Important note: This is the last Devlog Friday because Friday is, in terms of attracting eyeballs, a terrible day to update a blog! Everyone just wants to go outside and have fun on a Friday. Mostly, the date is an artifact from when I had a full-time job, and Friday was the only day I could find time to write a longform dev post. Those days are long gone, though, so it’s time I finally changed my update schedule so that (hopefully) more of you lovely folks will read it!
In future I will post devlogs on Monday and Thursday morning. Yes, that’s right, I’m doubling my output. I’ll try to make my devlogs slightly shorter and punchier to compensate.
Anyway, I’m stupendously busy right now. My Kickstarter and Greenlight campaigns both launch on the 2nd, and I have plenty of different priorities to consider – along with my doubled update schedule, I also need to make a trailer, schedule emails, build my social media presence, and basically get myself out there as much as possible. Any help on this front is appreciated, dear reader. I also need to decide whether I want to unleash a demo alongside my Kickstarter – and if I do, I’ll need to clean up some things and add a very rough tutorial.
But I don’t want to neglect my devlog. This thing has already more than paid back the time I’ve put into it, and I’ve realized that over the last few weeks, I’ve been focusing more on ‘real life’ stuff, like the Kickstarter and founding Pixel Trickery, rather than what you all presumably want – actual game development progress.
Unfortunately, refer back to the first paragraph – August has been a month of very little dev progress and mostly getting things in gear. This is the problem with being a solo dev. I don’t have any marketing person to handle this stuff for me. It’s just me.
So what can I show you? Well, I realized that a lot of the basics of the game and how it plays have been neglected in this devlog. My updates have mostly been focusing on vehicle-to-vehicle combat, which – while it did take up most of July – is only going to be a small part of A House of Many Doors. The real focus of the game is on exploring the story, the setting, and the characters.
So this week, let’s dive into some lore. There’s a lot of stuff that I added to the game long ago but still haven’t mentioned yet.
The House is a parasite dimension. No-one knows what it is, or why it exists, but it’s an endless plane of klepto-architecture which steals from other worlds. In the House’s high-ceilinged chambers, you can find everything that was once under a sun.
Some of the House’s rooms are vast. And in these rooms, civilizations cling like a scab – cities of extra-dimensional immigrants, clustered together for dubious safety. The player starts in one of these cities, the City of Keys, so called because it is the only city which can produce keys to the locked doors of the House.
A House of Many Doors will involve exploration of this setting – which offers all the strangeness of a thousand alien worlds.
There are five essential ambitions which the player will be able to pursue in the course of the game – exploration, poetry, journalism, espionage, and religion. You’ve already seen some of the poetry.
So today I want to talk about religion.
No, I’m not going to start handing out pamphlets. Sit back down.
The gods of the House are very, very real. They were stolen from their worlds, just like everyone else in the House, and they’re just as bewildered by what happened to them. In fact, the House seems to have a special fondness for kidnapping gods – gods are common as fleas and twice as annoying.
In the City of Keys, citizens are only permitted to worship nine gods – these are known as the Sanctioned. I won’t go through all of them right now, but I want to show you some screenshots of how the player and the gods can interact, so I’ll drop a little exposition on you. One of the Sanctioned Gods is Scorthidion, the Coagulant God, the Mountainous Scab. Scorthidion is a congealed divine mass, said to have healed a scar in the fabric of reality.
Once they’ve proven their devotion to Scorthidion, or to any of the other Sanctioned gods, the player is invited by that god’s church to act a a missionary and convert distant civilizations to their chosen deity. This, of course, can be extremely dangerous. Most civilizations in the House have other gods which they much prefer to follow, and don’t take kindly to your patronizing divine saviour bullshit. And there is at least one civilization that routinely kills gods for sport.
But acting as a missionary has its benefits – you can attract your god’s Scrutiny, which eventually may result in you being granted a Favour. And having a god’s Favour is useful, both mechanically (it will increase one of your stats) and for providing unexpected narrative benefits. Of course, to successfully gain Favour, you must propitiate that god in an elaborate ritual – which requires several resources, and may go very badly wrong.
Be warned – the gods are fickle. It is far easier to earn a god’s Reproach than their Scrutiny or their Favour. And of course, earning too much Reproach will have serious repercussions.
Anyway, that’s the religion system in a nutshell. If I have time, I might add the ability to illegally worship and propitiate other gods outside the Sanctioned – but I have a lot of work to do, so that might not happen.
Remember – tune in on Monday next week, not Friday, for your next dose of the House of Many Doors devlog! As recommended by doctors. Probably.
Check out the Twitter. It’s on the side of the blog too now, notice. You cannot escape.