Hi, my name is Geoff, founder of Zero Degrees Games. Some folk in South Africa might know me as “GeometriX”, editor of the recently closed NAG magazine. When I joined NAG over seven years ago, I left a position as a 3D animator at a small studio to chase my dream of working in the games industry. I saw NAG as a stepping stone, but it turns out that games media is pretty fun, so I lingered on that stone for a long time, growing within and learning the South African and international games industry – media, developers, publishers, and of course, the players. I took the time to learn how this industry is put together, the whole time knowing that one day, I’d use that knowledge in the development of my own games.
I dabbled in game development while at NAG, just as I did for the many years before. I made a 2D side-scrolling shooter called Roxy’s Quest for NAG and its video game expo rAge, which was on show at rAge 2013. This short game (it consisted of about 20 minutes of gameplay) gave me a taste of what it was like to make games for a living. I later made a mobile puzzle game called Zoomaze. Over the course of time I made countless prototypes and small games, but limitations within the creation software I used (Scirra Construct 2) left me frustrated despite its vast potential. And so, on one seemingly arbitrary weekend, I started to learn Unity.
The following Monday, we received notice that NAG magazine would soon close; the publication is going purely digital; everyone’s position in the company was up for reconsideration. I took this as an opportunity to get off the stepping stone and take the next step towards a career I’ve wanted for my whole life. I put together a game plan loosely based on one of my 2D prototypes, and secured funding to develop my first game on a full-time basis.
Development of my first full-time game, entitled Among the Innocent, officially began on the 1st of July, and will continue for about one year. Among the Innocent is a 3D first-person horror adventure game with elements of classic point-and-click adventure games, modern horror games, and horror films from across the ages. I aim to release the game around August 2016 on PC (release on consoles is intended later). After that point, the funding I’ve secured will have run out, and I’ll have to turn Among the Innocent into something sustainable!
But Among the Innocent isn’t the end of my plan. I intend to develop five games, together called the Stricken series, over the course of the next five years. Each Stricken tale will tell the story of different characters in different areas centered around one massive event that unfolds over a number of decades. The games will interlink in both obvious and subtle ways, and the series will be designed so that you can play it in any order, although the final tale should probably be played last.
I won’t be working alone. I’ve already drafted in Duncan Bell, creator of the excellent Blazin’ Aces mobile game, who will assist with some of the art requirements for Among the Innocent. I’m also working with local musician Richard Braum, former guitarist for SA metal band Tyburn, on creating the game’s instrumental soundtrack. I’ll be handling the majority of the game’s development though: programming, art, audio, writing – the works.
There’s so much more that I want to tell you all, but I thought it’d be best for now to just let you know what I’m up to, and why you should care! More updates will come over the course of the next year. I’ll be updating this dev blog regularly as well as posting on Twitter (@geometrix_za); Facebook is on the agenda once I’ve got this website fully up and running.
For now, I’ll leave you with a very early WIP screenshot from Among the Innocent…
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