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Trail Breaking

Trail Breaking

Trail Breaking

Blaze new a new trail home (with a few “out of this world” detours) in this upcoming adventure from JLS Softworks


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Developed by: JLS Softworks
Publisher: To be Determined
Estimated Release Date: 2018
For: Windows

JLS Softworks, LLC is a recently formed indie development studio. It is the brainchild of Jeremy Smith who is also the only employee. Based in Pennsylvania, he has embarked on a solo journey to follow his dream and release Trail Breaking as his first foray into the world of commercial game development.

I first became aware of Jeremy and his game on Kickstarter last year. Unfortunately, the campaign did not reach its funding goal. Undaunted, Jeremy has continued the project in his spare time, with his own money. I was impressed by what I’d seen of his early prototypes so I caught up with him a few weeks ago (via email) to see how he was doing. I am happy to report that Trail Breaking is coming along nicely and Jeremy remains enthusiastic about the project!

Jeremy has been a gamer since an early age and has dabbled in programming, off and on, through the years while keeping a “day job” and raising a family. He began working with the Unreal Engine a few years back and has been building his skill set and learning new tools ever since. To create a game like Trail Breaking requires more than programming skills. It is an exercise in creativity involving graphics, music, sound, and gameplay. Quite a lot of hats for a “team of one” to wear and Jeremy is keeping busy filling all these roles.

As a veteran adventure gamer with a fondness for the classics from Sierra, the genre was a natural choice for Trail Breaking. The objective of the game is simple: to get back home. But, in Jeremy’s world, that is more complicated than one might think.

The game is played from a 1st person perspective, with you as a hiker who finds yourself at the bottom of a ravine. You stumble upon a cave which you soon realize provides your only way out. The cave leads you into a landscape of puzzles and portals that move you through different worlds until you discover the one portal with a path home.

Jeremy’s inspiration for this game comes from his love of the outdoors and hiking in beautiful areas. Some of the original textures he started out with in the game are from pictures that he has taken while hiking. His love of trees is expressed in several game levels and he thanks the Speedtree software for making the creation of all those trees much easier and quicker!

The screenshots from Trail Breaking show beautiful, almost surreal, environments. When asked about this, Jeremy stated: I most enjoy the fantasy aspect of the game. Besides the first level, all the other levels are made up in my head, so it gives me more freedom to use my imagination to create whatever I want and not be restricted to creating a realistic environment. Even though they are fantasy, I’ve spent a great deal of time making sure they look like they could exist and make sense.

When asked what gamers can expect from Trail Breaking, Jeremy replied: I hope they are excited to explore and wonder what they will see next since I’ve tried to give each level a distinct look and feel, as well as mood and difficulty in game play. Some levels are casual and relaxing, whereas a dungeon (for example) will be harder and have more traps for the player. I’ve also hidden various achievements in each level to give a little extra for the player to do and promote further exploration. The player will be faced, at times, with hostiles that will try to kill you. Since it’s a puzzle game, the player will need to figure out how to get by them, using what is available in the environment

Jeremy is aiming to release Trail Breaking during the first quarter of 2018 but that may change, depending on how things go in the fickle world of game development. I, for one, am looking forward to finding my way home in this adventure.

To follow the game’s progress and learn more about the project, visit the JLS Softworks website .

Cindy Kyser

Cindy Kyser

Cindy’s love affair with gaming began when she opened a mailbox in front of a white house and took the first step in a long series of adventures. ‘Back in the day,’ Cindy was a regular contributor to JA and an active member of the online gaming community. She has attended several E3s and has had the pleasure of spending time in person with both Ray and Randy. Her all- time favorite adventures include the Tex Murphy series, the Gabriel Knight series, and The Longest Journey. She also enjoys RPGs and her list of ‘best ever’ includes Fallout, Asheron’s Call, and Planescape Torment. Â Frustrated with the cost of rising PC system requirements, Cindy decided to switch to console and tablet gaming. Although you can teach some old dogs new tricks, she discovered that console controller dexterity is a skill set that she is lacking. Her results with tablet gaming were not much better. With the exception of a few gems such as The Room and Forever Lost, there is a limit to how much one can play Candy Crush and Hidden Object Adventures. Having proved that pure escapism is worth the investment, she has a new gaming laptop and is back to her search for the perfect adventure. Â After spending most of her life in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Cindy escaped the stress of urban life and moved to rural Arkansas. To show that she has become a true Arkansan, she has taken up deer hunting, wears pink camo, and put a chicken coop in her backyard. On a stressful day, she can be heard yelling ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ when all else fails.

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