Who is Lukewarm Media?
Lukewarm media is a team that is currently an independent virtual studio with no funding or investment which I manage through online networking and a project management system. Our team is made up of professional game developers and avid upstarts with the passion to work in the industry. We are mostly known for our up-coming title, “Lightspire”, a fantasy-action RPG, and its first game "Fortune's Web".
All of our development thus far has been on the evaluation license of CryEngine 2 from Crytek. Regarding Lightspire's development, we initially planned to make a full-fledged action RPG. However, we realized early on in development that something so ambitious would be beyond our capabilities at that time. We then decided to work on a much smaller project that could be completed from start to finish within 6 months and hopefully raise the money we need to continue development for Lightspire. This smaller project is a team-based human vs. dinosaur first/third person shooter called Primal Carnage.
What does Lukewarm Media mean?
That’s a very good question Ryan! I’m glad you asked, hah. It seems a lot of people get confused when they hear the name “Lukewarm Media” - there is actually a clever meaning behind it, rather than just an uber logo! There is a famous quote from Marshall McLuhan, a philosopher that studied media theory, which explains that there are two kinds of media in this world that target a viewer’s senses: “hot media", such as movies and flashy graphics, which of course enhance the sense of vision; and then you have "cold media", such as comics, simpler 2d art, and the like, which require the viewer to use his / her imagination to fill in the missing details, such as the story behind it.
As an independent game developer, we focus on all media, both "hot” and “cold", which would make the blend "Lukewarm".
How did you guys get together?
Well, the start of anything worthwhile usually has a long story behind it, so I will try to keep it short!
The first time I actually started to get into video game development would be when I was 14 years old, after stumbling across a website called “gamedev.net”. I went to the website, looked around, and began to study the process of making games. They had a great forum with other young and professional designers alike who had the same questions, thoughts, and inspirations as me. From there, I saw a local thread titled, “Looking for Game designers”. I figured I’d give it a shot, so I ended up sending an email to the team and quickly got rejected as fast as I had sent the email and was told I did not have enough experience and would not be very good at it... With that said, I actually was not shocked or surprised. If it was not for that kind of reply, it would not have motivated me enough to study and work hard so I could get into game development.
I remember skipping class and creating game design documents in school, and right after school, running home from a long bus ride just to get to my pc in order to learn more and start my first team project! My first team project was not anything special to talk about. Put it this way: it was a futuristic post apocalyptic game with zombies … Enough said!
At the age of 17, I left school to fulfill my dreams and passion of being a game designer and moved to Chicago, Illinois. I had to leave my friends and family behind to work for a Startup XNA middle-ware game engine studio, where I would have my first job as a producer. I ended up leaving the studio with another designer who is now like a brother to me, Aaron Pollack. We left to create our own studio, Lukewarm Media.
The business started off as any other, with an idea, and with a passion to develop video games and multimedia. With the help of everyone’s unique skill sets, we would develop video games that included both the “hot” and the “cold” media as mentioned above. And from that, it has built up to what you see today, which is Lukewarm Media.
The people we work with are from all around the world and have worked on various levels: some in major studios, some only freelance, and some eagerly making their first start in the business. It has been an honor to work with everyone; we are more like a family than anything now.
It has been an exciting journey to keep this idea going. I am now 20 years of age and have moved all over the US working as a freelance recruiter and game designer and have learned so much. There is not enough time, nor words to describe how great of a team and how much of a pleasure it has been to work with them.
You guys are responsible for the visually incredible Lightspire mod. How did Lightspire start?
Originally Lightspire was a novel I was writing and creating with a group of friends three years ago. I always wanted to take the writing and expand it in other ways of storytelling, such as a movie or a game. Lightspire is a massive world with a lot of plots, races, twists, and lore behind it. Even if we produced a three game series, we simply could not tell the story properly without having to cut things out. It’s not an easy topic taking a traditional fantasy world and physically evolving it and changing it where it can make sense in a game format and still be appealing. I have always been a huge fan of fantasy, but always imagined what would happen after the world of elves, dwarves, and orcs was broken and dramatically changed, forcing the races to become extinct or to evolve. A lot of Lightspire’s inspiration comes from growing tired of seeing media with the same old cliché dwarves, orcs, and elves that seem to be in every fantasy game in this genre. As big of a claim as it is, I really hope to one day evolve the genre and inspire others to do the same.
So are you guys a mod team or an indie team?
Technically Ryan, we have always been an Indy team, even during the development of Lightspire. Our goals and intentions are to break into the industry as an Independent studio, develop awesome and entertaining games and attempt to change the way games are made and how teams come together. The situation with Lightspire was a bit complicated at first. We started building Lightspire using the Cryengine 2 evaluation license, which at first prohibited us to showcase and announce the game as a commercial product, simply because we did not have the funds to attain a commercial license to claim it as an independent game. We never intended for Lightspire to be released as a mod either. As a team, we decided that the best way to showcase the game would be to announce it as a work in progress mod so we could showcase and announce it without getting into any trouble or obligations. In a lot of ways we were/are a “mod team”: because of the way we operate and work is as a virtual team, and the methods we use as a non-funded virtual team is the same as those that are used with many of the great mods on this site, as well as mods around the globe. Lightspire has been a fantastic way for us to showcase our talent as a team and learn and gain the experience required to one day be a professional studio. Lightspire has done a great job at putting our name out to the public and has helped build a reputation which we only have the fans and dedicated members of this team to thank for.
What is Primal Carnage?
Primal Carnage is our upcoming game which we aim to be our first commercial game as an indie team. It has currently been in development secretly for the past three months, and we already have a ton of animations, renders, concept art, and audio completed, and of course game play! We created Primal Carnage for the reasons mentioned before, as well as wanting to make a high-quality game and prove to not only the world but to ourselves that we can make a game together, and hopefully this game will inspire other indie developers to do the same.
Primal Carnage is a multiplayer first person shooter where players must work as a team to complete game mode dependent objectives. In Primal Carnage, you can play as one of two factions: dinosaurs or humans. Both are filled with special unique classes and abilities that complement and contrast each other.
The backing story is that dinosaurs have been unleashed on an old military controlled island due to an experiment gone awry. A team of mercenaries has been dispatched to contain the threat.
Since you’re developing primal carnage, where does this leave the status of lightspire?
The status of Lightspire is currently being put on hold until we finish Primal Carnage; since we hope and plan for Primal Carnage to raise the money and funds we need to seek investment, as well as build our own investment from sales, so we can then go back and focus on Lightspire as an established title.
From fantasy to dinos, why the change?
I have always been a huge fan of dinosaurs, as I think most of us are, as it tends to target fond child-hood memories. I have found it strange that there have not been many dinosaur themed games over the past few years - everything tends to be zombies or World War 2. Don’t get me wrong, I love using the shotgun and taking out a horde of zombies as much as the next guy, but I have always wanted a good dinosaur game to play, and it amazes me that there have not been any worth noting. I figured there has been so much done already, why not take a leap of fate and make the dream game that I have always wanted to play? I mean how awesome would it be fighting off hordes of dinosaurs, or playing as a raptor and hunting down your prey? When it comes to designing I always try to make everyone happy while still trying to be original and fresh with the design process, and I think this game will make others happy as well and will be filled of things they can relate to while playing while having a spectacular dinosaur experience people has been waiting for.
What can we expect to do as dinos in-game? Can you eat people? Can I take a bite out of someone sitting on a toilet, for example?
Well although it's been discussed amongst the team at whether we should allow the human players to sit on a toilet just so we could re-enact that iconic moment from the original Jurassic Park, alas it is probably a feature we'll be leaving out. Being serious though, as a dino you'll be able to do all the things you know and love about dinosaurs; Biting, flying, jumping, spitting, and of course bellowing out an ear splitting roar to disorient the human players around. Some dinos will perform a combination of the two. For instance a raptor is an avid jumper, and he may just be able to jump attack humans and chow down.
What dinos will there be to choose from?
Our line-up includes the major favorites from the meat eaters. The Velocilraptor, Pteranodon, Compy, and even the mighty T-Rex will all be playable dinos in our current line-up. Oh yeah, and I can't forget Dilophosaurus! Also, you will definitely get a good glimpse at a few of your favorite vegetarian dinos as non playable characters including but not limited to Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Triceratops.