I'm Alex Harvey, lead developer of Tangiers. About four months ago, five years of work in retail got to me and I quit. Working out of a bedroom with my friend and living off of pasta and bread with no other income, I focused my energies on bringing to Kickstarter a project that I'd been working on in my spare time - Tangiers. The risk of going into this was that had it failed, I would probably lose my house pretty soon after. Fortunatly we succeeded!

Tangiers is a pretty niche effort - a stealth game that's driven by a range of 20th century avant-garde reference points. Despite this, the fact that we're unnown and that we do not have a publically available build to download, we managed to hit our target yesturday!

Ask me anything :)

EDIT: ...wow! That was a lot more attention than I'd bargained for. Thank you so much everybody, it's been a pleasure talking to you all. Expected to have my hour or two of fame to fade at 10pm, but it's now 6am and the questions are still coming... Going to have to call it a night now! Will return tomorrow to respond to any good ones that I've missed!

Proof: Post on Kickstarter updates

Comments: 425 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

shore8888 karma

You've already mentioned the role that language will play in the game and I think that's a great idea. Will fans of Burroughs, Ballard, Lynch etc. be able to enjoy a lot of references or easter eggs or relate to specific places/events/moments in the game specifically? Don't name them, of course. Not that I think you would anyway.

oysterFAKE57 karma

Yes! Absolutely :) A lot of the game world will be a patchwork of influences (balancing that out with the texture so as not to completely alienate anyone who doesn't get the references). One of the videos we uploaded during the campaign has a warehouse full of machinery, the machinery going through Gysin's Kick That Habit Man.

Messofanego5 karma

Just listened to that "Kick that Habit Man" song and it's cut-up lyrics are perfect for that machinery level video! :D

oysterFAKE5 karma

:D I wonder how much it would cost to license...

sebcredible66 karma

You had me at David Lynch,

What types of influences from Lynch will you be bringing into Tangiers?

oysterFAKE66 karma

Three specifics from Lynch that I can jump on - the conversation at the start (near the start? between the two women) of Inland Empire, and how wonderfully disconnected it was. Theater scene in Mulholland Drive. Whole texture and ambiance of Eraserhead. Ofc won't be cutting and pasting those in, but the emotive effect of those scenes, and some of the techniques will be going (and are) in to Tangiers.

btxsqdr6 karma

fav movies. lynch is always playing with good and evil, also with key masters who lead the way. is there sort of a good world in tangiers?

oysterFAKE21 karma

I think we'll be stepping out of the way of Lynch's good and evil, going more for an amoral watch. When it comes to those sorts of themes, we're sticking ourselves in with the more Burroughsian slant of control and freedom.

cranberry_23 karma

Your pitch video reminds me of Garth Marenghi. Was that intentional?

oysterFAKE33 karma

Hahah, not really. The dodgey lighting is because I.... inadvertantly left a loaf of bread on the other end of the sofa. It was distracting and I had to mask it somehow.

cranberry_4 karma

Well the game looks great. Well done on reaching your target. I hope the bear pit makes a cameo appearance, that place always felt like game environment!

oysterFAKE5 karma

Hah! You have to stealth through without being asked for 20p

thinkoplex21 karma

Was there a particular work or event that inspired you to create Tangiers, other than the general influences you list on your Kickstarter page?

oysterFAKE41 karma

Nothing that I'd put down as a specific moment, but a time spent in a psychiatric unit was when I said "right, I'm turning everything around and devoting myself to something". Looking at others work, I think it might be David Cronenberg's videodrome that made me want to be creative! I loved that film (and still do) so much!

thinkoplex7 karma

An excellent film - certainly one of my favorites, and one that has never been equalled IMHO.

If I may ask a second question, it there a possibility that, after Tangiers is finished, you may do an update to add some of the stretch goals from the Kickstarter (e.g., reality tears, reactive music)? I know I'd certainly participate in a second Kickstarter (or upgrade within the game) to fund such an update.

oysterFAKE11 karma

Thanks! But I'm hoping for a Notch level of success and wealth, so hopefully a second Kickstarter will not be nescacary.


thinkoplex3 karma

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Congratulations on hitting your goal, and best of luck!

oysterFAKE3 karma

No problem!

Main_2 karma

Necessary. That's the word you're looking for mate.

Not trying to be rude or anything.

oysterFAKE6 karma

Thanks. I'm entirely incapable of spelling that word (and a fair few others) for some reason... I generally rely on a built in spell check, but I'm using someone elses PC at the moment and they seem to have that disabled.

prupert19 karma

Being a fellow Bristolian, are there any plans to introduce some Brizzle-specific elements to Tangiers: - Banksy graffiti that you can use to help your game if you get stuck, - Roni Size-esque music, - a level themed around Portishead (with associated quirky music), - some Grommits - or a vacuous hellish level called Cribbs Causeway / Oceania / The Mall?

Great job on getting funded by the way, Tangiers isn't my usual kinda game, but the artistic style and game elements suckered me in. I know a dude who works for Edge (the UK Gaming magazine) who I could point Tangiers to if it might help funding the final couple of days, or have you hit them up already?

oysterFAKE11 karma

Not been able to get hold of Edge - there doesn't appear to be any contact information on their site at all!

There'll be a lot of Bristolian influence - especially in the architecture and how the architecture to a degree spells out the history of the place. We've also got the arches :)

prupert9 karma

Aha, OK, I'll Facebook my mate (old school friend but not spoken in a while so can't promise anything) and point him towards you guys and cross my fingers.


oysterFAKE5 karma

Cheers Prupert. If he does it'll be a big big help :)

theauthenticdavid11 karma

The stretch goal for enhanced character dynamics sounds amazing to me. Is there any chance that you could include it in some form of DLC should the game do well enough upon release?

oysterFAKE17 karma

Potentially, if enough people request it. We're going to be building up to a big free expansion six months after Tangiers, and then general extra releases and features for atleast the following year. (All dependent on it giving us enough money to eat though!)

tophatstuff8 karma

Talk technical to me! What sort of tools you use, how do you prepare graphics and audio, interesting programming problems you ran into, etc. Also, dogs or cats?

oysterFAKE13 karma

Using Unity as a base (what Indy dev doesn't these days?). Antares Vizio, a visual C# interface for most of the coding, because it lets me debug and reprogram when the game is running. Back to standard C# where Antares is lacking. Graphics workflow goes two ways betwen us - I whitebox levels, Michael turns that into a loose set of architecture, I add the definition and back to Michael to texture. I get quite impatient, so it keeps me moving from task to task. Strangely that doesn't apply to programming - I can code solid for a day and not notice the time pass!

The whole words mechanic in the game came from a design quirk. In the game, spoken language materialises into the world, and you can use it as a tool. This idea came from accidentally applying physics properties to a debug indicater, lol.

I'm full on cats. Michaels agressively dogs.

lumpking698 karma

Did you have game dev/programming experiance prior to the kickstarter?

If no, I'll have some followups.

oysterFAKE13 karma

This is the first game I've worked on, though I've dabbled on and off in programming, level design etc for years. Solidly working on it for 12 months to get myself up to speed before getting the project in a position where we're ready too launch and actually complete it within a year. On a coding front, we're 2 months away from being robust and feature complete.

lumpking697 karma

Have you ever completed a game or program?

Will you be contributing code to game?

Are there other people helping you make the game? If yes, I'm curios how you are paying your programmers? Did you give them a salary of some sort, payment from kickstarter, or maybe a % of the sales?

Was it hard putting that team together? How did you find them and build your team?

oysterFAKE8 karma


Yeaup, and most of that side is complete

If we get enough to bring someone with a more dedicated focus on the code, then it'll be someone I'm already close to(a lot of people from school etc went into coding). That'll be a mix of Kickstarter funds to keep them alive and with the occasional treat, and then % of sales. Team is already four of us - Myself, Michael whose more of an assistant, Catt (artist) and Joseph (music)

Putting them together, I wanted people I would be comfortable with, so it came from friends of friends or direct friends. Michael I've known forever, had him in mind from the start. The other two came from sending loose specs, seeing what they came out with, seeing if that matched my line of thought. Those two did... and very well, quite a few others didn't.

lumpking692 karma

What do you expect your main role/job to be as lead dev? Are you going to be contributing an equal amount of code? Or do you plan to delegate tasks and test things?

I'm assuming the game is going to have some form of music? If yes, is the musician a friend as well or did you hire him? If you did hire him, how did you find him and what does that cost?

How long to you expect the project to complete?

What do you have planned for the future if the game is a success or failure? If it fails, will you try again or...? If its a success will you be reinvesting in the studio or a new game or maybe going on a big vacation?

oysterFAKE5 karma

As a lead dev, I'm going to be working on the management side as much as the creative one (though that does ofc include managing consistency etc). With resources so tight, I need to make sure that we make best of everything we have, efficiency is key. If we get a dedicated coder, then I'll be letting go of that side almost completely, though still sorting out the scripting of any one off events.

Musician was someone my better half knew. Sent over a few keywords and concepts that I wanted the soundtrack to embody. The few tracks he sent me matched what I wanted to express perfectly.

We've got 12 months to complete the project, we have been working on it for sometime already.

The game won't be released until it's a success as a game - but the faith of our backers rests on getting it out within that 12 month period, which we're mindful of. If it is a failure at market, then I've no idea what I'll do - depends on why it failed. If a success, everythings going back into the studio.

lumpking693 karma

Thanks for answering all my questions. I'm looking forward to the finished product!

oysterFAKE3 karma

Thank you! Were they satisfactory? Wasn't sure if you were trying to catch me out on anything heh

lumpking695 karma

Yeah, they were satisfactory! I wasn't try'n to catch you on anything or bust your balls. I was/am genuinely curious about the dev side/business side of it all! :-D

oysterFAKE8 karma

Cool! I get paranoid about how the whole "first time developer" thing comes off - but people have been pretty cool about it actually :)

Elzzim1 karma

I've dabbled with driving a car and I'm going to start a kickstarter to turn me into a Nascar driver!

oysterFAKE1 karma

Good luck! I hope it goes well for you

firfir8 karma

Hey Alex, I initially meant to ask you this privately but I think it's a better fit for the AMA:

You said that the cut-up technique is in part inspired by Dishonored, which was my initial impression as well. As you know, Dishonored had its opinion about the type of gameplay favored by its player: In a sense, high chaos players, who preferred more bloodshed, were punished by a much more negative story progression and a fairly cruel ending. It was Dishonored's way of disapproving of typical FPS gameplay, something I found myself disagreeing with. Will Tangiers be making similar value judgments of players' performance?

oysterFAKE10 karma

No. I'm staying away from any moral (appropriate, given the Burroughs influence) or gameplay judgement. The balance and challenge with having the world change is to make it change in such a manner that it allows more opportunities for the styles of play that cause the change.

oysterFAKE7 karma

From a narrative slant, there won't be a good/bad ending... there'll be different degrees of ending, but no specific "well done" or "oh dear". Endings will be similarly effected by the cut-up system, so actual specifics will vary player to player.

Severally7 karma

How did you arrive at an estimated delivery date of August 2014?

oysterFAKE6 karma

Looked at what we've got already, how long it'll take to finish the coding side off. Then looked at how fast we are with our workflow and area design, and extrapolated that. Then added an extra month as a (inevitably used) buffer. Bearing in mind that we're working 70 hour weeks at a minimum during this.

Messofanego7 karma

70 hours, bloody hell. Considering how many articles I've read about the man hours of game developers, I'm not particularly envious to be on that side.

oysterFAKE6 karma

That's what we've maintained so far. During the campaign at the moment, with a few exceptions we've been doing nothing else. Waking up and falling asleep to the Kickstarter page!

reaner7 karma

Congratulations on getting funded.

Will there be any way to pledge more money after the Kickstarter campaign ends? Once I have more disposable income I'd like to be able to get access to the beta.

UpstartDuke3 karma

I'd love to be able to contribute later too. I have literally no money right now but I really want to contribute at some point.

oysterFAKE25 karma

Nothing public, as I don't want to be disrespectful of the faith our backers are putting into the project with a money grab later on. But pop me an email ([email protected]) and we can sort something out!

Vehrmt6 karma

A problem I personally ran into before deciding on what I wanted to work on (though I never brought it near your level) - assuming you had several ideas for a game, what was the second best idea that Tangiers won out over?

oysterFAKE14 karma

Immersive Sim/Social survival horror in space. Think System Shock meets Pathologic. 14 days where everything is going wrong on a spacecraft, as people get killed off they split into different factions, etc. Manipulations and intrigue. But: Everything is driven by the AI, your social interactions fueling much of the late game. Towards the end, it's you and maybe 4/5 other people trying to survive. Their dispositions are driven by your interactions with them earlier on. Some might betray you for personal survival, others might sacrifice.

Didn't make it because there's no way I actually could just yet.

UpstartDuke8 karma

Oh man, that sounds GREAT. I hope you're keeping that one filed away.

oysterFAKE2 karma

When I feel I'm able to do it, I'm jumping right to the challenge. Could be a good few years though ;)

Messofanego1 karma


It's so sad we never got much System Shock other than Dead Space which was meant to be System Shock 3 apparently but really isn't.

oysterFAKE1 karma

I spent the entirity of Dead Space thinking "damn, this -almost- feels like system shock". Then I read that it wa-

Kennadork4 karma

You know what's weird I just watched the episode of 30 rock where Tracy Morgan has to get a tattoo of his wife Angie and gets the idea to just sharpie over it and make it say Tangiers. Do you find this weird?

oysterFAKE4 karma

Haha, I find it weird how many people that happens to! You must be the third or fourth since we announced the game? :D

jasnbekr4 karma


oysterFAKE4 karma

We've already got someone on board, but thanks anyway :)

t_hundero_us3 karma

Congratulations on getting funded! My out-in-left-field question is, will anyone be able to mod or create maps for it?

oysterFAKE19 karma

No mods or maps. But! We're using Unity, and some short time after release, we'll be putting together all of our stealth code and AI into a tool kit, which we'll be releasing for free :)

Falmarri5 karma

Free as in freedom? Or free as in beer?

oysterFAKE10 karma

Both! Free beer and we give you the recipe.

few233 karma

I just wanted to congratulate you. I really like the concept of the game. You had me at cut-up. Can you explain a bit more how you plan to incorporate the technique into the game/gameplay? How about Dream Machines as save or teleport devices? http://www.noah.org/science/dreamachine/

oysterFAKE3 karma

Experimented with a few different design ideas, much with the teleport/dream machine concept. They seemed a bit too... gimmicky in terms of gameplay mechanic? Like they'd be better suited for a puzzel game, or portal style central focus. Instead, we're going similar to Dishonored's Chaos system. The more you interact with the world, the more cut-up it becomes. Fragments of areas you interacted serve to rebuild future locations, both affecting aesthetics and game flow. Mostly procedural, but guided slightly.

few231 karma

Teleport in the sense of fast travel between major areas...or like the make campfire mechanic in Red Dead Revolver

oysterFAKE4 karma

Ah, I see. We're not going to be putting any fast travel in the game - The actual, on foot travel, and the events and areas you come across are a major part of Tangiers. Following on from that, it's a very forward moving game - it should feel more like a road movie than the back and forwards of Skyrim etc

few231 karma

Ok that makes sense then. Again, I just wanted to say I'm so glad you got your funding. I'm really looking forward to your updates and eventually release! Fnord!

oysterFAKE1 karma

Thanks few23! Looking forwards to the journey ahead of us :)

alphawolf293 karma

Do you plan any Futurist (as in, Italian Futurism) influences in your game? Seems right up your alley. If you haven't already, read the futurist's manifesto

oysterFAKE4 karma

I enjoy a lot of the Futurist aesthetic, not so much the underlying concepts - too steeped in bravado for my liking. In many ways it's direct opposition to Dada, which I connect far, far more strongly with.

iheartgallery3 karma

Would you mind laying out in simple ELI5 terms the steps you took to make your Kickstarter campaign successful?

What places did you publicise? What times did you publicise? (And which time zone?) Where did most of your backers come from?

Do you think you need an already successful business with thousands of engaged followers in order to run a successful campaign?

How often did you publicise? Did you annoy anyone by doing it too often?

I'm interested because an older family member is going to run a campaign soon to try and fund getting his childrens music album animated. He's asked for my help but I'm not really any more savvy about this than he is!

I know that the album is good and the idea is worthy of funding, I am just unsure of how to get it seen by the right people and by enough people to ensure success.

Thanks in advance if you answer any of these, I realise that some people might not want to give away secrets of success so won't be offended if you choose not to answer.

And lastly, congratulations on your success! Well done :)

oysterFAKE10 karma

No problem sharing what went into it - I'll be posting a fairly heft post mortem when I get the time to. But for now:

First, and most important thing to consider is quantity of hits. Plan ahead with the assumption that 1% of people who see your campaign will give you money.

Publicity comes in three forms: Press, Word of Mouth and Kickstarter. All equally important, and provided a roughly equal number of backers.

With press, I put together an initial collection of 100 writers, sites and journalists, researching those who would be specifically interested. Send personalised emails to each one of them. Did so in three waves, taking on board feedback with each one. Include a link to a press-kit with good copy for any articles and any visual materials. If no response, I tried again a week and a half later, with some slightly new information and approach.

Word of mouth comes from your backers, both in spreading the word and getting you press from their own contacts and friends. It's important to maintain a transparent, personal relationship with your backers - small projects thrive on the emotional investment. Not looking at that in cynical terms - your backers are making something very special happen for you. You owe them much more than just the listed reward. Keep talking to them, keep updating, and be honest and yourself.

The third is Kickstarter yourself. Run as close to a good, personalised and "model" campaign as you can, and Kickstarter will be inclined to put you under Staff Picks, on the Frontpage and on their weekly "best three projects" newsletter. The newsletter gives you an exposure far beyond the previous two.

You don't need a successful business for this - we came out of nowhere ourselves! I think we had just 300 Facebook followers when we started the campaign. We did get some buzz going a few months before hand - this helped make us slightly familiar and gave us our way "in" with a lot of the press when it came to the actual campaign.

Papaganoosh3 karma

Hey, I'm a backer, just wanted to say that this work showcases a ton of innovation and artistic bravery. Really exciting, and thanks for the AMA!

oysterFAKE1 karma

Thank you for supporting us! Really can't sufficiently express just how thankful we are to each our backers for making this happen.

scrignutz2 karma

Congratulations on funding the game development. It looks mysterious and compelling and I am happy to be a (small) backer. My question is about the influences: The work of Burroughs and Dali and the other surrealist and dadaist names you've mentioned seem to have lost none of their addictive weirdness even forty or fifty or seventy years later. I'm wondering what drew you to these worlds and why you believe they resonate so strongly with people in the 21st century.

oysterFAKE2 karma

Well, as you said there's the addictive weirdness. I think what drew me to them over other works is the focus on texture, on being emotive to a moment to moment basis. While say, Throbbing Gristle and Ballard might step into it, you don't get the sense that your enjoyment is reliant on understanding or reading an interpretation or the pieces concept; that is to say they deliver at a more visceral level rather than over dinner party discussion.

illogical0002 karma

Not necessarily attempting to be condensing, but how much trouble do you have with editing code when orthography doesn't seem to be your forté?

oysterFAKE2 karma

Not too much. I'm doing quite badly tonight due to firstly lack of sleep and secondly not on my own computer - this one's got a weird shaped keyboard and my fingers go in all the wrong places.

Mitsubini2 karma

I read somewhere that you were influenced by Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. I was wondering, if true, would these influences be indicative of Tangiers' soundtrack?

Also, are there any other musical influences to the project?

oysterFAKE7 karma

We're taking heavy influence from those two groups, especially from the paranoia and fragile nature of Cabaret Voltaire's instrumentation. Extracting similar from the first two Clock DVA releases. Also see Oophoi and Lustmord as our other strong points of reference. A big blend of early industrial and ambient.

We're casting a very broad net musically - I compiled a (Spotify playlist)[http://open.spotify.com/user/oystercake/playlist/2WEFLVmeYx8zUa2CSOQ1r2] of a cross section of a few of our influences. Some indirect, especially in the more polished electronica, but it gives a good indication of what we're going for musically.

See: Hol Baumann, Aes Dana, Monte Cazazza, Perc, Zoviet France, Sun Ra, Download, The Tear Garden, Imminent Starvation...

Mitsubini2 karma

Excellent. Thank you so much for the link. It's nice to see an approach to music not typical of gaming. Fits perfectly.

oysterFAKE2 karma

Cheers. One of the characteristics that I'm aiming for with Tangiers is that it's outward looking, or rather it takes more inspiration from outside the medium than it does from within. While, of course, understanding that it is a game and not a film or whatever.

lobsang_ludd2 karma

Quite interested in the idea of cut-up in level design, so I'd just like to ask if you could explain a bit how you manage it and the systems you've built for that. Getting interesting and balanced levels as well as a responsive and expressive cut-up seems like a potential challenge that could take a lot of iteration time and budget.

oysterFAKE3 karma

I put an overview of it in one of the updates. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1841885340/tangiers-surrealist-stealth/posts/562035

Basically, while the details, what goes where and how, etc, is procedural, we put in some "recommendations", that tell the system that a big change in flow would be better suited here, only put minor changes here, etc. etc. That keeps everything 100% user generated, but it saves us from having to lay everything down in code and end up breaking the whole thing.

kioescport2 karma

What would you have done if you hadn't reached your goal?

oysterFAKE5 karma

Absolutely no idea. Can juggle having no income (not that I'm making anything off of Tangiers, less than minimum wage to cover food and rent basically) for a certain amount of time, but not for that long. Without the Kickstarter I'd be evicted quite soon and then downward spiral.

inertiaisbad2 karma

Where is (or potentially will be?) any support or porting for Linux?

It sounds like a neat game, but I'm getting a little sick and tired of either having to reinstall Windows XP/7 to run stuff, and you have a grateful and underserved (if niche!) market here.

Given that, near as I can tell - you're using the equivalent of some neatly packaged thing for Windows...I wonder both at your ability and the funding required to ever see this game on Linux natively.

oysterFAKE4 karma

Every bit of support for Linux from launch! Unity has packaged Linux, Mac and Windows support. Unity is incredibly flexible in that regard, and was actually built with Mac in mind, and with the popularity of it on mobile formats has a very strong multi-platform angle. Linux support with Unity has been mostly driven through Kickstarter, more specifically Wasteland 2.

icanhasfoodnaoplz2 karma

What will you do if your next game doesn't make as much money as this one?

oysterFAKE2 karma

Sell out and fill my third one with mass market appeal

CactusHugger2 karma

I'm late to the party here, and don't see anyone asking, so I'll ask: I see you're using Unity, any chance on getting some Oculus Rift support into this? It seems like the kind of game that would benefit from it.

oysterFAKE2 karma

I'm going to play around with that (I've got a friend with one), but I don't think it'll make it to the final game... third person view + non photo realistic art style will probably make for a pretty awful experience!

autodidact892 karma

I'm in a similar situation you were up to four months ago. I'm working a dead end retail job dreaming of a dream almost too unrealistic. Except I aspire to compose music for games and movies instead.

Would you advise others with such dreams to take your gambling approach to success, or should they try a safer route since most people won't be as lucky nor skilled are you are?

oysterFAKE2 karma

Always, always find a safer route. As a tip to becoming a composer - build relationships with game designers or at-least the community before pitching to them. I get maybe 3-5 pitches a day for that! Always appreciate the interest, but in all honestly I'm far more inclined to work with someone I know (of), even if loosely.

tomtom97491 karma

£35 Donation just sent. I can't wait for this.

Any idea on the time frame of the BETA release?

Thanks again. Looks awesome :D

oysterFAKE2 karma

Thanks for the support :) Target time frame with Beta is at the midpoint of development.

fearachieved1 karma

How do you think enough people saw your project? Did you advertise? Is this the first time you posted to reddit?

oysterFAKE3 karma

It's split three ways betwen word of mouth, Kickstarter's own promotions and press coverage. Not the first time I've posted to Reddit, but it is the first time I've gotten any replies :D

RebelLumberjack1 karma

Can I get that sweet Tangiers poster without paying 100 bones?

oysterFAKE2 karma

There's one poster attached to the £100 tier, and a seperate (the black sun ) one as a £10 add-on to any tier :)

bronkula1 karma

are you aware of all the stuff they don't tell you about kickstarter? like that people feel like they've already ordered your product? that you won't get the full amount when paid (fees and such). that many people's payments won't go through? i hope you're not thinking it's all smooth sailing at this point. keep your head up and make sure you're always vigilant.

oysterFAKE2 karma

Ohhh yes. Been watching another project where the developer was getting bombarded with emails asking where to get the download from :D There's a good buffer in the budget set aside to cover all the overheads and hidden costs, we're pretty well prepared and spent a lot of time before hand researching and learning :)

peegeeo1 karma

Wow. I like very much that visual style, the mechanics, the whole atmosphere... would love to work on a project like that, please hire me?

oysterFAKE2 karma

If only I had the budget to hire extra people!

Duckfloss1 karma

No question, just a comment.

I'm not a gamer - the newest console I own is SNES (Super Mario Bros. 3 FTW). But the proposed style and concept of your game grabbed me. I'm really looking forward to the finished product.

Also, thanks for the regular updates on Kickstarter.

oysterFAKE1 karma

Thanks Duck! Not as many "thinking aloud" pieces on the design that I'd have liked to include, so I'll be posting some more on the main page once we're funded :)

PickleChipped1 karma

Hi! I'm 16 years old, and I'm currently working on a video game all by myself (In case you're interested: http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/188621-Medieval-Magic-RPG-First-game!) I obviously have nothing to lose, unlike you, I seriously respect you. What would your biggest piece of advice be to a young kid starting to make a game? I'm sure you would know that it can be frustrating sometimes :p Thanks! And I wish you the best of luck with Tangiers! I'm looking forward to seeing where it will go!

oysterFAKE1 karma

Thanks Pickle. Looked at your video and you're off to a solid start! Impressed that you're creating everything - the arial view of development you garner really is worthwhile. Best of luck and stick with it - there's a lot of potential and good places that this can go.

So, a few points that I've learnt during game development... they're not entirely lucid, as I'm getting very sleepy now but here we go:

Firstly, maintain focus and don't give up. Especially when progress is getting tedious or you hit a roadblock coding wise - keep at it. So many projects fail to come to fruition because of those reasons. Most failed projects, I'd say.

Secondly - do something personal. Draw on yourself, draw on your interests from outside video games. That, more than anything will make your project stand out, and will make best of anyones potential.

Thirdly - in the scope and planning, be aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and ability. Not to say don't try anything new or to push yourself, but don't have a project rely on things you probably won't achieve. It's similar to a first time film director - if you have acess to a single camera on a tripod and a backyard, use these. Don't plan to have an expansive dolly shot over a sunset beach! This means avoid doing MMOs - most of the big budget ones don't even see release, let alone one man teams.

Fourth - look at the game with someone elses eyes. Constantly go into it with the viewpoint of someone who doesn't know the game. How does it feel, how does it control, how does it look, animate? What would you think if this was someone elses game. Are there any noticeable cracks? Adopt a hyper critical outlook. React intelligently - everything that you do and make, assess how you can make it better.

Anything else you wanna shout me about, gimme a PM and I'll be happy to help :)

T3hJake1 karma

Obviously since you quit your job, game development must mean a lot to you. What's been the most rewarding part of this process and what are you looking forward to the most approaching the release of the game?

oysterFAKE5 karma

The single most rewarding part was pulling all the rough prototypes (every character is a capsule, etc) together and "put the graphics in". Seeing everything to the abstract to something that actually felt like a game had me smiling for weeks.

mandaya1 karma

Congrats on getting funded! One question: Did Jim Rossignol's Interzone game idea in some way inspire you to make Tangiers? http://rossignol.cream.org/887/interzone/

oysterFAKE3 karma

It was a complete coincidence! Though his Interzone idea did end up with him coming down to Bristol to interview me :)

UpstartDuke1 karma

What's your history with art and the avant-garde? Did you study it previously?

oysterFAKE2 karma

Nothing formal on that front, though it's something I've been immersed in for (most) of the past decade... I've got a whole bookshelf just on books related to Dada, hehe.

niehjd2 karma

I'm already a backer and this isn't really related to the game, but what would you recommend as a good book to show off the best work from the Dada movement? I like a lot of more modern bands that self-identify as dada (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Das Racist, etc.), but my exposure to the original stuff is pretty limited to wikipedia and some stray google searches.

oysterFAKE2 karma

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dada-Art-Anti-Art-World/dp/0500200394 This was the book that got me into Dada. Couldn't say whether it's the best place to start, I've gone through so many that I can't pinpoint which is which!

antcarpendale1 karma

What was the point in your job where you quit? Did one particular customer cause you to snap?

oysterFAKE6 karma

Not customers, I've always been pretty cool with handling the difficult ones (always been the guy people send in their way actually!) It was mostly down to being on the verge of getting my own store, but events outside of my control taking it away, and then pushing me down on to the bottom of the ladder again (arbitrary redundancies, restructuring, etc). Had another one of those and that lead to the "fuck this" moment.

TheRufmeisterGeneral5 karma

For those who are wondering: "redundancies" is a British euphemism for "people losing their jobs". The American word "firings" comes close, I think.

oysterFAKE5 karma

Hah! I didn't realise it was a UK only word. It's generally a diktat from head office - in this case it was "Get rid of the two staff with the lowest length of service in this store". Ignoring any performance measures, etc. Harrumph.

Koopakiller111 karma

What inspired you to create this game? Was it planned when you quit your job?

Is there any advice you'd give to someone who is planning to create and indie game in a similar manner?

oysterFAKE3 karma

Main advice would be that you can do it, and should learn everything. Don't rely on other people to come up with graphics, animation etc - the more you learn about that yourself, the more self sufficient you will be. You'll find people, but don't wait for them.

mirroredsakura1 karma

You've mentioned that you'd like to get a third developer on the team, and that is what you'd be doing if you get funded beyond the 35k goal. Now that we're moving up beyond the initial amount, at what point is the third developer definitely in the picture?

It's not mentioned in your stretch goals but your recent update/comments suggest in the 40k range? And do you have an idea as to whom it would be?

Also, congrats again. :D

oysterFAKE3 karma

Original plan was for a full time developer, and that would require the 60k range. That was my... dream scenario, can be a bit of a blue sky thinker haha. At the moment, I can probably get someone else in at £47k, albeit working half-time. Who? There's a few people available. Waiting on seeing how much resources we've got before I start talking to them :)

p5ymon_b1 karma

You are also based in my home town, Bristol. Can we expect to see some familiar nooks and crannies in the Tangiers world?

oysterFAKE2 karma

If you know Picton lane, the geometry of one of the areas in the first video matches it perfectly :)

BiBoJuFru1 karma


oysterFAKE9 karma

I don't really think it's worth the effort, worrying about it. People who will, will... I can't stop that. If people are curious enough to play the game, I'm thankful that I've grabbed their attention to be honest :) I hope though, that the personal element of the project comes through, and people enjoy it enough to later buy the game (even if they wait for a steam sale :P )!

Agent_DZ-0151 karma

Everything I've seen of the game looks incredibly compelling thus far. I can't wait to play it.

Anyway, no real question, but just wanted to congratulate you on getting funded. Takes a lot of courage to put everything on the line for a project like this; I hope the remainder of the development cycle goes phenomenally well for you both (or all three of you, depending on how much you manage to raise in the next few days), and I hope your risk pays off magnificently.

oysterFAKE2 karma

Thank you! Don't forget Catt and Joseph - they might be freelance but are putting a good deal of help into the campaign :)

wantstoliveforever1 karma

So I just saw the page and to be honest it looks amazing. one question though why did you choose the name Andalusian? ( just asking out of curiosity)

oysterFAKE3 karma

Luis Bunuel and Dali had a surrealist film - Un Chien Andalou. (An Andalusian Dog). It was one of those key moments in discovering art for me.

ilikelichen1 karma


oysterFAKE6 karma

Not a confidence side of things - I went into it well aware that everything could quite easily go tits up. More a case of "this is the only way I'm going to do something I love and get out of stacking shelves, of which I hate every minute of".

ilikelichen1 karma


oysterFAKE1 karma

There was plenty of times during the campaign where we could've tipped over into failure. Don't recommend it to anyone ;)


How did that high gluten and carbohydrate diet affect your health?

oysterFAKE1 karma

Not sure about any specific effects, but it's left me with an almost perpetual "unhealthy" feeling. You know, like the immediate aftermath of downing the larger pizzas at Dominos. I also seem to fatigue quite quickly, getting sleepy maybe 12 hours after being awake?

niehjd2 karma

That might partially be lack of activity. Counterintuitively, the more physically active you are, the more energetic you'll be overall, so if you used to stock shelves and are now sitting at a computer all day, that can take it's toll.

oysterFAKE2 karma

Yeah, I can see that. Used to be working that around ~2 hours of uphill walking every day and very healthy and mostly vegetarian (not actually one, but prefere it) diet. Hopefully once the campaigns done I'll get a little leeway to get back to some of that...

mushuwu1 karma

What's your history with stealth games? I know Tangiers got inspiration from the Thief series, but have you played other titles like Splinter Cell, Hitman, and Dishonored?

oysterFAKE2 karma

Played a lot of stealth games, though I veer towards the more open, Thief type approach. The other approach is to have very rigid, very finely defined situations - these stealth games feel more like a puzzle game, I don't really enjoy that to be honest. Absolutely loved Dishonored - one of my favourite games in the past 10 years. Beautiful in almost every way.

sofiboy1 karma

Why did you choose that 'Tangiers' is going to be the name of your game? Does the city Tangier (morocco) has something to do with it?

oysterFAKE3 karma

The city Tangier had a big role in William S. Burroughs writing, especially within Naked Lunch, where he wrote a large portion of the novel. Took form as the absurdist and grotesque interzone. The (slightly archaic) name "Tangiers" was originally a sign post pointing to Burrough's own influence; thought it would be appropriate considering that we're very influenced ourselves. As development progressed, "Tangiers" moved from a non-diagetic name to encompassing the game world itself.

fuzzycuffs1 karma

How did you price the kickstarter? Does it just cover the development and for living costs during the development?

What is your plan after its been finished? Living off the revenue of the game? Make another game? Find a new job?

oysterFAKE3 karma

Kickstarter covers the costs for us to live and compensation for our freelancers (who are as excited about this as we are, and are going very below rate). Also covers overheads such as software licenses, backer rewards and taxes. On release, we hope to sell enough to feed ourselves! If we can get the game out properly and market it, then we plan on supporting it with free updates over the following year (a big stand alone one six months in), while phasing into development of a second title.

sburgoon1 karma

Congrats. Any tips on how you managed to get views? I took a similar leap (quit my job in visual fx), put together a pretty solid prototype/demo and really never even got off the ground on my first shot at Kickstarter, so I'm very curious (currently trying to figure out plan b since, as you know, rent doesn't pay itself).

oysterFAKE3 karma

Initial plan was to do a slow build up; get some of the smaller indie sites and bloggers to cover/interview us, get 300 views on Youtube and move on using feedback gathered.

What actually happened was that Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Jim Rossignol had written up a design for a similar game - Interzone - a few years ago. He saw Tangiers, did a feature on it and it spread... our 300 views became 16,000!

That probably won't happen to everyone, but my advice would be to spend a few months building up a solid community before release. Articles during this period = an almost guarunteed article on the launch of your project.

Seahawker1 karma

As someone looking to make the same leap of faith that you have, in quitting your job and such, what was the final gear that turned over in your head and convinced you to go for it? Were there any signs of the risks being worth it first? Congratulations, brother.

oysterFAKE1 karma

Less final gear, more build up. Had one of those shifts where you realise that you're unhappy with just about everything you've got here, and everything you hoped it could become.

It wasn't so much a calculated risk, quite a rash chance to take, actually! The actual act of going onto Kickstarter was prompted by a very healthy response to an announcement and teaser I put up a month or two after leaving the job. No idea what I'd be doing right now if that fell flat on it's face... but you gotta go with faith. The raw decider was that Tangiers was a game that I was very definitly making for myself, one that I'd jump on. If someone else made it, I'd be putting everything I could on their Kickstarter. It's the "are there likeminded people" leap of faith.

khans25121 karma

Any advice on running a successful kickstarter?

oysterFAKE2 karma

See my reply to iheartgallery RE press.

Planning is the most important thing you can do. Look over other, similar Kickstarters. Pool as much data as you can. Monitor the progress of active Kickstarters from start to finish, looking at what press they get. Look at and analyse what rewards people are putting down money for, how often they do and why. Plan not just the launch but the overall campaign - have atleast 12 updates planned for it, and approach that intelligently based on what reaction they'll bring about.

Stay honest, transparent and personal.

And when it comes to clicking submit, it becomes a full time responsibility. Be prepared to spend every waking moment monitoring progress, reaching out to the press and corresponding and thanking your backers.

SICK_OF_1 karma

Do you ever feel guilty about begging for money through kickstarter instead of putting your own money into the project? Back when i was in a band i taught myself every aspect of recording/production to save money creating our first cd, and the rest of the money we put in ourselves from our day jobs, it's just weird to see nowadays instead of putting in the hard yards people will just stick out their hand for free money when working on these sort of projects. do the people who donate then get the game for free or are your expecting them to shell out even more?

oysterFAKE3 karma

Begging, really? 'course I put the hard yards into project. Done so in some form or another for the best part of a year, while juggling it with a full time job. Quit that when I reached a point of time and focus that I'd have to go onto it full time.

And no, it's not free money. I've the responsibility to other people's £36k+ to deliver, transparently, Tangiers in the best possible form it can be. Failing that, and I will probably never be able to work in video games again. That is a greater cost and risk to myself than if a business I ran lost the same amount of shareholder's money.

And nope again, of course most of our backers get atleast a copy of the game. I think you'll find that is the case with most Kickstarters. Patronage has been around for quite a while now, as has pre-ordering so it really isn't a "nowadays" phenomenen.

blow__me1 karma


To someone who wants to become a game dev whats your advice would be for him?

oysterFAKE4 karma

Learn everything - Coding, Level Design, Graphics, Animation... even if you don't intend to do so in the actual project, it gives you an invaluable understanding, and means you can atleast create placeholder assets when nesacary.

And be personal. Don't go into it wanting to recreate your favourite game. Draw on everything you can, and make something unique :)

Messofanego1 karma

Considering you say the game has been inspired by Thief, was first person a thought in the start? Then it became where you wanted to show the creepy spider-y player character moving around?

Is it more Thief because you can be nonviolent or do ghost walkthroughs without touching an enemy? Will taffers be involved?

oysterFAKE2 karma

There's been periods where I've gone into experimenting with first person, but from the start it's been in third. Firstly because it fits better with the aesthetic and the general direction of the game - seeing yourself in relation to the world is a big part of the emotive connection. The world has a... lesser impact when you're seeing it in first person, converse to what would be expected... Secondly is a personal reaction, of sorts. Up until relatively recent times, I was a pretty hard core angry internet man about PC gaming and "Consolization", with first person being an absolute must for any level of immersion or enjoyment! Having matured out of that foolishness, it's a challenge I set purposely set myself to incorporate. Nonviolence and ghost walkthroughs are very much inherited from Thief. A lot of the ambient "feeling" of the game comes from it... in so many terms, I'm looking at Thief as the bar I want to reach close to. And Taffers? There might be a sly easter egg or two? ;)

tnova1 karma

Any influence of 20th century avant garde music in the game music? Schoenberg/Webern/Boulez/Messiaen etc.?

oysterFAKE1 karma

Musically, we're taking the early Industrial period as our main starting point. While there was a lot of freeform noise there that we'll be drawing from, a lot of what appeals to me is the understanding and incorporation (even if only lightly and then often disregarded) of pop convention. Take the title of 20 Jazz Funk Greats, or the dance of Cabaret Voltaire's Nag, Nag, Nag. This then ties in with much of Tangiers' direction - rather than go full abstract, we're tying the art experimentation/expression into a more conventional gameplay vehicle.

That said, I do enjoy a lot of the early avant-garde, and will be encouraging Joseph to massage some of that into the mix. Since it's all (I believe? ) public domain, we might even tease in a few samples :)

Senray1 karma

In the event that your game isn't completed, what will you do to compensate your backers?

oysterFAKE3 karma

Risk that the game isn't completed would be death or serious injury of one (or both) of us. If both, there's not much anyone can do! If one of us, then it'll be a case of discussing with our backers what we do with our remaining funds - delay development, refund what we can or combination of both. We're both in a position that, once funding is through we can effectively work on it indefinitly. What this means is the only risk would be delay (though that itself is slim). We're going to be keeping a fairly open and close dialogue with our backers throughout, so if it does look like it's going over the edge in terms of release date, there'll be plenty of warning. We can discuss with our supporters and see the best route to take.

Elzzim1 karma

What kind of skills do you offer towards the development of this game; are you educated in computer science or have any experience in making games?

oysterFAKE2 karma

No formal education, though I've been dabbling in code and level design for much of my life. Spent a very intensive year getting up to speed before starting the projct. Games fairly well done so far - 2 months away and from a coding perspective we'll be robust and feature complete. Edited for clarity. Original wording made it sound like I've been overly casual with it! Sorry, lack of sleeps

man_with_no_ham1 karma


My questions is about quitting your job and making such a great change in your life, how did you feel? what was your motivation?

oysterFAKE2 karma

On quitting my job, I felt a great sense of relief. As the weeks and months went by though, it became a fairly claustrophobic sense of determination as money tightened to next to nothing. Main motivation was a build up of stagnation, that one shift where you reflect upon things and realise that you are going absolutely nowhere unless you take the plunge.

MistaMusick1 karma

based on gameplay it seems splinter cell inspired you somewhat. what other stealth games have inspired you into making tangiers?

oysterFAKE3 karma

Thief is the main point of reference for stealth and, indeed gameplay... that game was above anything else the moment when I stopped seeing the medium as merely a pasttime, and saw it as something that could truly be admired.

MrTibbers1 karma

When did you learn programming? I currently work and really want to learn to program in Java but I always feel discouraged from having so little time to learn vs working. Any suggestions are welcome! I actually live with other people and my cut of the bills is about 400$ a month

oysterFAKE2 karma

Started off when I was about 12, with a platform called DIV GAMES STUDIO. Simplistic as anything, but a good introduction for someone that age :P From there, it's been a more natural development, though an on/off one at that.

FriedMarsBar-4 karma

your game sucks

oysterFAKE4 karma

Thanks for the feedback :) You can support us further by pledging on our Kickstarter