Fourth Coast Entertainment -

Game Connoisseur

An Adirondack VR Adventure: Local Musicians Wanted

 

Last updated 2/10/2017 at 6:44am | View PDF



Inspired by Adirondack culture and lore, the game begins without preamble, on a cold, dark winter night, with a character running across a frozen Cranberry Lake bay. There are distant sirens blaring and a dog barking. The action cuts back to recent events, with a truck hauling stolen property crashing, careening off a road hedged in closely with trees. Two men awaken after being dazed. The protagonist, Kristof, awakens from being knocked and is looking directly at an unconscious Frenchie, the driver, who he quickly shakes to consciousness. Then the police sirens spur them into panicked action. In departing from the accident, they split up with no spoken plans to meet back up at some place or time. You (Kristof) walk forward hazily, then realize that you are leaving easily-followed tracks. “Damn, these tracks will give me away to anyone following. I’ll have to find some way to hide my trail.” Looking around, you notice a hard packed snowmobile trail that will hide your boot tracks nicely. One direction leads to town, and the other toward Lightning Point on the lake’s eastern shore. The song “Getting Back on Track” starts playing in the background.

And so begins this episodic Adirondack adventure, a product of Cryptic North, a newly formed game development company based in Ogdensburg, NY. The founding members are all North Country natives, including: Producer and Lead Programmer Warren Bullock (Cranberry Lake/Ogdensburg); Writer Joshua Dickinson (Fine/Harrisville); Game Designer Anthony Betrus (Harrisville/Potsdam); and Game Programmer Gregory Walrath (Canton/Ogdensburg). The goal for the team is to to capture the spirit of the North Country in a highly immersive experience. The game could loosely be described as historical fiction, and will be playable on the the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift Touch VR systems. It promises to explore North Country environments, personalities, locations, and music, and it is in this final area that we especially would appreciate help from the local music community. While we are looking especially to include traditional music in the game, the story will jump across time periods, so more contemporary music is also needed.

The most notable added value offered by a Virtual Reality experience, going well beyond a traditional game experience, is presence, used to describe the uncanny feeling of actually being somewhere. And while we are taking great care to capture the Cranberry Lake region, including local objects and environments, we equally believe that involving local musicians in the game will help us to express to the player the feel of what it means to be, and to have been, in the North Country. And while not all music will make its way into the main story line, all music will have a place. We are specifically creating local taverns and inns, and in these establishments we will have both live music, as well as Jukeboxes, filled with songs of the North Country and Adirondacks. We are even experimenting with a Zen mode, where the player will be free to explore the environments, independent from the main story adventure, including especially the musical experience. Finally, we are looking to local storytellers to be included in the game as well, with their stories told through the game’s NPCs (non player characters), who will inhabit our various buildings and locations. For example, you could interact with a friendly looking person at a bar, and be treated to a traditional Adirondack tale, told by local storytellers.

In a word, what we are hoping to capture is Adirondack “culture,” and what could be a better cornerstone than a proud staging of local music. So stand up and be counted, and get in touch if you would like your music (or stories) to be included in our game, we really would love your help!

Dr. Anthony Betrus

The Game Connoisseur

betrusak@potsdam.edu

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