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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!!

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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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 MARCH

Photo 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 FEB

In 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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Launch “Meet the Games Press” Photos

Hey everyone!

Pete and I went off to Launch: Meet the Games Press event in Birmingham last week. Here are some photos from the event that we feature in, for the rest of the photos please visit http://launchconference.co.uk/meet-the-games-press-photos/ and whilst you are there you should check out the great work the guys do over there.

Pete's epic pose

Pete's epic pose

1-2-1 consultation time with Keith Stuart

1-2-1 consultation time with Keith Stuart

Ben was highly alert as usual.

Ben was highly alert as usual.

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.