Omaha freeware maker releases first commercial game, Resonance
Resonance, an independent adventure game created by Vince Wesselmann, releases today from Wadjet Eye Games.
Vince Wesselmann (or Vince Twelve as he's known online), owner of xii games and creator of several freeware adventures, has partnered with Wadjet Eye Games of New York to release today his first commercial game, Resonance.
An independent retro-adventure, Resonance offers a look into a near-future world where a particle scientist has discovered a new technology. "Like atomic energy, it could be great or it could be really bad," Wesselmann said. When the scientist dies, the rush is on to find his hidden vault. For three in-game days, players work with four different characters: a journalist, a cop, a doctor and a mathematician who looks suspiciously like Wesselmann. "At first, the characters don't know each other. But you'll play all four characters at some point throughout the game. Some are allowed places that the others can't go."
A unique feature of Resonance is something Wesselmann calls the short-term memory system. Players can control their character's short-term memory by collecting items to put into their memory bank. The bank can hold seven items, either objects (of which there are around 300) or people (in addition to the four playable characters, about 20 others populate the game), enabling players to discuss them with other characters throughout the game to achieve answers to puzzles. "I want players to think about what questions they need to ask in the game," he said. "It expands the story as you work through the puzzles."
Resonance has largely come about as a result of Wesselmann’s long-term personal investment. In 2007, he wrote out a two-page concept spread for the game while working as an English teacher in Japan, and except for a 2009 Kickstarter that brought in $2,000, the project has been entirely bootstrapped. Until 2011, he was program manager, designer, writer and programmer all rolled into one. "I have an 8 to 5 job, and a wife and kids," Wesselmann said. "I work on the game late at night after the family goes to bed until I can't keep my eyes open. I slept an amazing four hours last night."
Wesselmann ran across Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games in the online community of adventure gamers while each was making freeware. Gilbert went on to release a few commercial games, including the Blackwell series. It was the popularity of his dark sci-fi adventure Gemini Rue that prompted Gilbert to pursue publishing a similar project. "He knew what I was trying to do with Resonance and was really interested," Wesselmann said.
Last July, Janet Gilbert took over as lead programmer full-time to help push the release date up. Since then, Wadjet Eye has opened a number of doors for Resonance, including acceptance to Steam and contracting with voice actor Logan Cunningham (Bastion).
"I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know what to expect," Wesselmann said of the game's commercial release. "I'll measure success by how it's received. I want to visit the message boards, I want to know where people will get stuck in the game. I like to lurk," he said with a laugh. "I have an enormous ego."
Resonance is currently compatible with Windows only, but Wesselmann would like to publish Mac and Linux versions eventually. The boxed set can be shipped worldwide, and the Steam version will be released around June 25. "By buying from Wadjet Eye, you get a Steam key that will work on Steam right away," Wesselmann Tweeted on Monday. "It just won't be purchasable [yet] via them."
Here's the Resonance trailer:
Credits: Images courtesy of Vince Wesselmann. Video from Wadjet Eye Games on YouTube.