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Mayhem In Single Valley
Jack is a videogame character... only he doesn’t know it yet. Help Jack survive his voyage of self-discovery!
Platforms. Mayhem In Single Valley will be available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, as the game was built with Unity it will be executable on Mobile and Consoles too.
You play Jack, a local troublemaker who makes a series of earth-shattering discoveries on the day he is supposed to leave home to start a new life. Jack's adventure begins in a semi-realistic version of everyday life but unfolds into a humorous examination of the interplay between the Player, Jack, and the game's creators.
Core Concept. What would happen if a videogame character discovered that they are a videogame character? How would this affect their relationship with The Player? How would they feel about the game designers who placed them in a world of torturous challenges?
I have completed development work for a five-hour game that is equal parts realistic and fantasy. My aim was to create a game that knows that videogames are a playful illusions, that the player and the game designers are aware of each other's presence, and that both play a pivotal role in bringing the main character to life.
I designed Mayhem In Single Valley to engage the player using this self-aware and fourth wall-breaking approach. This pretence gave me great freedom when brainstorming the fun twists and turns Jack's journey takes.
Setting. Imagine a town where the craziest news stories happen regularly, where the odds of getting struck by lightning or attacked by misinformed townsfolk are never in your favor, and you are a step closer to envisioning life in Single Valley.
Jack witnesses a strange creature poisoning Single Valley's water supply on the day he is supposed to leave home for Art College. A local jogger mistakes Jack to be the culprit before running off to tell the town. To make matters worse, a crazed poisoned squirrel steals Jack's knapsack, which contains everything he needs to start his new life; his savings, his passport, everything!
Jack fails to convince his Mom of what he saw. He secures his house and embarks on an adventure across Single Valley to retrieve his belongings, discover who is behind the attacks, and ultimately to escape his hometown for a better life.
I have written a complete story treatment with full character arcs and multiple endings : )
Mayhem in Single Valley is a fast-paced, but thoughtful, top-down action-RPG that mixes what I enjoyed most about games like the Last Of Us, Undertale, Pony Island, and Zelda. Its focus on family, friendship, and everyday struggles mixed with its combat, mysteries, puzzles, and meta-fiction ponderings provides an action-packed, humorous, and emotional gameplay experience.
No random encounters. Levels clearly show the resources available to Jack, the enemies and environmental hazards he must overcome. The player must survey a scene before planning a stealthy, combative, defensive, or a just plain run for it, strategy for survival.
No level grinding. Jack levels up or down depending of the items he has found/earned and the combinations in which he uses them. For example, if Jack needs to walk past a sleeping enemy slowly and quietly he must turn off his personal cassette player (provides the game's soundtrack) and remove his footwear.
Minigames and Puzzles. Although the majority of Mayhem In Single Valley plays like an action-RPG, there are numerous unique minigames to defeat and narrative based puzzles to solve.
Transport. Bikes, skateboards, segways, pogo sticks, a sportscar and more... oh, did I mention you will be able to ride a tiger.
Dialogue does not interrupt the flow of gameplay. Inner monologues are silent and are color-coded differently than open conversations.
Undiagnosed illness. Manage Jack's medication or his world becomes distorted and he will die! This medication-based 'death timer' adds tension and an element of resource management.
Karma System. Some of Single Valley's inhabitants will treat Jack differently and offer different special items based on Jack's karma level. Finding novel ways to boost Jack's karma level, like rescuing a spider, is essential.
Environments are made from a combo of handcrafted elements and custom tilesets. There will be eighteen unique zones for Jack to explore, ranging from barricaded schools and hospitals to parallel universes.
2D Physics. Pull, push, drag, and generally fling items about your environment to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. A robust save option remembers the entire game world exactly as you left it.
There are many unique items to discover in Single Valley.
- Catapult. Vastly improves Jack's throw speed, distance, and accuracy.
- Stolen Golden Trainers. Improves speed but Jack loses Karma points every time he wears them.
- Garbage Pale Lids. These makeshift shields can deflect a small meteor but are only good for one strike.
- Plastic Umbrella. Stops lightning from striking Jack.
- Thermal Vest. Prevents hypothermia.
Combine, use, equip, and throw items. But beware! Searching through Jack's knapsack leaves him vulnerable to attack.
The number of slots in Jack's inventory is based on the type of knapsack he has found or been gifted.
The longer Jack runs for the more items in his knapsack get moved around, making them harder to locate when time is of the essence!
Jack's knapsack slows him down and stops him from performing certain activities. This adds a puzzle element to traversing environments. For example, Jack cannot swim or cross quicksand with his knapsack on. He must find ways to get his Knapsack across a river or patch of quicksand, such as attaching it to a floating log or throwing it while on a strength boost.
Many weird and wonderful characters inhabit Single Valley.
Pops. Grumpy and cheerful in equal measures. Blurts out family secrets whenever he naps.
Baby Bro. The cutest kid in Single Valley, but is there more to Baby Bro than meets the eye?
Jack's Dad. Let's just say it's complicated.
Jack's Mom. Multitasker extraordinaire, but there's only so much one woman can take.
Murphy. Well what can I say... Murphy likes to poop.
Photobombing Dolphin. He's not supposed to be there!
A Universe (Pre Big Bang). Cool, calm, and collected. Let's hope it stays that way!
The Collector. If anyone knows where all the missing children are it's this guy, but has anybody got the guts to confront him?
Bob. Bob lost everything, his job, his marriage, his family, after proclaiming that extra terrestrials were conspiring against him. He might the only person who truly understands Jack's predicament.
The Entity. Somebody or thing has sent this inter-dimensional demon to Single Valley with the sole purpose of making Jack's life hell!
Miss Jenkins (Jack's old science teacher). Will Jack's survive her experiments to discover the truth?
Enemies range from angry townsfolk and everyday wildlife, to killer kaleidoscopes of butterflies and escaped exotic zoo animals! Each enemy (including bosses) has different attack ranges, abilities, and weaknesses.
Hazards. Lightning strikes, sinkholes, meteor strikes, falling boulders, collapsing trees, freezing temperatures... if it has been documented on Discovery Channel then it's probably out to get you! Stay paranoid and use counter measures to survive.
Crazed animals are attracted to particular food types, such as squirrels to acorns or bears to fish.
Distraction. Food can temporarily distract crazed animals - sneak past them as they eat.
Trails of food. Animals eat each food item in a trail, leading them away from where you need to be.
Combine food with antidotes. Subdues crazed animals.
Combine food with poison. Makes subdued animals crazed again. Use this technique to make animals jump angry townsfolk who are hunting Jack.
Defense. Out of resources? Quick reflexes allow Jack to dodge and block attacks.
Stealth. Hide inside special items such as garbage pails but Jack's newfound stinkiness may attract undesirables such as ravenous bears when he leaves cover.
Banana combat. The player can throw banana skins in an enemy's path, causing them to slip into the air and hit the ground with force, or to slide across the floor until they hit a wall or furniture. Both reactions renders enemies unconscious.
Walkman-based soundtrack. You decide what music accompanies Jack's battles. Different tracks boost different abilities.
Pumping tunes. Make Jack run faster and jump further.
Mellow tunes. Allow Jack to concentrate on puzzles, revealing visual or auditory clues that would otherwise remain hidden.
Working alone in my basement... well it gets lonely. I would love to build an active community around the game and receive as much feedback and suggestions as possible as I move forward with a dedicated dev team.
This game does things differently, but because it humorously breaks with convention it is important that it remains accessible. Your opinions are invaluable as we refine the controls, gameplay and build levels.
This is the tip of the iceberg for what I have in mind. There is lots of Abrams-esque secret stuff I can't speak about right now. With your support and input we will create a kick-ass RPG with a mind-bending story and a chip-tune soundtrack that will knock your socks off!
I have a long term goal of creating a level editor with which players can create their own characters, items, and most importantly stories. But let's focus on telling Jack's story for now.
- Vote Yes and support the game wherever and whenever possible.
- Let us know what you like or don't like? Especially what you don't like and please suggest imporvements.
- Subscribe to the official Twitter page, Facebook page, and to my Blog!
- Share this page and the demo with your friends!
*Development phase partially funded by:
Note: Mayhem In Single Valley has yet to secure full production funding. Crowd sourcing is one of the main funding opportunities we are exploring.
Thanks for all your votes so far (especially the YES votes).
I spent the last year and a half developing Mayhem In Single Valley. I spent equal parts of the development phase designing the game's story, music, sound design, visuals, and gameplay. No aspect of the game was treated as an afterthought. I also drafted a detailed design document.
My work culminated in the production of a polished development demo that gives players an early taste of how the game looks, feels, and sounds. While the demo is a useful promotional tool it also provided me with an accurate idea of the timeline needed to create further assets for full production.
A very strong foundation has been laid regarding the code. This strong foundation allows for a robust save option, where everything you do or re-arrange in the world is remembered when you load up your previous game.
On the design side, special code is in place to add levels, cinematics, and minigames with ease. The item inventory, dialogue, quest, and combat systems can equally be expanded upon easily.
I have spent many weeks researching the best practices and techniques to complete full production. For example, the full game, all minigames, zones, tasks, key dialogue sections, etc. are laid out in the story treatment. The demo was created using an annotated story treatment as a design reference (up until the inciting incident). This approach worked in terms of communicating ideas between the game designer and programmers.
While developing the demo I recruited a seasoned team of programmers, artists, and advisors to work on making the best game possible if the project moves to full production.
Next week I will post about the audio techniques use in the game - techniques that give the sound design and music a central role in how you experience Single Valley.
PS. Don't forget to vote!
Brian CullenGame Design, Visual & Animation Design, Music & Sound Design Brian has spent more than twenty years building a portfolio and studying in areas such as fine art, music and media technology, computer animation and sound design. He caught the game developer bug after completing his solo debut game You Are Not A Banana and is now in the process of upping the ante by building a small indie studio devoted to unique and colourful gaming experiences.
Alex BurtonProgramming, Level design, Interface Design, Platform Specific builds Alex is a dynamic programmer who won two Microsoft programming competitions while studying video game design and development at triOS College. After graduating Alex began his career with Boom Gaming as a full stack developer. Alex has worked with many different programming languages and is always seeking to learn more. With some solid experience under his belt Alex aims to make a real name for himself in the industry.
Holly JasvinsVisual & Animation Design, Promotional Assets With a strong foundation in digital and traditional art Holly has enjoyed five exciting years as a 2D video game artist. Holly's solid understanding of design processes and excellent teamwork skills has allowed her to contribute to numerous successful video game projects. Most recently, Holly honed her pixel art skills working as a background artist for the popular mobile game Dash Quest.
Bryan GriffithsTechnical Consultant Programming Specialist/Advisor Bryan is a creative and hardworking software engineer with a passion for all types of games. With over fourteen years experience in the gaming industry Bryan has worked on PC, Mobile, Console, and Handheld titles with major publishers such as Microsoft, Activision/Blizzard, THQ, Sega, and Apple. In addition, he has worked on two published board games. Bryan is an experienced liaison between code and the content/design groups and generally loves any challenge that requires strong creative problem solving skills.
Andrew MatlockProduction & Design Consultant/Advisor Andrew is co-founder and CEO of Industry Corporation, a development studio that has produced over 100 software products for consumers and enterprises across diverse international markets. Within this mandate, Andrew has led production of 40 video games for desktop, web, mobile, and Xbox Live, including titles produced with Hollywood studios and professional athletes.