“It’s so sad that this is not being funded! The industry needs games like this. A totally different perspective that I thought I would never see in popular games … at least not in this century. I’ll be here if that happens and you come back We need this Congratulations to your entire team and to the work to carry out this project. “” I saw this a week ago, it has chased my dreams every night. I just had to support this project and I hope it achieves the goal because I don’t have good games based In history to play “” Damn! This is the second game I REALLY liked that did not reach the funding. I hope you will re-post this campaign! This game has HUGE promise and must be done! ” December 13, 2017, the Kickstarter campaign for the game Raji: An Ancient Epic (R: AAE) was canceled, falling by around 45 percent of its goal. Undeterred and heavily motivated by comments from backers (like the ones above), Nodding Heads Games, an independent game development studio based in Pune, finally released its single-player action-adventure title on Nintendo Switch. last week. “We knew that Nintendo did not have an office in India, but we did not know that their consoles are not officially sold here,” confesses Avichal Singh, game designer and co-founder of Nodding Heads Games, adding: “We are satisfied with the number of downloads on Switch so far. ” With a platform out of the way, the game is set for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 15. “And that’s not all. There’s even a big surprise on the cards for PC gamers that will be announced sometime next month. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. So who is this Raji? And what is his story?
All trapped? Well, now that we have the “what” out of the way, it’s time to move on to the “why”, the “when”, the “where”, the “who” and of course the “how” of it all.A brief historyWhile the Kickstarter campaign was launched in late 2017, the seed for what would eventually become R: AAE was sown on New Years Eve in 2013 in the city of Jaisalmer. “After a crazy 22-hour bus ride from Pune to Jodhpur and then to Jaisalmer, I came across this frame in front of me: 16th century medieval architecture. The first question I asked myself was: ‘Why isn’t it a video? game? ‘”says Avichal. His search for a marriage between Indian mythology and the action-adventure video game genre led him to contact Shruti Ghosh, art director and co-founder of Nodding Heads Games, and after some Preliminary discussions of a possible game, the wheels were in motion, culminating in a set of sketches in 2016. “Shruti put together some 2D black and white sketches that we took to some gamer friends and showed them without any context. Throwing the images, We asked them “Would you play this if it were a game?” Avichal recalls. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from his friends, there was no going back. “We wrote a story that we thought would be interesting,” recalls the veteran. rano video game art designer and third co-founder of Nodding Heads Games, Ian Maude, “We sat around a table for days and weeks deciding on the characters and their stories. , making sure to apply the five Ws (who, why, when, what and where, as mentioned above) to all aspects, be it characters, accessories, environments, etc. “In July of that year, programmer Paras Chaudhary jumped aboard the fledgling team and they began prototyping the game in 2D on the Unity engine.” We realized that if Shruti had to hand paint all of the 2D sprites, I would have ended up in the hospital, “Avichal laughs,” So it was helpful that Paras had some experience with the Unreal Engine. “In October, Ian and Paras were in Pune and work was underway to bring Raji’s story to life. The following year’s unfortunate Kickstarter campaign featured a fully playable demo. “The gameplay in that teaser was influenced by FromSoftware’s Dark Souls, in terms of animation rather than the series’ notoriously high difficulty. The animation was perfect for combat, but it slowed the gameplay, “explains Avichal.Screenshot from Raji: An Ancient Epic’s crowdfunding experience would serve as both a sobering wake-up call and an important learning experience. As the team learned, even 2,121 backers and pledges worth more than $ 87,000 weren’t enough. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have a PR or marketing agency, which is the way things are done on that platform. Sure, we raised $ 87,461. But it wasn’t enough,” Avichal says. For those who are not familiar with how Kickstarter works, it works on the all-or-nothing principle (unlike other crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo). This dictates that unless a campaign can raise funds equal to or greater than its originally set goal, it receives nothing. At this point, the financial stress was massive. “Shruti sold his apartment and we all used up our savings to buy ourselves some more time, because we were launching R: AAE at publishers. It was a time bomb because if we didn’t get a publisher by a certain date, we were done,” Avichal explains, and adds: “The Kickstarter was not financially successful, but it gave us a lot of visibility.” One look at the comments on Kickstarter and the kind of praise the demo received in the international media makes it even harder to believe that it was put together in 10 months by a team of six. Between 2018 and 2019, Nodding’s fate Heads Games began to change, with the award of an Unreal Dev Grant that helped them “survive for a few months.” This new life helped the studio stay afloat long enough to seal the deal with publisher Super.com and expand its team from seven to 13 members. And the rest is history. “It’s great to finally see the game and share the Nintendo platform with independent developers like Supergiant Games and Thunder Lotus,” sighs Avichal. ‘Movement leads to combat’ At first glance, the vibrant color palettes and evocative sound design are a refreshing revelation and certainly make R: AAE sound like an attractive proposition worth your money. But one fact most gamers will testify to is that no matter how good a game looks and sounds, if it plays like garbage, that’s where it will end. Remember Dragon Age II? It is fortunate, then, if you were planning to see the game that the gameplay and associated mechanics seem to be receiving praise from the global community of players. And while Tech2 is currently in the process of reviewing the game, certain elements like wall-running and combat are already being highlighted. “(This type of) gameplay was territory we were exploring for the first time. I had worked on Farmville and Empires and Allies, “acknowledges Avichal,” but I had never done action, adventure or fighting games. And there is as much inspiration out there as Shadow of Mordor, Prince of Persia, God of War, Bastion and others. We all have our favorite games, so we made a list of games and gameplay mechanics that we’ve enjoyed and then we started narrowing down the list to include them that would work for Raji. “Screenshot of Raji: An Ancient Epic The aforementioned Kickstarter demo, as mentioned above, contained a relatively slower game and, having found a publisher, ergo funds to complete the game, the team was able to spend a couple of months modifying it. “We asked ourselves, ‘Who is Raji?’. Well, she’s an acrobat and the gameplay had to reflect that,” he reasons, “The underlying theme was ‘movement leads to combat’ and so we had to design the movements in As a result. From there came the pillar mechanics, wall operation, and the like. We also added parkour and platforming elements from the game that weren’t part of the demo. “Adding that depth to the mechanics of The movement allowed the developers to break the rhythm of the story, Avichal says, “Just ‘combat story-combat story’ would have gotten boring. And the level design would have been extremely boring if it was so linear. So we worked on combining these mechanics: parkour in combat, etc. “But the characteristic for which he expresses the most pride is the triple dodge mechanic of the protagonist. “Dodging the rolls in the (fighting) arena actually makes you feel like an acrobat. Ultimately, it felt like the context of the story suited the game: Fluid and acrobatic.” On the other hand, Nodding Heads Games decided to eliminate The most essential trope in the game: the health bar that increases over time. “Raji’s health does not purposely increase from level to level, because while we want the character to be blessed by the gods, we want him to remain human and fragile. Therefore, if you don’t pay attention for 10-15 seconds, I could end up dead, “he says.Learnings and What Comes NextThat there was room in the mindset of international players for Hindi and Balinese mythology became clear to Ian “in 2018 when we went to international exhibitions and people were really seeing what we were doing.” He adds, “Seeing people’s reactions to the game last year, how their faces lit up and how engrossed they were in the story and the combat made it all worth it.” With the release of Switch out of the way, Nodding Heads Games is now gearing up for the massive PC, PS4, and Xbox releases of Raji: An Ancient Epic. This seems like as good a time as any to remember the most important lessons that all the experience taught the team. And among the first of them was the programming of the challenge for Switch. Avichal notes: “It was a technical challenge and an achievement. A: AAE was always destined to come out on all three consoles, but the Switch was where a lot of technicalities needed to be adjusted. We have identified a few issues thanks to the community and we can fix them.”
“The biggest learning, however,” he continues, “was that finding funding for your game is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Some big names were intrigued (by the game), but because we didn’t have a portfolio, no one was convinced that we would finish it. “
In light of what happened with the Kickstarter campaign, the importance of marketing to Avichal, Ian and the rest of the team was also underlined. “We as co-founders have to manage the finances of the company, but we also have to do our actual work. Next time we definitely want to free ourselves from financial stress,” says Avichal, “we will be hiring and expanding our team. We will not juggle with all the balls ourselves. ” Another area Nodding Heads Games will be looking to expand into is pre-production, something he admits was a bit rushed this time. Ultimately, very ambitious plans for the future. “People have been saying how ambitious R: AAE was. And that we have achieved it to a high level. Basically, you have to have a very compelling story, very compelling mechanics, either combat, puzzles, etc., “says Ian. When asked to indulge in a crystal ball over Nodding Heads Games, respond, “Is this the next Blizzard? Who knows? Why not?” Why not? Keep checking this space for review. Raji’s Nintendo Switch: An Ancient Epic Find the latest and upcoming tech gadgets online at Tech2 Gadgets. Get tech news, gadget reviews and ratings. Popular devices including laptop, tablet and mobile specs, features, pricing and comparison Via: FirstPost