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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsShutter - A puzzle horror game
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2014, 06:59:21 AM »

Before I even started this game, I really just wanted to make a passive game, with no like "death sequences". Also, the protagonist in the game is you, the player, sitting at home, doing remote surveillance for a security company. Tough call. I want to do what is best for the game, but also can be stubborn in sticking to my original concept.

Yeah, I definitely know what you mean with this "in person" idea not meshing with the theme of the actual human player being the same as your in-game character, and your controller actually is controlling this robot somewhere else in the world. That is not something that you see too often (the only other game I can think of offhand where your computer is supposed to be 'actually' doing things in the real world is Uplink), and it's a cool angle for the theme.

Still, I think it would feel cathartic to finally set foot in the mansion "in person" and see everything from a human perspective. No need to have actual "death" happen - it would be sufficient to have a worse ending if the player doesn't avoid the harmful ghost (the robot vanishes and the final footage is never recovered, etc.), or even have the player be "possessed" and walk back out of the mansion, to awaken outside the door and perhaps try again if they fail, etc. There would be lots of room to make this segment have a more puzzle-like feel as the player learns to use that secret passage they found behind the bookshelf (which was too high for the robot to enter), etc.

It's your game, though, I'm just brainstorming! I am excited by this game concept.

Back on the topic of signs of ghost presence, it's a bit of a cliché, but unexplained knocking is attributed to ghosts. You could have something straightforward like a ghost knocking on a door, or make it a bit more subtle by having a ghost knock on the wall every few seconds as it travels, allowing the player to slowly zero in on the ghost's position as they figure out its location and eventually its trajectory and speed from the knocking.



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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2014, 08:20:58 AM »

Before I even started this game, I really just wanted to make a passive game, with no like "death sequences". Also, the protagonist in the game is you, the player, sitting at home, doing remote surveillance for a security company. Tough call. I want to do what is best for the game, but also can be stubborn in sticking to my original concept.

Yeah, I definitely know what you mean with this "in person" idea not meshing with the theme of the actual human player being the same as your in-game character, and your controller actually is controlling this robot somewhere else in the world. That is not something that you see too often (the only other game I can think of offhand where your computer is supposed to be 'actually' doing things in the real world is Uplink), and it's a cool angle for the theme.

Still, I think it would feel cathartic to finally set foot in the mansion "in person" and see everything from a human perspective. No need to have actual "death" happen - it would be sufficient to have a worse ending if the player doesn't avoid the harmful ghost (the robot vanishes and the final footage is never recovered, etc.), or even have the player be "possessed" and walk back out of the mansion, to awaken outside the door and perhaps try again if they fail, etc. There would be lots of room to make this segment have a more puzzle-like feel as the player learns to use that secret passage they found behind the bookshelf (which was too high for the robot to enter), etc.

It's your game, though, I'm just brainstorming! I am excited by this game concept.

Back on the topic of signs of ghost presence, it's a bit of a cliché, but unexplained knocking is attributed to ghosts. You could have something straightforward like a ghost knocking on a door, or make it a bit more subtle by having a ghost knock on the wall every few seconds as it travels, allowing the player to slowly zero in on the ghost's position as they figure out its location and eventually its trajectory and speed from the knocking.





Ya, totally hear you about wanting to see the house from the "in person" perspective. I like your ideas for how to avoid death too. Anyway to get more mileage out of the house we are using is a smart idea.

The ghost knocking on things is also a really good idea, might have to use this is one of the sequences. Thanks again for all the sweet ideas.

New update, added in some more content, added in the ghost that's "following you", and got to the point where you get the nightvision upgrade. Also added in a "boss fight", basically a sequence where all the lights in the game go out, except for a single flickering light above a painting. The painting is a view from one of the fixed cameras, with a shiny object in the image. Go to that spot (ghost will be there), and take a photo of the shiny object.

Heres the playable build if anyone wants to check out: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8085911/Downloadable/Shutter%20-%20BETA_1.7.7.rar

New screenshots:





« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:34:54 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2014, 08:39:17 AM »

My artist/partner on this game came up with a great idea, in which you have to take multiple photos to solve a puzzle.

We're still debating and tweaking the difficulty of some of these puzzles. For instance, in one room, you first turn on the lights/cameras, which then activates a music box. Take a picture of the music box, and the music box will break, and spawn a "ghost" in the mirror reflection. Take a photo of the mirror, and the mirror will smash, which in turn spawns the "ghost" in the room. Finally, you must get a photo of the ghost itself.

I think its a great way to add more content to the game without actually adding more art, or rooms to the house. Plus it breaks the predictable puzzle pattern that was starting to worry us. It's so hard to determine how difficult to make the puzzles, and how people are going to react. An early playtester got stuck on a puzzle and gave up pretty quickly, so we really want to avoid that.

Anybody else in crunch mode to make a submission for IGF?



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« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2014, 04:26:41 PM »

New playable version here if anyone wants to check it out: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8085911/Downloadable/Shutter%20-%20BETA_1.7.8.rar

Just polishing up a bunch of small things, trying to get rid of all the fun new bugs that pop up when I add in more content. The demo ends once you get the "nightvision" upgrade.
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« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2014, 12:11:04 PM »

Added in this creepy pounding door effect. That door is significant to the plot of the game. Also tweaking the laugh of the female ghost.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxGqZ20urLM&feature=youtu.be
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« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2014, 04:16:24 PM »

New downloadable version here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8085911/Downloadable/Shutter%20-%20BETA_1.7.9.1.rar

Updates:

 - Now when you enter the room for first time, just the lights are off (instead of cameras too)
 - Added in "door pounding" effect in shed
 - Front door slams shut when followghost appears, trapping you in house
 - Many various small bugs fixed

We are currently trying to implement notes more into the game. Currently, they are like a optional side quests, but we want make them more mandatory. One idea we are leaning towards is replacing the "light switch" in a room with the note itself.

So for example, when you first enter a room, you would have to find the note in the dark. Once you take a picture of it, the lights will come back on, and the puzzle in the room will activate. The note can give a small hint about the puzzle, while also telling more about the back story of the ghosts. Another idea: after you solve a puzzle and take a picture of a ghost, it will drop a note, which will then give a hint about the puzzle in the NEXT room that opens up.

Any thoughts on this?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 06:23:28 PM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2014, 04:23:15 AM »

Some new screenshots:


« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:36:00 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2014, 08:55:52 AM »

Originally, when you first entered a room, you had to go to a switch to turn on the lights and cameras. The artist I'm collaborating with came up with the idea of replacing the switch with a note. So when you take a photo of the note, it gives a little backstory, gives a hint about the puzzle in the room, and also turns on the lights in the room. Took some time to replace all the switches, but totally worth it.

New screenshot:

« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:37:02 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2014, 02:02:00 PM »

Just wrapping up many weeks of polish and optimization, will be adding in a ton of more content in the next 2 weeks, then probably a month fixing all the new bugs Smiley

« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:37:30 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2014, 04:46:08 PM »

Been having a lot of framerate/resolution issues when recording with fraps. Here's a bit of gameplay footage using Open Broadcaster Software. Still need to do some tweaking with the setttings (or just get a new computer).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqKoshRV3Wc&feature=youtu.be
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« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2014, 09:53:04 AM »

Finally started adding lights and cameras to the kitchen. Just have the bathroom and the shed left to add lights/cameras to. Hoping to have a rough draft of the full game in the next week or so, so we can tweak the flow, and spend all our time on polish.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:37:55 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2014, 12:41:05 PM »

Finally got some .gifs, was having issues with gifcam a while ago. The idea here is to take a photo of the ghost in the short amount of time it appears. The light shining on the ghost and projecting its shadow is the visual cue. Took longer than expected to get that natural pendulum effect of the swinging light (using code as opposed to a hinge joint).



« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:39:02 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2014, 07:56:53 AM »

Posted this over on my indiedb page:

"Hey I’m Andrew, programmer and lead designer of Shutter, a puzzle horror game coming soon for PC. It has classic survival horror fixed camera angles, and you control a small drone, taking pictures of ghosts in an old haunted house. As the launch of Shutter increasingly becomes within our reach, it feels like everything is coming together naturally, and it has often felt like the game is designing itself. It seems as though our decision to leave the story until the end has paid off, as the game seems to have suggested its own story.

Over the last two years of Shutters’ development, the topic of story was often discussed between me and Luke, the artist I am collaborating with. How does the game end? What’s the back story? How can we add a twist ending? We both had a number of good ideas for a general direction to take the story, but it never changed the direction of the gameplay.

Gameplay always came first, and dominated our discussions over the course of development. How does the game progress? How can we switch up the gameplay at certain times? How can we add more depth? These types of discussions always pushed any plot discussion to the backburner.

Shutter was mostly developed in a linear progression, starting with the training sequence, and ending with the final boss fight. Because of this, it forced us to refine the early parts of the game over and over. Every time we played it, we would play it from the beginning. Adding new content to the game would often disrupt some of the content already in place. Sometimes we found the game was becoming too repetitive and predictable, so we would tweak the flow of the game. Sometimes a certain task would become very tedious, so we would simply remove that task.

By following that formula, we now find ourselves with a nearly completed game that we are both happy with. Weirdly enough, I find it very energizing to be sitting on a nearly completed game, and hesitant to just rush it out. Now is a great time to focus our energy on the ending of the game. We have a lot of wiggle room on how we want the game to end, both in terms of gameplay and storyline.

The story is told through hidden notes around the house, and the notes are tied into the gameplay and the puzzles themselves. The notes initially were meant to be a side objective, and a way of telling the story of what happened to these ghosts. However, we soon realized that we needed the notes to also give hints about the puzzles in the game.

The puzzles are solved by taking photographs of various objects, until you eventually get a photo of a ghost. Taking a photo of one thing will trigger something else to happen. For instance, in one room a music box is playing. Take a picture of the music box, and it suddenly breaks, while the mirror in the room appears to have become distorted. Taking a photo of the mirror will reveal a reflection of a ghost. Finally, the ghost will appear in the room itself, laughing in order to give the player an idea of the ghosts position.

These gameplay moments have essentially created the structure of a narrative for us. A broken music box. A reflection in the mirror. A moving shadow. The sound of footsteps. A door opening. In our story, a woman is noticing all these things happening in her home and writing about it in her journal. When the player finds a note from this journal, it simultaneously tells a story, and provides hints about current puzzles.

From my experience with Shutter, I have learned to spend less time focusing on the plot of the game in the early stages, and simply trust that a story will emerge out of the gameplay."

« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:39:39 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2014, 08:16:09 AM »


« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:40:44 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2014, 07:19:40 AM »

The fogging glass and the freaked-out animal are both killer ideas. The game already has a crow, so it'd be a good way to get more use out of it. Also have an awesome thermal-vision post-processing effect I'm trying to figure out how to use.

When I read the concept, I thought the hook for the game would be that eventually the robot gets trapped in the house, and for some reason, the protagonist has to go into the house in person. The idea would be that you are able to learn the layout, the behaviour of the ghosts, etc. while controlling the robot, but then toward the end of the story, you have to go into the house in person (and can be harmed by the ghost!), and you need to use your prior knowledge of the layout and the movement of the ghosts to have a chance. That could be kind of a neat way to have a "last act" of the game where you have to use all the skills and knowledge you've learned up to that point. It could be cool also to see all the rooms you've only seen from a fixed angle/the robot's camera, suddenly though normal vision from human height.

I know that doing that might go against your idea of not needing to animate a human for the game, though there's no need to show the appearance of the protagonist for those sequences.



Hey, thanks again for all your awesome input. After many conversations with the artist (Luke) I am collaborating with, I've decided to add in this ending sequence in "first person". Something will happen to the drone near the end of the game, and in the final act, you'll be going back in, in first person mode. Sometimes its just best for me to get out of the way, and do what's best for the game!
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« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2014, 06:23:01 AM »

Yay, new fog effects!


« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:41:46 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: December 27, 2014, 07:20:23 AM »

Have all the core game in place now, right up to the point where the credits roll, such a great feeling. Now I'm adding in a save/load system, and tweaking a few minor things.

Will be hoping to launch on Desura and GOG in January, while I try to get through the steam greenlight process. Anyone know roughly how long it takes to get your game up on either Desure or GOG?

New screenshot for Saturday:
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:42:15 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2014, 10:57:33 AM »

Have a rough draft done of the main menu, trying to get as much "movement" as possible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij0Sv-wMcIQ&feature=youtu.be
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« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2014, 06:12:48 AM »

Adding in some new animations today for the final sequence, so excited!

Heres a bit of gameplay from the "kitchen puzzle":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlGb_fvUE1s&feature=youtu.be
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« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2015, 07:38:33 AM »

Here's a .gif of the main menu, getting soooo close to wrapping this up!
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:43:27 AM by DocLogic » Logged

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