HEARTH is a survival 3D adventure, where everything burns? The only thing that can keep you alive through this unforgiving winter is your hearth. You’ll have to explore, gather, craft, fight… Anything you can do to keep your fire alive.
This is one of the 5 indie games currently in development (May 2018) that I reviewed on The Loot Gaming, here you'll find my full interview with Corey Bertelsen, Vivi, and Millipede, the developers of HEARTH and the review, if you want to read the full article: "In Development – May Roundup".
Reviewed on Windows.
Developed by: Corey Bertelsen, Vivi, and Millipede.
The game has achieved sweet aesthetics using simple graphics. dominated by dark tones clashing with the white snow that covers everything around. Now, when your energy starts to run low, your UI turns to an intense red. The simplicity of the artwork and the intense color changes work together to immerse you deeper into the experience, urging you to keep the hearth alive.
Interview with the developers
Q: Why HEARTH? What motivated the concept?
A: Bennett Foddy gave Milan a prototype prompt that was "A game designed to make money." You can still play that original prototype at https://milanimal.itch.io/prototype-12 The original idea for our Masters Thesis was that we'd take that project and shift into a more Rogue-like game that involved the Chinese I-Ching, but the "feed the hearth" game loop ended up having more gravity than we anticipated.
We have a long list of inspirations, from survival games to charcoal drawings to avant-garde percussion music, but essentially the game is about entropy - you need the fire to stay alive, but burning things in the world has consequences.
Q: I really enjoyed how immersive the UI is. How did you choose that style?
A: Our UI is highly inspired by Don't Starve. We like how clear they express the idea of inventory arrangement and stockpiling. But other than just copy the functions, we added our own flavor to make the UI look more consistent with the whole game.
Most of our artboards were charcoal drawings, and we used charcoal to make a lot of the textures and UI elements of the game. Everything comes back to burnt wood.
Q: What have been the biggest challenge while developing the game?
A: We had a lot of ideas of different directions the game would take. Some were more systems-heavy, others were more linear. It was hard to cut certain things that group members put a lot of time into, but we decided to focus on a more stylized experience.
Q: I understand the game was an academic project, will the team keep working together? Or will you part ways?
A: We'll keep working together in some capacity, until the game is officially, 100% released. I know we'll work together in the future, but there isn't a plan for another game as a team right now.
Q: Do you plan to expand this version of HEARTH?
A: We plan to get the gameplay tighter and figure out a satisfying ending for the game. We know that we could spend years on this project, and want to stay away from that kind of "feature creep," but it depends on what kind of public response the game receives.
Q: Are you working on any other games?
A: Corey is doing sound for Hyper Ecofarm - and some level design for Static.
Milan is working on Constellations.
Vivi recently made Card Odyssey.
In order to survive, you have to keep your energy bar up. The real challenge is that your energy is constantly going down whenever you get away from the fire. There are ways of making it last longer, like only going out during the day, or at least crafting a torch for the night. But eventually, your need for fuel will make you venture deeper into the forest, be prepared.
How can you help the development of HEARTH?
HEARTH’s demo was developed by Corey Bertelsen, Vivi, and Millipede as a thesis project for NYU Game Center. But after a year of work the plan to keep working on the concept. If you want to support this awesome survival adventure follow them on twitter @feedthehearth