Private Eye has it’s first bit of concept art which demonstrates what the primary view out of the player’s apartment may look like. The composition was carefully grafted to contain a large array of apartments, sitting at different depths while maintaining a sense of intimacy and mystery. We think we have just about got the balance right but are definitely open for interpretations, suggestions and ideas on how to improve. This is potentially going to be the core area of the game so we want to get it just right!
From summer 2013, we had a strong vision of the game we want Private Eye to be; an intensely involving story, played out with believable characters, which gave a real sense the player was starring in a movie – a movie where their actions affect how the plot unravels, with twists that actually make sense to the story. We wanted to provide a thrilling, suspenseful and unexpected experience like nothing else on the Oculus Rift, or any other platform. This is the game I want to make and the game I want you to be playing come release. However, with this vision comes a cost, literally.
This has now become a different beast altogether to the little Oculus Jam demo I created in 3 weeks. This is now a project requiring people specialising in different facets of game development, hundreds of assets, professional voice actors, an original soundtrack, its own toolset and thousands of lines of code to bring it all together. This game is going to require funding to help it see the illuminating light of the Oculus Rift.
This is the part where I ask you to help support this project! We believe in this game so strongly that we want Kickstarter to help share Private Eye with those that are interested in the Oculus Rift and provide a compelling case for you to get involved. We felt it just wasn’t fair to simply slap up the Jam demo, to have these grand plans to morph that into an epic adventure and then sit back and hope for the best. We want to give you more, showing you the quality we are striving for by recruiting the talent we now have on board.
When the Kickstarter does go live, it will dual launch with the first segment of the game. We hope that this, in conjunction with our project page, will create belief in Private Eye, turning that belief into support for this project. We hope you will continue to look out for us and continue to have us in your interests come launch date.
Private Eye has joined forces with the great musical talent that is Joff Winks who will be composing an original score for the game. Joff will capture the atmosphere and mood of Private Eye, drawing on noir elements in a piano and string lead soundtrack. The composition has drawn many of its influences from the original soundtracks of psychological thiller films, reflecting the game’s cinematic style and helping to build tension and add to the sense of atmosphere. However, unlike a film, our soundtrack will be constructed in such a way that layers can dynamically interchange and adjust the mood inline with game progression. This should result in a wholly cinematic soundtrack tailored to your own personal Private Eye experience.
Below is a snippet of what you can expect. Would love to hear what you think?
Private Eye is happy to report that the team has once again doubled in size. We welcome some great talent to the team with Boris Blosse (character artist), Kimman Cheng (environmental) and Edgar Soiko (hard surface) who are straight into the fold and already underway making Private Eye look bold and beautiful.
For Private Eye to immerse you in it’s story we felt the world had to be believable. This is not just about beautiful looking assets but the attention to detail, the brands and style of each era, emphatic characters and the atmospherics of the environment you enter. That is why we felt we needed this four man strong team, each bringing with them their focused skill set and commitment to the style.
Boris Blosse – Character specialist
Kimman Cheng – Environmental specialist
Edgar Soiko – Hard surface specialist
A busy day ends a busy week for Private Eye. First off, Private Eye enjoyed a fantastic reception from the guys at the Bossa Studios meetup. Big thanks to those guys for hosting an awesome event, lots of great people and great ideas, can’t wait for the next. Volunteers jumped into the Jam demo for a Private Eye quickie followed by a Q&A about what they liked or thought needed improvement. The general impression we were left with was praise for Private Eye’s core mechanics, especially the “locked-down” predicament of the player as it was felt to really add to the sense of immersion. There was lots of praise over the binocular control mechanism too.
This response was especially encouraging as they are two fundamental mechanisms making their way into the full game. I followed this with a short presentation on some of the design decisions made and the difficulties I ran into during the short 3 weeks of development. The presentation closed with the announcement of the full-game version of Private Eye and what improvements will be made over the Jam demo.
Private Eye was first conceived as an entry to the VR Jam competition ran by Oculus. Here is some gameplay footage (thanks to Jon Nonya):
The original premise was to create a cerebral alternative to the tried and tested “find-an-object/thing” game mechanic coupled with a dynamic and atmospheric environment. The VR Jam had a development span of 3 weeks and this factored into some of the shortcomings of the final game. The “dynamic” environment was unfortunately heavily reliant on looping animations. Feedback also high-lighted the need for stronger player direction. In terms of story, we were limited to a series of fairly linear tasks, and the absence of a strong narrative arc made for a less atmospheric game. For the new edition, the premise hasn’t changed too much but with time, funds and a bigger team, the execution will.
So back to Private Eye VR Jam (known internally as Private Eye Jr.), it was a great feat in those three weeks, but all I see now is ways to refine and add to the whole experience. The story and atmosphere will be the new focus of the game, but we will look to make every aspect of what you saw in Private Eye Jr better. This will not be simply adding more environments and making tasks a little more complex, but completely redesigning the experience and methods of player interaction.
Ok, back to work!
A key concept we’re introducing in Private Eye is the exploration of past memories. The player’s actions throughout the game will trigger Sam’s memories – but only partial, hazy versions to start with – and these must be fully unlocked by other actions within the game in order to explore them in their entirety. Clues to unlocking the mystery of Private Eye will lie within these memories, as the player, like Sam, discovers their past life. The memories will be fully playable and can be explored to the extent of Sam’s mind. However, memories may not always be synonymous with the truth…
Here is a concept rendering of one of the first memories Sam will unlock in the game. ’The Treehouse’ is a place Sam first discovered how much fun a pair of binoculars could be to a kid with an eagle eye and a thirst for exploration.
Here is an introduction to the story of Private Eye! More will be revealed later but hopefully this will get you excited.
Open your eyes – you’ve been in an accident. You’re told you will never walk again.
Back in your apartment you struggle with a thick fog that now engulfs your memory. The accident has not only paralyzed your body but also your mind. You stare hopelessly out of the window in an attempt to recognize a now alien New York neighborhood.
In amongst a sea of seemingly foreign possessions, a pair of old, warn binoculars hold your gaze. Slowly, the fog begins to clear as the first glimpse of your past emerges…
Private Eye puts the player in the role of the 1950′s New York detective Sam Sunderland, faced with the task of piecing back together his memory after an accident has left him with severe amnesia. But in the city that never sleeps, Sam has even bigger concerns: a high profile murder has taken place on his doorstep, and there are fears the killer will strike again. Confined to his apartment but armed with a pair of binoculars, Sam must use his unique vantage point to unmask the killer. However, with his memory no longer intact, everybody’s a suspect.
But this all feels too familiar… Does the answer to this mystery already lie somewhere within himself? Sam realizes that this is one investigation which will lead him outside of his window and inside his mind…