SUBSTREAM is an aerial shooter that's choreographed to music. Every level in the game has been animated with a different genre. The game's graphics engine has been custom built so that the entire environment is dynamic. Terrain and scenery morphs and pulses with the rhythms, melodies and themes of the soundtrack. This is a world alive. Substream is an abstract shmup where you survive and destroy the waves of enemies that attack you. But it's not that simple, because space is wrapped. Enemies appear in multiple positions ahead of you, and your lone fighter ship is a squadron stretching off to infinity. Expect to be flanked by enemies that are right in front of you. Substream is being developed for Windows PC, other platforms will hopefully follow.

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0 comments by benbradley on Jun 27th, 2014

It’s been three years since I wrote a news entry here at the Substream IndieDB page. Normally I wouldn't blame you for considering a project dead after this amount of time, but this one's far from it. So why the long gap?

I self-funded the two years of Substream’s development with my savings, but when me and my wife needed to move to the south of England so she could secure a teaching job this dried up. Since then I’ve been working a day job and dabbling with Substream a little in my spare time. Calling progress slow is an understatement. This is not a game to be made in someone’s spare time. It’s full of details and incidentals, polish and carefully crafted moments. This is it’s main strength I think, so there’s no shortcuts to be taken.

Things may be starting to turn around...

Substream Screenshot, June 2014

I got invited to exhibit the game at the PlayBlackpool games convention at the start of May. I was feeling like I wanted to get some motivation back and the timing was perfect for this. I knew from my past experience at GameCity that a small game convention is a great place to see genuine reactions to a game, get valuable feedback, and remind myself what making a video game is for.

So I pulled the various fragments of the game I’d been developing together, and made my way up to Blackpool with a playable demo of the first half of four of the game’s levels. The feedback was lovely. After GameCity I felt like I was on to something; after PlayBlackpool I felt like I’d found it! Sure, I wrote down three pages of bugs and todos. But I also had people dancing in the chair to the music, wanting to shake my hand and congratulate me, and offering to buy a copy of that unfinished preview version from the show.

I made a new teaser video around the same time to show the new graphical style in 2014, with plans for more gameplay based trailers to follow soon.

So what next? Well, I have thought about doing a crowd funding campaign for a while. Honestly, I would feel happier putting all the game development risk on my own wallet, if I could. But this is the best option I have right now, so it’s my intention to run a campaign in September. I’m excited about crowd funding, although I have no expectations. Loads of indies are crowd funding now. Some are successful, many are not. I’ve read all the advice about running a campaign, but it seems after all that is taken on board the most important thing is the work that’s already been done: the game idea and how its implementation is shaping up. I’m ready to have that judged.

If crowdfunding works out that would be great. The game is already two thirds complete, so I've done enough now to know how long it takes to make each level. With a few months work I know I can finish the game. If crowdfunding doesn't work out, I'll regroup and form a new strategy. I've been devoted to developing this since 2010 and I'll release it one day for sure...

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cruciFICTION Jan 20 2011, 1:50pm says:

The music in that video is absolutely lovely. I look forward to the OST. =D

+1 vote     reply to comment
benbradley Jan 22 2011, 5:56am replied:

@Cruciform Thanks! I'm really pleased with the way the soundtrack is coming together. It's a wide variety, every track's by a different artist. :o)

+1 vote     reply to comment
OrangeNero Jan 19 2011, 6:37pm says:

looks very promising, i really love the idea to make the game sync to the music. will we be able to choose our own music?

tracking :-)

+1 vote     reply to comment
benbradley Jan 22 2011, 5:56am replied:

@Orange131326 Hey thanks! It's not my aim to allow music to be imported, because I wanted Substream's animations tied much more closely with the audio's mood and melody. If you're interested I wrote more about this here:

+1 vote     reply to comment
EmanueleParis Sep 18 2010, 3:50pm says:

Love it. Hope you'll be able to make a OSX release, looking forward to it.

+2 votes     reply to comment
benbradley Jan 22 2011, 5:57am replied:

@EmanueleParis Yes I would love to do an OSX version! It may be that a PC version comes out first and then an OSX version would follow, but it's definitely in consideration.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Latest tweets from @_benbradley

That RT is really interesting - tweaking physics events so they match up to a recorded foley sound, rather than the other way around.

39mins 47secs ago

RT @TomMauritzon: This would be so rad in games!

40mins 44secs ago

Feeling rough and slept baldy all weekend. :( But if I can sort out the camera shake I'll feel better; most common complaint last playtest.

9hours 3mins ago

@IAmTheManta You're just missing a little tiny umbrella, perhaps held behind the ear?

9hours 5mins ago

Presumably the vehicle-driving robot isn't the first exercise, you work up to that over the course of the book.

Jul 13 2014, 8:24am

Great eighties programming book cover art.

Jul 13 2014, 8:18am

@J96kHz because you have to write int *a, *b, *c; to declare multiple pointers. Yeah its another confusing C idiosyncracy.

Jul 13 2014, 6:49am

@RetroGamerCD hehe. Sore neck. Not sure what I've done but trouble sleeping with it. Do you often work nights?

Jul 13 2014, 12:35am

RT @RetroGamerCD: Throwing this trailer for #r0x EP out there again. Final will be released on PC as well btw ;) #g

Jul 13 2014, 12:30am

Check it! Today I made my first ever cake!! Had a bit of a disagreement getting it out the tin but it tastes alright.

Jul 12 2014, 3:35pm

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