK YOU, BACKERS!



The Off Grid Team

p.s. If you're near London on today, go check out Inside Intel!  It's a very cool contemporary art exhibition with the theme of surveillance running through it, put on by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.  It's FREE, and open all of Saturday. 

If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist Off Grid on Steam - each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!