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3:04 PM on 07.01.2011

Fray: First Gameplay Screenshots and an Interview!

Hey all!! It has been a while :D

A bit of radio silence from my part, but it has been prolific since we got a lot done, refined the gameplay, recreated some of our code and got the game to run a lot smoother.

I just wanted to update you guys with a batch of new screenshots that we shared with Rock Paper Shotgun. They show some of our progression, and although they are still lacking in many ways (no lightmapping, not many props, etc), they will give you a sense of what we are aiming at. I hope you enjoy them and don't hesitate to leave us with some feedback!












Here is an extract question from the interview that explains some of the gameplay:



RPS: Greetings! So, simultaneous turn-based strategy? You’d better explain how that works, before the heads of our readers cave in like rotten fruit.

Alexandre Avenard: Bonjour RPS! Simultaneous turn-based strategy… Quite a mouthful isn’t it?
In traditional turn-based games, players take turns to give orders to their squads, armies or characters, one after another. While this system works wonders in single player games, it can be a problem in a multiplayer context, where a game can drag on and on.

This is where we believe simultaneous turn-based strategy truly shines. By allowing every player to choose their actions at the same time, we can create a very dynamic strategy game, even with a high number of players, since you don’t have to wait for your opponents. Once everyone in the match has given their orders or a fixed timer has run out, you then witness how your actions pan out in a cinematic fashion. With this system in place, Fray is much more action oriented than traditional turn-based strategy games. You have to anticipate the enemy’s actions, put yourself in their shoes, and lay out traps and ambushes, with virtually no down time, rather than just reacting to their actions. It is a very different feeling that just has to be tried!



To read more and get some higher resolution screenies, head on to the interview here!   read


1:36 PM on 03.07.2011

Fray: Screenshots from the GDC

Hey all,

So last week was the GDC in San Francisco and we got to show the game to the press for the first time. The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive and we got really positive feedback on both our tech demo and the gameplay elements. And we were surprised at who showed up: Gamespot, IGN, Shacknews, PC Gamer.... Just to name a few.

We will be showing some gameplay videos in the upcoming weeks to explain more in depth how the game is played, but until then enjoy the first screens and an in depth preview of the game that Gamespot posted last week: http://gdc.gamespot.com/story/6301736/fray-first-look-preview










Today, we are meeting with Joystiq, Wired and CNet and then we will be heading back home to France to continue working on the game! Take care all :)   read


9:20 AM on 02.21.2011

Fray: Teaser Trailer

Hey all,

We are happy to present our teaser trailer to the world. It presents the setting and mood of the game and doesn't represent the gameplay :D

We had a lot of fun doing this and we hope you like it :)

Enjoy!


[embed]194653:36478[/embed]   read


11:10 AM on 02.10.2011

Fray: Official Announcement

We are happy to announce that Brain Candy is pregnant with a beautiful baby game, Fray (it’s a boy!). He has been gestating in our womb for almost a year now, and is due to come out at the end of the year. He will be put up for adoption immediatly after birth. We just hope that he doesn’t have any of Bob’s genetic code.

Here are some of his first finger paintings:











The announcement has been really well received across the web, and has been featured on Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun and even IGN!



Yet... No Destructoid, and that makes me a sad Candy.



But I am sure we will be news worthy when we release our movie next week!





Enjoy our official press release below!

Fray is a simultaneous turn-based strategy game that eliminates the waiting involved with most turn-based games by introducing simultaneous play.

It is gritty sci-fi game set in 2098, a world where civil society is on the brink of collapse. Three mega-corporations vie for control of the Earth and its remaining resources. In a world where most human interaction is confined to cyberspace, mankind has created a variety of virtual reality modules in which to escape the harsh realities of life and experience the full range of human emotions once known by generations past. Some modules are created for human enjoyment while others have been created to serve more devious purposes. One of the most pivotal virtual environments is the combat module, Fray.

Players will enter Fray with a squad of four characters, each with their own specialties. Outfit your squad with a variety of weapons, items and abilities to prepare them for combat. Once inside, Fray is played in turns, where all players choose their actions simultaneously. When actions are chosen, or the timer has run out, the action then plays out in real time cinematic fashion with dynamic camera angles. By virtue of the simultaneous action selection system, the delay and frustration of most turn-based strategy games has been eliminated.

With an original electronic soundtrack, 3D visuals, and motion-captured animations, Fray is poised to be one of the premiere new game properties of 2011.   read


5:46 AM on 02.01.2011

Fray: In the future, guns go pew. (From Concept to Art, part deux)

Hey Dtoid! Long time no see :) Been pretty busy at Brain Candy land, working on a demo we would like to present at the GDC, so it was tough to drop by and give you guys an update, but here it is!

Today we would like to show some of our work on weapon design. Weapons in such a scifi game as Fray are a very important part, both esthetically and gameplay wise. In terms of style, we have many different types of weapons, ranging from the classic military weapons, to some more exotic and improbable, and we will be revealing more as we move along in the development!

We are currently implementing the military weapons in the game, so low poly versions around 2 to 4k, but we also have to create high resolution renders of some weapons, for our trailer and website.



We started as usual with a brief description of each weapon. For instance for the SMG, we started with “HF - SMITH Sub Machine Gun -­ Standard military infantry weapon, uses 10 mm caseless ammunition.” This gun is supposed to be a light, medium range weapon, designed for quick burst shots, similarly to an Uzi.

We then started working with Vincent on some concepts for the weapon. As usual he drew a few sketches to fit our design ideas and came up with three low resolution thumbnails from which we could then refine our vision.



Once we had decided on the look, Vincent sent an intermediary sketch, followed by the final painting for the weapon. The HF Smith SMG was born.



Next, the concept went into Bertrand’s hands to create the 3D model of the gun. Here is a small render we just made:






Here is another weapon Max is currently working on, the HF Gruber Assault Rifle.








Well I hope you enjoyed these, coming up soon is the release of our teaser movie (FINALLY!), our website and we continue working as we get ready to unveil the game at the GDC at the end of february. Til next time folks !   read


5:17 AM on 12.19.2010

Fray: Motion Capture Making-Of Video

Hello Boys and Girls, as promised, here is the making of video to show you how the Motion Capture went at Quantic Dream for our upcoming game Fray.

We had a lot of fun making this video, we hope you enjoy the show, and spread the word if you want more like these ! :-)



[embed]189954:34920[/embed]



Happy holidays from all of us at Brain Candy!!   read


7:02 AM on 12.01.2010

Fray: Top 100 Upcoming Indie Games... GET! Now we need YOU DToiders!

Hi all!

A little bit of self promotion time (gotta pay the bills :P), but Fray has just been selected in the Top 100 Upcoming Indie Games over at IndieDB ! Now we need YOU!

The next round of voting has begun and the game would greatly benefit being in the top 10 upcoming games and for that we need your votes!

Voting is pretty simple, just click on the image below to go tothe Top 100 Upcoming Indies section, and under Turn Based Strategy, you can vote for Fray ! And it will be done! Thanks a lot everyone !

And if you register on IndieDB, your vote will count twice!








We have come a long way since when we started working on the game in April. From a board game prototype, to motion capture, through music design and 3D modeling... Can't say we haven't been busy!

Here is a small image recap of the past 7 months and everything we have been through and what we have shared with you., and maybe coherse you a bit into voting for us!



Music (to set the mood while browsing the page ;-) )


[embed]188744:34500[/embed]



Concepts:















3D Renders:




[embed]188744:34502[/embed]


Test animation (made with a free motion capture found on the web, not by us.):

[embed]188744:34506[/embed]












Trailer Film:







Motion Capture:




A small extract of our upcoming making of video:

[embed]188744:34501[/embed]


Brain Candy Stupid Stuff:

[embed]188744:34504[/embed]

[embed]188744:34505[/embed]




Phew!

And there is a lot more coming very soon!


So please, pretty please, with a cherry on top, vote for our game on indieDB and we will love you long time!

Just click on the image below to go tothe Top 100 Upcoming Indies section, and under Turn Based Strategy, you can vote for Fray !and it will be done! Thanks a lot everyone !









We appreciate all your support and will strive to bring you the best game as possible!


Next news will be a Mocap making of, so stay tuned!




Love and kisses,


-- The Brain Candy team --   read


5:32 PM on 11.29.2010

Fray: War, Tears, Sexy Pants and Playtests

Hello fellow earthlings! As time flows on, so does Fray's progress. Last week was pretty busy as we continued to work on level design and art production. Also, as we discussed in our last update, we did the game's motion capture at Quantic Dreams studio last week, and it was... entertaining!


Motion Capture:





We had an intense day of Motion Capture shooting on Friday, and it was a lot of fun torturing our poor lead programmer. Indeed, we got to push, shove, pull, hit, throw and punch him in all directions, all the while having a huge smile on our faces. Working with Quantic Dream on this was really great, as they were very professional and always had solutions for any small issue we had. We can't wait to get to work on the animations and adding them in the game.






The images above are just a teaser for an upcoming making-of video I am currently working on that should be ready in a few weeks.



Playtests:


As I told you last time, we are preparing some playtests for the game. These are internal, with only a few people coming over to try the core gameplay mechanics, but they should enable us to spot issues early in the dev cycle and correct them before they become unchangeable.

Our game designer, David, has written a piece on the methodology he will be using to test the game mechanics, and we hope this will be useful to other designers.






After weeks of fighting with Unity, we are at last able to play on a full functional mock-up of the game and it is finally time to launch our qualitative playtests (http://www.microsoft.com/playtest/Publications/User%20Centered%20Game%20Design.doc). At least it gave us some time to think on how to set up these sessions!

We really think that players have to be integrated in the production cycle as soon as possible, and that we must take their feedback into consideration. We first played many times a board mock-up of the game, testing the core gameplay, and after 6 months of production it is now time to call our friends (and their sisters) to serve as lab rats for the playtests. As Jesse Schell says "playtesting is like an engraved invitation that reads: "you are cordially invited to tell me why I suck"", playtesting is hard for the designers and developper's self esteem, but they are the best way to insure that the game will be fun and usable by the players.

Here is how we are going to do it.

Each test will be designed to last between 1 and 1.5 hours.

At their arrival each tester will be welcomed with a cup of Veuve Cliquot's champagne, a toast of foie gras and will be invited to set up on our Philip Stark designed autovibrating sofa. Or maybe it will be coke and a plastic chair. At least one of these will be true.






The leader of the session will have a brief chit-chat with the tester, in order to know him better, and to expose how the test will take place. The main goal of this pre-test is to present the game, get the tester used to speech with the session leader and make him confortable, as he is not the one who is being tested, the game is.

Then we will take approx 45 min for the test, we want to focus here on core gameplay and middle functions. 2 scenarios will serve us to test this. The first will help us to focus on how easy it is for a player to learn the basics of the game and continue playing with it, while still learning strategies. The second will provide useful information on how the player can build tactics to resolve conflicts and reach short term objectives. We will gather data thanks to screen and webcam recording software on one hand and by the presence of a game designer who will lead the session and write down any useful insights from testers on the other hand. In order to let players play as if they were at home, we will use the think aloud technique (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_aloud_protocol).

Letting the user express his feelings regarding his experience with the game with only very few interventions of the session leader will insure the gathering of relevant data regarding our game. During the session we will pay attention to tester behavior and will sometime stop them during the scenario to focus on a specific problem; this kind of interruption will not have to be reproduced more than one time per scenario, and only if we have to extract a very contextual data from its mind.

The more interesting part will be to hear players thinking aloud, take relevant notes and consider that everything that is said are mainly symptoms, not necessarily concrete problems. That is especially true when the tester expresses something weird, we have to dig everything that has been said, so that we do not take them too literally. Each scenario will be then followed with a questionnaire.






Finally, a debriefing session of 15 min with a questionnaire and an interview will close the test. This moment will be precious for us to collect insights regarding problems and recommendations. One of our favorite things to ask then is "now that you have played this game, if tomorrow one of your best friends tells you that he wishes to buy it and ask you what you think about it, what are going to tell him ?", players are now open to criticize the game and we can go on with the questions regarding the "what are the 3 worst points of the game, and the three best ?". If we see that testers are not willing to say bad things about our game we thus encourage him to focus on bad point, saying that the game probably has problems and that we need to know them to correct them.

We will then organize and prioritize all collected data and produce a document explaining all the problems one by one, each time exposing a report of the problem, the consequence of it on the game and what we have to do to go over it, this report will be exposed and communicated to our team. As we don't have a room with tinted glass nor the possibility to send video to a computer outside the room we will not be able to invite team members to assist the sessions, we don't want them to be in the same room as the tester in order not to impress him and to keep "ecological conditions".

If useful we will take 30 seconds videos of a tester meeting some problems to show it to our wonderful programmers and producer. As said, the final document will report all problems, their gravity regarding the core gameplay and the intuitivity of the interface, and then grouped by main patterns of our game. In conclusion and after a first discussion with all the team we will resume every datas by actions to be taken to correct our mock up and continue making a nice game on a solid basis.

Finally, at the end of those painful sessions we will probably have our game designers and programmers take a week of vacation on a breakdown specialized establishment, after that we will be able to have some times discussing about prior problems, how to correct them while keeping focused on our core gameplay. Team will then have to work on those corrections, and then... we will have another playtest session !


Thanks for reading guys, next update in a few of weeks! Bisous Bisous !   read


4:38 AM on 11.17.2010

Fray: Buildings, Music and Crêpes.

To celebrate the introduction of French gastronomy to the UNESCO world heritage list (and who doesn't enjoy baguettes, crepes and snails???), here is a progression update to show you guys some of the buildings we are working on for one of the maps in the game, and also let you listen to an extract of the music for the same level.

We are currently working on the level design and fine tuning the gameplay in order to show you screens and vids towards January, but here is a sample of things to come!



For the music, we have been working with the wonderful guys behind the band "Washing Majazzz", and after long discussions, sound tests and brain storms, they have come up with an electro-opera track that fits perfectly with the environment, the gameplay and the backstory. Here is a sample of the track, please note that the mixing isn't final, but it will give you a close enough idea.

[embed]187917:34169[/embed]

The models were created by Bertrand and Claire, our environmental artists for an urban environment map, and the building designs were both inspired by the concept art we have shown earlier, and real-life material. We are presenting them in their untextured form, and we hope that you will enjoy.









So what is ahead of us in the next few weeks? We are going to be filming the Motion Capture next week, so get ready for a video showing 13013 doing stupid stunts and probably hurting himself. We will also do our first internal playtests on the game to stress test our game design (we will probably do a more methodology oriented post on this subject later on), continue post-prod on the teaser trailer and of course work on the level design!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and of course, track this game on IndieDB to get the latest updates.

Take care!   read


9:07 AM on 10.26.2010

Fray: Making a Game Trailer... Hollywood Style !


We are busy little bees, working heavily on Fray... Our team has gotten larger, with 2 new 3D artists, an assistant Game Designer and another Programmer, bringing us up to 9 on-site in Paris, and the game has grown steadily since last time. We have started receiving artworks from The Designer's Republic (right now working on a hot game logo), some music and the first weapons, pew pew pew!
 


And now for something completely different.



  

We are currently in the middle of preparing for the Motion Capture, which we will be doing with... Quantic Dream ! We are really happy to be working with the guys behind the award winning "Heavy Rain" and hope to produce the best animations possible for Fray! They definitly have the talent and know-how, and have been more than friendly and supportive to our indie cause.

Why Mocap, rather than traditionnal animation? Well, for starters, we don'   read


4:56 PM on 07.15.2010

Fray: First 3D Model

Hey boys and girls, just taking the time to update you on the game. It has been a tough couple of weeks but we have our prototype running, and as you can see we settled on the name Fray.

I just wanted to showcase the 3D model for one of the characters in the game, it is the light armor for CronaCorp, a highly advanced and scientific corporation. Hope you like it :)


  read


9:45 AM on 07.02.2010

From Concept to Art

So we have been working for the past month with a great concept artist, Vincent Morin, who has had the difficult task of translating our vision of the game into beautiful artworks that are to be used to create 3D models.

Since many people around us wonder how he came up with these designs, I thought I would walk you through the design process for one of the characters.

If you are interested in the creative process that goes into character art, then read on!

It all began with a general idea on our side: we define what the general look of a character should be, talk about influences, what kind of game play will be associated with him, etc. We then started to assemble different images from across the web that reminded us of that character and created a form of mood board.




This would help Vincent get a feel for the character. In this case we were looking for something very industrial, something Caterpillar could be building in 50 years. We also sent him functionality and background descriptions so that he could get a general feeling for what we were looking for.

Vincent then sent us thumbnails for the character that would help us choose the direction for the character. These are quick drafts made to show the general shapes of the character, without going into any detail.




From there, even though in our mind one of the characters had a much stronger visual appeal, we chose two of the designs and asked him to refine them further. We really liked the last 2, so he went with these, and he designed a new one based on our thoughts.




These three were much more elaborate and could let us see the potential behind each of the characters. We loved all 3, but there was a clear winner in our mind, the middle armor. The next phase was a detailed sketch of that armor, so that we could have a glimpse at what the final character would look like.




Doesn’t he look tough, eh?

From there, we started looking at different helmets for him, and decided to go for a retro ‘welder helmet’ look that we liked, so he made a few propositions to fit that idea. We chose the first proposition and we knew we had the right one.




Next was a 3/4 front view sketch, that would let us see him in perspective glory.




Nothing much to say to him from this point, apart from: “WE WANT MOAR !!!!!!!!”, and after a few days work, he gave us this beauty.




So there you have it, this is how Vincent managed to go from a general idea to a bad ass armor, conveying exactly what we had in mind. It takes a great artist to manage to understand crazy French people, and translate that into art.

If you want to see a high res version of the character, check out our media page at www.braincandy.fr/media/

We have now started modeling and we should have stuff to show you in the weeks to come.

So what do you think ?   read





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