The cold dawn is what wakes you – not the stench of rotten mince pie, nor the baby pissing gently in your ear. What happened? Is it January already?
> Eat pies
The pies have ossified into a hideous mass. You try to extract one from the sediment, but it crumbles in your hands like that Nazi in The Last Crusade. Christmas is over, and these pies didn’t get the memo.
> Examine baby
The baby is wearing a banner with ‘2016’ printed on it. “I’m going to kill all your favourite celebrities,” it gloats in the voice of a devil.
> Turn over baby
Pinned to the back of the baby is a note. You read it.
Welcome to the first 2016 update for A House of Many Doors! Sorry for the delay, but it was a delay for only the best of reasons – I’ve been getting tons of work done, and the game is shaping up into something tantalizingly close to the final product. Also I needed to acquire a talking baby.
So what have I been up to? Well, aside from writing quests and events – which I always find difficult to talk about in an interesting way – I’ve mainly been focusing on Sound, Shops and Sanity.
Not so exciting to read about, this, but I’ve added about 90% of the game’s sound – ambient noise (which changes based on where you are in the House), satisfying clicks, etc.
For the clicks, I went through a bunch of iterations, and all of them annoyed me. In the end, I actually ended up using recordings of a camera’s battery lid being opened and shut. This worked better than I expected – it makes every click clunky and satisfying.
The House now has a fully-functioning economy – every location that should have shops now has shops, and I’ve made painstaking efforts to balance it! Players will probably be able to break the economy if they try hard enough, but I don’t want it to be easy.
I’m sure that all my hard work in this area will prove inadequate when the game gets seriously playtested, but hopefully playtesters can highlight the imbalances that need to be tweaked.
It was great fun designing all the shops in all the cities, trying to give each its own unique and unsettling flavour.
I’ve also added a bunch of insanity effects to the game, which I’m hoping will seriously mess with your head!
I don’t want to give too much away about these little touches, since their efficacy will depend on you being caught off-guard, but when your character loses enough Sanity a lot of things both big and small will start to go very slightly askew.
Ideally, I want some of the effects to be so subtle that an unobservant player might not even notice them at first.
HEARTY ART BLAST
I’ll wrap up by bringing you more fantastic art from Catherine Unger, this time depicting Signal Station Null – a secret facility in the coldest corner of the House.
Nothing can exit the House, but the House will steal anything from other worlds – including signals. Signal Station Null is the top-secret facility where some such signals are tracked, recorded, and sometimes broadcast, affording a lucky few the chance to catch precious glimpses of other worlds.
Including you, if you play your cards right.
Thank you for reading today’s update, folks – have a great year! And watch out for the bomb!”
> Watch out for the bomb
With a scream, you hurl the baby as far as you can. Not a moment too soon – the explosion knocks you off your feet, though thankfully the pies provide a soft landing.
Gazing up, through the dust, you see a sentence forming in the sky, spelled out in fading sparks.
“A HOUSE OF MANY DOORS: OUT THIS YEAR!”