Backers, watchers, lurkers, friends,
The tarmac is shattered. The buildings are choking on vines. Steam belches from the cracks in the sky. But the devlogs; the devlogs always go through.
When I was showing off HOMD at Rezzed last week, I realized for the first time how complex a web it’s become. When you’re digging a hole, you forget how deep it looks from the surface. There are so many features that I haven’t even mentioned in these devlogs yet! I’m going to have to step up production of these things.
(Not sure where to put this, so I’ll just throw it in: HOMD was also selected by Red Bull as one of the best indie games on show at Rezzed! Hurrah.)
The first thing I want to talk about today, then, is the grinning spectre behind you.
The House is not a homely place. It is vast, and cold; it is as dark as the corpse-eye view of a coffin. And the darkness has some manner of sentience, although scientists disagree on how much. It might be as dimly aware as a cloud of plankton, as cunning as an ape, or as old and wise as a god.
Spend too long exposed to the darkness, and it will worm its way into your mind. This is how you lose Sanity.
That’s not all, though. Here in the darkness, there be monsters. Living nightmares, stolen from worlds that civilized folk would rather not contemplate. The darkness embraces them like children.
Your little kinetopede-train has a Heartlight, a blood-thumping lantern that keeps both monsters and darkness at bay. Your Sanity does not decrease when your Heartlight is on, except through combat and story events.
But turn it off – which can be tempting, as it’s a fool-proof way to hide from ill-intentioned vehicles – and your Sanity will drop. Worse, the monsters can now get you.
When you’re in darkness, a Noctoscope appears on the user interface. Keep a close watch through the ‘scope. Horrific creatures will slowly fade in, getting closer, extending their claws. If they get too close –
– well, they can wreak all sorts of havoc.
You can turn your Heartlight back on in order to drive them away, of course. But your Heartlight takes a little while to charge up – and in that time, they might already be upon you.
Travelling through the House, you should constantly be balancing possibilities. If a scary-looking vehicle starts chasing you, maybe it’s worthwhile to slip into shadows and escape. But maybe you’ll be attacked by something even worse before you can get your Heartlight back on again, something that can’t be fought. Either way, hurry! Think quickly!
Throughout the course of the game, you can start building towards one tactic or the other. If you prefer to hide in shadows and risk your Sanity, you’ll need to increase your Guile and Spirit. If you prefer to fight in the open and risk your life, you’ll need Guts and Grit.
See how deep this rabbit-hole goes? And I’m still at the bottom, digging.
Be sure to check in next time, backers, watchers, friends. And lurkers.