The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

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Zeekee
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The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#1 Post by Zeekee » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:46 am

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Hey all!

My name is Brett and I'm working on an EVN titled "The Anomaly" with a few friends. We've been working collaboratively under the name Annexe Interactive from both Scranton, Pennsylvania and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Before I get into any serious details, here's a link to the demo:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/9380 ... maly_Demo/


About
The Anomaly is a deep, character focused visual novel set in modern times, combining a healthy mix of story, player choice, and mini-game elements. Your choices, victories, and failures all play a part as you build bonds with the characters around you and unlock the mystery behind Colorado Springs.

Striking character art, illustrated CGs, and gorgeous backdrops bring life to a story both deep and intriguing as well as sharp and funny with its laid back, Western sense of audacious humor. Whether you’re looking for a worthwhile, intelligent visual novel experience with strong character development and an engaging story, or an easy to pick up time waster good for a few laughs, The Anomaly is just what you’ve been looking for!


Story
Life in Colorado Springs is a drag for 18-year-old high school student Tucker. There’s nothing to do, the people are boring, and the only thing keeping Tucker from losing his mind is his small group of friends who share a similar sentiment and similar interests. While the young man and his companions don’t hold much compassion for the physical world around them, their skills in the digital one tell a different story.

Tucker is a hacker, and along with his friends Ross and Valerie, he finds every opportunity he can to leave the doldrums of the real world behind and lose himself in cyberspace. Whether it’s something as silly as vandalizing the Shyanne Mountain High School website, or as serious as tapping into secret government archives, no task is too great or small for Tucker and his merry little band of tech-savvy misfits.

When Tucker meets a new girl at school named Kiera, things quickly become more complicated, and he and his friends’ carefree lives soon take an even more dramatic turn when the mysterious local phenomenon of “The Hum” begins to cause strange and confusing effects to the people of Colorado Springs. Taking it upon themselves to get to the bottom of things, the group soon find themselves knee deep in a complex and treacherous world of secrets, conspiracy, and very real danger.

Will they be able to unlock the mystery of the Hum? Some truths are kept hidden for a reason.

Screenshots
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Notes regarding the minigame
Since the beginning of development, we wanted to incorporate some kind of hacking simulation, so you'll see several minigame sequences within the game that are more catered towards people who have at least a basic understanding of UNIX. As someone who has worked as a system administrator and participated on cyber competition teams, I thought I had a great understanding of how I wanted this to be built. The first build to include the minigame sequences, however, proved too difficult for most of the people that had initially volunteered to test it because it required a much more intermediate knowledge of UNIX and exploitation techniques in order to complete. Since then, it's changed so much that it hardly feels like an actual linux terminal, but still gives off the vibe of an exploitation environment. Additionally, we decided to add a feature that will allow the player to disable the minigame sequences at the start of the game as well as a short tutorial to help ease in new players who are interested in learning UNIX basics. This is something that we plan on building up extensively before the final release.


Annexe Interactive is:
Brett Martin
Yanni Visci
Michael Visci

We've also received an enormous amount of support thus far from many Lemmasoft users, too! We've had the distinct pleasure of working with:
Ideoteque (Writing)
PenDragon (Writing)
Benya Barshai (Soundtrack)
Mario Luengo (Soundtrack)
Nadia Nova (For letting us use their text messaging code for our demo)
Skirmisher (For letting us use their terminal code as a baseline for the minigame used in the demo)
Izzy (Concepts)
Bunbunz (Pre-alpha sprites and CGs)
Julioalqae (Sprites)
Achrocide (CGs and promotional artwork)
Alexis Rillera (Backgrounds)
Selavi (Backgrounds)
ds-sans (Pre-alpha and mobile minigame assets)
Luna Li (Miscellaneous graphics)
Sitraxis (For designing the logo of a fictitious program used in-game)
Chris Ventura @ This Is Danger Design (Logo and some GUI assets)
potouto (GUI assets)
WhiteCharisma (video animation)
Moral Code (a hometown band from Scranton, PA, who let us use their track "Saving S. Connor" for the intro animation)
Cristian Enciso and Ethan Compton (for providing feedback and inspiration during early development)
And tons of support from other users/friends like Sal Serrano, Garrett Ludwig, Ken Tucker, and Matias Schwartz.


Anyway
Yanni, Michael, and I have been working very hard to produce this demo. Any feedback at all would be genuinely appreciated. I'm also open to answering any questions that anyone might have regarding the game.

Looking forward to hearing from you all!
Last edited by Zeekee on Fri May 17, 2019 7:13 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Hacking Simulation]

#2 Post by ZanthosAC » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:54 pm

Things look great so far. Fantastic art, and I'm kind of a sucker for Japanese inspired characters/art in a western or non-japanese setting. I'll have to try the demo out. Though I am curious if there is a release date or if its TBD?

Also I'm wondering if romance might play a role or if the mystery/simulation/plot elements are the central focus?

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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Hacking Simulation]

#3 Post by Zeekee » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:15 pm

ZanthosAC wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:54 pm
Things look great so far. Fantastic art, and I'm kind of a sucker for Japanese inspired characters/art in a western or non-japanese setting. I'll have to try the demo out. Though I am curious if there is a release date or if its TBD?

Also I'm wondering if romance might play a role or if the mystery/simulation/plot elements are the central focus?
Thanks so much! I definitely wanted to get away from the Eastern setting, so I figured Colorado would be ideal since I already know so much about it. As far as the full release, the date is still TBD. I'll be sure to update this whenever a date is decided, though.

Yes, there will be romance, but there won't be any H-scenes. Sorry if that's something you may have been looking forward to!
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Hacking Simulation]

#4 Post by Zelan » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:01 pm

I think I remember seeing an older version of this project awhile ago - I thought it was cool, good to see you've still been working on it! c:

The hacking minigame is a really cool idea, but at the same time I think it's a good idea to make it skippable. I tend to have trouble with puzzle/logic type minigames and I wouldn't want to be blocked off from the story because of it!

Is there any more information about the characters themselves? I'd like to know who I'm going to be reading about.

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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Hacking Simulation]

#5 Post by Zeekee » Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:55 pm

Zelan wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:01 pm
I think I remember seeing an older version of this project awhile ago - I thought it was cool, good to see you've still been working on it! c:

The hacking minigame is a really cool idea, but at the same time I think it's a good idea to make it skippable. I tend to have trouble with puzzle/logic type minigames and I wouldn't want to be blocked off from the story because of it!

Is there any more information about the characters themselves? I'd like to know who I'm going to be reading about.
Hey, thanks for the input! You have a good memory--I had started working on this a long time ago, but it's changed so much that it hardly resembles what it used to be. I figured that since the hacking sequences proved to be somewhat difficult, it would be a good idea to make them skippable. I sure hope you enjoy it!

As far as the characters go, I have a very detailed document describing their personalities and how they are supposed to progress throughout the story, but it might contain a few spoilers. I'll condense it and post it sometime later today when I have time.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Hacking Simulation]

#6 Post by Zeekee » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:47 pm

Here's a bit of a summary for each of the main characters:

Tucker:
The main character, Tucker, is a high school senior living in Colorado Springs. Though he doesn’t necessarily warm up easily to new people, he has a close group of friends, Ross, Ethan, Valerie, and Laina, that he would do just about anything for. He is your typical high school student with a somewhat indifferent personality. Since his parents are divorced, Tucker lives with his mother who is never home at night due to her graveyard shifts at the hospital. Because of this, the evenings and nights are when Tucker and his friends typically get together for their mischief. Tucker is not a shy person, but finds he is unable to interact confidently with the new student, Kiera, because of his attraction towards her.

Ross:
Ross has been Tucker’s best friend since childhood. Since they grew up and spent most of their time together, their interest in computers is pretty much the same. Ross, however, is extremely intelligent and often able to find exploits that nobody else is able to see. He is extremely shy around people that he doesn’t know well, but is somewhat more confident around his close circle of friends. Though he often times finds himself unable to comfortably partake in extended conversation, especially with girls, he has a wild and atypical sense of humor. In fact, his sense of humor serves as his most prominent character trait as well as a somewhat common dialogue mechanic throughout the story.

Laina:
Ross’s younger sister. Laina is a junior and a member of the school’s reporting/newspaper club at the same school as Ross, Tucker, Ethan, and Valerie. Though she is widely considered to be one of the most popular students in her grade, she looks up to her older brother a great deal and makes every effort to spend time with him and his friends. She has an extremely spirited and bubbly personality, but is also very intelligent, much like her brother. As someone that admires her older brother a great deal, she almost always finds his sense of humor funny, even though she’s the only one most of the time.

Ethan:
Ethan is the anti-hero to Tucker’s moral compass. Though the two are the best of friends, he acts as a form of contrast to Tucker’s personality. He often times attempts to persuade him into doing things that are against his nature such as using his hacking skills for profit. He considers himself to be “too cool for school,” so to speak. Despite his bad-boy mentality, he does have a soft spot for animals. Unlike Ross and Tucker, Ethan has very little computer knowledge. He does, however, find the idea of hacking very interesting and often times tags along whenever an exploit is going down.

Valerie:
“Val” became friends with Tucker and Ross their freshman year of highschool during their time spent in the computer science club. Since it was obvious to her that the two were very skilled at computers, just as she was, she fit in perfectly with their circle. Valerie is often reserved and quiet and speaks her mind only in the presence of her friends. She semi-often finds herself dozing off into daydreams and completely missing out on the bulk of conversations as a result. Despite this, she is very helpful and almost always knows the right thing to say to put others in a good mood. She and Ross are almost constantly at each other's throats, though this is usually Ross's fault.

Kiera:
The new girl. Nobody really knows much about her other than the fact that she recently moved to Colorado from California with her father, who works for the military.


Hope this is more along the lines of what you were looking for, Zelan!
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#7 Post by bobconway » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:03 am

Oh, this looks like a really interesting premise, and also it looks really pretty and well done.

Any plans for a non-Steam demo? :)
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#8 Post by Zeekee » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:56 pm

bobconway wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:03 am
Oh, this looks like a really interesting premise, and also it looks really pretty and well done.

Any plans for a non-Steam demo? :)
A Non-Steam demo? I would be more than happy to host downloading on my website, but--if you don't mind me asking--is there a reason why? Is there some hidden benefit to offering download off of Steam that I'm unaware of?
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#9 Post by bobconway » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:04 pm

Zeekee wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:56 pm
A Non-Steam demo? I would be more than happy to host downloading on my website, but--if you don't mind me asking--is there a reason why? Is there some hidden benefit to offering download off of Steam that I'm unaware of?
I'm admittedly unusual in this regard, but I've been purposely avoiding Steam because I consider it a form of DRM, and avoid software with DRM as a general rule. (I feel like it only hurts legitimate consumers and does nothing to prevent piracy.)

Definitely don't feel obligated to go through additional effort on my behalf, if you weren't planning on doing so anyway.

But I want to note that itch.io is a better platform than Steam in almost every way (other than number of users), so if you're looking to eventually sell on other platform(s) later, it might be worth putting up a game page (and the demo) there as well.
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#10 Post by Zeekee » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:34 am

bobconway wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:04 pm
I'm admittedly unusual in this regard, but I've been purposely avoiding Steam because I consider it a form of DRM, and avoid software with DRM as a general rule. (I feel like it only hurts legitimate consumers and does nothing to prevent piracy.)

Definitely don't feel obligated to go through additional effort on my behalf, if you weren't planning on doing so anyway.

But I want to note that itch.io is a better platform than Steam in almost every way (other than number of users), so if you're looking to eventually sell on other platform(s) later, it might be worth putting up a game page (and the demo) there as well.
I'll certainly look into uploading it to itch, then! If it helps even a single person, then I'm game. I'll let you know when it's done, but it might be a little while. Finals season is never any fun...
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Hacking Simulation]

#11 Post by Zelan » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:58 pm

Zeekee wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:47 pm
Hope this is more along the lines of what you were looking for, Zelan!
The character bios are great! I like that the protagonist has an established group of friends - that's surprisingly rare in VNs or at least the ones that I've played - and I feel like I already kind of have a sense of the dynamic between the group. I can tell you've put a lot of thought into their personalities. c: I'm especially interested in seeing Ross now, I wanna know just what kind of humor he has!

Also seconding bobconway's suggestion of itch.io, it's a good platform (with a lot fewer hoops to jump through than Steam), and a lot of people who don't have Steam for one reason or another get their games from there.

Good luck with finals season... I'm knee-deep in it as well, haha, so I know the struggle!

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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#12 Post by Zeekee » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:02 pm

bobconway wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:04 pm
Zeekee wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:56 pm
A Non-Steam demo? I would be more than happy to host downloading on my website, but--if you don't mind me asking--is there a reason why? Is there some hidden benefit to offering download off of Steam that I'm unaware of?
I'm admittedly unusual in this regard, but I've been purposely avoiding Steam because I consider it a form of DRM, and avoid software with DRM as a general rule. (I feel like it only hurts legitimate consumers and does nothing to prevent piracy.)

Definitely don't feel obligated to go through additional effort on my behalf, if you weren't planning on doing so anyway.

But I want to note that itch.io is a better platform than Steam in almost every way (other than number of users), so if you're looking to eventually sell on other platform(s) later, it might be worth putting up a game page (and the demo) there as well.
Finally got around to uploading to itch!

Here's the link. If there's anything more I can do to help you all out with playing it, let me know! :)

https://annexeinteractive.itch.io/the-anomaly-demo
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Re: The Anomaly [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#13 Post by bobconway » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:01 pm

Zeekee wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:02 pm
Finally got around to uploading to itch!
Thank you! I'll check it out.
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Re: The Anomaly (KICKSTARTER LIVE) [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#14 Post by Zeekee » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:19 am

UPDATE! We've just launched our kickstarter campaign! If you like what you see in the demo and would like to help support the full release, it would mean the world to us.

The link is right here:
http://kck.st/2DYrfVL
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Re: The Anomaly (KICKSTARTER LIVE) [Mystery][Science][Hacking Simulation]

#15 Post by bobconway » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:47 pm

I'm ashamed to admit I haven't played the demo yet...

But this game looks awesome, and I love what I have seen, so I'm in. Good luck reaching your goal!
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