About this project
We're also running a steam greenlight campaign currently, please help by voting for our game!
The Kickstarter has finished but please come to our website for the latest information.
This is a Graphical Summary of some of the key rewards.
Note that all higher tier backers will also be eligible for the newsletter, forum access (with Sleeping Master avatars).
Imagine a horror game where no two playthroughs will ever be alike. Where every single level is completely randomized and totally unique every game. A game where you never feel in control without being frustratingly unfair.
The crux of horror games is the unknown, never being able to rely on your previous experiences. Welcome to the world of Phantasmal, a procedurally generated game that will feel like a new experience every single time!
We are all old-school gamers, and some of our fondest memories of horror games are the classics like the original Silent Hill and Dead Space games. The player always had the option of fighting, but they would need to weigh up the consequences of doing so, e.g. would they be badly injured after doing so, or would they deplete too much ammo to be able to survive later encounters? This balancing act combined with the creepy setting always created a wonderful feeling of dread and tension.
One problem with many of our favorite horror games was that we would only experience peak fear the first time we played through. Subsequent playthroughs would inevitably be far less scary (sometimes not at all) because we would know where the scares would be coming from. Even during the first playthrough, with many horror games the player would figure out patterns of where the jump-scares would come from, which would also lessen the fear factor.
What we want to do essentially is to balance giving the feeling to the player that they are never in control without making the game unfair. The procedural level generation isn't just a convenient means of generating levels, it is the very backbone of maximizing the fear and dread.
Our dream is to eventually create a game which is completely unpredictable - where the environment, creatures, items and weapons are randomized, yet at the same time tailored to the player's specific fears so they can never predict what they will be facing every game and every level.
It's an ambitious goal, but we have already partially achieved this with our procedurally generated levels built on a component level rather than the traditional room by room template basis.
The Binding of Issac (another roguelike game) captures the essence of randomized gaming, and fear through uncertainty - it has been a great source of inspiration for us.
For the time being for this kickstarter, our primary objective is to complete the current work-in-progress demo and flesh it out into a full game.
Infinite Replayability - Every room and corridor in the building is created from the ground up on a component basis, i.e. the floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, etc. No level will EVER be constructed the same - almost every room and hallway will be COMPLETELY unique.
- Insanity system - fighting the creatures will slowly drive you mad, and you will suffer the effects of your slowly eroding sanity.
- Self Defense - Defend your life with anything you can find from wooden boards and pipes you rip from the walls. If you're lucky you may find a gun locker, but on each level there will only be one!
- Stealth - Fighting is a last resort tactic. Sneak past your enemies as much as you can. Each action you take will have a consequence and creating too much of a ruckus will wake The Sleeper.
- Light - Make sure you use your light sources wisely - your own torch will sometimes be your greatest liability.
- Character Progression - Death is not the end. You will accumulate XP every playthrough which will allow you to grow your character and come back stronger.
You play as John Hope, a veteran of the Vietnam War, who suffers from extreme Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
During one mission you witness a horrific napalm attack on innocent villagers. You try to help them, but it is no use. The sight of women and children burning alive, unable to quench the flames slowly burning the life from their bodies etches itself into your mind. Soon after returning to base you experience a severe emotional breakdown, and you are sent home.
After a time, you finally recover, although you still suffer from severe night terrors and severe relapses of PTSD. You drink, you haven’t been able to keep a steady job, your wife left you and took your kids away. Down on your luck, an old army buddy does you a favor by offering you a job as a night shift janitor at a local university. You have few skills outside of the military, and you’d rather not be around other people for the time being.
For a time, things work out well. You enjoy your solitude, and simply keeping yourself busy.
Unfortunately one night at work a storm suddenly sweeps in. A tree is blown over, severing a power cable, and the university is plunged into darkness. Ominously you begin to hear voices in the darkness even though you should be the only one at the university. You decide to investigate...
We're hoping to infuse a strong Lovecraftian sense of dread to our game. Cthulhu has been and always will be a massive influence!
As an indie project, we can't complete this game without you. We value all your input, and we want to keep you involved throughout the development process. As such, we will be conducting regular polls and gathering general feedback which will influence the final game.
If our first milestone is achieved, then we will aim to complete the game including beta testing before the end of March 2015. We will look to develop our demo into a fully fledged game.
1. Joe Chang - Developer/Team Lead
2. Chevy McGoram - Environment Artist
3. Euge Tay - Character/Creature Artist
4. Shaun Roland - Sound Technician / Musician
5. Jeff Chilberto - Senior Developer
6. Gavin Chee - Lead Tester/Community Manager
7. Kit Chan - Developer/VR Specialist
Currently we need your help to flesh out the demo for the PC (to be released soon!) into the full game that we've envisaged. We've got the core gameplay going but there still is a lot of development and testing needed.
The funding raised will allow us to complete the game in the following key areas:
- Improve the AI
- Complete the current work-in-progress procedural level generation
- Extend the game beyond the 3 current levels in the demo
- Introduce set piece events, bosses and a definitive ending to the game
- Upgrade the environment to include more components and sets
- Upgraded the melee combat system (and remove the starting pistol)
- Introduce a XP System
- Complete the Story
Most of the team have a part-time job to survive, so being funded will help us to finish the game much faster and with higher quality.
- ADMINISTRATION- Website management and general administration
- DEVELOPMENT - Authors, programmers, animation, art and audio engineer.
- TESTING - System testing, beta testing management
- PROMOTION - PR, advertising, campaign fees, backer rewards
- DISTRIBUTION - Fees, platform delivery and execution.
For any backers who make it to PAX Australia [http://www.paxaustralia.com.au/] Drop by the indie booths to play our demo!
Risks and challenges
Every software project carries risk, and our one is not an exception. However in our case every team member is a seasoned professional who has worked in the games industry.
Joe in particular has worked in corporate IT for 14 years as a tester and testing manager, as well as running his own game development business over the last two years. He has worked on dozens of projects, from managing the testing for the data centre migration at Air New Zealand, through to developing the testing strategy for a MMO. He understands what it takes to deliver a quality product in aggressive timeframes.
Like Joe, Jeff comes from a corporate background and has worked as a senior developer and architect in many blue-chip companies in New Zealand. Jeff worked with Joe on two Microsoft Games Competitions and came 2nd place with him in 2013.
- 2nd Place - Microsoft/Scirra Windows 8 Game Competition 2013
- 2nd Place - NZDGA Unity Win8/WP8 competition
Chevy has spent the last 3 years as a 3D artist in the games industry in New Zealand, having worked on titles such as Path of Exile and Silent Ops. He spent his youth making mods for PC games which led him to where he is today.
Euge Tay is a freelance 3D artist who has worked for many studios Illfonic, Grinding Gear Games, Spiral Game Studios, Lukewarm Media, Games Lab, Huhu Animation.
Shaun Roland is a musician with the band Starving in Style:
Gavin Chee is a lifelong hardcore gamer, a professional games tester, and an entrepreneur.
Kit Chan is a recent graduate of MDS, games freelancer and VR game development fanatic!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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