In the News

As we have been nearing the end of 2016, and knowing that I’d like to start creating a small amount of (local) buzz about my game, I thought it was a good time to consider doing some promotional work so that people can look forward to its (eventual) release. Since this project is very much rooted in my research as an academic artist and designer, I thought it would be best to work from within on the initial information release. Working with Jerry Poling, the Assistant Director of University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Communications, we crafted a press release that would be directed at local media outlets. Jerry’s UW-Stout release write-up was fantastic, capturing the research aspect of the game in a way that I could have never done.

That release ended up catching the attention of a few different outlets. I thought I’d take this post to do a round-up of those, so as to create a one-stop archive post of Fall 2015 press for Tombeaux.

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Tombeaux receiving front-page coverage in St. Paul’s Pioneer Press

St. Paul’s daily newspaper, the Pioneer Press, ran a nice piece about Tombeaux on their November 9th Monday edition. I was quite surprised to find it on the front page, as once I saw that I really wished some of the visuals from the game could have been represented there as well (but who am I to complain about front page press?!?). Their online version of the article did the game more visual justice, through a handful of in-game screenshots. Furthering the life of that article, the Duluth News Tribune re-ran the piece, which might have had more of an appeal in thre great northern, wilderness-focused mini-metropolis. Kelsy Ketchum, the reporter for the story, also interviewed Jennifer Sly of the Minnesota Historical Society about the piece:

“One challenge in video games set within a historical period is that you want to give players agency and choice, but it’s hard to do that without changing the historical timeline… Dave Beck’s work is one way to let users explore history in different times.” – Jennifer Sly, Minnesota Historical Society

Following fast on the heels of the Pioneer Press article, I was contacted by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time hosts to do a short on-air interview. I was expecting to either receive prompts or questions ahead of time, but being a daily news show, they cut straight to the chase in a live, rapid-fire-question format. They actually cut me off halfway through my final answer/statement, but it was still great experience. You can listen to the full WPR piece here, or below.

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WPR’s Central Time Interview from 11/19/15

Ironically, the initial stage of PR reached further than my local hometown area, crossing in to Minnesota and reaching to the far eastern edge of Wisconsin. After a few weeks of being featured around the region, it finally came home to roost, with a really nice feature online and in print by Nikki Lanzer in Volume One. Volume One is a bi-weekly arts and culture paper out of Eau Claire, WI. Her article was short and to the point, complete with a catchy (albeit cheesy) title of: “Tombeaux-lievable

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Color feature in Volume One

“Beck expects Tombeaux to engage players in a completely new way than what they’ve grown accustomed to from other computer games, giving them a refreshing and unique experience that will foster both historical awareness and appreciation for the St. Croix and its surroundings.” – Nikki Lanzer, Volume One

So, with the help of my university’s communications department (and a little overtime on PR myself), I’m happy with how Tombeaux has done in the public sphere up to now. This is especially so, given that there is so much left to do in the game for it to be called finished! Here’s hoping that 2016 shows as much success and attention as in this previous year.

See you in 2016!

 

 

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A Big Week

As the late-October daylight hours become increasingly shorter, it seems that the frequency of my blog posts have an opposite effect. The school/work year at University of Wisconsin-Stout is now in full gear, and my chances to set aside time to post – or even contribute to Tombeaux – have become rarer and rarer.

But last week was a very busy week for both me and the game! In the period of about five days, I launched the Tombeaux website, released a teaser trailer, and gave a presentation to the IGDA Chapter in the Twin Cities.

For the actual website of the game, I’ve been working closely with my former student, Keith Catalano. Keith is a talented 3D artist in his own right, but also works full time as a interactive designer at Clockwork Media. I hired him to help with the development of Tombeaux’s site, as well as aid a bit on the identity of the title treatment and logo in the game.

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Main Page of Tombeaux Site, with title treatment

Working over the past few months, Keith has done a fantastic job in designing a site that feels fresh, informative and simple. I’m extremely happy with the result of the site, and the type treatment and logo hits the exact amount of subtle yet unique balance I was looking for in the game’s identity. I invite you to jump over to www.tombeauxgame.com at some point soon, to see the great job he’s done.

webshot1webshot2Screenshots of Tombeaux’s Website

Before I could make the site live, I wanted to have a teaser trailer ready for viewers to discover nested on the page. I was going for a very simple and short experience that incorporate a glimpse of the river scene at night (as experienced by the player at the beginning of the game) and a few shots of the cabin interior. After recording the gameplay with the awesome, open-source software that is OBS, I brought it into Adobe Premiere. I then overlaid the video with a snippet of the score being composed by Joseph Fear and a selection of narration by the main character in the game (voiced by Steve Alm, who is reciting one of my favorite passages by Thoreau, from Walden). I’m happy with how the teaser ended up, and plan to release a few more teasers in the next few months.

First Teaser Trailer for Tombeaux

Finally, I had an opportunity to present the progress and research I’ve made on the game thus far to my local IGDA Chapter last Wednesday. The IGDA Twin Cities Chapter meets on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at The Nerdery, a software design and development company located in Bloomington, MN. It was a great experience to be able to talk about the project to such a large group of peers in the game development industry, and received some great feedback on the game as well. I look forward to continuing to participate in future meet-ups for playtest opportunities and conversations.

IGDA Twin Cities Logo

Overall, it was quite a busy week for Tombeaux and myself, which resulted in more than one late or all-nighter to get things done on time! It’s now again time to hunker down and model more assets, so that I can perhaps have another new teaser to share with you at some point in the coming month or two!