MHS grad works to release own video game

Posted July 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm

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PHOTO: Tyler Owen, who graduated from MHS in 2006, is well on his way in life. He’s already started his own independent company, Random Seed Games. Now, he’s working on funding for his first video game under his company, Lacuna Passage, via Kickstarter.

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PHOTO: These various screenshots offer just a taste of what’s to come with Owen’s video game Lacuna Passage. Set on Mars, the images and data used in the game stem from real data available through NASA. Owen said his interest in space exploration peaked after the Curiosity Mars Rover landed on Mars in 2012. (Images courtesy of www.randomseedgames.com)

 

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

Imagine your favorite pastime. What is it you thoroughly enjoy doing when you’re not working? Now, imagine doing that for a living?

A Monticello High School graduate is doing just that. After his love of video games, he’s currently pursuing a career and adventure in getting his very own computer game financed.

Tyler Owen, a 2006 graduate of MHS, has certainly done a lot since high school.

He’s created his own “creative, independent company,” Random Seed Games. Under that he’s working hard to launch his first video game, Lacuna Passage.

“I guess you could say video games have always been an obsession of mine,” admitted Owen. He said growing up, he would repeatedly ask his parents, Jeff and Kim Owen of Monticello, for a Super Nintendo. “I enjoyed video games more than any other form of entertainment. Playing video games was just a great pastime.”

Owen said when he’d play video games on his own or with his friends, he’d have his critical thinking cap on, always imagining what the games would look like if he had created them himself.

“I was always more critical of the games than anything,” said Owen.

Owen’s other fascination has always been space exploration. Couple that with video games and you have Lacuna Passage.

He said when the Curiosity Mars Rover landed on Mars in 2012, the idea came to him to mimic his video game after that newsworthy incident.

To add to the realism of the video game, the images and basis of Lacuna Passage stem from NASA footage.

“The experience has been pretty unique,” explained Owen.

Using real data from NASA, Owen was able to put together the basic narrative for Lacuna Passage. According to his website (www.randomseedgames.com), it’s a “story-driven exploration and survival game set on Mars… You play Jessica Rainer, the only survivor of the crashed Heracles mission, investigating the disappearance of the first ever manned mission to Mars.”

Owen said by using real NASA data, the game feels more real when playing compared to perhaps a high-budget Hollywood sci-fi movie.

“We’ve been able to put a lot more detail into the game without putting a ton of money into it,” Owen explained. The information and background from NASA is available at their fingertips, knowing the right place to look. “It’s amazing what NASA provides to the public.” Much of the topography of Mars and mountainscape images are seen in Lacuna Passage.

With the game developed, one way to seek interest and funding to move forward is through the popular public funding website kickstarter.com. Simply search for Lacuna Passage on Kickstarter and you, too, can become an investor.

A demo of the game is available for viewing. Owen launched the Kickstarter account on July 1 and already they are 54 percent along towards a goal of $40,000. As of Sunday evening, July 14, the game already had 802 backers at almost $22,000. They hope to reach their goal by July 31.

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