Monthly Briefing #1 – December

Hi everyone and welcome to the first episode of the monthly briefing. Because the development of videogame can get silent for a long time with no new information we want to give you some glimpses into the development of Akolyta

As you may know from the landing page of this website the demo is currently in development for publishers and investors so that we can acquire funding and work full-time on this amazing project. At the moment we all work for free in our free time after out full-time work ends – slowing down the process and often times leaving us with no desire to work the second job and spending 8+ hours in our full-time jobs, which is one of the reasons why the development of the demo takes that long to finish.

Movement System

One of the great questions we asked ourselves during the development of the game was how to make our game different from other horror games and clones of those horror games – how to make it feel unique. And one day having a bath – I have this great idea (written by Jan – CEO&Creative Director) – to create a unique movement camera system in order to keep players immersed in the game and the events of it.

We want the player to feel like he is running like he is in danger or feel the power of the gun while shooting. What we did is something never seen in videogames before and I hope you will like it as we do once revealed!

Area for testing game mechanics. The wall thing used for testing jumpscares

Finishing Environments and Events

One of the things we do is we are thinking of the environment for the level and start to create one room. Then we will think of another room to have (in a bar you have to have restrooms …) and at the end, we create multiple rooms for the environment with no clear direction – which is not the way you typically do environments in levels. Now what we had to do was to create some sort of level design and connect all of the rooms together so it creates some sort of levels – not just cool looking environments with no purpose and add events into these environments.

One of the aspects that we borrowed from other successful videogames – Amnesia The Dark Descent was using the brightness of the rooms to keep players on edge. What they did – and you can search more about it using the developer commentaries – is making bright and dark environments so that players won’t get used to being in the dark areas and will be more ‘on edge’ when being in the dark areas. The bright area serves as a place for a player to sit down, go through documents they found and events they were through and rest from the dark and from the action.

So creating hallways to connect the rooms, making sure the lighting is at least ok, creating events and scripting them in visual scripting tools called Flowgraph, and creating more rooms so that the environments make sense was something we really focused on – making it harder because of the full-time jobs and new projects other developers started to work on.

One of the latest rooms with work in progress lighting

Voiceovers

Another thing we are working hard on as the development of the demo is coming to an end are voiceovers. One of the hardest things about making a game in our free time with no budget is to find good voiceover actors that will deliver you more than one voiceover lines and actually stay with you through the development. So far we have been lucky with the actor playing the main character Marshall Prime who has been with us for a long time and giving amazing performances. Finding actors for other characters has proven so hard and time-consuming that we were forced to the worst conclusion – that we – the developers – will make voiceovers for other characters in the game. (just for the demo)

As what the process is for making the voiceovers – the creative director usually works with the writer on a certain scene. Sometimes we have the environment and script ready for the scene like for example when making the events for certain parts of the level. In this case, the writer will only write the dialogs based on the script of the scene – knowing what will happen. There are also smaller dialogs that are written by the creative director when making the scene to save time. But sometimes we don’t have a scene or script ready before the dialogs are worked on. In this case, the creative director works together with the writer and sometimes cinematic editor to come up with the scene and/or with the script, and based on that the writer will make dialogs.

After the dialogs are written they are sent to the voiceover actor – native American – who will make final touches to the dialog to make it sound believable and fix grammar errors. After that, the dialog is ready to be recorded. When that’s done the dialog is sent as an audio file to our sound designer who will edit the audio file, make some post-process changes and add it to the FMod so that the file is usable in the engine.

View of one of the dialogs in FMod

Music and Sound

We feel that one of the most important things in the horror game genre is the sound and music as was proved true in titles like Amnesia or Soma. Because of that, we place a lot of work into sound effects and music that will be present in almost all of the situations throughout the game. The way we work is to send our composer and sound designer (in one person so far) screenshots of the rooms we need to create sound effects and music for. We also have the game on a cloud server so that the composer and sound designer can access the game and open up the level to see every little detail in the scene. After the sound and music are done in ready to use in the engine it is up to the environment artist/level designer to place the audio triggers into the level.

One of the older tracks for the demo

Final Conclusion

It may seem like we are super busy and sleep for 2 – 3 hours a day it is still not a portion of work we would like to do and would be able to do when working full-time on the project. Our team is also quite big (around 12 active developers) for a hobby project so it’s not just the work of 1 individual.

We hope to finish the demo in Q1 of 2021 and hopefully get funding the same year to realize our dream of having full-time work as game developers. Still not sure about releasing the demo to the public but if not the demo we hope to bring you a new trailer, new information about the game, and of course new Monthly Briefing!

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned more about what is going out backstage and how the studio works and I am looking forward to writing another post next month!


Jan Bostl

CEO, Creative Director, Designer, Environment Artist


If you like this post or the game and would like to know more about it, the way the game is made, what is currently going on, or get to know the people behind the game you can join the Discord server where you will be able to get in touch with the Pterosoft team and find like-minded people who love horror!

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