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Announcing: A New Slickfest AtDD Trailer

 

This fab trailer [if we do blurb so ourselves] was made with the help of The TrailerFarm, who were awesome, speedy, had great ideas and were fun to work with. Also, a big ruddy thanks goes to Guy Harris for the spot-on voice rendition of John, one of AtDD‘s main protagonists.

[Fun fact: during production, Tony Porter, The TrailerFarm’s Cofounder + Creative Director,  told us during the voice-over narration recording that his other half asked him why their little 4 yr old boy had been walking around saying ”We were going to The Actory”… aaaaaand now they know!]

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#DelicateDuplicates: Outside of the Digital

Like a thick physical journal packed with endless scribbles and tireless reworkings, All the Delicate Duplicates has gone through a great number of incarnations and interpretations. Although some of it can be found recorded on paper, this legacy mainly takes the form of thousands of shared Dropbox files, Unity backups and Photoshop documents. And although we would undoubtedly consider #DelicateDuplicates to be a “digitally born” work which has almost completely evolved entirely out of digital experimentation and spontaneous reaction, as we’ve progressed the game we’ve certainly incorporated narrative threads and assets created outside of the digital.

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An in-game asset containing a merge of 3 physical paper drawings by Mez Breeze.

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We’ve ended up incorporating into All the Delicate Duplicates a vast array of creative material handcrafted outside the confines of a digital setup, with everything from pen-and-pencil-scribbled notes, notebooks, and standard painting canvases/surfaces used to create assets that help make up the core of the game. From jotting down core concepts to nailing exact dialogue exchanges, a manual writing process hasn’t flown out of the window by any means as you can see from the photo collage below.

Photos of Andy Campbell's A6 Pluto notebook containing rough ideas and thoughts about the work

Andy Campbell’s Notebook containing rough ideas and thoughts about All The Delicate Duplicates.

The actual storyworld presented in #DelicateDuplicates incorporates a mimicry of natural media in the form of paintings, books [a child’s school art journal; a teenager’s diary; an adult’s diary containing psychological ramblings], calendars, reports, chalked notes and illustrations. Although these sections don’t involve a great deal of involved interactivity – you can literally go back/forth through the pages and that’s about it – they wonderfully soften the digital tone and very much add a human element to the overall narrative.

Since the story spans a long time period [from 2006 to 2019, which is highlighted through lead characters’ John and Charlotte’s domestic home environment] it’s possible to see how technology begins to replace print-based media as a means of recording our characters’ thoughts and creative expressions. Hand-written pages, journals and diaries transform into laptops, phones and tablet devices.

As digital writers/artists, this isn’t far off a reflection of how we ourselves have experienced an increased transition to digital when it comes to writing and creativity, landing us almost exactly in the position we’re at now: using computers/devices and game-engine tech to fully realise the stories we want to tell to contemporary audiences.

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Building All The Delicate Duplicates

Welcome to the development blog for All The Delicate Duplicates (formerly known as Pluto) a forthcoming Transmedia work by Mez Breeze and Andy Campbell. All The Delicate Duplicates [or #DelicateDuplicates as it’s known in the online hashtaggery scene] has at its core a gameworld which blurs fantasy and scientific realism.

Be sure to check out the project’s main website to get informed of launch dates, and the Tumblr page for an insight into the inspiration lurking behind it.

In All The Delicate Duplicates, John, a computer engineer, inherits a collection of arcane objects from ‘myserious Aunt Mo’. Over time, the engineer and his daughter begin to realise that the objects have unusual physical properties – and that the more they are exposed to them, the more their realities and memories seem to change.

Through an app, a Virtual Reality/3D game and browser-based story, we’re constructing a cohesive storyworld where perceptions are stretched beyond the “real” as you [think you] know it.

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Register Now:”All the Delicate Duplicates” Open Beta!

17th November 2016, London, UK – Today, developers Mez Breeze and Andy Campbell are proud to announce that registration for the upcoming
All the Delicate Duplicates BETA is now OPEN!

Flabbergasted by the fabulous feedback from EGX, and the GameCity Festival where All the Delicate Duplicates won the Open Arcade Best Overall Game Award [THANK YOU!!] we are thrilled to be launching the BETA on 25th November 2016. Taking part in the BETA is easy! Simply register your interest by signing up on our BETA site. Once you’ve signed up, sit back, relax, maybe do some reading, and wait for your ‘access granted’ email which will contain all the necessary instructions of how to take part. We will send out these emails 24hrs before the BETA launches. The game is really close to completion, and we’re running this BETA to get as much final feedback from as wide an audience as possible before launch. The BETA sign up page will remain open during the BETA so you can help us spread the word. Please bear in mind, everything is still a work-in-progress and unintentional glitches might happen – the intentional ones we hope you enjoy! Please feel free to stream your experience or post screenshots, but we’d request that you state you’re playing a BETA version of the game on your posts. You can also share your impressions with us on twitter using the hashtag #DelicateDuplicates.The BETA is for PC only, will run from 12:00 GMT 25th November to 23:00 GMT 28th November, and is open to anyone over the age 16.
SIGN ME UP TO THE BETA PLEASE!

All the Delicate Duplicates is a work of digital fiction with a beautifully immersive gameworld at its core.

John, a computer engineer and his daughter Charlotte inherit a collection of weird objects from a mysterious relative, that oddly, neither of them can really remember anything much about. Eventually, John and Charlotte start to believe that the objects might be transforming their realities and memories…

A central part of the non-linear language in All The Delicate Duplicates is the poetic, hybrid language Mezangelle. It remixes the basic structure of English and computer code to create language where meanings are nested inside each other; packed. You have to read; then re-read; then re-re-read in order to piece together the disturbing truth behind ‘Aunt Mo’..

–ENDS–

Notes to Editors:
For press enquiries contact:

Tracey McGarrigan, Tracey@AnsibleComms.com
Ansible PR & Communications on behalf of All The Delicate Duplicates.

About Mez Breeze
Mez Breeze’s award-winning creations have helped shape digital fiction for over two decades. #PRISOM, her anti-surveillance game created with Dreaming Methods and produced for The 2013 International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality, is “…the digital equivalent of Orwell’s 1984” (according to academic James O’Sullivan). Rebecca Cannon from the game site SelectParks has said: “Mez is not only one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on contemporary digital culture, she’s also one of its most inspiring innovators.”

Having been shortlisted in the 2016 and 2015 Games Development Category of the Microsoft MCV Pacific Women In Games List which profiles the “most influential women across all facets of the Australian and New Zealand Games Industries”, Mez is currently a Coproducer, Creative Director and Lead Interactive Writer of the Inanimate Alice: Perpetual Nomads Virtual Reality/Novel Series. She is also a proud bearer of a ridiculous number of laugh lines; co-creator of All the Delicate Duplicates; a Senior Research Affiliate with The Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab; a bee devotee and permaculture practitioner; an Advisor to The Mixed Augmented Reality Art Research Organisation; a steward to two lovely rescue dogs; and is developing a comprehensive career archive with Duke University.
www.mezbreezedesign.com

About Andy Campbell
Andy Campbell is the Director of Digital Media at One to One Development Trust which works with arts organisations, archives, museums, voluntary sector, NGOs, schools and universities, community groups / enterprises, statutory sector organisations, businesses, artists and entrepreneurs to create innovative digital media, film and arts projects that celebrates and promotes culture, heritage, wellbeing, education and diversity.

Through his studio Dreaming Methods, Andy has created over 30 works of digital fiction and is a judge of the New Media Writing Prize, established in 2010 by Bournemouth University in partnership with if:book UK. Andy fuses writing with digital media to create collaborative electronic literature and experimental narrative games. He is the lead developer of Inanimate Alice, an award-winning digital novel created by Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph.
www.dreamingmethods.com

About The Space
The Space works with artists and arts organisations to create great art and reach new audiences using digital technologies and platforms. From learning and skills through to funding and commissioning, it supports the best new and original talent from the UK. The Space was founded by the BBC and Arts Council England.
www.thespace.org

Press Release

All the Delicate Duplicates at EGX

Delicates at EGX with Postcards

From our rampantly-overexcited-news-department, we’re chuffed to report that All the Delicate Duplicates is now on show at EGX in Birmingham!  Our frenetic producer, Tam, is deftly handling demoing our latest build, and this particular demo is now playable for the first time ever as a worldwide exclusive at EGX, hosted by the Leftfield Collection.

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Sponsored by SEGA, the Leftfield Collection celebrates the diverse, innovative nature of the indie development scene, giving EGX attendees experiences that are often profoundly different to those available elsewhere on the show floor. Based on reactions so far, there’s been lots of positive chatter about All the Delicate Duplicates, with the word edgy being tossed about by Leftfield attendees exploring it [whoo!]. There’a also free postcards showcasing some of the artwork from the game, such as:

Delicates Postcard Front Final Mez Final Side 1

So if you’re in the general Birmingham area and keen to have a crack at this exclusive All the Delicate Duplicates demo [and/or can watch our livestream our #DelicateDuplicates demo LIVE from the EGX Twitch stage at 3:00pm BST today], pop into EGX and have a play through not just our game, but the other lovely games on offer as part of the Leftfield Collection.

And please tweet us if you are at the show by using #DelicateDuplicates. Not at the show? You can sign up for the BETA here.

 

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Digital Accidents

One of the most exciting aspects of creating work digitally is the potential for accidents to happen – for things to go wonderfully wrong – and for those accidents to turn into something mind-bogglingly, unexpectedly cool. Or just downright useful. We’ve had more than a few such incidents whilst creating #DelicateDuplicates.

Back in the late 1990s, for my sins, I spent a short stint at art college. My tutor there didn’t believe that accidents could even happen digitally; that such things were only possible through the loose, splattery form of natural media. How could you possibly make anything go wrong on a computer? That was surely the opposite of what computers were about: accuracy, calculations, pre-empting stuff. :)

Many of All The Delicate Duplicates visual effects have been the result of extreme experimentation or the accidental cranking of script component parameters to ridiculous proportions.

For example, Mo’s Universe – the bizarre wilderness seen in many #DelicateDuplicates screenshots – uses a staggeringly powerful terrain tool called RTP3 to overlay a range of different materials over the same enormous surface with the addition of powerful extras such as perlin noise and vertical texturing. RTP3’s parallax effect (probably generally intended to be used fairly subtly) is pushed to extremes to make the surface across which the player/reader walks appear to be made of a dream-like liquid.

For #Delicate Duplicates, perfectly fitting. Intentional? Not really – the effect was discovered entirely by accident; a slip of the mouse whilst setting other values. Here’s what it looks like up close in an early environment demo:

Similarly, “the Queen” – a huge chess piece that makes an eerie appearance in the later parts of the work – gained a bizarre and unintentional life of her own through the use of various mashed-up scripts. She hones in on you during gameplay like some kind of hideous Dalek – even though the script, logically, says she shouldn’t. It wasn’t planned, and we’re not 100% sure why it happens, but it certainly works narratively and artistically (or, we think so!), so we’ve ringfenced the code and left it “as is” for the moment. :)

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Mo’s Universe

Some of All The Delicate Duplicates’s most widespread screenshots suggest a dark, industrial, possibly even science fictional landscape littered with glittering rivers and text-wrapped objects. This is a world with no hideous alien lifeforms to shoot, no enemy base to infiltrate, no particular mission to accomplish. When the story begins, you are landed here – alone, in the middle of this place, with little instruction or explanation. A gigantic structure on the horizon shrouded by a mysterious red fog draws the eye, but whether you decide to head towards it or divert elsewhere is up to you.

Welcome to Mo’s Universe: an open-ended landscape that manifests as one of the character’s fully-rendered psychological states. This state mirrors Mo’s obsession with the transient nature of reality: a state that will go out of its way to remove you as quickly as possible – back to the familiar safe-state you believe to be the truth.

Text has always formed a visceral part of our collaborative work. The Dead Tower (2012) sees the bright white hope of poetic 3D text – often in motion – bringing much-needed life to a dark virtual landscape riddled with discarded household junk beneath the shadow of a mysterious structure; #CARNIVAST (2013) weaves intricate webs of encoded language into a matrix of touch-responsive code-poetry experiences delivered as an Android app; and #PRISOM throws out text-based moral dilemmas within a bleak futuristic glass city/gameworld endlessly patrolled by all-seeing drones, not dissimilar to the ‘Context Scrubbers’ that roam Mo’s Universe, keen to erase you out of it.

Everywhere you look, click, touch, there is the brightness of text – of language – often mangled and encrypted, as if it were the X-ray bones beneath the illusion of the physical.

Text within All The Delicate Duplicates exists as a form of fabric. Fabrications. Strings, ribbons, loops and splines. Glimpsing, knotted, complex and part-encoded; continuously subject to transformation, mutation. Sponges or pockets of trapped, short-lived, incubated, forgotten/unperceived messages.

World Building Snapshots: The Room

All The Delicate Duplicates (previously known as Pluto) is work of short fiction told partly through an immersive 3D gameworld. In this world, you – the player/reader – will find yourself frequently fluctuating between several time zones, during which the protagonist’s house varies in terms of narrative clues, content, clutter, mood and appearance. We’re currently busily-building these environments [including the kitchen, livingroom, bedroom, loft, and other spoiler-alerting spaces] to suit those time snaps.

While we’ve been working through the various states and phases of All The Delicate Duplicates’ internal room building, we’ve put together a short video of how we’re actually doing it. Press play above to view the video [which includes a superfab soundtrack by our audio artist, Chris Joseph]. Rest assured this video has been speeded up about 10 times – we don’t actually work that fast in real life [if only!!]. :)

Feel free to also check out these gameworld screenshots of the same room at different times [tap to enlarge]:

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timezone2

timezone3-in-progress

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Shaping the GameWorld: Tendrils + Tangents

So it’s been a while since we’ve posted here, mostly due to full-force devotion to devving all things #DelicateDuplicates. We’re in the complete swing of it now, the thick of it, with the gameworld in heavy-duty development flow, website design coming along nicely, the fabulous Chris Joseph tinker-hammering-out the audio, + the backstory tendrils construct-creeping via surprising [+ mostly delicious] tangents.

Screenshot-Landscape

At this stage of development, most of our energies are focused on the fully fledged construction of a workable Gameworld prototype. While we’ve got the major mechanics sorted, the backstory narrative is currently fluctuating according to progress in integrating the internal + external emphasis we’re playing with: we’re deliberating with weighting/structuring various game elements that weave story components in and out of closeted and open-oriented 3D spaces. It’s a delicate juggle, and one we want to get just right – hence the time we’re devoting to the granular aspects.

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And on the additional “good news” front, we’re chuffed to report that All The Delicate Duplicates has been selected for showcasing at the Electronic Literature Organisation’s 2016 Conference “New Horizons” Exhibition, which is:

“…a partnership between the Electronic Literature Organization and the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). ELO 2016 takes place at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, B.C. where over 750 scholars convene each year at DHSI to learn and expand their knowledge of DH tools, methods, and criticism. Taking place from 10-12 June…ELO 2016 will feature critical papers and artistic works of electronic literature.”

In short, we’re both insanely happy with our overall progress. So happy, in fact, that we’re keen to give you some recent in-game screenshots for your viewing pleasure [in addition to those above]. Enjoy!

Scale

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Red Tape

Red Tape

After almost 10 months of waiting for the funding to come through and battling red tape surrounding the development of Pluto, we’re pleased to finally announce that we’re in full flow again. Hurray! :)

We’d originally envisaged at least having a beta version of the gameworld released and available to experience on PC/MAC earlier in the year, however things haven’t quite panned out that way. We’re now looking at April 2016 before we release our Pluto beta.

Of course, we will be posting regular snapshots, updates and curious snippets as things evolve more rapidly here on the blog and on our Tumblr page. So please bookmark us!

On the very big plus side, Pluto has become more graphically and technically accomplished throughout the course of the year as we’ve been keeping it ticking through the endless agreements and paperwork. It’s also made some fantastic demo appearances at various exhibits and conferences, and the story itself has both evolved and honed down.

Pluto Accolades

We’re delighted that a work of digital fiction as ambitious and experimental as Pluto has been given a Digital Art award and funding, and look forward to pushing the boundaries as far as we can across multiple platforms… And realities. :)

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