Gameplay Video: Crew Quarters

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.  -Jean-Jacques Rousseau
I’m hoping that you guys will agree with me that the game play video was worth the wait. 😉

I know it seems that I’ve been out of action of late, but I can promise you that I’ve been slaving away! Through 2 bouts of flu, and a house move.
Here is a game play snippet from the Crew Quarters section. Its quite difficult to record game play videos of Adventure Games when you are trying to keep the story, and puzzles secret-because without showing some of the puzzles or story, you are essentially just going to have a character walk around a room.
I’ve tried to keep you going with the bare bones of what you can explore in these areas-but rest assured that there are many many descriptions and interactions you have with the world…this game play video just shows a nice quick path through the crew quarters! All of those things you want to click on, and poke to see what they are (like the oozing breathing pile of red mush in the corner of the sleeping block…)….you can. 😉

There are also some cool new things to notice in the video. The dialogue system is complete and working, with the ability to walk around and interact with things while the dialogue is going on. Not a big thing perhaps, but still pretty cool. There WILL be voice over in the final game The current game does have my voice in place of the voice overs, but I took them out because…well, it sounds like a guy with a South African accent reading a script. Really terrible stuff!

Its a pretty nerve wracking experience every time I release something about the game. To know that people are about to look at 100’s of hours of work…but soon STASIS will be out in the world! Well…soonish…
-Chris
  • Alex Delderfield (ADEdge)

    Looking good Chris. Sounds like everything is coming together well.

    A question about some elements of the game however – how are you working on keeping the player ‘frightened’ or ‘scared’ though-out the game? I haven’t heard mention of any enemies who can potentially threaten your life and the progress of the player.
    Its a problem I’ve been thinking about recently in regards to a game I have in the works – ie how to create a scary/tense atmosphere in a game related to exploration & puzzles, without resorting to the typical horrific monsters/aliens/zombies. I think the risk is that the player, after a while of not experiencing any monsters or so on, grows complacent and accepts that nothing bad is going to happen to them, destroying any of the scary atmosphere the game might have had.
    Trying to think of ways to approach this anyway, perhaps it would be a matter of having some kind of danger there, while not overusing it or making it a central mechanic of the game.

    Maybe you cant even answer this question at this time, since it might give away secrets or major information about Stasis. But I imagine you could potentially have something to say on the matter?

  • Tachyon

    What are you doing about the fun factor feedback for your game? Keeping it secret for players to discover is all well and good but you really should have somebody playtesting the game while you’re developing it.

    It’s looking great so far but I can’t help but feel that puzzles may be too easy/too hard; that the story drags or perhaps what was mentioned in the previous post. You cannot give accurate feedback as a developer because you are so invested in this project.

    Of course I hope that none of this applies but still this is important to consider and at the end of the day people will continue playing only because your game is fun.

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    Alex Delderfield,

    Thanks man. 😉
    Without delving into too many elements of the story, this was something that I did have a problem with in the early parts of the game.
    Like you said, there is a risk of the player becoming complacent with regards to ‘fearing the dark’. In an action title, the way around this is to have jump scares, ala Dead Space, or DOOM 3. But in an adventure game, I think that you have to be a little more subtle than ‘A MONSTER WILL EAT YOU NOW!!!!’.
    In Stasis you CAN die, with many threats being enviromental rather than zombies/monsters. But there ARE things onboard the Groomlake that arent just spinning metal death fans, and lava pits-things that pose a real and physical threat to you as a person.

    I really tried to think of ways to avoid having death in the game, but really, death in a horror game kinda goes hand in hand. If you cant die, there is no tension. Without tension, there is no horror.

    One way I came up with was to have your ‘companion’ giving you advice, and bits of information on whats going on in the ship. Just having someone tell you ‘Keep away from the walls, and move silently’ can be enough to raise tension. If you ignore this advice, and something pulls you through a wall, youll be more hesitant to not follow advice in the future.

    An excellent look at fear and tension is the motion tracker in ALIENS. Just that ‘blip’ sound was enough to send shivers down your spine-because you KNOW, even without seeing, that there is something on the other side of the BLIP thats going to kill you. I remember playing the original AVP, walking down a corridor, and hearing that PING on my motion detector, and running back to where I knew it was safe, and hiding in a corner.

    I dont know if Im being helpful here, or just talking in circles. 😉 Its difficult for me to get into a more descriptive discussion without delving into the story elements, aswell as some ‘secret’ gameplay mechanics.

    -Chris

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    Tachyon

    Its really difficult to play test an incomplete Adventure Game (not as in bug hunts, which are actually pretty fun to do), specifically STASIS, as I’m not really developing the game in a linear fashion. I suppose the equivalent would be someone editing a novel, starting in the middle, and skipping every other page. Sure, you can pick out the spelling errors, but its cohesion as a story can only really be felt when its all put together.
    I have budgeted for a testing phase once the entire game is in a playable mode, because I know that artists sometimes find it difficult to be completely subjective when they are so close to the work.

    Something that is very difficult when creating a game like this is how ‘easy’ is too easy, or how hard is too hard? Different people tackle puzzles in different ways, and whats really easy for one player may be impossible to think about for another. My only guiding light with the puzzles has been to keep things logical, and make sure they make sense.

    The ‘fun factor feedback’ is quite different in AG’s to other games. It comes from exploration, furthering the story, and completing goals. The mechanics aren’t really suited to the ‘instant gratification’ of other genres, and are most comparable to say, a visual novel. I have been very careful with the story to make sure that the game is very goal oriented. I took games like BIOSHOCK and DeadSpace 2, and analysed how they drove their stories forward, and used that as my base.
    The direct feedback comes from directly exploring the environment. Clicking on objects and reading their descriptions, interacting with computers, lockers, Video and Audio logs…things that aren’t important to the ‘main’ story spine, but give the player and the world a sense of ‘fullness’.

    Again, I’m possibly waffling on! I hope I answered at least some part of your question. 😉

  • Kristian

    Woa!! 🙂 thanks for your demo, the game seems really interesting, like a mix between System Shock and Alien, y love adventure games like this,with a great atmosphere and that “dirty-bloody” feeling.

  • Net1

    Finally an update! Great job! 🙂

  • Tachyon

    Thanks for your detailed response Chris, very informative. Well I certainly hope this approach will work for your game. Please feel free to share any insights you’ve had on the design process over makegamessa.

  • Michael

    Niiiiiiccceeeeee!

    Looks execellent as usual, the only thing I could point out is that the bits and pieces I’ve seen so far seem to all have the same broad look and feel – low level light, grating on the floor, steam rising from vents, etc.. – who the hell puts steam vents in my apartment in the crew quarters!! I demand to see the ship’s architect! Where’s my carpet I was promised… and would someone please send a janitor to replace these lights! 😛

    I think having a well-lit, clean, pristine, cozy space in amongst all the rest of the horror of the ship could raise tension even more because it’s so unexpected and bizzarely out of place compared to it’s surrounds…

  • Michael

    Following on from my previous post…

    I’ve always loved the architecture in Deus Ex, especially the Picus Office level, pristine white walls, rounded corners everywhere, very nice. Could make a nice contrast to dimly lit corridors:

    http://www.visualwalkthroughs.com/deusex/deusex3/picus/3.jpg
    http://www.visualwalkthroughs.com/deusex/deusex3/picus/6.jpg

  • azurIt

    Oh come on, Chris! Re-release the video with your own speech, we really want to hear it! 😀

  • Chris B

    Thanks guys!

    Mike-fear not, there are quite a few ‘untouched’ areas, and medically clean rooms. I’ve purposefully been rather selective about what areas, and styles of architecture I’m showing. Gotta leave some surprises!
    As for the carpets, floor grates just look cooler! 😀

    Azurlt,

    I don’t think you are comprehending just how bad it is… 🙂

  • StrangeCat

    Wow nice atmosphere I love the look! you know to keep a player scared or have fear in game you would use not just the camera but the sounds and music. Creating tension with the music and folly sounds.

    For instance I could compose a piece for there composer that would create the feeling of danger or being scared, or a rising threat with out revealing a threat. Typical Film Music Atmosphere horror scifi cue.

    I did couple tracks for fun looking at your images. I’ll post them up soon. Been insanely busy with music it’s hard to do my own thing.

    StrangeCat

  • Brakespear

    That looks awesome. The animations are smooth, the environments are detailed, and I love the cavernous reverb you have on the music and computer voice.

    I am hereby waving my magic wand of game-development-acceleration to unrealistically have this finished in time for christmas! WHOOSH! It is done.

  • StrangeCat

    I am going to do one more track looking at pictures of your game then I’ll post up a soundcloud link for people to listen to. I am just doing this for fun. Horror Scifi soundtrack music

  • dBLOOD

    Is this game going to be a pure (point & click) adventure game, are will there be action elements in it, where the players actual physical abilities are important? I’m thinking about scenes like the one in Still Life (1) with the robot.

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    thanks StrangeCat,

    I saw your emails, sorry I haven’t had a chance to respond! Just give me a day or two… 😉

    dBLOOD,

    The game is a pure point and click adventure. I played around with action elements, and ‘quicktime’ events, but they just didn’t flow properly in the game. Perhaps in the future, when I have a little more experience with game design I can fix those flaws, but for now, Im using the ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ rule of game design. ;

  • StrangeCat

    Sounds Good Chris!
    I’ll try and finalize the three tracks I did looking at your game images on Tuesday.
    Look forward to hearing from you.

  • Alex Delderfield (ADEdge)

    Thanks for your reply Chris, only just remembered Id asked the question here!
    But thats exactly what I was after. A good point mentioning the motion detectors from Aliens, thats the kind of psychological horror I think you need to have in a scary puzzle based game which doesnt go anywhere near guns and monsters bursting out of walls like in Doom3 and those kinds of games.
    Definitely food for thought, look forward to seeing how its all done in Stasis, thats for sure.

  • StrangeCat

    Here is one track I did looking at your pictures.
    Just creating a horror atmosphere with some scifi blend.

    https://soundcloud.com/strangecat-1/thecorridor-stasis

    I have two others I’ll up soon.

  • Chris B

    That’s really nice! I like the heartbeat that’s kinda running through it, and it works really well as a background ambient track.
    Very cool man. 😉

  • StrangeCat

    Yo Chris
    I am just getting ready to mix the last track which is huge dark pulsating Theme Music.
    It’s more an industrial style but has orchestration too.
    I have one other to go over too.
    Holidays make me so damn Busy!
    I’ll post it up when I finalize it! has to be before the end of the month.
    It’s really Cool Theme Music!

  • StrangeCat

    https://soundcloud.com/strangecat-1/lostinspace-stasis

    Theme I composed looking at the imagery of Stasis
    enjoy
    not sure if I have time to get to the other track but I’ll try.

  • crzikrn

    Wow! Can’t wait to explore! Awesome video!
    It’s so beautiful, feels weird saying that to an
    almost abandoned spaceship.
    The ambient lights and the small air smoke? really gives it an immersible atmosphere.

    Can’t believe you’re doing this on your own!

    It’s already the end of 2012!
    Sad to know that the game-play hours
    can’t compare to the long hours that were put in the game-
    But I’m sure every moment would count playing it.

  • StrangeCat

    that’s all I have guys. I am out.
    I am composing music for an upcoming game now.
    see ya!
    Good luck with Stasis!

  • Kimotei

    Chris, why dont you use speach synths as placeholders for voice? These robotic voices might even fit the theme. 😀

  • andrea

    Great work!

  • Hicks

    Looking absolutely gorgeous. Dripping with atmosphere!

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    Hicks…love the name! 😀

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