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The Nightmare from Beyond

A topic by The Domaginarium created Oct 05, 2017 Views: 271 Replies: 10
Viewing posts 1 to 11

Hello all, The Nightmare from Beyond is a game on itch.io Refinery (actually it's been there for nearly three weeks), so I figured I'd start this development blog. I will update this on a weekly basis (every Friday) so people can see how the game is going. Since the game is in the Refinery, input will always be more than welcome.

As an introduction, The Nightmare from Beyond is a cosmic-horror 3d platformer inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. In the game, you play as Sanja, a young woman that goes to this very (VERY) dangerous place looking for her sister, Dajana. 3d platforming and horror is not your every day combination, since many horror games today are first person games with very limited mobility (and then there are those more combat-oriented horror games, still with very little verticality). The inspiration for this combination actually came to me after watching this movie titled "The Descent." There's a part where one of the women is hanging from a rock, and one of the cannibal monsters is walking just below, and I thought it would be a very interesting thing to see a game where you are hiding from monsters not only behind a box or a desk, but also above something or in a lower platform.

If there's something specific you want to know, let me know. There's also a mailing list I've setup.


As for today's update... I'm a little late to the itch.io devblogs, so I think it's better to start with today's one, rather than give a loooooong retrospective.

TNFB early access release 2 is now available and will download automatically as soon as you open your client (or you can manually download it).

What's new in this update:

  • A new intro that provides some context to the story and the game world.
  • The intro level also has a locker thingy that will be used to switch outfits (there will be unlockable outfits in the game).
  • Now in the "chase sequence" you get a very cool and interesting animation when the creature grabs you.
  • Fixed audio levels, so you no longer run the risk of going deaf due to some audios being too loud.
  • Controller support for the DualShock 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Steam Controller and standard XInput controllers.
  • Besides making the game control easier, controller support includes vibration, making some parts of the game very interesting.
  • Changes to Sanja's skirt cloth simulation.
  • Added a "gamepad help" screen as well, since controls cannot be remapped yet.

I try not to break any save files, but I can't promise anything. On a side note, some additions might not be available if you reload an old save file.

Thanks for reading, and I'll be posting a new update next week :D

(1 edit)

Jump changes and DOF…

Hello again. Well, this is an issue someone in the Steam forums mentioned: jumps were too long so they feel unrealistic. Upon closer examination, I realized it was indeed the case. When Sanja is running and then jumps, it looks like she’s pretty much propelled forward, like she’s wearing a jetpack or something.

So I went back to the player controller and began to tweak some things, and also make some, very deep, changes and adjustments. Basically I did two things: first, I reworked all the jumps so Sanja no longer looks like she’s being pulled forward when she jumps; second, I tried to find many of the sources of glitches and bugs that I could find (as always, if you find a bug, let me know, and if you can include a video, even better).

So, what does this mean?

Well, it means I had to go back and adjust parts of the levels, because shorter jumps means she was unable to reach many of the areas because the majority of jumps are measured so they are challenging (jump right at the edge, etc.).

DLy5WHZW4AIhezA

I also changed the “swing bar” functionality to make it “slightly” easier to pull off the jump. Some people have commented they would expect Sanja to hang from the bars, rather than fall off, when you can’t pull out the jump. I have to admit this is a valid point and I thought about that. The problem I see comes when you are in a chase sequence. Imagine you’re used to she just hanging when you don’t make the jump, and you simply decide to start swinging to gain momentum and then jump off that bar. Well, imagine in a chase sequence you missed the jump because you’re used to doing it the “re-swing” way, then you need to start gaining momentum before you jump off, all while the blob-monster-thing is getting closer. At this point the mechanic caused another death scenario: you had to wait to gain momentum before you continue running away.

Of course I know maybe I am overthinking this too much, because I am aware those used to platformers can easily work around the “hanging” swing bar, so if you think the “hanging” swing bar is better than the “falling-off” swing bar, let me know in the commnents, forum, whatever, so I can add that. Besides, This other type of swing bar can allow for interesting gameplay as well, like this one.


And a small but interesting detail, I am adding DOF to the camera. Someone had already suggested this some time ago, but I never actually did it until now. Right now it’s very subtle, but I am testing to see if it should be stronger.

dof

As always, if you like what you see, join the mailing list and please buy The Nightmare from Beyond here on Itch.io

Hello again. Well, these days I’ve been dealing mostly with an NPC and some dialogues. It’s actually a very simple thing, but it can be difficult to get right if you don’t want to just stop the entire game to deliver some lines.

dev1

The easiest thing to do would be to just reach a point and fire up a cinematic to deliver some lines, and then fire another short cinematic the next section, but the game will have so many dialogues I’d hate to stop the gameplay every time.

dev2

Right now the option I am testing is to have the conversation play as they walk, but there’s another issue: what happens if you, the player, decide to walk in a different direction? What if you stop walking but the other character reaches the exit, around 100 meters ahead? Will the conversation continue even if you are many meters away from each other?

I could do something a little more complex, just play the conversation when they are within a certain distance, and stop it in case they are too far apart, but that’s something that needs testing. Either way, the next update will have a first test version and then I’ll refine based on player input.

On a side note, this part has green fog. Actually the green fog and other small details are direct references to some Lovecraft stories, and I’ll add these even if they have nothing to do with the main plot. Don’t expect a Cthulhu or Dagon cameo in the game, though. I am going on a completely different direction.

dev3

A new build will come soon-ish. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, please join our mailing list and support the game and buy it right now on the official website, Steam or itch.io.

Hello all!

Well, it’s been very tricky and difficult to work on this one, but it’s finally here. There are two main things I had to deal with that caused a few issues. First, I switched to a more recent version of the engine, and that meant I also needed to update to newer versions of some APIs I’ve been using. I usually like to “lock the code” so I don’t have to deal with version updates that may introduce bugs, but, in this specific case, I found the new version would allow me to do stuff the previous version didn’t, so I really took the time to make the switch and deal with all the needed fixes (for the three versions: PC, PS4 and Vita). And second, I switched to a different rendering path (from deferred to forward, for those familiar with the terms), because I wanted to test a different anti-aliasing method. Long story short, forward supports hardware AA and MSAA, while deferred uses a different one. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s not like one is “better” than the other for every case.

And on top of that…

This is what’s new/changed in this version:

  • Made a lot of changes to the jump physics. Someone in the Steam forums said jumps were too long/fast and they felt unrealistic and ruined the experience. I changed them so now the jumps are shorter, and slower. Actually after reviewing the old Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia games, this new jump emulates the feel of those games’ jumps more closely.
  • Obviously that meant I had to re-design some parts of the existing levels since she’s no longer able to jump that far.
  • Added DOF and Motion Blur.

dof

  • Played a little bit with the camera tint effects. Some levels felt very “gray” so I changed that. I still have more work to do in that area, specifically in the “open canyon” area but it’s getting there.
  • Removed the options menu, unfortunately. I noticed it was causing a lot of problems and bugs with the quality settings, so I had to remove it. It will also default to your native resolution. Right now, if you want to change the game quality, you need to press and hold the Alt key after launching the game (from either the Steam client, or the executable) to open the “splash” screen. I will add the new options menu (including more options and control remapping) in the next update.
  • Made a few minor and major changes to the first parts of the game. During the entire development, I tried a lot of things to get the “look and feel” of this land right (some results were good, and some sucked big time), but this time I figured I’d just go full alien-weird-environment. Personally I like it more than the previous version and I plan to continue exploring this route some more.

nov_17_1

  • There are also a couple of new areas. One of them includes interactions with an NPC (as seen in the previous dev blog), and I plan to refine and improve this, specially since there will be a few more NPCs in the game (including Sanja’s sister). This area also includes a very small and simple “stealth” sequence where I am doing some gameplay stuff with verticality, so rather than simply hiding behind things, you can also hang from things and hide behind them, or use shadows of hanging things to avoid being seen.
  • The game now detects whether you are using a gamepad or only keyboard/mouse, and adjust accordingly showing mouse cursors in menus, etc). So far it only works for new games, and doesn’t detect “hot-plugging” so if the gamepad wasn’t present on start, it will still work (like it does now), but in the menus you’ll get a cursor.
  • Added names to the subtitles, so you know who’s talking. The names in the subtitles will be kept after I add voices.
  • And lastly, made some changes to the skin material to make it look better.

update_17nov1

And that’s it! As always, if you want to get notified on updates, please join our mailing list and, if you want to support the development, buy it right now on the official website, Steam or itch.io.

Nightmare devlog 6: The Story

This update in video form :)

[UPDATE] TNFB release 4 is now available


Hello all!

I was showing the game to a friend when we found a very weird bug that caused the mouse cursor (and all other on-screen prompts) to go crazy. It was mostly due to the controller update, so I have currently disabled the cursor completely. I will work to find a different way to detect when a controller is present, and also detect when it's disconnected, or when you opt to use the mouse instead.

I also found some issues with the fog in some areas, but it's fixed now.

Also, thanks for the support, please buy this game and show it to your friends.

This time I am using a different format: the "weekly minilog."

I will still use longer blog posts and themed videos for other stuff, but I'm just seeing how it goes. You can call this "open development."

Hello all!

Well, the EAR5 is out, and while it doesn’t offer a big change in content, it has a few new things:

– The most obvious change is the alternate holiday costume. During this season you get to play in a “Santa-like” outfit, and there are a couple of things that change as well. My original plan was to have more Xmas-like stuff in the game, but I couldn’t finish them on time. a3029e01835299a43791810556730f8d9c781332 – I changed the overall coloring of the world. If you’ve played this from the beginning, you know previous versions of the game had a more gray/desaturated green look. I opted for a more colorful look, because I didn’t really like the gray, but I was having problems deciding what look the game should have. As a matter of fact, this has been a problem for over a year, and during that year my former team and I spent a lot of time trying out different things, and now finally it has a color palette I like.

– There are a few bug fixes, including jumps that couldn’t really be done, weird camera behaviors and other things.

– Control remapping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– Some changes to some levels including the “house” level. Good bye sleeping in her panties, now Sanja wears pijamas. On a side note, those pijamas are inspired by some blue-white clothing made in my country.

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As always, if you like what you see, please buy the game, and join the mailing list to get updates and special promotions.

As I mentioned before blog, I am unable to work on this full time, but I will still finish this game, no matter what! Hopefully my economy will improve soon, so I can go back to working on this full time.

This time I am showing a new item. This item will pretty much let you reach places that were not there... what does that mean? Watch the video to find out.

Item demonstration: "Not the eye of truth"

As I mentioned before blog, I am unable to work on this full time, but I will still finish this game, no matter what! Hopefully my economy will improve soon, so I can go back to working on this full time.

This time I am showing a new item. This item will pretty much let you reach places that were not there... what does that mean? Watch the video to find out.


Explanations, and impending price change


As some have pointed out, the game feels like it suffered from a premature release (not enough content, bugs, missing features like a simple options menu, etc.), and I have to completely agree, and now I am going to explain what happened.

Unfortunately, I am in a position where I can't talk much about it for various reasons, but I can talk about this in greater detail in the near future: on one hand, due to the way this portion of the game, currently available in Early Access, was funded and developed (keeping in minds those funds were maybe enough for a mobile game, but definitely not enough to make something as big as The Nightmare from Beyond), I found myself in a position where I was forced to release the game in the state it was in mid-2017. TBH, my plan was always to release the game in early access because I wanted to use players' input to get the horror+platforming aspects right, since most horror games are about walking and hiding in first person. However, my plan was to release it when it was more refined, completed, and bug-free, which was not the case.

On the other hand, if you've been reading these posts, then you have seen I've said how this is a one-person project, and that I always talk in "me, me, me" terms, and that it's never "we are doing this" or "we are changing that." Again, "due to the way this part of the game was funded and developed", at that time there was a team, but in April last year they all left the project as soon as funds were over.

(Hopefully you now understand how complex the situation is and why I can't talk freely about it)

So for the last year the game has been alive because I've continued development on my own, because I really love this game and I believe it can become something really cool when it's finished.

When, in previous blog posts, I've said that "I can't afford to work on this game full time anymore" it's because, it's because I've been living off my savings and money I make from my other game's sales (Enola), but late last year I reached a point where that's no longer sustainable. Now I spend a big chunk of my time working on other things, so I can make enough money to continue working on The Nightmare.

Why do I even tell you all of this? Simply because I think it's better to provide an actual explanation as to why the game was so incomplete when it was released, and why the development is going so slow. 

So, here's the thing. After thinking about this since early-December, after getting input from players, (meaning, it's something I've been thinking about for a LONG time), I decided to decrease the price of the game while it's on Early Access. When I released the game, my idea was to simply keep the full price during the entire EA phase, but after listening to that input, I realized that was not the correct choice, and that's why I am doing this. Also, I decided to tell you about this change in advance because I didn't like the idea to simply make an "abrupt" price change.


This is the plan:
During the Early Access phase until the game hits beta, the new price will be $13.99
When the game hits beta (game can be played from start to finish but may still have bugs), I'll raise it to $16.99
When the game leaves early access, it will sell again at $19.99

What now? well, if you want to support the game with its current price, that's cool and you should get it now. However, if you want to wait until the price change, that's also cool. The price change will take place in companion of the next "big" update in late February or early March ("big" update meaning an update with a chunk of new content, so posting a small update with nothing but an options menu does not count as "big" update).

Thanks a lot for the support, and sorry for any inconveniences.

"Gameplay-style switching" and re-working the monster (again)


Hello all.

I have two more small updates for you this time, and I really hope I can show them to you soon. The first of them is about the "gameplay style" change, as seen in the game's page. There are not as many updates as I'd like, but you know I am finishing "Aisling's Quest", my small point-and-click game.

More info about that one here.

You know that a feature in the game reads "Experience varied gameplay: At its core, The Nightmare from Beyond is a 3d platformer..." If you've played the game, you know it starts as a "close-camera third person" game before turning into a platformer, and there's a part where it switches to an "old Resident Evil" kind of view.

Well, there's another one you have not seen yet, and it's the "sidescroller" style, as seen in the image below: