Small screen culture

Troubadour is the upcoming debut game from Cicatriz Entertainment which looks set to examine social anxiety and the trials of tribulations of growing up and coming of age. Most interestingly, it”s set to do so over the length of a TV show; in just half an hour.


“A story should never linger longer than it needs to.”

Eric Doty is candid in the way he describes his upcoming videogame, rather, “interactive graphic novel” Troubadour. Set to last just 25-30 minutes – equivocal to the length of a television show, notes Doty – Troubadour will offer players insight into social anxiety and the stigmas associated with the peregrination from adolescence to adulthood. Portrayed by Lucy, or Lu as she’s better known, Troubadour is ultimately about telling a story, but one open to interpretation by the player due its compact nature.

“As the writer on the project I”ve been very careful about evaluating tone and making sure that we don”t try to be too dark while also not making light of those topics,” explains Doty of the dangers of portraying such a delicate subject. “Ideally, I want people to relate to the situations that Lu has gone

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things like how reliant we are on digital devices.

“I think since the experience will be shorter than traditional games we have some freedom to compress a lot of ideas down and allow the player to read into and interpret themes and story elements in their own way. There are pieces here and there from my own life strewn throughout Troubadour, but they”ve been amplified to fit this fictional setting.”


As one half of Cicatriz Entertainment by night, Doty also works at Microsoft by viagra replacement over the counter day as a content producer. Last year, Doty enjoyed Kickstarter success with his graphic novel Steamfunk, outlining his creative flare. This may seem like an obvious platform to evolve into games development but, although noting some rudimental programming knowledge garnered during his school days, Doty admits that embarking on

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“Personally, I play all types of games, but I”m not a game designer,” admits Doty. “Troubadour is our first attempt at building interactive software both as a team and individually. I don”t have the experience to step in an make a game that rivals the tight controls and systems that you can find in something like Spelunky. I”ll leave that to the pros. What we

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can do is write a story not typically done in games and attempt to wrap it in a more casual interactive experience. We”re firm believers that games have a long way to go in maturing as a storytelling medium.

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If we can build something even remotely interesting, that sticks with the player after they”ve finished it, then we”ll count that as a success and move onto our next project.

“My day job at Microsoft is probably best described as Project Manager or Content Producer. In school I had a little bit of experience with C and HTML, but not enough to really be useful. Knowing

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that my lack casino online of coding knowledge was a barrier in a lot of scenarios I decided to build Troubadour with GameMaker, which is very friendly to newbies. For some of the more complicated features I do have to implement code, but the YoYoGames forums has a very strong community that shares how they have solved various challenges on their own projects.”


Although cautious not to give away too much at this stage – after all, the final product is to be half an hour long – Doty does identify narrative as crucial to the design process, but highlights tone and atmosphere as equally important. His cites examples such as Kentucky Route Zero and Gone Home as assets to the industry; their strength in expression marking an exciting time for the industry”s future. This strength in expression is already apparent in Troubadour”s early state as, aside from its intriguing narrative ambitions, it looks stunning with its blurred pixel aesthetics and use of retro Windows 95-esque dialogue boxes, whilst incorporating a very quirky, and therefore very fitting, soundtrack.


“Zak Alexander, my partner at Cicatriz, is the genius behind the visuals,” says Doty. “We work together on scenes and he translates my story ideas, spins them In tears, I informed my husband of my decision because I didn’t like experiencing symptoms. around, and creates this amazing art. He has a background in graphic design and fine art, so he”s brought a unique perspective to Troubadour. I”ve heard our game”s look referred to cialis over the counter as a mix of 16-bit, old Sierra adventure games, and Sword & Sworcery. Definitely a compliment we”re happy to take.

“Lu has grown up around computers and consumer technology, so it has a strong influence on her life. The blurred pixels and glitch cialis and nitro animations are a common theme early in the game to represent how distracted she is. Players will see that change slightly as they play through the experience.

“The whole soundtrack so far has been provided by Dallas “Deezign” Stoeckel in LA. The music is really a tool for us to build tone and add to that atmosphere. We”ll build out a scene to about 90% completion and then work with Dallas to get something that expresses the right tone we”re shooting for. Then after I insert his music into the scene we look to see if there”s some aspect of the scenery that can complement the music, such as a bug flying in beat with the song or lights flickering at certain moments of tempo change.”

Telling a brief yet enjoyable tale is key in Troubadour and Doty insists that there is no need to overelaborate when constructing a game”s narrative. I ask him how he feels about some of the high profile games of late – namely Beyond Two Souls – that have viagra newsletter been criticised by some facets of the games press for perhaps overdoing it on this front.


“I have a ton of respect for David Cage and his team at Quantic Dream,” says Doty. “I”ve played their last three games and admire what they try to do by taking cinematic storytelling techniques and applying them to an interactive experience. I”d be very interested to see they would do if they were limited to three or four hours, where I think their type of storytelling would benefit from a compressed player experience.”

Troubadour is an interesting prospect in so many ways. Aside from an intriguing plot, some beautiful visuals, and a sensible and relatable subject matter, the fact that it has chosen to mimic television – in the face cialis pret of so many games leaning towards cinema – marks this as one to watch.

Troubadour is expected in late Summer 2014 for Windows and Mac – definitely before the end of next year, according to Doty.

Joe Donnelly

Author: Joe Donnelly

Joe is the line editor at BeefJack and often wonders who introduced the whole 'talking about yourself in the third person' thing. Maybe one day I'll, ahem, he'll find out.

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