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Ether One July Update

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since we last did a large update regarding Ether One and White Paper Games, and for that we apologise greatly.

There has been so much going on since we got back from Rezzed with people talking about Ether One, including some interviews with the White Paper team and articles!

First up! There have been a few previews of Ether One that talked in detail about the demo that was shown at Rezzed.

The article over at Indie Statik by Chris Priestman said…

“Ether One wants you to take it slow. It’s the “buy me dinner before ramming your tongue down my throat” of first-person experiences in games, and when you do take the time to consider its form, it won’t hesitate to jump into your mind and reward your contemplative patience just as you’re getting snuggled up to it.”

A fine opening statement for any preview – check it out over at Indie Statik and give it a read!

Another preview of the demo can be found on PC Gamer by Tom Hatfield. Here is a quote…

“Playing Ether One has left me with more questions than when I started, but they’re the good kind of questions. I don’t doubt it’s possible to make a first person story without violence, I just want to know how it’s all going to end.”

The article is excellent and well worth a read so made sure to check it out.

Secondly we have also been doing some great interviews with great peeps such as The Killer Bits and Prescription Pixel where we talk about Ether One as they play the game, letting us know their thoughts.

Here’s the Killer Bits video – plenty of in-game footage here.

…and here is the Prescription Pixel video which is also well worth a watch.


Watch live video from prescriptionpixel on TwitchTV

 

Finally we have also decided to release a couple more screenshots of the game for you guys to see/ download. So please enjoy!

Screenshot_Rezzed_04

Screenshot_Rezzed_06

We will also be throwing out tid bits of info now and then starting with a two part Rezzed dev diary that should be coming very soon.

Thanks for catching up and we will post soon!

The White Paper Team

Posted on by Ben Hill

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ETHER ONE HAS BEEN GREENLIT – HERE IS A THANK YOU MESSAGE!

Hey guys,
So.. It’s official! We have now been Greenlit!! Wooo!! Thank you all so SO much for voting for us and pushing our game out to all your friends and to anyone else that would listen. It’s such a relief for us knowing that we’re now going to be releasing on such a huge platform such as Steam. It came as a total surprise to us all and kind of caught us off guard. We’ve been waiting and watching through many different Greenlight batches and seen some awesome titles get through. Thanks to the guys at Valve, our time came this week!

The development has not stopped though and we’re not celebrating just yet! We’ve got the Rezzed game show coming up next weekend (22nd + 23rd) down in Birmingham, UK where we are showing the first playable demo of Ether One as part of the Leftfield Collection! This week we’ve been making lots of tweaks to a (roughly) 45minute playable demo along with a small Oculus Rift demo to showcase at Rezzed too. We’re hoping to see lots of you down there and it will be a great chance for us to chat with you all about what we’re working on and what we’re trying to achieve.

This next week will be crazy busy for us but it’s also an exciting time of development for us all. We are hugely grateful and excited to be considered as one of the titles to be Greenlit and although we may not be able to reply to all the comments and enthusiasm you guys are sending our way, we do read them all and it really drives us to keep making sure we’re delivering the best game we can to you all.

We wanted to make this thank you a little more meaningful so we cleaned the studio and hid all the leftover food wrapper to create a video that shows just how thankful we are to you all!

Enjoy!!

Ether One Status Update

Hey everyone – it’s been a while since we last gave an update on Ether One – so in this post we are going to cover a whole load of info such as Greenlight, Development Progress, Interviews as well as FAQ’s.

Greenlight

So for those of you guys that are unaware of our current Greenlight status – we are now in the top 30 on Steam Greenlight with current ranking of 29 in the top 100. Lots of comments, votes and support have really helped us get closer to our goal of getting Ether One green lit for Steam and we really owe everyone who has shown support for us a big thank you.

Green Light Rank

Development Progress

We are currently pushing into the later stages of developing Ether One with many of the structural elements of the game being present – as we continue to build the game up to its release we will be showing some more content, and screenshots whilst releasing more information about some of the more impactful elements of game play interaction within the game. Keep posted soon for a more detailed update on this.

Ether_Screenshot_02

Interviews

Following the release of our latest trailer (which can be viewed below if you missed it) we received a substantial amount of press attention – from this we did a few important interviews that are worth reading for more juicy information on Ether One and White Paper Games. These can be found below:

Game Zone Interview

Rock Paper Shotgun Interview

 

 

 

 

FAQ

We have been getting a load of questions regarding specific things over the past month and I think its best that we answer some of those here for you guys – so that everyone gets the correct info about some of our development goals.

  1. Linux – Lots of people have been asking us about a linux build for Ether One and we do hear you. Currently the game is being developed with UDK which cannot be used for Linux builds – with this in mind we are looking into other ways that we can bring the game to Linux – so keep your eyes peeled for more information on this in the coming months.
  2. Oculus Rift – The Oculus is something that people are really raving about at the moment and after the recent announcement of Oculus having UDK support it is something that we are actively looking into right now and we feel that our type of game would work very well with it.
  3. Release Date – We haven’t set a release date for the game yet but as stated in our latest trailer – summer 2013 is our aim – with a heavier emphasis on late summer. Again more info on this will surface soon.
  4. Controller Support – Ether One will come with full customisable controller support as well as a whole host of features for you to customise your game play experience.
  5. Localisation – At this very moment in time Ether One is slated for English and Spanish language options due to the native tongue of our team members – yet we again are researching heavily into expanding this so that we can cover as many languages as possible.

Obviously this is a smaller update post and doesn’t feature much more about in-game content – this will be coming soon. Again thank you for all the support that we have had from you guys – it has been absolutely invaluable in our development as well as the hard work each member of our six person team is putting into creating this game to the best possible standard.

Posted on by Ben Hill

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Conception of Memories: From Block Map to Concept Art

For more info on Ether please visit www.ether-game.com.

In this speed paint our resident Environment Artist, Oliver John Farrell, uses a block map created by our designers to concept a piece of environment art. The piece of art produced is for an environment in Ether that is named ‘The Case’.

Music for the video is by our resident Sound Designer and Composer, Nathanial Apostol.

Posted on by Ben Hill

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Its Time for a White Paper Catch Up: Develop Conference and Ether

So as I am sure lots of you have noticed we have been pretty quiet on the blog and dev diary scene recently. This was primarily due to us all working very hard to get our teaser trailer released for Ether as well as our attendance at this years Develop Conference, where Ben was speaking in two different sessions.

First off Develop Conference was excellent as always with us meeting new people, catching up with old friends as well as talking a lot about White Paper Games and Ether. Lots of things were learnt from the carious sessions on during in the week and lots of fun was had during the various networking events – Ben was even on the team that came joint second at the Guardian Blog Quiz and Pete met the legendary Mark Rein (VP of Epic Games).

Ben giving his lecture at Develop Conference

Although Develop is always a large week on the White Paper Calendar it was even more important to us this year as on the Friday prior to the conference we released our teaser trailer for Ether our up and coming first person adventure game. As an Indie Developer we always hoped that we would get a small amount of interest in the teaser trailer, to spur us on with the development of the game as well as gain feedback on the the overall idea behind Ether.

A mysterious marker stone.

We can now say that we were pleasantly surprised with the trailer being picked up by multiple international publications and being watch over 13 thousand times in the past 2 weeks – and its still rising! Really all we can say is a big THANK YOU to all of our supporters and the great journalists who took time in writing articles about the game and its début. As a catch up I have listed some great quotes about Ether and its teaser trailer below with links to the relevant articles – some of them have pretty awesome titles!

A Fishing Hut

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So that’s pretty much it from us at the moment, keep your eyes peeled for a whole new approach to our development diaries that we are working on as well as an upcoming post about the lecture that Ben gave at this years Develop that he is making available to everyone via his blog.

Ether Press Quotes and Links

“Ether definitely seems odd in the best of possible ways.” – Indiegames.com

“From what they’ve shown us so far, the art style of Ether is just gorgeous” – Destructoid

“I’m keen to have my faith in first-person adventuring restored and what better game to do it than one starring a person known as a ‘restorer’?” – Rock Paper Shotgun

“Every once in a while a game comes along that hits you with a vivid art style and intriguing design at a hundred miles per hour.” – The Indie Game Magazine

“If you’re looking for something different to play, I may have found the game for you!” – Gamebreaker.TV

That’s it from us folks, if you have not yet seen the trailer any one of the links above will show it but you can also get info straight from us at www.ether-game.com ! Speak to you all soon!

Posted on by Ben Hill

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OJ’s Ether Blog Entries

Hey everyone,

Just a quick update from us today. Our environment artist OJ Farrell has been hard at work developing the visual aesthetics for our debut game in development, Ether and has been chronicling his design journey through his online blog journal, which we would now like to share with you guys!

As not to steal the spotlight from OJ for his hard work this post is merely to link through to OJ’s work and to give you a run down of the blog posts that he has been doing. In the future each blog post that OJ, Pete, NJ or I do on Ether or anything we value will be posted up on the White Paper Games site and linked through to the relevant blogs. So below is a list of posts for you to peruse at your own leisure.

WPG: Dead End Approach and new Inspiration …

16th MARCH

I had reached a point in development where I was unhappy with the art style and was not enjoying the work. I thought what I was producing was not at a standard I was happy with and looked dull and boring. The art style had no real Identity and looked like another 3d clone. I needed to find something that would ignite my passion. Read more…

 

WPG: Texture Test & Building in Modularity

4th – 6th MARCHPhoto Manipulation Test

Still unsure on the texturing approach to ether I decided to experiment with photo manipulated textures. The reason for this was too test if it was possible to create textures that looked hand painted by using effects in photoshop. Read more…

WPG: More Concept Creation & Work Begins…

8th FEBIn the studio I decided to consult with Josh about how to loosen up my style and what was the best approach to take when creating the concepts. He suggested I spoke with Aaron Foster, a tutor at Uclan who also has his own Indie Development company LunarSoftware.

Here is a link to the website: http://www.lunar-software.com/2011/11/

Aaron is a great artist with a lot of industry experience. He showed me a really good brush setup in photoshop. With this setup I was able to create some really nice, loose concepts. Read more…

So there you have it! We hope you enjoy learning about our journey and as always comments are always welcome!

Posted on by Ben Hill

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Ether Dev Diary #4

Ben talks about audio recording, a hugely successfully Northern Game Dev Meet Up and answers some of your burning questions on self funding, big hurdles, perfect sundays, Christoph Lehmanns face and what the right term for a doughy, bready ball is.

Posted on by Ben Hill

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Early Environmental Teaser Shots

Quick post to follow up the first screen shots of Ether that we presented to you the other day. These are shots from an early part of one of our environments showing a dark and spooky harbour town based upon Cornish history and culture. We have lots and lots of work to do over the next coming months and hopefully we will soon be able to share more of Ether with you and the world.

Screen 01

A lonely board walk

Silence all around

What was beyond the darkness?

Posted on by Ben Hill

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Ether Development: Building Narrative around our Game Mechanics.

Pete and I have now been designing and building Ether for about 2 months now whilst also attempting to set up a game design studio and getting our names out there as independent game developers. Its been hard work and we don’t expect it to get any easier going forward yet the progress that we have made have given us absolute faith in our project and the work that we are doing. Creativity is high and being an independent studio has allowed us to really push our ideas into interesting areas of design. As you can see from the title of this post one of these areas is our narrative and game mechanic designs and how they work together within the game.

What we really want to achieve with Ether is a game where what you play really matters and ties in with the narrative, without detracting from the actual game play or breaking the game up into narrative bits and game bits. We wanted to integrate those into a seamless world, where the narrative is integrated into the game play.

Our approach to this was quite simple at first. Lets work out some really cool and solid game play elements, make sure it works with basic design, then take time out to really contemplate whether a strong and compelling narrative could be intertwined into the mechanics. We thought this would be the best possible way to create excellent game play with a good engrossing story…we were wrong.

We found that this resulted in a really nice game play mechanic that played very well, yet the narrative ended up constraining the game play, pulling it into boxes that we really didn’t want to be in. With this in mind we took the best parts of our initial designs and game play and went back to the drawing board. We didn’t have that excitement for that project that we so needed, so we started designing in a slightly different way.

We looked at our ideas as an opportunity to think of narrative elements as we were designing Ether. So when we thought of our awesomely cool game mechanics and a rough setting we thought, what could this be in the game? Why would it be relevant? What would it contribute too? This allowed us to come up with ideas that all linked together in a chain that actually meant something, they were all related to each other through our ideas like a narrative train of thought. We then would look at our environments and look at what we would need in them to compliment the mechanics and then ask the same questions to determine if they would work with each other or if they wouldn’t. We also thought about how the narrative would be brought to the player in game, it needed to be fluent and never detract from game play yet also keep the player engaged and intrigued.

This on going process pulled us from one idea to another till we started to form a coherent and deep world for Ether. It was then that I looked at all the elements and started to piece them together into a fully functioning narrative. The narrative now breaks up into two parts that are forever entwined in the game, the first part being about the character you are playing as, what they are doing, what they are going to achieve and how they are going to achieve it. The second part of the narrative is a story that overlays this one directly in game, that gives reason why you are doing this, what you are going to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. It gives you reason to play and hopefully will keep you playing through to the end.

I have always felt that games are more like books than films. In films you watch a story happen to someone else, they are on an adventure, the events are happening to them. In books, even if it is a character-based novel, you project yourself onto the character through imagination, the events happen to you. You are on an adventure; the companions are your friends. The same applies to videogames, you are in control and your actions will determine the story and this is why narrative when used (for we strongly believe that not all games need narratives) needs to be integrated into everything the player does, sees, feels and hears.

Some games manage this and some games don’t, what we want to achieve is a game that does this that is fun, intriguing, compelling and mesmerising right to the end. We now have a game demo that is designed with a strong game mechanic, a wonderfully interesting world and hopefully a really good story that you will enjoy.

Next time I will hopefully be able to talk to you a little bit more about where we are up to with Ether on a physical level, until then if anyone has any thoughts on our journey whilst developing this game or if anybody wants to find out more about Ether and what we aim for the project please feel free to contact us via the contact tab at the top of the page.