A House of Many Doors

[color=#0066ff]You might be interested to watch the first trailer for A House of Many Doors, a game by Harry Tuffs aka PixelTrickery - our very first Failbetter incubee.[/color]
[color=#0066ff]We’re watching over him and are hopeful he will hatch in good time. The trailer will certainly delight:[/color]
[color=#0066ff] - YouTube [/color]

It looks interesting, but alas it looks too similar to a certain Failbetter game. :-(
Hopefully there will be another trailer which shows a little more of the story/setting, to differentiate it from just some Sunless Sea clone. :)

This looks like it is built on the same engine as Sunless Sea. Storynexus v2 Professional Edition?

I don’t exactly know what you mean by incubee, but I assume that mean PixelTrickery’s affiliated with you guys. You might want to have PT state this clearly so people won’t jump on the game thinking it is a Mainland China-style rip off.

I remember reading about the incubator program a couple weeks ago, ummm, somewhere. As I understood it, it’s sort of like an indie game developer internship/mentorship program. Incubees get to use space in the FBG offices, and access to the FBG staff for advice. One of their “pay-it-forward” initiatives.

It does look a lot - a little too much - like Sunless Sea, but… ah, who cares. I play Sunless Sea for the story, and if the story in AHoMD is good, then everything’s okay. Will be keeping an eye on this one.

Does Mr Tuffs have a forum account here? I’d love to see him personally tell us all about AHoMD.

Seconding that! A pitch from the author would be wonderful.

[color=#009900]AHOMD doesn’t use any of our technology, but Harry has been very clear that Sunless Sea is a big inspiration:

[color=#009900]though he’s steered well clear of all our narrative IP. We agreed with him that ‘Sunless Sea on a train’ is a pretty good sell to players who like our stuff. He’ll be making the relationship with us clear when he launches his Kickstarter.[/color]

[color=#009900]I don’t know if he has an account here, but you can read a lot more about the game at the link above.[/color]
[color=#009900]And more about our incubation scheme here (marcmagus’ summary is good):[/color]

Hello! I do have an account here, mainly used for lurking in the past. I tend to be more comfortable lurking, but game dev has really pushed me to play a more active role online.

I’ve always cited Sunless Sea as the biggest inspiration for AHOMD - see the blog post that Alexis linked - but I’m not trying to make a clone and I really don’t want my game to be perceived as such! It’s a top-down vehicle-based RPG with lots of prose. But it’s not a roguelike and it has a different art style, a different tone, and different mechanics. The stories/setting are also very different, which I hope is worthy of note when comparing two games where story is so central to the player’s experience.

I’ve spoken about this with Alexis and he’s agreed to give me a firm and entirely justified nudge if he ever thinks my game strays too close to Sunless Sea, for whatever reason, in the next 10 months of development. For my part, I’m going to make sure to avoid ever getting to that point in the first place.

Being an incubee at Failbetter is an informal kind of arrangement but a really valuable one. Essentially it meant turning up at their office once a week and working on my game in the corner. It’s a lovely atmosphere and I’ve been able to chat with them and benefit from their collective experience and knowledge of the games industry, all of which has been massively helpful.

Anyway, I’m happy to answer any & all questions about the game! I’m a solo dev at the moment, though I’ll hopefully have an artist and musician helping me out soon, and I’m launching a Kickstarter on Wednesday. :)

Do notify us, please!

[quote=the truthseeker]Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I do have some serious questions about your process so far.

After reading your blog (as of a few days ago, I had no idea this even existed, but that’s no excuse for being uninformed before asking questions) these questions came up for me:

  • First off, what were your inspirations for creating the story about AHoMD? While we read this and that about how SS, FTL IC/CM the novels and Planescape: Torment (is that abbreviation PST or PS:T? it’s been so long) were inspirations/homages, but we’re kinda lacking details how they and other things influenced the game. How did these and other things guide you to where you are today? For instance, what inspired the kinetopedes?[/quote]

Thanks for these questions - they’re nice and juicy. PS:T (that’s the acronym I’m going with, haha) is something I played when I was much too young, and it (along with, to a lesser extent, Baldur’s Gate) is probably where all of this first began for me. It shaped the way I thought about games and the way that narrative in games should work! China Mieville and Invisible Cities both helped coalesce the House, which is a setting that’s been in my head for a couple of years - at first I wanted to write a book about it.

Then I played Sunless Sea, and I saw a lot of innovative design principles that changed my thinking about RPGs more than anything since those days I first played PS:T! I immediately knew that making an exploration RPG would be the best way to show people the mad world I’d built in my head.

The game is coded in Game Maker: Studio! I’m definitely going to continue working in this engine, as I’m deeply familiar with it now and the code for the game’s foundation is basically complete at this point, minus polishing. In hindsight Unity may have been a better choice, but I think Game Maker is a fantastic and very viable alternative, and to be honest I really love it now that I know its quirks.

If the Kickstarter makes it, the game will release in July 2016. Given how much of the game I’ve already coded, I have a good sense of how long it will take to finish. Unless it’s a truly spectacular flop, though, I’m going to continue to support the game with stories and new places/characters as long as I can!

Absolutely! You write poems based on Experiences that you collect - Moments of Melancholy, Romantic Encounters, Dream Visions, etc. A difficult battle will give you Horrifying Ordeals to turn into gothic horror poetry, or War Stories to write a newspaper article about. The poetry is procedurally generated based on which resources you &quotspend&quot - a poem made from Horrifying Ordeals, for example, is much more likely to mention corpses or skulls or other horrible things in its title.

Important note: I’m not generating entire poems, just the poem’s title, the number of stanzas & lines, the most significant thematic elements, and the poetic form (e.g. sonnet, quaterzain, limerick, etc). It will be up to the player’s imagination to fill in the rest of the blanks. I think these are enough elements to provide a genuine sense of the poem your character has written, however, and it can make for some very funny combinations (my favourite ever is a gothic horror poem entitled &quotThe Prophecy of the Devouring Milk&quot).

This project will be what I work on full-time until July. I am 100% committed!

[quote=the truthseeker]No matter what, thanks for the game, and I hope it develops well for you!
edited by the truthseeker on 9/2/2015[/quote]

Thank you! I really appreciate your interest, and I’m open to any other questions at all at any time. It was a pleasure to answer these ones!

Sorry to double-post, but I also wanted to quickly point out that:

  • My Kickstarter is live![/li][li]My Greenlight campaign is up and running.[/li][li]There’s a demo available. Bear in mind that it’s a very early pre-alpha, so it feels a bit empty at the moment, hasn’t been polished, and everything is probably going to change before final release next year!

I’ll be very grateful to anyone who takes a look at these. Thanks!

Reminder: the Kickstarter for A House of Many Doors will end in less than two days!