Video game industry puts down roots in Bangor

Posted July 14, 2014, at 2:54 p.m.

By Nick Kaye

Special to The Weekly

 

BANGOR — The video game industry is based primarily in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin and other large cities. It’s made up of sleek offices filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of artists, designers and programmers.

Eagre Interactive is a little different.

Chuck Carter founded the company in April 2013, setting up shop in a small loft above the storefronts on Central Street in downtown Bangor. He works with two other colleagues at the location, and remotely communicates with other artists across the country.

Carter previously has worked on a number of high profile projects. He was one of two artists who created the graphics for “Myst,” the best selling computer game of all time from 1993 through 2001, with more than 6 million copies sold. He also served as an artist for many other titles, including “Command and Conquer” and “Guitar Hero,” and companies such as National Geographic and McGraw-Hill.

Although Bangor might seem like an odd choice for an industry veteran, Carter has high hopes for the area.

“It’s the perfect size, and it’s on the cusp of a lot of new development,” said Carter. “We want to be a seed to help grow similar companies in the area.”

The mission of Eagre Interactive, according to Carter, is “to tell compelling stories that come to life.”

Eagre’s current project is a first-person, story-based computer game called “Curio.” The idea for “Curio” has been brewing in Carter’s mind since the 1980s when he read the H. G. Wells’ story “Magic Shop.” The game’s premise is this: a curiosity shop owner gives a young girl a magic key which allows her to escape into new worlds of her imagination. As she grows older, shes uses the key more and more to avoid an abusive domestic situation and other troubles. Eventually, she must decide whether she will ever return to reality.

As the player, you learn about the girl’s life through journals, drawings, poems and videos that she has left behind. Your goal is to convince her that life is worth living.

Eagre has enlisted area actors and actresses, including members of the Penobscot Theatre Company, to appear in live footage hidden within the game and to serve as the basis for the 3D character models.

Unlike many games on stores shelves today, “Curio” is based upon exploration and storytelling rather than violence — a shift away from popular shooters such as “Call of Duty.”

“I think that the idea of nonviolent, immersive gaming is finally coming back into vogue,” said Carter.

The game will be capable of interfacing with a free app on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. In this way, players will be able to examine journal entries and clues they collect in-game even when they’re away from the computer.

“Curio” is scheduled for release by October 2015 on the Steam digital distribution platform.

When Carter’s not working on “Curio,” he’s thinking about the future of the industry in Bangor.

“There isn’t a school in the state of Maine that teaches computer graphics in a way [a company like ours] can utilize,” said Carter. “I’d like to change that by bringing in mentors and experienced artists to Bangor. And we could feed them into colleges to teach courses on computer graphics.”

Carter already has spoken to computer science professor Gerald Wright about possibly teaching classes on 3D art and animation at Husson University.

“I love Bangor, and I really want to see this [industry] be successful here,” said Carter.

For information on Eagre Interactive and “Curio,” visit eagreinteractive.com or check out the Facebook page at facebook.com/curioworlds.

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