Hey there! My name is Michael VanOverbeek. I’m sort of an indie game developer. I’ve been using Visual Basic for most of my stuff, specifically a game called ShiftOS-Next, a fork of an Australian indie game called ShiftOS. If you want to check that out, you can at shiftosnext.ml, but that’s not the purpose of my post here. I do not intend to advertise that game here.
First off, let me give a bit of info about myself. I am 13 years old, living in Canada. I was born with a degenerative eye problem known as Retinitis-Pigmentosa, which makes me go blind over time. My dream as a child was to create an amazing game before I could no longer see, and as I can still see, and my passion for game development is at it’s highest peak, I see this project as an opportunity to attempt to create a game with similar mechanics as a game that I really loved playing, which is Saints Row 4.
I plan to do this using the Unreal Engine, as the engine is free, and I believe that people should not have to pay for entertainment, so I want to make my game completely free, which would be impossible at this age if the engine was not free. I used to use Unity, but soon felt that it wasn’t really optimized for me and found it extremely difficult to use. I am extremely happy to be using UE4.
But, I’m faced with a big issue. Since ShiftOS-Next is one of my big projects, I seriously don’t want it to fail. The backstory of ShiftOS-Next was that, ShiftOS was a pretty good game while the original developer (not me!) was creating it, but he had to step down due to him having a full-time job and not enough free time. His day was literally “Wake up, go to work, program ShiftOS, sleep”. So, he handed development over. At the time, his code was quite messy, and the devs realized this and didn’t want to develop anymore. There was also a lot of drama in the community, so that added to it. The game was open-sourced, but it was killed a few months later. I don’t want ShiftOS-Next to suffer the same death. But, I’ve been having issues finding time for the game, as each day I’m trying to learn the Unreal Engine to create my SR4-like game. So, I feel like, in order to keep both projects alive and well, I need to get a team of developers to speed up the development process of my SR4-like game.
All I really need are 3D modelers, people good with city design (don’t really know what to call them), animators, and C++ programmers incase I can’t achieve a certain task in Blueprint. Of course, with my philosophy being that people shouldn’t have to pay for entertainment, I really don’t want to pay money for help, as I will break my philosophy and possibly have to make the game paid to pay the people helping me. And, as it stands I only have a few dollars in cash to play with.
I can go over the basic story for the game, so we can elaborate on it. Basically, the game’s called The Shifted Dimension (I know, a lot of my projects and projects I’ve contributed to have “shift” in the name…) because the main player, Jonathan Ladouceur, can basically shift between two dimensions. One, is the real world, or, what we believe to be the real world. In this dimension, Jonathan is a regular human being. The other, is a computer-programmed reality created as a science experiment led by a company named “earth”. In this dimension, Jonathan can alter the environment, use Super Powers, and achieve Watch_Dogs-like actions like cars on demand, and changing whether a traffic light is red, yellow, or green. He can’t access this dimension at the start of the game, as he works for Earth, and needs to help program the dimension, adding the city, pedestrians, cars, and loads of things to the virtual reality, which requires getting various resources from around the real world, which may require fighting gangs, the military, escaping the police, and lots more.
The city that you play ingame is called New Bluecoast. It features 4 islands: An industrial island, where the Earth facility is laid in a secret, unknown base. There’s also the residential, commercial and downtown islands where Jonathan’s house, various stores such as clothing stores, gun shops, and garages are, and the hospital, as well as the police station is held. The real world is planned to feel like GTA in this sense.
So, let’s go over a bit about Jonathan, why don’t we?
Jonathan Ladouceur is 24 years old. He grew up in New Bluecoast as a software developer, and he loved to play virtual worlds as a kid. He adored the engines and technology behind his favourite games, and wanted to create his own software and games. He started off basic, creating text editors, and other basic apps, then he went on to create very basic games. He took various programming and art classes in high-school to master his talents. When he graduated high-school in 2009, a new science company under the name of “Earth” was founded and needed programmers just like Jonathan to help them out with various computer-science projects. In early 2011, Jonathan forsaw the development of an experiment to see if computers could program themselves and software for themselves. So far the project goes well, but in 2012, the events of ShiftOS happen. A rogue AI is created going under the name of DevX, and he hijacks people’s computers with his “experimental operating system” called ShiftOS. I won’t spoil any more, go play ShiftOS if you want to see the whole story. Jonathan is tasked with destroying this rogue AI, programming it to say things like “ShiftOS isn’t an experimental operating system, it’s an experiment”. Stuff to lure the user and the AI to stop using ShiftOS, as well as referencing Earth’s next experiment, which was started in early 2014, but abandoned shortly after, as there were insufficient computational resources to attempt the experiment. Jonathan turns 24, and Earth contacts him. saying that the experiment from last year must be continued now that the resources required exist, and that Jonathan is to do everything he can to steal the required resources and bring them to Earth’s labs. This, starts the Shifted Dimension’s story.
I’d like to heavily note that there will be LOTS of references to ShiftOS, and the entire game’s story is heavily based off of ShiftOS’s, and as the bits of story I’m using haven’t really been implemented to the game, the devs don’t really mind it as far as I know.
So yeah, if anyone would like to help me out with The Shifted Dimension, I’d be extremely greatful for it. I couldn’t be more greatful to have an engine like this to power my game, and a helpful community like this one.