Author Topic: The Witch House  (Read 2650 times)

The Witch House
« on: 21 Aug 2017, 14:53 »
Whether the dreams brought on the fever or the fever brought on the dreams Walter Gilman did not know. - H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreams in the Witch House

Walter Gilman has just moved to Arkham and is starting his studies at the Miskatonic University. The Dombrowski's lodging house where he resides has a bad reputation, but Walter doesn't mind the old rumours.
Until the dreams start. Can Walter hang on for two months and suffer through the dreaded May-Eve when witches roam the earth and the slaves of Satan gather for nameless rites and deeds?

Description:

The Witch House is a urban survival adventure game, where the player has to survive for two months and suffer through the dreaded May-Eve. The game combines RPG elements to classic adventure game genre.
The player can choose to explore the old rumours, read the forbidden books at Miskatonic University, or concentrate on studies and keeping Walter in a good physical and mental state.

Based on the short story "Dreams in the Witch House" by H.P. Lovecraft.

Features:

- Advancing time: 1 minute in real life = 1 hour in game
- Day/evening/night - cycles
- Set in the early 1930's, game lasts from March 1st to May 1st
- Studies: Walter can study for his exams and his aunt will reward him with money if the grades are good enough
- Money: Walter can buy food, and other items at the general store. He gets a weekly allowance from his aunt
- Haunted house: Walter starts to experience nightly terrors and has to defend himself from them
- Several states for player character, including Health, Sanity, Hunger, Tiredness and Sickness
- Random events, including weather, city events and dreams
- Several endings depending on Walter's actions
- 320 x 200 pixel graphics
- Two click-interface

Screenshots:


Walter's room


The Witch House on a rainy evening


Hanging out at Joe Mazurewicz's place


Evening at the Arkham downtown

Progress:

The Witch House is my first game, and a passion project for me. I work on it part-time and unprofessionally, so the progress is slow. Currently I've been messing around with it a couple of years, learning the tricks of the AGS engine.
At this moment the game is about 50 % ready, so it will take a year or two to finish it. Game mechanics start to be in place, but the actual story and puzzles are about 1/3 done.
There is no deadline at the moment, I try to keep making the game as fun as possible!






Mandle

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #1 on: 21 Aug 2017, 15:02 »
OH HELL YES!!!

A Lovecraft inspired adventure/resource-survival game with those beautiful graphics?!

Colour me riveted!

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #2 on: 21 Aug 2017, 15:05 »
Really a good looking project :).

AnasAbdin

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #3 on: 21 Aug 2017, 15:08 »
I'm stopping my life until this is done.
Waiting...

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #4 on: 21 Aug 2017, 15:24 »
this is an awesome idea for a game. The mechanics sound really fun and the graphics look great already, yeah, best of luck with the project and post lots of updates please :)
That witch house looks great in that painting style but also almost too friendly. or maybe this is intentional to deceive the player :)

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #5 on: 21 Aug 2017, 16:53 »
Thanks for the comments! I'll update the page now and then, there is quite a lot of things already done, but don't want to spoil the exciting stuff too much.

Selmiak, that's a interesting comment about the house looking too friendly. You are right that I don't want it to look too much like a "haunted house". Things will get grim, but at start it's just another old house. I think that Arkham is presented many times too ghastly, like it's almost a cemetary. But ofcourse the right balance is important, it can't be a fairytale house either.

Mandle

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #6 on: 21 Aug 2017, 17:48 »
I think that Arkham is presented many times too ghastly, like it's almost a cemetary. But ofcourse the right balance is important, it can't be a fairytale house either.

I think your balance of normality vs. disturbing is fine in relating to the Lovecraft genre.

His locations were rarely over-the-top gothic-horror edifaces in the way that Poe would have written them and he usually had his most terrifying characters living behind plain, if slightly affluent, doors.

I love this take on horror, which has carried over into Stephen King and Clive Barker, amongst others, in our modern time:

The feeling that the worst horror imaginable could be just behind the door of that house you pass by every day...

Much scarier than a huge gothic castle perched on a mountaintop...

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #7 on: 21 Aug 2017, 20:18 »
Duuuude!

ClickClickClick

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #8 on: 21 Aug 2017, 20:59 »
Looks really good. I don't know about this passing of time and survival stuff, though.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #9 on: 21 Aug 2017, 21:04 »
Looks fantastic! Interesting concept as well. Added to the wishlist!

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #10 on: 23 Aug 2017, 09:46 »
This page needs some animation:

 

Walter Gilman, Landlord Mrs. Dombrowski, and a generic Arkham Citizen marching away.




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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #11 on: 23 Aug 2017, 11:35 »
This page needs some animation
Totally agree with that !

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #12 on: 23 Aug 2017, 13:11 »
I'm in love with this project! I wish you luck!

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #13 on: 25 Aug 2017, 20:44 »
Oh hell yeah...this looks awesome!! 

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #14 on: 29 Aug 2017, 06:45 »
Oh hell yeah...this looks awesome!! 
I'm in love with this project! I wish you luck!

Thanks, nice to hear that!

Another screenie:



Walter is attending a lecture at Miskatonic University. At this moment there are four lectures and exams that you can attend (but you don't have to!). If you have studied enough, you'll get better grades. There is also a little query in exams that checks if you remember what you have read, so that affects the grades too.

Currently working with the university library, and building a system how to borrow borrow specific books for the right course. The occult books are kept under lock and key, and you need a special permission from the Chief Librarian Dr. Armitage to use those.

Surdy

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #15 on: 29 Aug 2017, 13:40 »
I love Lovecraft & this gorgeous pixel-art is simply amazing. Good luck with this project :D
Raise from the dead!

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #16 on: 06 Sep 2017, 20:45 »
The lobby of the Dombrowski's lodging house:



Walter is complaining about the scurrying of the rats.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #17 on: 07 Sep 2017, 12:26 »
Hey rongel! I like this game premise a lot! Re read the Cthulu mythos in a pretty book recently last week and I really like your screenshots. Your art reminds me of  Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. You seem to be advancing fast, which is awesome! I really want to play your game! :-D

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #18 on: 07 Sep 2017, 15:18 »
I agree, the artwork and graphics are really amazing! ;-D

Mandle

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #19 on: 07 Sep 2017, 16:02 »
I so need to play this game.

Lovecraft, gorgeous graphics, and what sound like deep gameplay mechanics.

Win, win, win!!!

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #20 on: 07 Sep 2017, 17:37 »
Thanks all! :-D

It's my first time working on pixel graphics, so the art style formed quite naturally, it sort of just became that way. My background is in animation, so that helps too!

These screen caps are quite old, and there is more stuff in the storage. Miskatonic University is keeping me occupied currently, as it's a big block in the game.

ClickClickClick

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #21 on: 07 Sep 2017, 17:47 »
Is this going to be a commercial release?

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #22 on: 07 Sep 2017, 20:55 »
Is this going to be a commercial release?

Short answer is that I don't know yet! This started as a hobby project, but is much more serious work now. And I still want to continue without any limits or deadlines. Publishing the game is something that I have no experience on. I have some plans/hopes but nothing concrete yet. So the answer is maybe!

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #23 on: 07 Sep 2017, 22:47 »
There is also a little query in exams that checks if you remember what you have read, so that affects the grades too.

Hopefully Walter will have a photographic memory or at least have that option. Maybe some sort of mechanic where Walter can do all the remembering for you and then he'll know what the correct answers are on the test?
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Having read the original story am I correct in assuming that it is possible to get killed? Will there be a way to defeat the witch without getting killed by her familiar at the end?

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #24 on: 09 Sep 2017, 09:36 »

Hopefully Walter will have a photographic memory or at least have that option. Maybe some sort of mechanic where Walter can do all the remembering for you and then he'll know what the correct answers are on the test?
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Having read the original story am I correct in assuming that it is possible to get killed? Will there be a way to defeat the witch without getting killed by her familiar at the end?

When you study for a test, Walter will read aloud the answers. Then when you take a test, it's a multiple choice query, and if you have studied enough, the right answer (which Walter had read aloud before) will be available. But this system is not ready yet, so there might be some changes too. Main thing is that it requires some interaction, and is a small puzzle in itself.

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Walter can die during the game. Like in survival games, you must eat and you can get sick or injured. So these deaths are unscripted events. There will be several endings, and unlike in the short story, you can survive and defeat Brown Jenkin. But ofcourse you could suffer the same fate as in the story too...

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #25 on: 15 Oct 2017, 12:24 »


It's been a while since I posted last time, so here's an update! As you might have guessed, that is the main menu, the starting screen. I'll tweak it more later on, but it will do for now. Maybe the buttons need bit more polish/sparkle... Suggestions  and other comments are very welcome! I played around with the Smooth Scroll module, and was able to do a nice parallax tilt to the Witch House. You'll see it a bit later, when I have time to do my first video.

As the Halloween approaches, I'll be posting more stuff, and this time it's the scary, evil stuff. You might get a glimpse of Brown Jenkin, or even Keziah! 8-0

ClickClickClick

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #26 on: 15 Oct 2017, 13:22 »
The way "WITCH HOUSE" is written makes me think of old cartoons somehow. The rest is absolutely fine. Great background image.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #27 on: 15 Oct 2017, 19:29 »
The way "WITCH HOUSE" is written makes me think of old cartoons somehow.

Yes, I was thinking that the "house" is almost like "mouse", so it might remind of old Mickey Mouse posters (laugh). But really I was trying to get old, pulpy horror movie poster feeling to it.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #28 on: 15 Oct 2017, 19:50 »
I am seriously drooling over this. Looks amazing :D
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Mandle

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #29 on: 16 Oct 2017, 00:03 »
I am seriously drooling over this. Looks amazing :D

+1

Riaise

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #30 on: 16 Oct 2017, 13:31 »
I agree, the background is amazing! I like the Witch House font, maybe you can try toning down the red slightly, but other than that I think it looks great! ;-D

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #31 on: 20 Oct 2017, 08:41 »
Thanks for the comments! Here's a new one:



Something strange is happening in the Witch House. It must be a dream, right?

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #32 on: 20 Oct 2017, 09:40 »
Ah, I'm sure that glowing pink portal in the wall is nothing to worry about, back to sleep...

Looks great, as have all your screenshots so far! I'm not familiar with Lovecraft but the game has intrigued me. The light RPG systems sound really novel.

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #33 on: 20 Oct 2017, 17:05 »
Lovecraft inspires so many adventure games!

I dig your style. The animations look neat too.
« Last Edit: 20 Oct 2017, 17:08 by Creamy »
 

selmiak

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #34 on: 20 Oct 2017, 18:48 »
awesome.

though that portal would make books, table, chair, bed and lamp throw some shadows...

Quote from: ClickClickClick
If you kill everyone there's nobody left to punish you.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #35 on: 20 Oct 2017, 20:16 »
Looks great, as have all your screenshots so far! I'm not familiar with Lovecraft but the game has intrigued me. The light RPG systems sound really novel.

Thanks! I hope that the game will be totally enjoyable to people who don't know anything about Lovecraft. This story is quite different than the usual "Cthulhu Mythos" stories. It's more concentrated on the main character, and you don't have to know anything about the Old Ones etc. Still Lovecraft fans will get an extra kick out of it, I hope. 

The Lite RPG-system/open world mechanism was something I wanted to try and I feel it fits the story well. The problem is that it takes a lot of time to make it all work, and possibility of bugs goes way up. Also, I want that the game has a good replay value (Walter might die half-way through the game!), so the puzzles should have some variation each time. Good thing is that I have learned a lot scripting doing this. The code is a bit messy, but it's slowly getting better. Just learned about floating point numbers yesterday! (laugh)

Lovecraft inspires so many adventure games!

I dig your style. The animations look neat too.
awesome.

though that portal would make books, table, chair, bed and lamp throw some shadows...

Thank you! :-D


Re: The Witch House
« Reply #36 on: 26 Oct 2017, 10:49 »
Maybe the community could advice me a bit... I'm thinking about changing the resolution of the game. It's currently 320 x 200, so if people will play it fullscreen with 16:9 monitors, there will be black borders, or an ugly stretch effect. I kind of just noticed that when I upgraded AGS to 3.4.0.16 version, I could use 320 x 180 resolution which would fill the screen nicely and pixel perfect.

Of course making that kind of change seems a bit daunting. But I feel it's easier to design rooms and graphics for 16:9 aspect ratio. The inventory is hidden normally so I have the full screen height to use anyway. Gui's have to be re-designed, but that's not that big of a problem, because I haven't really worked on those. Bigger problem is if I crop my backgrounds, I'll lose my hotspots, walkbehinds etc. But is there something else I should consider, something that might cause bigger problems? Currently I feel that the extra work would be worth it.

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #37 on: 26 Oct 2017, 10:58 »
20 pixels doesn't seem like much but at this low res it's quite a lot going missing.
I can't speak for others but I play AGS games in a window, mostly 2x or 3x scale.

Here you go, input.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #38 on: 26 Oct 2017, 18:14 »
Here you go, input.

Thanks for the input! Yes, every pixel counts. Somehow I feel that playing the game on full screen feels more like playing "real" game. Those black borders might raise questions to casual gamer. I made some test with 320 x 180 px, the backgrounds didn't suffer that much, 10 pixels off from top and bottom. And those parts usually haven't got anything important going on. I enjoy that I can have full screen mode and there isn't any stretching going on. I still have to think about it, like you said, quite a lot pixels would be lost, and more work with the background tweaking.

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #39 on: 26 Oct 2017, 18:55 »
The "casual gamer" won't go for low res games even if they come in the right aspect ratio. Wadjet Eye games have a small but dedicated player base who like the graphics as they are, and the Steam forums for said games get the occasional "this looks like crap" threads by people who wouldn't buy them anyway.
« Last Edit: 26 Oct 2017, 19:11 by ClickClickClick »

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #40 on: 27 Oct 2017, 05:46 »
go for 16:9, it is so much smoother when playing in fullscreen on a 16:9 monitor, and a 16:9 monitor is pretty much a standard household item nowadays. keep the graphics pixely and oldschool but adapt bto  modern screen resolution. :)

Quote from: ClickClickClick
If you kill everyone there's nobody left to punish you.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #41 on: 27 Oct 2017, 12:43 »
I too would say go for it!

After I drew a few backgrounds for a game I'm currently working on I decided to crop 20 pixels in heigth too. It's not that much of a difference, but really worth it I think. It's nice not to have black borders on the sides.

Your game looks really nice btw, keep it up!

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #42 on: 28 Oct 2017, 07:02 »
Would it be possible to keep the back backgrounds as they are, but give the player the choice of whether they wish to see boxes on the borders or to crop the images? Though this would require having to figure some way to get the engine to crop the images for you you and I don't know how difficult that would be to code.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #43 on: 28 Oct 2017, 15:36 »
Yes, I think that I'm going with the 16:9 aspect. It's more work, but looks more professional in my opinion too. I think it's also easier to desing rooms to 16:9, I've had problems with the room heights, all the action happens in the middle part of the screen, and the top and bottom is usually just dead space.

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #44 on: 30 Oct 2017, 15:21 »
Happy Halloween from Keziah Mason! Watch out or she'll get you! 8-0




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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #45 on: 04 Nov 2017, 00:41 »
This looks Excellent. Well done 8-)

Only issue will be if it is challenging for those of us who belong to the cult and thus have read the story (laugh)
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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #46 on: 04 Nov 2017, 06:36 »
The graphics look great :shocked: can't wait
Wanna go for some D&D??

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #47 on: 05 Nov 2017, 07:47 »
Man, the game looks incredible! The character design, animation, the backgrounds, it all just oozes style and atmosphere. And those flickering reflections in the last image! :shocked:

Surdy

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Re: The Witch House
« Reply #48 on: 06 Nov 2017, 15:57 »
Very good work. Keep up the good work, man :D
Raise from the dead!

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #49 on: 06 Nov 2017, 18:27 »
This looks Excellent. Well done 8-)

Only issue will be if it is challenging for those of us who belong to the cult and thus have read the story (laugh)

Thanks! I hope so, it might give you a slight upper hand, but thats only fair. The RPG-elements and other events require also bit of strategizing.

The graphics look great :shocked: can't wait

Man, the game looks incredible! The character design, animation, the backgrounds, it all just oozes style and atmosphere. And those flickering reflections in the last image! :shocked:

Very good work. Keep up the good work, man :D

Thanks everyone!
Been working a lot with the game recently, but progress is slow with these things. Still I think I've made more progress this autumn, than in the whole last year...

Re: The Witch House
« Reply #50 on: 07 Nov 2017, 15:54 »
Wonder what would happen if you threw a bucket of water on Keziah Mason? It worked in the Wizard of Oz! :grin: Though I imagine in this game it would only annoy her and cause her to do something nasty to you.