“Cadence is Elsewhere” is a story of digital immortality and the heroic AI companion of an eternal little girl.
About this project
“Cadence is Elsewhere” is an explorable, interactive story about a robotic teddy bear and her search for her lost child after the AI singularity. Humanity has been wiped from the face of the Earth by a swarm of aggressive nano-machines (nanomites) in an apparent attack, leaving the world an abandoned ruin. Only the shadows of humanity remain in the form of robots, machines, and other automata inhabited by the partially uploaded–and now trapped–personalities of the former human occupants of Earth.
You play as Rosalind–a child’s toy artificial intelligence in the shape of a pink stuffed bear–in search of her lost girl. Rosalind awakens years after the apparent disaster to a world empty of humanity but filled with its echoes, driven by one directive:
- “Find me. Save me. Please.” — Cadence
The story unfolds according to your play style and choices, and the timeline can diverge significantly based not only on your dialog choices, but your approach to environmental puzzles and challenges, your navigation of the game, and other factors. In Cadence is Elsewhere, the world itself is a main character, which responds to how you decide to progress.
See the full, uncut trailer with a bit more exposition (mildly spoilery) here: https://youtu.be/mRBedRsjfJw
- A branching storyline in the vein of the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels or newer visual novels, including environments that change according to the player’s choices. “Cadence is Elsewhere” features (at least) 4 different major endings, each of which include several variations within each storyline and outcome. Some locations are visited only in certain storylines, so the game progression can be significantly different on subsequent play-throughs! Think “Life is Strange”, or “Dark Dreams Don’t Die” which are similar in genre (and both fantastic games!!!) Cadence is Elsewhere features a more divergent story with significantly different endings based on your actions.
- Many colorful, interesting, detailed, and highly interactive areas to explore! Rosalind will need to scavenge the ruins of humanity in the dead, offline world, and find a way into the online, vibrant, and strange world of “Elsewhere” in search of Cadence.
- Various environmental obstacles and puzzles challenge the player’s progression. Rosalind is a teddy bear, not a fighter. The player will need to find creative solutions to deal with threats and hazards. The abandoned automata of the real world are still trying to carry out their duties from a forgotten age, but are now badly malfunctioning. Learn their habits and use your knowledge to make your way around strong, dangerous enemies!
- A voxel graphical style that recalls the heyday of retro gaming and indulges in the virtual/cyberpunk aesthetic, while allowing a full 360 view of the world and a modern control scheme.
- Beautifully painted character portraits and professional voice work accompany audio logs, emails, files, and other artifacts left behind by the former human occupants of the real world ruins. The world of “Cadence is Elsewhere” is alive and breathing even if humanity… uhh.. Isn’t. :)
The game is played through a classic-feeling point and click interface, but with free movement and a freely rotating camera. Rosalind will roam the ruins left behind by humanity, discovering clues and keys needed to bypass obstacles, unlock doors, find hidden rooms and areas, and progress from level to level. At times, the player will be presented with a choice–some obvious, some not–that will alter the flow of the story. The manner in which you solve puzzles or confront (or avoid) obstacles matters, and the outcome of the game will reflect your choices and play style. Cadence is Elsewhere has no combat in a traditional sense. Rosalind must use her wits to survive and progress.
Nearly every object in the Cadence is Elsewhere world can be interacted with. Access computer systems, search lockers and drawers, knock over a pile of boxes to distract a roaming security bot. If you can think of it, you can probably do it!
Gather information from barely functioning computer systems, find clues, take notes, and use the information you find to assist, avoid, or defeat the stranded AI occupants of humanity’s ruins and make your way to Cadence.
Rosalind – Our brave protagonist! Rosalind awakens in a world bereft of human beings, but filled with automatons from household robots to industrial complexes run by their partially uploaded personalities. She knows that Cadence is trying to contact her, somehow, and sets out to find her lost girl.
Cadence Ramsey – the daughter of Catherine Ramsey. An especially intelligent and inquisitive seven year old, Cadence is Rosalind’s best friend and unwitting beta tester for CogniScape, the company at which her mom is a high ranking executive. In a world without any surviving human beings, Rosalind continues to hear her voice…
Catherine Ramsey – an Executive Director on the board of CogniScape, renowned for their neural upload and “safe AI” technology, and a brilliant neuroscientist in her own right, Catherine’s speciality in cybernetics and derived AI landed her a very successful career in a powerful position. When the Code Grey hits the city, she sees the writing on the wall. Knowing doom is imminent, she brings Cadence to her lab in a desperate act to preserve her consciousness.
Many more coming as project milestones are met! Mentioning many of them would spoil story elements, but some will be featured in updates soon! You or your character could also be featured in the Cadence is Elsewhere world! Check out the “Pay attention to me!” backer tier and above!
Mark Warner – designer/developer/producer/3D artist and animator, Mark is the creator of the world of “Cadence is Elsewhere”. The old, creaky, podcast project which gave it birth can be found at http://www.mindsofterminus.com. (Mark is the guy on the right, by the way. Izzy, his six year old, is in charge of Rosalind fan art.) Mark has 20 years of programming experience in a variety of industries and is a hardcore troubleshooter and stubborn solver of problems at 3AM.
J. Whitney – 2D Art and Art Direction
Jennifer Whitney Black graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Illustration and a double concentration in Book Arts and Game Arts. She specializes in character art and design but also has a passion for narrative illustration. Jennifer does a myriad of work which includes freelance, comics, illustrating her own writing, and visual journalism. She also creates original and fan work for conventions.
Jennifer’s excellent portfolio and extended bio can be found at http://www.jwhitneyart.com.
Isla S. – Voice Actor for Rosalind
Isla’s talent for voice acting–and for rewriting Mark’s sometimes clumsily written dialog on the fly–was invaluable to the Minds of Terminus (http://www.mindsofterminus.com) podcast where these characters originated. Her work is creative, emotive, and she knows how to do a perfectGladOS impersonation to boot! Isla’s portfolio can be found at http://tworings-v.tumblr.com/.
Janelle Young – Voice Actor for both Cadence and Catherine Ramsey
Janelle Young is a young American voice actress based out of Oregon. She has worked primarily in animation shorts and video games, and hopes to do many, many more! You can see samples of her work at jeyvoice.wordpress.com
Rob Marley – Cogniscape Building AI, Newscaster, and miscellaneous
Rob’s bassy, imposing, and highly professional voice talents make a great addition to the “Cadence is Elsewhere” project. His professional voice over page can be found at http://www.marleyaudio.com/
Jia Choi – Graphic Designer
Jia designed the logo for Cadence is Elsewhere in a marathon revision session one long weekend. Jia’s portfolio can be found at http://www.jialand.net
Simon Felix – Composer and Musician
Simon has done some brilliant work for the project already in the form of some sample audio loops that help establish the ambience in CiE’s widely varying locations. His SoundCloud can be found at https://soundcloud.com/simon_felix09. Some of Simon’s work on Cadence is Elsewhere is featured below.
Special Thanks to Josh Woodward at http://www.joshwoodward.com for his amazing and extensive library of Creative Commons licensed songs, including “She Remained” which features in our trailer!!
The story of “Cadence is Elsewhere” started as a hobby podcast project called “Minds of Terminus”. With just 3 episodes produced (still available at http://www.mindsofterminus.com), we attracted a small but very loyal fanbase. The podcast format felt too confining, though. I wanted visuals. I wanted to explore alternate storylines. What if he did this? What if she said that? We started work on a visual novel project, but something was still missing. While it gave the universe much more narrative freedom, it was still too confining.
“Cadence is Elsewhere” was born. A fully realized 3D world that you can explore directly, interactively, as events play out and influence the story through your actions. The world lives, breathes, and is shaped by you, the player.
In order to accomplish this vision in a credible and satisfying way, I need you. I need backers who are excited by the concept of Cadence’s world and want to see it come to fruition as a fully fleshed out piece of art, with the work of talented and experienced collaborators woven together to create a complete, engaging experience. Visuals, story, gameplay, music, and sound will give the story of “Cadence is Elsewhere” presence and gravitas and make it a world that you, the players, can get lost in exploring for hours of interesting and entertaining gameplay.
I’ve already invested about a thousand hours of my own blood, sweat, and tears into this project as well as about half of my family’s savings to bring it to this point. I’ve left my corporate IT job and Cadence is Elsewhere is now my full time gig.
Development is well underway and building momentum, but I need to feed my fantastic collaborators, and I need to keep the lights on here in the meantime. Please consider backing us!
“Cadence is Elsewhere” will release for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Console releases are something we’d like to do as well, but can’t promise at this date. Stay tuned! We’re definitely looking into developing for consoles in the future.
Risks and challenges
The concept and game itself have been in development for a while now, around two years in total including the earliest incarnations of Cadence’s story. Most of the difficult parts are behind me. The goals are well defined and attainable and I just need the budget to continue.
I’ve left corporate IT and have been working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week on the programming, 3D assets, and overall production of “Cadence is Elsewhere” for two and a half months now. With a fully funded campaign, finishing this game can remain my full time commitment as the game designer, programmer, and producer. This project is not a nights and weekends side thing, or a hobby. This is how I’m gonna eat and keep the lights on and the roof over my family’s head. I’m not going anywhere, although I will slow my pace to a slightly more sane one! :)
I’ve gathered an amazing and talented group of collaborators committed to helping me make the game look and sound great, too. I couldn’t ask for a better group of folks, who have really, truly brought their best work to the table on this project so far.
Being the sole programmer is inherently risky in that all programming challenges are my own, but I’m a veteran troubleshooter and I’m very confident I can deal with what comes. This project may be delayed if a particularly big challenge derails me, but it will still see release.