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Walk in the shoes of insanity, where your perception is the most deadly adversary.

 Symphony Hall was crowded, all eyes fixated on him as he sat down to play his new composition. Joe started to hear buzzing in his ears, but that always happened when he was nervous.  

This occasion was different. As he played, the piano keys became teeth. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore it, using his muscle memory to hit the right keys. However, the tones rang dissonant. Then each key played screamed in pain.  

He stood up, and quickly tried to apologize to the confused audience, but he spoke nothing but gibberish. He saw all those hollow faces, all of them dressed up in their typical suits. As he turned away he felt their scornful eyes. Everyone grew quiet as he walked off stage. Some looked at him like he was an animal, ready to attack at any moment.  

A year goes by and his therapy was stalling. His drugs only made problems worse. He decided it was time to go back to the one thing that always supported him: his wife Kim. He packed a single bag, left the Symphony behind, and gambled it all on the hope he could patch things up.  

On route to Kim's house, his new doctor, Dr. Reynolds, called him. Today was supposed to be his next session, and he had skipped it. Joe explained his plan, and Dr. Reynolds seemed cautiously sympathetic. But something in his voice told him that Reynolds thought that Joe was about to break into a random house, and possibly hurt someone.  

And Joe wondered if the Doctor was right.

You are Joseph Springer, a schizophrenic patient who skips out on his therapy sessions and drives down to Virginia to repair his estranged relationship with his wife. As Joseph nears the house he blacks out and wakes up in a strange environment filled with conflicting clues and disturbing visions. 

With only limited meds to cope Joe explores the house, learning that each previous resident is somehow connected to him, and each has met a horrible fate. Eventually his meds run out and you are left with primitive methods to cope with the strange and surreal visions, hoping that if you close your eyes or look away they'll disappear. But even innocent scenes could be feeding a deeper delusion. Is this really my house? If this is Kim’s stuff, where is she? Who are these other people I keep seeing?

 And why does everyone react as if I’m going to hurt them?

Fans of ”Amnesia The Dark Descent” and “Eternal Darkness” should find the first person puzzle solving interaction familiar. Shades of Sanity increases the number of interactive objects, is saturated with flavor text, and uses both a simple inventory management system along with environmental puzzles and a supernatural logic twist to lateral thinking. 

The game is thought of as a “Spiritual Successor’ to Sanitarium in the way that the main character seems to be shifting from the real world to a nightmare world, each having clues and symbols to his quest for truth.

You be forced to think your way through hallucinations and delusions, and will use your environment to combat danger. You won’t have a shotgun to blow away an enemy, you’ll turn the gas on and throw a match, push the cabinet in front of the window, or just make a run for it. You won’t be stomping over health packs, you’ll be looking at the medication and wonder why it’s now marked “POISON, DO NOT TAKE!”

Customizable Difficulty Settings

There are three difficulty settings for both Puzzles and Action, giving six different levels of play. On easy Action is turned off, and you can explore with ease. At highest you’d better be quick witted and dexterous to avoid danger.

For puzzles the easy mode gives plenty of hints and direction. In hard mode, be prepared to get a piece of paper out to work out the logic.

First Person VS Isometric

We want to explore horror from a first person perspective, and that means having the game reacting to where the player is looking, or more importantly, not looking. Players are used to moving about in a First Person world, whereas there is some difficulty controlling a character in an isometric view. One of the complaints from Sanitarium was the movement system, so we decided against that. It makes theatrics a little more challenging, but we erred to ease of exploration.

Do you have DRM?

No. The game is DRM FREE, regardless of distribution platform.

What languages will the game be in?

The game's audio will be in English. Since localized audio will be a rather difficult process we will provide subtitles for other languages. We will have subtitles for Spanish and French. Other languages, such as Italian or German can be done as well if there is enough interest.

What is the game rated?

We seem to qualify for Teen. There's bad language, some violence , but no nudity. We don't want to be horribly gory, we strive for creepy and unsettling.

What will this run on?

We aim for this to be a Windows PC title with a MAC OS-X support as a stretch goal.  

We are targeting the following system as our min spec:

  • 2+ghz processor (multi-core is an advantage)
  • 2gb of ram (1gb available for the game as a minimum.) 
  • GPU with at least 512megs and shader model 4.

We have a lot of options that can be enabled/disabled so that we can run on lower end hardware while rewarding players with higher end systems to nicer visuals. We are looking into trying to support shader model 3 as well, but cannot guarantee it.

Learn even more from our interview with HardcoreGamer.com!

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One advantage we have is that we don’t need to license engine tech, so all funding goes to content creation, with a few software purchases to get everyone one the same level for studio work.

The figure is based on an estimate of the design, using hourly wages to complete the work. The lion’s share goes to art and animation. Once funded, critical assets will be assigned first and a rapid prototype with be made. Puzzles will be hammered out and tested before final props are finished so as to minimize redoing work. Then it just becomes a matter of finishing and replacing temp art with real art while the game is already under testing.

At $220,000 we will add a Mac port, further funding past our goal means more puzzles, areas and other scares into the game.


Patient Referral: You will receive an exclusive desktop wallpaper plus a digital download of the game's soundtrack and our many thanks! Have a listen of a piece from the soundtrack:

Outpatient Care: This will include a copy of the game via digital download as well as the soundtrack and wallpaper. We are looking to have the game distributed though Steam and are open to other options as well.

Long Term Care: This includes a 20 x 30" poster to hang on your wall to impress your friends, coworkers, and fellow patients/inmates. It can also be used to cover up an escape hole. Rock hammer not included. You will also receive the game, soundtrack and wallpaper.

Isolated Unit: A black t-shirt in your size that has a design of a skull with a brain twisted in vines. We wanted to offer straight jackets but our lawyers said something about needing state licenses to sell medical equipment, even for recreational use. This tier includes the poster, game, soundtrack and wallpaper from previous tiers.

Beta Tester: Supporters will be given beta test versions of the game before release and will be officially considered part of the team. You'll be filling a valuable role that makes the difference between making a game that gives you nightmares as opposed to a game that's a nightmare to play. Please state how you want your name to appear in the credits. You will also receive the t-shirt, poster, game, soundtrack and wallpaper.

Specialist Care: Have a 3D print of our stalker model sitting on your desk as you wear our t-shirt, while testing the game. The print stands 5" tall. You will also receive the poster, game, soundtrack and wallpaper.

Intensive Care: In addition to this impressive haul, you'll be testing a pre-alpha version of the game where significant design changes can be made. This is a critical part of the process. Beta testers find mostly technical errors, Alpha testers find design errors. Developers are often too close to the product to determine quality, or become overly critical. You will provide a fresh, bird's eye perspective on the product.  You will also have the 3d print, T-Shirt, beta access, poster, game, soundtrack and wallpaper.

Special Research Group: At the highest level, you can suggest an Easter Egg for the game. Activating it should be obscure enough to not accidentally hit for example, perhaps dialing the White House number on the mobile phone gets a special voice mail, or violently shaking the view around causes Joe to vomit. We are open to ideas, within reason. You will also be part of the focus group, have the 3d print, beta access, t-shirt in your size, poster, game, soundtrack and wallpaper.


Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest risk is compatibility testing. Fortunately, we have seasoned veterans on the team with experience in testing across multiple hardware configurations.

Game development isn't new to us. As team members we got to see first-hand the things that made Sanitarium great, and saw what made other projects not reach their completion.

In small team projects, design needs to be focused enough so effort isn't wasted. I've seen projects both over and under designed at the same time (too large in scope, too vague in detail.) Redoing things over and over can kill a project.

Beta focus will be a big part in making the game great. It's not always easy to determine how hard a puzzle or trial is until you send it through to people's minds.

FAQ

  • No! The game will not have any DRM encoding or system. If the game is also released on Steam (which some people consider DRM), we'll make sure to release on an outlet that doesn't require software to be installed.

    Last updated:
  • French and Spanish at ship time. Other languages can be added later, it will depend on funding on how soon we can get it.

    Last updated:
  • We seem to qualify for Teen. There's bad language, some violence , but no nudity. We don't want to be horribly gory, we strive for creepy and unsettling.

    Last updated:
  • We aim for this to be a Windows PC title with a MAC OS-X support as a stretch goal.

    We are targeting the following system as our min spec:

    2+ghz processor (multi-core is an advantage)

    2gb of ram (1gb available for the game as a minimum.)

    GPU with at least 512megs and shader model 4.

    We have a lot of options that can be enabled/disabled so that we can run on lower end hardware while rewarding players with higher end systems to nicer visuals. We are looking into trying to support shader model 3 as well, but cannot guarantee it.

    Last updated:
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