Hi, could you state your stage name, and the role you've volunteered to play?Mary Morgan - MikiHow long have you been gracing media with your wonderful voice?I think its been about 5 years. And thank you for the compliment :)Have you always wanted to pursue voice acting?To be honest, no. I wanted to be in film and television for the longest time. But strangely, I think voice over chose me. Even as a child I remember one of my most cherished toys was a cheap tape recorder. In my early teens I even got a karaoke machine as a birthday gift. It took about fifteen years since then for me to realize I really belonged behind a microphone instead of on camera.If any, who are some of your inspirations(other voice actors)?Oh there are many! It's hard to list them all. A few are mentors to me. Pat Fraley, Bob Bergen, Richard Horvitz, Sue Blu, Jodi Benson, Paige O'Hara, Rob Paulsen, Tara Strong, Lani Minella, Katie Leigh, and the list goes on.You have worked on full scale production teams before, in real studios and for pay, what made you decide to kindly volunteer your services for free to this free release indie project?I have a fondness for indie games and I've helped out with other productions before this one. Something I've been seeing quite a bit is how countless talented independent developers are not getting a chance to get their work in front of studios or the opportunity to share their project with gamers. The internet is changing that obviously. I also like to contribute to individuals who develop their own games or films for the sake of wanting to be creative and not making millions of dollars. This is not something I can do all the time, just every now and then. We all need to make money, but we all have to start somewhere too.
Where can fans of Grave Prosperity who like your voice find more of your work?I've voiced a variety of projects but I believe most people are likely to find my work through characters with I've voiced through FUNimation Entertainment. I think you can search my name on Anime News Network. I'm not allowed to share the titles of projects I've worked on very recently though as they're still in production. I just completed my first ever audio book called The Emerald Talisman, which is set to be released soon. I have a blog that I write every so often and I'm thinking of adding a podcast here and there. http://marymorganwriter.wordpress.com/
My website is in the early process of getting revamped, but you're welcome to hear some samples I've posted on Soundcloud.
http://soundcloud.com/mary-morganhttp://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B009EZJQFM&qid=1348267729&sr=1-1 Is there anything you want to say to future players/fans of Grave Prosperity?Thank you for giving this game a chance. Please take time to look into more indie games as there are too many creative individuals working very, very hard to accomplish their dreams and they need the support of gamers like you.
Hi, could you state your stage name, and the role you've been asked to play?
-Hi, my name’s Aurora Guinivere Price, and I’m voicing the role of Amber Ridge.
What made you decided that stage name?
-Many years ago, a friend and I were working on a story together, just for the both of us, and we each had our own characters, mine being “Aurora Guinivere Price”. Several months later, we both made YouTube accounts and, since at the time the story was still very much alive, I made it my username and it’s stuck.
Have you always wanted to pursue voice acting?
-Not initially. I’ve always been drawn to storytelling in all forms, mostly writing and film. At a young age, I felt the need to act, but, as I grew up, felt it was too out in front, as I’m generally quite a shy person. Then sometime last year, I came across some YouTube voice acting audition videos. I’d seen these many years before, but, as I had no mic, never bothered with them. This time however I did have one, so I just started at it, realizing that I could pursue acting like I wanted as a child, but in a less direct way.
You were scouted on a voice acting forum website for your work doing fan voice overs on youtube for Silent Hill (Video Game). Are you a fan of the horror video games, games, or horor in general?
- Horror in general is just my cup of tea. It’s fantastic as it can really engage and manipulate an audience more so than any other genre, in my opinion. I’ve grown up on old, classic horror, like the Universal Monsters; “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” and “Dracula” being my favorites. I’d come across the Silent Hill video games before, but never really understood what they were, nor had any interest. Then, I came across the “Resident Evil” movies (of which I became a big fan). Suddenly, I realized there were so many horror video games, and after playing “Penumbra: Overture”, I became hooked to horror games, though I’m fairly awful at playing. “Silent Hill” by far has had the best impact on me, as a performer and storyteller.
What drew you to wanting to work on Grave Prosperity?
-I’m always interested in anything that strives to tell a story through its characters, and this is exactly what “Grave Prosperity” seemed to be doing. When I first came across it on the VAA forum, I don’t know if it was some sort of sixth sense or what, but I just felt drawn to the character of Amber, though I thought I’d have been better suited for Miki out of amateur nervousness. Amber is just such a different character and I feel absolutely lucky to bring her to life through voice.
Have you enjoyed your work on Grave Prosperity thus far?
-I’ve enjoyed it immensely! It’s been challenging, but great fun. I feel like I’ve been learning a lot about myself as a performer and about the whole process of building a project like this.
Do you think you will continue to pursue voice acting in the future? Do you have plans to look into other gigs?
-Oh definitely. If I can at all build a career out of voice acting, I definitely will. My dream goal is to one day voice a Disney Princess. A strange and silly dream considering my absolute love for all things dark and scary, but something I would really love to do. Perhaps even a future Silent Hill or Resident Evil game. We’ll see.
Is there anything you want to say to the fans/future players of Grave Prosperity?
-Have fun! I think if you like classic horror of any variety this is the game for you and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Sep 1 -
Sep 2 - Blog Post
Sep 3 - Amber Concept Art
Sep 4 - In game quote of Amber w link to voice clip
Sep 5 - Profile Pic of Amber and bio, Avatar picture of Amber.
Sep 6 - Interview with Aurora the actress who voices Amber
Sep 7 - Desktop Background of GP (focusing on Amber)
Sep 8 - Miki Concept Art
Sep 9 - In game quote of Miki w link to voice clip
Sep 10 - Profile Pic of Miki and bio, Avatar picture of Miki.
Sep 11 - Interview with Mary Morgans the actress who voices Miki
Sep 12 - Desktop Background of GP 2 (focusing on Miki)
Sep 13 - Rick Concept Art
Sep 14 - In game quote of Rick Shroder w link to voice clip
Sep 15 - Profile Pic of Rick and bio, Avatar picture of .
Sep 16 - Interview with SammyMcJackson the actor who voices Rick.
Sep 17 - Desktop Background of GP (focusing on Rick)
Sep 18 - Enemy type 1 Concept Art
Sep 19 - Profile Pic & Bio on Enemy type 1
Sep 20 - Avatar picture of Enemy type 1.
Sep 21 - Desktop Background of GP (focusing on Enemy Type 1)
Sep 22 - Enemy type 2 Concept Art
Sep 23 - Profile Pic & Bio on Enemy type 2 posted on official GP website/
Sep 24 - Avatar picture of Enemy type 2.
Sep 25 - Desktop Background of GP (focusing on Enemy Type 2)
Sep 26 - Profile Pic Enemy of the boss for part 1
Sep 27 - Bio on the boss for part 1
Sep 28 - Avatar picture of the boss for part 1.
Sep 29 - Desktop Background of GP (focusing on the boss)
Sep 30 - Interview with the developer of GP
Initially when I began work on the Grave Prosperity project I was only looking to make a fun little game the RM communities could enjoy. Nothing outstanding, just slightly unique from the adverage RM made game. But over time I became more and more ambitious with my work and now the game has taken on an entirely new look and it has its own site dedicated to it and is becoming known by more than just the RM communities. It's sort of funny to me that the crowd I was originally wanting to appeal to is now the crowd that least worries me. Now my aim is geared more toward the general public.
My current goal for the project is within reach at this point. I have taken an engine and pushed it well beyond the limits of what it is meant to do and managed to lose no quality while doing so. All that reamins to be done now is just complete the game and then sit back and watch the results.
When I said my goal is within reach, I really meant it is just months away. In October part 1 is schedualed for release, and for each following month another part is planned to be released. So literally within 5 months all of volume 1 will be available to play. I am very excited for each launch and I am expecting a very positive response from the indie crowd. We may not be recieving the next Resident Evil here, but it most definitely won't be another indie space shooter or platformer. I hope everyone who plays will be able to appreciate the unique nature of the game for what it is, and what it was made with.
So far part one is complete and simply awaiting its schedualed launch. For this first piece of the game there won't be as much action as some of the others, but it will still be able to give the player an idea of what to expect for the future parts. Some may even be left scratching their head by the end of part 1 and that is expected, the story will not be completely unfolded until the end of part 3.
Parts 2-4 are going to be fun because of their added features and increase in story telling. There will be interactive cinematic action where the player will be forced to button mash just to maintain the character's sanity while being possessed by malevolent spirits. There will be optional stealth mini games and interrigations. GP still has a nice pocket full of supprises waiting for each of its future releases.
I have been tossing around the idea for a potential spin off for one of the characters you will run into who is meant to become a very important player in the sequel. This particular character's game will be set in an entirely different timeline and will feature a 100% unique story and gameplay. The idea is there but there are still some things to take into consideration before making it happen. One thing is for certain though, it will be done on a 3D platform.
Our voice actors/actresses who have signed on have also signed for future work for future releases, so the characters you meet in this first release will be the characters you play with to the end of the games.
All of these things I have mentioned for the current version on the RMXP engine is great, but I still have so much more planned for the future. When we can get a 3D release up and going (likely the sequel) there will be so much more room for innovation. As far as basic features go, I do have a small blue print made up. Game play can be optionally played in 3rd person or 1st person, the player will be able to make use of cover and shadows to evade enemies, the environment will be 100% interactable so even if there is no current cover, through improvision cover can be made. Even the ability to dismember enemies and use body parts as distractions will be available. If you want to sneak past a tougher monster, try getting the drop on it and shoot out its eyes? The ability to handicap your enemies will be there, but beware, for every sense lost, another will grow stronger. These are more of the stealth approaches, but as far as solid action is concearned, there will be a very indepth dodging and counter attacking system that will enable the player to jump right into the middle of a room full of monsters and test their combative skills. Shooting will be able to be done either over the shoulder or in first person. The Black Serum feature that will be introduced in part 4 of volume 1 will be greatly enhanced and enable all sorts of extra abilities to the player (Sorry, so spoilers). There will be so many possibilities it is just crazy. But for now, this realease we are working on right now is simply a proof of product for the future. If all this can be done with an RPG Maker, imagine what we could do with a professional grade software..
With all the changes Grave Prosperity [GP] has underwent since its first release on the RPG Maker XP in 2010, none have been quite as benificial to the project as the ones that have taken place since joining up with Bon Ink Creations. Some of the worst game breaking bugs ib GP have now been fixed, thanks to our combined efforts, and the quality of the game, visually and mechanically speaking, has easily doubled. Trying to work a project as big as this all alone is difficult, but now that Bon Ink is on board with the project it seems the winds have shifted and are now at my back. It has been smooth sailing ever since.
Part 1 for GP is set for release in October, which leaves a nice window for advertising build up (like this very article) and extra room to complete Parts 2 - 4 in a timely manner. As mentioned in the previous article, GP has obviously went through many changes over the course of two years. Meaning all the additions that were made to Part 1 now have to be implemented in Parts 2 - 4 as well. But the unique additions don't just stop with Part 1's new features. Each part will have its own addition to offer to the whole. Any Metal Gear Solid fans out there? Or maybe even God of War? There will be some new features in future parts of Volume 1 that you guys will feel very at home with and be able to appreciate as well. I want Grave Prosperity to be a very flexible title while still retaining one very solid foundation, which is horror.
With all these new amazing features that have been building up, I still just can't say it enough, none of it would have been possible without Bon Ink's aid. At one point the game was pretty much unplayable because the player could only go on for about 15 minutes or so before the game would just crash. They would literally have to rush from save point to save point and then restart the game in order to keep it from crashing out on them. This was an issue that came up since day 1 of the project. I thought it was just because RMXP was a flimsy engine at first, which turned out be be anything but true. Concerns about this came up in my conversations with Jon Bon (owner of Bon Ink) and eventually we were able to find a programmer who could discover and fix the issue. Now the game can be played for however long the gamer wants to play. Just another example of how our newly formed partnership has taken GP to the next level.
Now GP even has a full blown marketing plan set up through Bon Ink. All the promotional material that has been popping up on the site lately is part of it. We have a target release date for Volume 1 set for the distant future that will allow for a good steady release of each part of the game.
As much fun as I have working on the game itself, I have just as much fun working with our talented voice actors/actresses. These people are great. I can't even begin to explain just how awesome it is to get to see AND hear the things I write come to life. Without their time and efforts, GP just wouldn't have the same polished feel to it.
Since my joining with Bon Ink, everything GP related has been talked about between myself and Jon Bon. We run through new ideas for promotional materials and certain fixes from an advertising standpoint, you name it we've talked about it. Of course, as Jon Bon is a big fan of GP I can't rightly leak every detail about the future releases to him, just for spoilers sake. I keep the new features under wraps until the game is playable and then I send it to him where he is able to be the first to experience all the new content as a beta tester. I find it more interesting to suprise even my co-workers with new things.
Since GP's downshift in file size, even people with an adverage grade video card and smaller RAM can now enjoy the game just as anyone else. The engine no longer has to process hundreds of frames of huge image files that form a cutscene. This was a big concern for many of players from overseas. The game was just too laggy. As an example, a cutscene with let's say 100 frames would have been about 20 - 30 MB, as the game originally was. Now, the very same cutscene is only about 1.5 MB; all without losing quality. This has allowed for more cutscenes to create a more cinematic experience without the annoying lag.
Environments have been upgraded just a touch more now too, with the addition of shadows and lights. This allows for more insecurity while exploring because you never know what may be lurking in the darkness.
As a nostalgic gamer, I wanted GP to have the same basic mold of the classic Resident Evil or Silent Hill, but with a more modern twist to it. Take a classic survival horror game with all its puzzles, creepy environments and twisted creatures, and toss in some of the mechanics from more modern titles and you have a decent picture of what Grave Prosperity could be.
The whole idea behind this game is taking a look back at the good 'ol days where I might have said, "Man, I really liked that game, but I wish it had this, this or this feature..." Well, now I have the opportunity to make that happen. At present with the tools I am limited to, Grave Prosperity is as good as it's going to get. It has that classic feel to it with the modern mechanics and look, but that doesn't mean the future doesn't hold room for improvement. With all the special additions being put into Volume 1, they still pale in comparison to my vision of a full 3D release. Things like intense horrifying action and spine tingling environments with 100 % interactability are what I am after. A game where simply attacking your persuers will not be enough. You will have to outsmart them and become predator, rather than prey. These things will come in time, but until then be looking forward to the next article, the "Future of Grave Prosperity." Thank you all who read this and I look forward to bringing Grave Prosperity to your PC!
The horror genre in video games seems to be a slowly dying concept. It seems that just about every survival horror type out there is just about the same game only being played through another universe. A dark atmosphere, very bland combat, the occasional startle point and a whole bunch of puzzles. Not that I don't enjoy these kinds of games, but after playing so many of them I got to thinking "what if". That is when Grave Prosperity first came to mind.
Growing up I got to see games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill make their first breakthroughs into the gaming market, and eventually, into my heart. Their method of story telling through random documents that could be found scattered throughout the world and the sketchy townsfolk you would inevitably run into was nothing short of amazing to me. The games almost insisted that you became deeply involved in the story. They weren't so much like playing a game to me as they were like interacting with a movie, which in my eyes was the coolest thing ever at the time. The characters actually had emotion and personality, something I had never seen before. By these simple concepts I was easily influenced and inspired to eventually create my very own unique addition to the genre, which would soon become known as Grave Prosperity.
The game itself has gone through so many changes in size and quality that some of the changes became undoable. Like the way Volume 1 in its entirety is portioned out into 4 separate parts. The innitial reasoning behind this was because the game would have been well over a few gigabytes the way it was first being designed. And the crowd I was trying to appeal to was the RPG Maker [RM] community (which would NEVER find another RM made game over 1GB acceptable), simply because that was the engine type I was using for the game. Of course, since its initial release we have found ways to lower file size and actually manage to get all of Volume 1 complete in under 1GB. Unfortunately, it wasn't discovered how to do this by us until part 3 was under way. So it was a bit too late to turn back and place all three parts into one game. It's been a good long 2 years that Grave Prosperity has been under development. It's had many different story changes as well as visual and mechanical changes (upgrades). In short, Grave Prosperity [GP] has come a long way.
Speaking of graphic changes, GP has had 8 visual overhauls since it's first (video game) concept on RPG Maker XP 2 years ago; 6 of which were actually released on the net through the RM communities. Before any of that started happening, GP was simply a fit of boredom (one of many of its kind) while pulling overnight security. Imagine having to sit in a car in a remote location and stare into a whole bunch of dark nothing for up to (and sometimes exceeding) 12 hours. Yeah, I had to get pretty creative in order to keep my time occupied.
Once I completed the story I found that it had grown on me and became something more than just a time consumer. I actually liked what I had written and kind of wanted to see it come a bit further. That's when I started drawing up character concepts for a comic book version. I already had many different concepts for all sorts of different characters drawn up for earlier RM engines I was working with at the time, which is where Amber's first image came from. Remember the first two Parasite Eve games on the PS1? Maybe some of you do. Amber's original concept was based off a spin off from those games I had started on an earlier version of the RPG Maker, but after finishing the GP story I decided to set aside all my side work and compile everything into that one project.
Over time drawing the characters either by pencil and pen, or by pixil seemed to be a bit of a dated method. So I turned to 3D art. Granted, I never had any kind of schooling or even training of any kind in the field, but I really wanted to see this project come to life in a way I never tried before. So after Googleing 3D softwares I came across a freeware called DAZ Studio. It's simple interface made it the perfect starter software for me to break into the 3D field. I didn't even have to model my figures from scratch. It came with a base human form that you could make a seemingly endless number of alterations to in order to create your very own unique 3D person. Cloths were a synch since there were venders everywhere that would sell the ones they made right there on the site. It was too easy. After about a year of using that I discovered a cousin program to DAZ which would end up being the permanant home to all of GP's creation: Carrara. Through trial and error I slowly sharpened my designs and animation until I was satisfied enough to make my first release of Grave Prosperity on the RPG Maker XP.
Let's just say it was nothing glamorous, and it was not the big hit I was hoping it would be right off the bat. If you can imagine a small 3D model with 4 frames of walking animation over a bunch of pixilated backdrops then you may get the idea. It wasn't pretty, and it took some time until I finally was able to start using 3D models for the backdrops that would blend more appropriately with the 3D characters.
Of course the characters and backdrops aren't the only things that went through some serious changes. The menu and combat system has had a lot of attention as well. The original menu was much like you would have found while playing an old Turok game from the Nintendo 64. It was a weapons wheel. But that idea soon faded and I went with more of an up to date style like the one used in Resitent Evil 4. In this new (and current) system the player could pause the game and dig around an entire inventory that would have everything from items held, to experience points gained, to the levels of each of your character's attributes. As cool as that new addition was, there was still something missing. I wanted fluidity for the gamers who didn't like having to stop the action just so they could change weapons. So I added in a weapons quick change button that could be used right in the middle of the game while you're exploring around, or even in combat.
Notice, the mention of experience points came up earlier. I know most people are thinking, "Experience points? In a survival horror game?? How would that work?!" It actually turned out to work pretty well. After the latest Deus Ex came out on the PS3 I was very intrigued by it's EXP and upgrade system. So much so that I decided I wanted something similar in my project. That's when things started to get interesting. I had to increase the volume of combat in the game in order to appeal to this new idea, but it came out just as I was hoping it would. GP took the step from a very basic dodging and counter attack system to a whole new world of possibility. Now the player was able to attack at any given time, upgrade to perform melee combos, increase their healing rate, upgrade their dodging capabilities, and upgrade their firing and reloading speeds. Things were starting to look pretty sharp... but there was still one piece missing.
I touched on combat a few times above, but never really went into much detail. This was the most difficult part of the game to get down. The very first concept for GP was based around firearms and counterattacking. Basically, knock the enemy back and put a few into them and run. The next idea was based soley around counterattacking and timing. There was no life gauge, you simply had to counter at the right time or be dead. This method seemed to go over pretty well with the players, but it still just wasn't what I had envisioned for the game. Finally, I came out with a new release where the player could attack at any given time. It seemed pretty solid to me, but the combat was very clunky and misleading. Since all my characters are sized at 640 x 480 and RMXP is based on a collision detail of a 32 x 32 square grid, the sprites on screen had to overlap in order to make contact. So while Amber is swinging her machete, the enemy graphic would have to overlap with Amber's graphic all the way up to her elbows before a collision could be detected through RMXP's system. Not good. This was a very poorly recieved combat system to all who played the game and quickly forced me to start re-thinking how to do things.
It wasn't until I came into contact with Jon Bon, at Bon Ink Creations, that the creative wheels in my head started turning again. Through our many conversations we were able to come up with ideas that would finally lead us up to the point we are at today in the combat system. Now when attacking, if the machete so much as touches the enemy grapic RMXP will count it as a collision and the enemy will take damage. The player can even counterattack while the enemy is attacking and beat them to the punch (depending on the enemy's speed). I even decided to take it as far as making an all new cinematic execution system (that was directly influenced by the Ninja Gaiden games) where the player will have the satisfaction of recieving a quick and brutal exectution scene after defeating an enemy. Each one is unique to its enemy meaning the player will never see the same one twice. So now all in all the project's combat system is finally where I wanted it to be all along.
With the addition of the new combat system, it may seem that some of the horror has been taken out of the game. But not to worry, it still has the same dark atmosphere and creepy music, only now when there IS combat it will actually be exciting. And just because the combat is more user friendly now doesn't mean the game has become any easier. If anything it has gotten harder simply because you can't just hold the attack button and damage the enemy even if you're not facing them. There is frantic button mashing and the need to make some distance between you and the faster, stronger enemies. This new system had added a new nerve wrecking feature to the gameplay that will make the players fear and dread certain enemies.
Over time, the story has changed immensely since its first make way back in my night security days. The first game was the only one that stayed true to the original layout, but because the story was so short I decided to add in a precurser to the original that would lengthen the story and sort of allow the characters to grow on the player a bit more. These "precursers," as I like to call them, have taken on many forms throughout the releases. One involved a car accident and amnesia, another involved a nightmare. They were all well executed, but none of them really stuck. They were all just too cliche. How many times have we played a game or seen a movie where the main character has amnesia, or has a nightmare that would later lead them to the main idea of the story? Too many times over here! Finally, I came up with a good, solid begining that would neatly tie into the rest of the game and even offer the possibility of a sequel.
Overall, in the project's current form I can comfortably say that I am 100% pleased with the way it has turned out. Which is a first for any game I have ever made. All the characters will have their own back stories and they will all have an important role to play in later parts of the game. Everything you encounter in the game will be explainable through documents and character interaction (and I promise it won't turn out to be some sort of virus or infection).
Over these past 2 years Grave Prosperity has taken on many forms but I feel that it has finally hit home in its current form and won't be changing again any time soon. I realise that many were not all for the game, especially since I was advertising it on RM communities (which are geared more toward a RPG game than anything else), but I did take the constructive criticisims I revieved from those places and used them to improve the overall experience of the game. Now I hope just about any gamer can enjoy the game in some way with all of its additions and upgrades that really sets it into the category of many game genres (Horror, Action, Adventure, RPG). I would like to thank all who take the time to read this article on the history of Grave Prosperity and I wish you all the best experience while playing my game! The "Present of Grave Prosperity" article will be soon to follow this one!
August 3 - Release teaser trailer with minor in game footage.
August 3 - Release first Blog
August 4 - Pixel badges for GP
August 6 - Name That enemy #1
August 8 - Forum Signature Banner as show your support for GP
August 10 - Name That enemy #2
August 12 - General Form Avatar of GP name for forums and support showing
August 14 - Submit your character name for inclusion into the game and credit to you!
August 16 - Desktop Background of GP
August 18 - Name That enemy #3
August 20 - Question and answer fan survey, grave or prosperous, which character are you?
August 22 - History of GP Article
August 24 - Present of GP Article
August 26 - Future of GP Article
August 28 - Beta Tester Quotes