Any other kind of demo could be just the first enjoyable iteration of a game as long as it can show the essence of the final product. However, developing a horror game requires a more polished result to be shown. For instance, in a platform game demo, a platform could simply be a white square and players won’t complain since they know it is an unfinished free version of the game and its essence may lie into being funny or challenging. But, can you imagine yourself playing a horror game demo with a white cube as a placeholder for the monster and still feel it scary? Well, it would be interesting to see such an experimental result, yet the point is that, after finishing a minimum playable product, we still have to work on polishing the game to get a scary mood.
This last month has been a polishing period. The temple looked rather empty and clean, so the first task towards the goal of getting the mood was to ruin the building we had done! A beautiful and empty temple looks like a new building more than an old creepy construction. So we had to fill it with assets reinforcing the level design to make it look used and old apart from soiling the paint of the walls.
Even small assets must go according to the storyline and help recreating the environment. That is why every reference picked up requires an in-depth research, to get to know if it matches with the game in terms of historical accuracy. A further challenge is that since we didn’t know some of the items from beforehand and the reference pictures may only show part of the object, the artist must look for pictures from different perspectives or even deduce how the model would logically look like from the hidden points of view.
These are some of the small, yet significant, assets we have implemented.
Fun fact behind the last image. Can you see there is a pair of chopsticks on the ashes? These chopsticks are used to pick up burning charcoal, that is why they are made from iron. However, due to a misunderstanding, they were modelled as wooden. It was hardly noticeable with the dark illumination in the game but we still decided to better change the material so as to make every minimum detail as accurate as possible.
The following GIF illustrates this whole polish process, from adding a ceiling with geometry, to soiling the walls and filling the rooms.
After adding all of the assets, and ruining the temple, the demo looked almost finished, but when we began the internal playtest we spotted a bunch of bugs. So that was the last thing we have been working on: bug fixing. Since we have encountered some funny bugs, we’ll make a compilation in a future article, don’t miss it.
Finally, here’s an image of a wooden chopstick, in case you wanted to see it. Enjoy it.