After a successful green lighting from the steam community. Indie developer Thotwise has now launched a Kickstarter for their horror game “The Hum” coming to PC hopefully in late 2015. A game about developer Ariel Arias’, innermost child hood fears, Aliens. More specifically, if Aliens invaded and claimed the world for their own disturbing research.
Below is a brief video to give a setting for The Hum
Today we are fortunate enough to speak to Ariel, lead developer at Thotwise. He will be shedding some light on what he hopes to achieve with the game, what it is all about and why Aliens stand out to him so much?
For the purpose of clarity, my questions will be in black and Ariel’s answers inred.
Aliens, certainly at one point in everyone’s life they have questioned if they truly exist but more importantly everyone has definitely considered the horrific possibility of an advanced culture coming to earth.
As a child Ariel, what made Aliens stick out to you as a legitimate fear, was it a movie, book, a story that a sibling or friend told you?
It was a mix of things. My first memory of mine was watching The War of the Worlds when I was only 2 years old, it was late at night and specifically remember how it shocked to me. Since then, I became a fan of all kind of sci-fi stories and magazines about science, aliens or mysteries.
My personal experiences in my first years (which where a little difficult for me) mixed with my early interest on all these topics resulting in a real fear of aliens. I can remember how hard was for me to sleep, believing that they were entering in my room!
Now you have your motivation and direction but what does the game actually involve? You have already mentioned through your Kick starter it has elements of puzzles, survival mechanics and even aspects of procedural generation?
After my time at Gamescom, I’m rethinking many details about The Hum. I still have a goal of open world, procedural generation and survival mechanics. But, right now, I’m approaching small chapters that will serve to introduce players in the universe of The Hum while helping us to reach some funding and grow as a team.
These chapters will be more linear, maybe more close to classical horror games, but of course themed on aliens and abductions. This doesn’t mean a cancellation of The Hum’s original idea, but a way to help us to make our goal a reality.
So given the obvious fear of such an extra terrestrial event what do you hope to expose participants too with your game? Are you simply trying to scare us or are you trying to create a particular point of view?
I don’t care about scaring for the sake of scaring. A higher (in terms of technology) civilization dominating us and a totally oppressive situation for the player is a door to expose many things about my feelings and psychology!
Given your history as a therapist, can we expect some unique insights to the paranoia of the person we assume the role of in game?
I hope so, but it’s not only about the character but the player’s mind too.
I’ve been always very interested in human mind and how we, as a species, behave against the same needs in bizarre ways. Even in real life, everyday, we have unique perceptions of what is happening around us.
I want to bring that too the game, where all the aspects and details are aimed to dark places in the player’s mind trying to awake something on them.
You are fortunate enough to be working with both Unreal Engine 4 and the Oculus Rift, you certainly have some strong foundations for a unique game. How do you plan on getting the most out of the these systems?
I’m not a fan of hyper realistic games, in The Hum, realism is very important for immersion. UE4 brings to indies a powerful option to achieve excellent visuals. I’m talking with artists and trying to consolidate a good team in order to get the most of this engine from all the technical aspects.
And Oculus (and VR in general) is another world… VR is still in early stages, so we don’t have successful cases yet to take as examples in terms of how to explode all the power if this technology. We are experimenting A LOT with this, and that means sometimes, try to forget what we know about how a game should be and do things in a new way, more immersive and more focused to Oculus.
Unfortunately not every gamer is going to own an Oculus Rift headset by the time your game arrives, will this hinder their experience or are owners of the Oculus going to get a much richer experience as opposed to general on screen players?
Well, of course Oculus owners will have a richer experience, not only because we make the game for it, but because of the nature of Oculus against common screens.
Anyway, I’m not ignoring people that doesn’t own an Oculus and many things will be adjusted to enjoy The Hum on common screens too!
You can see games that say: “adds Oculus support”. That means: “great in common screens, support for Oculus”. Maybe we will do the opposite: “Great with Oculus, support for common screens”.
You’ve mentioned previously the Aliens may have already captured the player and are analyzing his behaviors post abduction. As an example what kind of scenarios could the Aliens place the player in?
If there is an alien guy playing with your mind, it’s hard to know what can happen!
So we will save those details for the game then, what about some in game details? Does The Hum have an ending or an overall purpose to tell or is it simply just a variety of experiences in an Alien controlled world?
It’s a mix. Right know, I’m making a game design with some parallel stories in which players can go through, but the events and the details are being modified by the experiences and decisions that the player takes.
In other hand, the smaller games I’ve started to approach after gamescom, are more linear-story driven and I hope that will help to the players to know more about the background of The Hum, which is… huge! I have been working on The Hum’s universe since my early years!
Kickstarter certainly is a great footing for indie developers to not only gain the support of existing fans but to also gain new fans. Your successes during this program have come on in leaps and bounds and it absolutely wonderful to see. Your posted goal is quite large, it is an amount some people have borrowed for a mortgage. If successfully backed what could that entire price go towards?
I know that this Kickstarter campaign is heading towards a failure in terms of money. But The Hum gained exposure and I received a lot of awesome messages about how people are loving the game’s idea. Money can come soon in any other way, but people who support your idea and love it… it’s just amazing and irreplaceable!
All the money I’ll get in the future, from Kickstarter, from investors, from sales of smaller games or from anywhere, will go to The Hum’s universe. Sometimes, people just don’t know how expensive is to pay a team, and of course it’s nobody fault. Money scares people. But that’s the reality! Just think on how many millions are being spent in a AAA project and you will have a better idea.
In my team, I have professional artists, professional developers, day-per-day costs and unexpected needs. I’ve learned that the amount I asked scared a little of the backers, but I preferred to ask something that we really need. It’s okay if Kickstarter fails, we will make this game in some way!
I was thinking on this project my whole life, I will not discourage with a “fail”!
Once again Press Start would like to thank Ariel for taking some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us today and wish him and his team Thotwise all the very best of luck with their game and a successful Kickstarter backing.
At the conclusion of this interview Ariel has released an “Ambiance Demo” for his game. Whilst no actual game play was incorporated this demo built for PC only provides a clear example of what Ariel and his team are trying to achieve with The Hum. As an added bonus it is enhanced for Oculus Rift owners.
Here are some more specific links for our readers –