Hello you creepy cravers of all things horror! Are you enjoying your Friday? Good, because I’m about to ruin it with ghastly sights and sounds from the oppressive interiors of the Hanwell Mental Institute. We have much to show you today as we’ve been progressing steadily on the development of Asylum. But let’s go bit by bit, as I like to say when I’m dismembering inmates…
Getting To Know Each Other
You may have noticed that we sent the surveys last week, which were long overdue. The main reason is that we’re wrapping up a juicy alpha of Asylum (as in dripping with unspeakable liquids) and we want to include as many details as possible from you backers. I can’t confirm if we will be able to include all the names in this build, or the book covers even, but at least we’ll try to include diplomas, labels in classroom and workshop, and the drawings in the art room.
Speaking of book covers, yes, we have automatically entitled VIP backers ($100 and above) to give us a book title. These will appear in the library of the Institute and we’re still giving away another 100 book titles to the remaining tiers. So the grand total is close to 300 books — as if it wasn’t obvious by now, we’re officially insane, but we’re totally doing this. The titles can be funny, serious, fictional or real. Books will appear as ‘Title’ by ‘Author’ where author is the name you gave us in the survey. If you’d rather give us an non-fictional book as a sort of tribute, then we can use the name of the real author of said book, although we prefer your own personal and witty titles (what we received so far is amazing, and “reading” through this library will be a joy!). The shelves will look just like the ones in Serena:
Keep in mind that you’ll be able to change all these details before the game is completed. We’re building our own backers database where we’re considering the grand total you pledged (including payments via PayPal), and when the time comes we’ll ask about the add-ons you required.
Hanwell Wasn’t Built in a Day
(or hundreds for that matter)
So… What’s been going on lately? Lots of polishing and fine-tuning, especially when it comes to the visuals of the game. After we finished putting together the Hanwell building, we explored every nook and cranny of its dark interiors to make sure that all graphics are consistent. Because this project has been taking years to develop, some of the environments that we first produced understandably don’t hold up well when compared to the latest ones. So, Pablo has been reworking several key scenes so that the illusion of traversing through Hanwell is never broken. A good example is the courtyard:
The difference should be evident, especially when looking at the horizon which should now give a better sense of space and location. Plus, the night sky feels decidedly more real.
Another thing that’s been taking a lot of work are the corridors. With Hanwell we wanted to hit a balance between an asylum full of twisty little passages that don’t look alike (see what I did there?) and aren’t a chore to explore, so it was crucial that the corridors look different enough and include visual pointers wherever necessary, such as the maps:
This is one of the reasons why we haven’t shared the alpha yet, as we’re hoping to receive feedback about the look and feel of the asylum, brightness levels, and navigation without any hand-holding whatsoever by us. And we’re almost there!
It… It MOVES!
While Pablo works with the bricks and mortar of the building, Juan takes care of the people. I told you once how the cinematics (or cutscenes) were some of the biggest pending tasks for the game, and we’ve been doing loads of them. Unfortunately we can’t show them as they would mean major spoilers, but we have extracted a tiny segment from one of them. We’re proud of this sequence which is a flashback that the protagonist experiences, hence the hazy and dreamy look of the cinematic:
Combined with the music, sound effects, and screaming, it’s going to be very intense, as many other sequences in Asylum. We feel that the quality of these rivals even some AAA titles. Ah, how I wish I could show you more…
Speaking of music, lots of progress in this aspect as well that will be also featured in the alpha. My brother has been composing many tracks that range from melancholic to utterly depressive and I couldn’t be happier with the result, which I feel has managed to recapture that elusive Scratches vibe. I’m sharing one of the earlier tracks here in its actual form — this one would play shortly after you enter Hanwell:
Now, we’re striving to achieve a movie-like feel with the music and guaranteeing there’s variety for all the environments. This is tricky considering the size of the building, but I think we’re slowly getting there. We’ll be using two methods to bring more dynamism to the soundtrack, which I’ll describe in greater detail in an upcoming update. In short, the idea is to cut a track into pieces and trigger the individual bits given the right circumstance — for example, the shift in the middle of this one track would trigger after you enter a particularly important room. Another method will be to use different layers of music that play or stop as you walk around the asylum and access darker areas.
I keep saying how we’re going to test the alpha with all these shiny and wondrous features, but as soon as it’s ready we’ll also prepare a lengthy gameplay video for all our backers. We have walked a long road with this monster of a game, but every day pushes us closer to the finishing line. We can’t wait to hear your reactions to the alpha and the brand new content that we’re about to show!
Let’s Synchronize With This
It’s been a while since I plugged a Kickstarter project in my updates. I think the Kickstarter craze has been slow lately, or perhaps I wasn’t paying much attention, but this intriguing game more than deserves the mention. I’ve been following their work for some time now as even the title evokes haunting thoughts. When I saw the first screenshot, I told to myself “yup, this is for me”. But when I saw their Kickstarter campaign, my throat was sore after lots of screaming in excitement. Seriously, please go have a look and let’s make this Sci-Fi adventure happen!
Well, that’s it for today. I may have been a bit quiet lately but there’s loads of cool things going on at Senscape. I hope to be sharing exclusive news with our backers soon because, believe me when I tell you, this is going to be one truly an exciting year!