Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 29, 2013.

Update #70

PAX press and Retro/Grade PS3 flash sale

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While I normally do my updates on Mondays, I'm going to do next week's early because I wanted to pass along the info about (yet another) Retro/Grade sale, which is this weekend only. This time the sale is on PS3, and you can get the game for $0.99. Here's the link with info.

Anyway, I'm sure you are sick of hearing about Retro/Grade, so let me get back to Neverending Nightmares!

Firstly, we just pushed a hot fix for an issue we were having with Mac OS X using fullscreen. Previously, it didn't work and you were stuck at a black screen. That should be fixed now. This is one of the risks of doing a lot of platforms and having a small team... And also pushing a build right before you leave town. hahah I will try to be better at catching these things, but I really have to thank you guys for helping us track down bugs. QA can be expensive, but you guys really put a lot of effort into helping me find and fix issues with the game. I have the best backers ever!

As I mentioned in the title, the press is coming in from PAX, and I think there is a lot of good stuff:

  • Brian Crecente from Polygon did a really good interview with me about OCD and the game. If you are sick of hearing about Retro/Grade, you'll have to skip ahead since it leads with that. I suppose I really should stop talking about Retro/Grade, but I can't help it. At least in my mind, the two projects are linked because Neverending Nightmares was born from my feelings after I released Retro/Grade. Well, I'll shut up. I covered all of this in the interview. I'm a big fan of Brian's work, so it is awesome to be interviewed by him.
  • Aggrogamer did a great preview for the game based on the PAX demo.
  • We made the short list of 4 PAX Indie titles to look out for on GameRevolution. Awesome! We are in good company with games like Elegy for a Dead World, which is developed by Dejobaan/Popcannibal. If you aren't familiar with Dejobaan, they are totally awesome. The team is the nicest in the world (they let me crash with them in Boston), and they make totally off the wall games like Drunken Robot Pornography and AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, which has Oculus Rift support. Anyway, sorry for the random plug. I just love those guys!
  • GameHounds did an interview with me on youtube. You can see our Kickstarter booth setup as well as how I speak loudly and frantically at conventions. Also, they managed to invent a new spelling of my name: "Matt Guillen block". I don't expect people to spell my last name correctly because it's a tough one, but I've never seen this spelling before. :)

This week, we've been working on some finishing touches for the new level from the last build in addition to finally getting started on the next level. I am really excited about that. We aren't very far along, so it just seems exciting in my mind, but I think you guys are going to love it. We really have to get cranking on new content to finish the game on time. I hope to have another demo build out in a month showing this cool new stuff.

I keep doing developer videos. Will I ever run out of ideas? I hope not. :)

  • We added rumble to the latest build. In this video, I talk about how rumble works and how we have cool things planned for the Steam controller.
  • In this video, I set out to talk about Silent Hill Origins, but I ended up on a few tangents about PSP development, emulators, and the importance of doors and streaming worlds.

Anyway, thanks for reading! If you have alpha access and haven't played the demo, check it out! I'm still processing all the survey data and comments on the forum, but I think I've gotten a lot of good ideas on how to improve the game from your feedback. I really appreciate it.

Your friend,

Matt Gilgenbach


Update #69

Back from PAX and thoughts about the new build

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I just got back to LA late last night after a great PAX. We did some interviews with some major press outlets as well as put the game in front of a lot of eyeballs! I especially enjoyed meeting all the backers that stopped by, so thank you! Extra special thanks to the backer who generously traded me for the Claptrap bag, so I could give it to my wife. :)

The new build is out, and I am pretty proud of it. Based on the survey results so far, the average rating for the game went up from 8.1 to 8.7 (although we haven't gotten as many responses). However, the last survey averages were brought down by someone who gave us a one. I respect the opinion of whoever did that, but I'd be interesting in hearing why. If you are reading this, feel free to send me a message on kickstarter or email me at: feedback@infinitapgames.com. I'll see if I can't fix whatever problems you were having with the game!

Not everything is perfect with the new build though. It seems like there are difficulty issues that need to get ironed out. I already have some good ideas to smooth over some of the difficulty spikes, but of course I’ll have to try them out and see what you guys think. In addition, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback so far, and I haven’t been able to go through it all yet because I was super busy with PAX. Once I catch up, I'll be sure to read it all and respond on the forums.

I’ve gotten some feedback on the dialog as well. We have some story elements in the new build including dialog between characters (albeit with temp VO). It is supposed to be weird, awkward, and uncomfortable. It seems that some people think it’s too unnatural. I’m a bit on the fence about what to do. One of the major complaints is that it is almost all pure exposition. That was deliberate – any time spent in a cutscene is time you aren’t playing the game. In addition, any time a character is talking to you, that is time you aren’t feeling the oppressive loneliness that I want to be a central focus of the game. I intended them to essentially blurt out all the bullet points, so you can get back to playing in isolation.

I’ll have to give this more thought. Perhaps I can keep it brief and weird, but make it flow a little better. I guess my worry is that people will criticize the writing as bad when it is intentionally awkward. I suppose “it’s supposed to be bad” never really worked as an excuse for anyone else, so I’m not sure it’ll work for me either. :-/

We’ve gotten some press mentions (pre-PAX) that I forgot to mention:

  • The awesome champion of Indie Games, Rob Manuel, did a segment on Neverending Nightmares on Thanks for Playing. It's really amazing to get coverage on a big site like Game Trailers! (Our coverage starts at 10:55)
  • I did an interview a good interview with IndieStatik
  • Kotaku did a Let's Play of the game, which was super cool.
  • There is another nice long interview on B-Ten
  • Vulnerability is a big theme in Neverending Nightmares, and Think Christian mentioned Neverending Nightmares along with Thralled and Papers Please as an example of games that focus on disempowering the player. I think it's good that more games are allowing you to play as "real" people instead of steroid enhanced supermen (and superwomen - albeit less frequently).
  • Finally Bloody Disgusting included us in the Top 30 Indie Horror Games. We are in good company like Soma, Among the Sleep, and Outlast: Whistleblower. Awesome!

I did some developer videos: 

  • This is an in engine dev video where I spend 15 minutes talking really fast and outlining all the minor changes and improvements we put into the new build. I don’t show the new level, but if you haven’t played the 0.2 build, then there will be some slight spoilers.
  •  In this video, I give my thoughts on Doom 3 and the BFG edition. The most interesting part of the video is the discussion about how consumer expectations play a big roll in how a game is received. I guess that is the danger of making a sequel!

As always, thank you for your support! If you have alpha access and haven’t gotten to play the build, I’d be interested in hearing your feedback. :) Take the survey and post on the forums!

Your friend,

Matt Gilgenbach

PS. There are some interesting kickstarters I should mention!

  • I know I talked about the Unwinnable Weekly before, but now they have a special indie bundle that includes copies of Retro/Grade I donated to help them get their site off the ground. There are only 3 days left!
  • I mentioned Treachery in Beatdown City before, but unfortunately their original campaign was not funded. Fortunately, they have a new campaign. Check it out if you are interested.
  • I’m a sucker for Lovecraft, but there are too many Lovecraftian kickstarters to mention. However, Mark of the Old Ones is a metroidvania platformer, which I think is a new genre for a Lovecraft influence. 

Update #68

The new build is live! (for alpha tier backers only)

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I leave for PAX bright and early tomorrow morning, but we were fortunately able to get both builds finished.

The latest Neverending Nightmares build is currently live on Steam as well as on the Ouya store. If you backed at the alpha tier ($35) and up, you'll be able to jump right in and play now. This time, I integrated the survey link at the end of the demo, so once you play through the final level in the build, please consider taking the survey. If you were spamming the buttons and skipped the prompt, then here is the link.

If you have in depth thoughts about the game you'd like to share, the forum alpha discussion is the place to do it.

Also, if you have the tools and tech to make one, I'd love to see playthrough videos, so post a link in the forum if you make one. :)

I don't have time to list all the new features, but there are a ton. If I get a chance, I'll make a video outlining some of the cool new things. There are lots! Anyway, I have to finish my last minute packing. I hope you like the new build! :)

Thanks for your continued support! I hope you like the game!

-Matt Gilgenbach


Update #67

New build is coming!

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 Last week was busy and this week is going to be even busier. Winter… I mean the build is coming. I promise! I got the final music and the last audio asset for the latest level, so if all goes according to plan, we should be able to release it this week. I don’t want to 100% promise it because it’s going to be a tight fit trying to get both the PAX build and the alpha build done this week. I was stressing like crazy about getting all the work done I needed to this week, and it was making it hard to sleep. In order to actually fall asleep last night, I decided that I would have to just say the build will be released when we are ready. If I can’t get it out this week, it’ll be sometime next week. I bet I am as anxious for you to play it as you are.

The newest level isn’t finished just like the “Lost Child” level wasn’t finished when we released the last build. I don’t think anything will be finished until we ship. Or maybe after with patches. Hahaha Even the kickstarter level isn’t finished. We added Adam Sessler’s keyhole idea to the darkened library, and I think it makes a huge difference. We still plan on going back and adding in stairways to that and “Lost Child” now that we have stairway technology. We also created a more interesting visual effect for going through the doors, which has been in the game forever. I think when we finish the game, it'll be hardly recognizable as what we originally pitched.

Personally, I think the constant upgrades makes things interesting for alpha backers because you can replay previous levels with the latest alpha builds and get some new surprises. In particular, I tweaked the baby monsters considerably based on the problems I saw with new players at GDC, and we added an awesome transition between that level and the next. Actually, you’ll have to replay the levels presently, since we moved to a saved game system. (For some builds, we may have to wipe your saved data, so hopefully you don't mind)

Besides getting the art, music, and audio in the new level, we’ve spent a lot of last week working on the PAX build. We still have some work left to do on that. We also addressed some comments/suggestions on the forums including the way controllers are handled (we don’t just pick the first controller and use that anymore), and we added rumble. Adding good rumble can be a bit of a challenge, so maybe I’ll do a developer diary about that. I’m still trying to figure out how to make something similar to rumble with the Steam Controller’s haptics. It’s an interesting challenge. We’ll see how it turns out. I've done some experiments and have something somewhat promising in store.

I’ve continued to post developer videos of course: 

  • At GDC, CryEngine and Unreal Engine both went way down in price. Someone asked me to give my thoughts on this, and here they are!
  • I got a Shield at GDC for attending an Nvidia seminar, so I decided to try my hand at making another unboxing video. I think this one turned out better than the last.
  • In this diary I talk about the importance of game jams, my reluctance to do them, and what sort of games can come out of a jam.

Like I said last week, if you are going to PAX East, please stop by and say hello! I love to meet backers. Here’s the map to find us: 

As always, thanks for your generous support! Also, I really appreciate your continued patience with this build. It's coming!

-Matt Gilgenbach

PS. Here are my favorites kickstarter projects this week:

  • I can’t believe I missed this at launch, but Sup Holmes is kickstarting future episodes of their really interesting podcast featuring interviews with game developers. I love in depth interviews with game designers, and I think the more avenues there are for devs to talk about our processes, the better people will understand and appreciate what it is we do. There is only 3 days left, so be sure to back it now!
  • Pleasant Dreams is a card game about nightmares that is being designed by a psychologist. It sounds really cool.

Update #66

Of builds and PAXes

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Firstly, a quick administrative note! Kickstarter now allows you to change your shipping address for surveys. The link to the survey data is below your personal pledge level, and there's a "click here to change shipping address" link in the survey dialog now. I couldn’t find much written about how to do it from a backer perspective, so thanks to Thomas H. for helping me figure this out! Let me know if you need to change your address and have trouble with this, and I'll try to sort it out. We won’t start on reward fulfillment until the game is done, so any time between now and then, you’ll be able to change your address.

Anyway, back to the update! We are quite busy at Infinitap’s virtual headquarters. Joe and Adam got back from their Halloween convention Monday afternoon. Here’s a cool picture of Joe with the nurse from Silent Hill. 

Joe sent me a text with the picture that said “Have I played it now?” referencing that he gave up on Silent Hill 2 before completing it. I informed him that it didn’t count as playing. I think it is lame that Joe won’t play the greatest horror game of all time – well, the greatest until Neverending Nightmares comes out. ;-P

We are very close to getting the new level in shape to show you, but I’m not 100% sure when we’ll be able to launch the build. I am a bit torn. I want to get it out as soon as possible and start getting feedback on our new enemy type, but I also have to get a build ready for PAX that has fixes for the gameplay concerns and bugs that were discovered at GDC. Getting a build out requires a fair bit of testing to make sure everything is working the way it should, and we have a lot of new systems that will be going into the latest build. That is good news for you, but the flip side is it requires a lot more testing. Let me give you a list of all the cool new things we’ve added:

  • New level – this is the really exciting part of course and what is taking the most amount of time.
  • New story elements – I don’t want to talk much about them, but we’ve added some things to previous levels. There is one really interesting surprise that I am quite proud of. You’ll see if you play through the other levels again. :)
  • Headphone mode – I’ve talked about this before, but it recreates the positioning of the sounds in 3D when you enable the options and wear headphones.
  • Terribly temp VO – The line readings are really bad. Please ignore that aspect of them because they are placeholder until we get actual VO actors, which won't happen until our script is finalized. I wanted to get the scene in to get feedback on the script as well as get the tech in there and working.
  • Subtitles – English only for now, but someone asked for it in the last build, so we accelerated this on the schedule.
  • Mad Catz M.O.J.O. support – when Ouya Everywhere launches on the M.O.J.O., Neverending Nightmares will run just fine on it. I posted at great length about the technical hurdles for this.
  • Nightmare map – This isn’t completely done, and most of the content on it is temp, but people asked how we would represent the branching storyline and help people go back and find the branches they missed. This is our solution. Feel free to discuss your thoughts on it in the forums.
  • Saved games – Neverending Nightmares now saves your progress. We also implemented the suggested functionality where we keep a save game per nightmare, so if you let a friend play, and they are at a different level, both of you can continue mid-scenario. For technical reasons, we might wipe your save with every new build, but it’s probably for the best because we go back and make the earlier levels better.
  • Keyboard customization – You will be able to choose your own keys if you don’t like the defaults!

I’m sure I forgot some things because we’ve changed a ton, but now it feels much less like a demo and more like a real game. I think we’ll have everything done to the point where I’d be comfortable showing it by the middle of this week, but I might be busy with PAX stuff, so I’m not sure we’ll launch it before I get back since I'd have to test across 4 platforms and all that. Plus, we’ll have some cool polish things going in the end of this week and next, so it might be better to wait. Decisions, decisions! I'm still on the fence, so we'll have to see how things go.

I’ve continued my steady pace of releasing developer videos:

  • Pacing a game is hard - especially a horror game. In this video, I talk about how I've learned about pacing from films and what I'm trying to do with Neverending Nightmares.
  • In this diary, I talk about the difficulties I've found running an indie studio from a financial perspective especially relating to taxes and business structure. I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant, so take my advice worth a grain of salt.
  • Here, I talk about how the camera works in Neverending Nightmares as well as provide some general tips for game cameras.

Anyway, thank you for support, and I appreciate your continued patience with this build. I feel like the universe is conspiring against me to delay the build! *grumble* At this point, it’s not really that we are falling behind schedule. The issue is that my focus is being stolen by all these shows. :-/ After PAX East, the next even is PAX Prime, so I should be able to really keep my nose on the grindstone. Well, there is always E3, but I doubt we’d be showing there. 

Also, if you too are attending PAX East, be sure to stop by! We are in the kickstarter room, which is #105, but unfortunately, it's location is not obvious. Fortunately, I made a map to help:

Anyway, thanks for reading!

-Matt Gilgenbach

PS. Kickstarters! I know I had a bunch of links last time, but this week I only have 2. They are both really good though, so here's some info:

  • Hero Generations – My buddy Scott Brodie created this interesting turn based strategy game where the protagonist dies, and then you play as his offspring. It’s a super cool project, so you should check it out!
  • Unwinnable Weekly – Kickstarter has a lot of interesting project types besides just games, and the Unwinnable Weekly is trying to create a digital magazine about video games and pop culture. That’s definitely I can get behind! They have an extremely talented editorial staff, and it’d be great if they could devote more energy to Unwinnable since it is just a side project for them.

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