Scots designer in crowdfund drive to launch new innovative game

Still image from Niten. Picture: Niten
Still image from Niten. Picture: Niten
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AN Edinburgh-based PC repairman has launched a crowdfunding campaign to get a video game off the ground after it attracted international attention.

Donald Macdonald considered games design to be a passing interest before last year when he began to develop his own game, Niten.

Images from Niten. Picture: Donald Macdonald

Images from Niten. Picture: Donald Macdonald

The title is a story driven exploration game experienced through first-person gameplay. Players can uncover the history of the remote Japanese island and its previous inhabitants; a Samurai master and his orphan-child student.

“I love video games and have done since the 80s, but I was well aware that it was a very in depth and multi-faceted craft”, Donald explained.

“I spent a couple of weeks playing around in some game engines and getting a feel for the workflow but I quickly saw how hard it was, so I left it alone until last year when a friend of mine suggested we learned how to use Unreal Engine 4 and make a game.”

Through going it alone, Donald had to take on a number of roles including level designer, sound designer, creating user interfaces, programming and generating promotional material - an aspect of game development that he has found challenging.

Donald Macdonald is crowdfunding for his game Niten. Picture: Contributed

Donald Macdonald is crowdfunding for his game Niten. Picture: Contributed

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He says: “There is a great community out there and also we live in a perfect age for things like this. If you want to learn or need help with something - build a team and reach out to media”

Niten was inspired by games like ‘Dear Esther’ and ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’ which focus on in-depth storytelling, while the setting was born from Donald’s romanticism about old Japan and love of old-school martial arts movies.

In order to fund new parts of the game and extras like 3D models, artists wages and voice actors, Donald has launched a Kickstarter campaign. So far generous gaming fans have pledged nearly £3,000, with 14 days left for the developer to reach his £15,000 target.

Already the game has popped up on various websites and has received “very positive” feedback on the likes of Steam - a global games store similar in function to iTunes.

“It sailed through Steam Greenlight in 10 days, which I am really proud of”, Donald explains. “It’s testament to the reception and support of the gaming community that we got through this so fast.

“Niten was also recently awarded a HTC VIVE VR kit by Unreal Engine through their Dev Grant programme.

“This has opened up so many possibilities for me as a developer and I’ll be releasing a VR version of Niten after the main game’s official launch.”

“I’ve secured an online retailer and the game is staying true to its timeline and on course for a Q4 PC/Windows release.

“After a fully stable launch is achieved, I would like to release on other platforms and operating systems.”

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Much of the success Donald has enjoyed so far is off the back of Scotland’s thriving gaming community. Using social media to join groups and meet people is essential in the development of a game, especially for an independent one.

“It’s a really positive and friendly vibe in the indie-dev community and it has certainly been essential to the development of Niten”, he says.

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