Showing posts from November, 2009

Some weapons for Comfy Chair Mechs....

Bob wanted to up size some weapons for his Wolf and Spider Mechs, he sent me some sketches and what I had hoped would be a quick project turned out to take a bit of time. Bob has always been very patient and gracious and even with the unexpected delay he did not break stride. These went off to the printer tonight and I cant wait to see these mounted and ready for combat. You can see the wonderfull mechs these fit on over at John Bear Ross's blog page.

Why Horror Games Suck!

Inspired by Ron Gilbert's article "Why adventure games suck" I decided to do my own list. To be fair I do not think that all horror games suck (in fact some are really good!), but there are some common problems that pretty much all the games have. These issues hold horror games back from using the medium's full potential and I am convinced that games can be a lot more scary and engaging than what we have seen so far.

I also want to point out that the Penumbra games all have their share of flaws from the stuff below and are by no means exceptions from the rule. However, it is always a start to notice what kind of flaws that exist, so that one can work upon fixing them. It is our goal that our upcoming game Amnesia will minimize on these sucky aspects! Now that I have lined up the mistakes, it would be quite stupid to step into them.

Control is taken away when things get scary
"The protagonist enters a seemingly empty room, starts looking around when suddenly a stra…

Flymech back from the printer and metal master form the caster

I love seeing the completed prints!

Horror Tip: Korsakovia

Name: Korsakovia
Type: Game (Half Life 2 Mod)
Link:Mod DB page (info + download)
Masterminded by the same guy that made Dear Esther is a highly experimental horror game about a man with Korsakov's syndrome. Its tag line goes:
"The paramedics report that they were unable to find his eyes. We think he may have eaten them."

If you like me find that awfully intriguing then go on and play the game now and read the rest of the post later!

I have put up posting a horror tip for Korsakovia for quite a while because of the simple reason that I have not been able to complete it! I have still not managed to do so, but thought it was time to make a post about it anyway. My inability to complete it highlights the strength and weakness of the game quite well: First, the game is quite demanding on your eyes and ears with a dark environments and extremely unnverving sounds at times. Secondly, the game is frustrating as hell as it is hard to orient oneself in the similarly looking environments…

Mandelbulb comes to Mac!

Finally, to end our fractal-odyssey, the MathFuncRenderer has come to Mac!

Get it here:

As with the Linux version, Edward Rudd is that man behind the port.

If you like it, please spread the word!

Important note:
Because of some strangeness with Nvidia osx drivers, the program is unusable on some Nvidia cards. 7300 GT under Leopard under leopard is know to have this problem, and there might be more.

Mandelbulb explorable in Linux

A Linux version of the MathFuncRenderer has now been built and uploaded!
All this has been possible because of our Edward Rudd who makes all porting for Frictional Games.

Download link and stuff in this post (scroll to end):

If you like it, please spread the word :)

Mac version is also in the works and will come very soon!

For those wondering where all development and horror related post are, then I promise there will be some of that very soon! Got plenty of horror tips to share and more :)

Back at it...

I got side tracked by a few things but I'm back at my customers orders and hope to be back in full swing shortly.

Fractional Fun

(Programs and Mandelbulb screensshots available at the end of the post!)

This blog post will not be totally game related, but more about the engine and a recent obsession of mine. Do not fear though! It should hopefully still be interested and I will also provide some nice images! Hopefully it will also be able to evoke a sense of wonder too. Read on to find out!

Ten years or so ago I wrote a paper for school about Fractals. These constitute a large variety of objects but what they all have in common is that they have several levels of self similarity. Nature consists of tons of fractals, for example trees and mountains. In games the term fractal landscape was quite common at time and was a way of generating terrain. Although not heard of as much today it is still a part of game making. Below are some examples of fractals, note how the same type of shape appears over and over again:
Now, while doing the paper for school I came across a weird thing called the Mandelbrot Set. This is a ce…

The struggle between Light and Dark

When making a horror game an important ingredient is the darkness. When in a dark place people tend to be more easily spooked and have a more vivid imagination, a genetic heritage passed on from our ancestors who were hunted by predators at night. Taking advantage of this is important and just changing the light level of an environment can make a huge difference in the scare factor.

Of course one cannot just turn off the lights and hope to make a scary game. The player still need to be able to see something, as watching a pitch black image is not all that exciting. The appropriate amount of light also depends on the type of environment and the type of events that will take place. If the environment is very large, then it might need to be brighter, whereas smaller rooms, where it is easier to navigate, can be darker.

Added to this the player is usually equipped with some kind of lantern or flashlight to help illuminate. In Amnesia (and the penumbra tech demo) the player has a vague ligh…

The dull side of it - Part 1.

"Jens, I really need to read an email, but the email queue is taking forever to download! It's some guy named Brian that has sent a huge file as an attachment, probably 1MB. If not more!"
The other day I came to think of the above situation, when my dear father was in the need to read some email on the family computer back in 1997/1998. A few days earlier I had come in contact with a fellow named Brian Greenstone who was working on a freeware game and had asked on a game news site if anyone was interested in helping him. I volunteered to try and make some music. I was 18 and studying music during my final year of high school, with a life-long interest in games I thought this was a good opportunity to combine the two interest of mine. We discussed over email and he sent me the test builds of the game as simple attachments and I in turn sent my attempts at writing music back. My family had a 14.4 Kbps or maybe a 28.8 Kbps modem and sending and downloading those attachments …

The Haunter Of The IGF

After lots of work and little sleep Frictional Games have entered into the IGF, an international competition for indie games, with our upcoming horror! The game is still a while from being completed, but the build we sent in to the competition is a very important milestone and the first version that gives of a taste of what the full game will be like. When creating a horror game gameplay needs to be tested over longer periods of time (because atomsphere, etc requires long build up) and testing the IGF version of the game tells us that we are on the right track!

At the start of the next year we will see if we managed to get nominated! In case you are wondering, Penumbra Overture entered the 2008 competetion (no nomination) and Black Plague did not enter in 2009 because we had financial backup from a publisher (i.e. not indie). Now that we are back as full indie we can enter again!

Now its back to work again!
Brain slugs sure are great motivators!
*Must... serve... hive*