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PlaytestingEvery now and then we need people to play through updates, new builds or new games. If you'd like to participate, feel free to sign up as a playtester.
No one saw it coming. It was Tuesday and everyone was quietly buzzing behind their screens as they would any other day of the week. To a stranger this might look just like another day at the office. But something was different. The office was remarkably silent on this Tuesday. As if it was haunted. By ghosts.
Linda finally broke the silence: “I think I just fixed the last bug“, she said.
“The LAST bug?“, Uni said. The room went even more silent for a second. “That means… the game is… complete?“.
That’s right. It was Tuesday afternoon and The Silent Age Episode Two was done. The game that had dictated our lives for almost four years – the game that had given us countless sleepless nights – was finally done.
Or so we thought.
It was the external testers who brutally crushed our little moment. They came by one Friday afternoon and tested Episode Two in return for candy and beer. They found spelling mistakes, a drawer inside a tree and the reflection of a moon that wasn’t there (see picture above).
The testing session spawned a total of around 50 new bugs which we’ve been methodically rooting out ever since. We’ve also done lots of testing ourselves. I’ve personally tested what happens when you use a lava lamp on a starburst clock and when you use a disco ball on a hat. Yep, that’s been my dayjob for the past week.
Once we’re done testing we’ll release the game. Which is – pretty soon.
Just wanted to let you know that we are very close to finishing the game now that all the locations are drawn. All the texts and puzzles are being tweaked right now, and we are polishing the game to make it an awesome playing experience for you guys.
We’re currently adding particles to all the scenes (those tiny little thingies that make the game look more alive, like rain, dust and smoke).
Morten Mygind, our talented sound designer, has been adding sound to the game, and apart from having a quick run through to assure everything sounds just right, he’s also done with his part.
We have been playing the game over and over again and found a number of bugs which needs to be adjusted before we can call the game done. It is mainly just some small errors that we need to fix in order to make The Silent Age Episode Two feel right.
And we are crunching, really crunching. Working 7 days a week without any breaks. But it will be worth it, because I know you guys are impatient to start playing the game. And believe me, we are even more impatient to hand the game over to you guys and hope you will love it as much as we love making it.
Comments and feedback on facebook.
Yesterday I made the final game location for The Silent Age. Coincidentally, it’s also location number 100, since I made 45 locations for Episode One and 55 for Episode Two. That’s right. There are 100 locations in The Silent Age.
There are a few notable differences between the Episode One and Two locations. In Episode Two I have tried to work with a very limited and consistent color palette for each chapter. This makes the chapters more easy to distinguish from each other and also strengthens the look and feel for each individual chapter.
The new locations also have a lot more detail than the Episode One locations. We wanted the world to seem more realistic to strengthen the atmosphere and suspension of disbelief. This created quite a challenge however, as adding more detail automatically created more visual noise. I tried to solve it by using color, light and shadows to emphasize which game elements are important and which are not.
Here’s the first location I made for the game. It was never used since we decided to change the story drastically. It’s very minimalistic, but even at this early stage you can clearly tell that it’s a scene from The Silent Age.
One late night, while I was hard at work finishing up one of the final drafts of the story, there was a knock on our proverbial door*. I opened it to see who it was, and outside stood a mysterious stranger. Eyes shrouded by the shade of a ballcap, the man presented himself as David Chen, Editor Extraordinaire. With a slight hint of a Bay Area accent, he told me he’d heard we did interesting work here. Said he’d dabbled in the dark arts of triple-A game editing of the Kojimaerian variety and then offered his humble services. I accepted without pause.
* In actuality, David just wrote us an email, but I have a penchant for over-dramatization. The rest of it is true, however: David is a bit of a seasoned veteran. He’s been in the industry for almost a decade and a half, with many of those years spent serving Konami, acting as the lead editor on the Metal Gear Solid series among other titles. Having worked on more than 30 games and recently hot off his involvement with Camouflaj’s République, he contacted us several months ago offering his assistance, and he’s been my editor for the past couple of months now, helping me tighten up the dialogue and exposition. I’ve never had an editor before, so obviously I’m very excited to be working with David as we’re racing towards the finish line to get the game out to the patient lot of you. Please give him a warm welcome.
Oh, and I promised to plug the other game David is currently working on, Narcosis, which I’m following closely myself. It practically oozes atmosphere and dread. (Atmosfear?)
– Anders Petersen (writer, story & dialogue)
I thought you might be curious to know the progress on the programming side of the game, so here I am.
Lately I have been working on some very cool features, some of which I cannot tell you (or it would be a spoiler), and some of which I can. I have worked on a new mirror shader, so that the hero’s reflection looks really awesome, and works with the new animation system.
The new Joe is going to have a lot more animations, and much smoother movements. It is gonna be Joe HD
The mirror shader also means we can do some special effects, like the hero reflecting on pieces of broken glass, as you can see in the screenshot.
My coder buddy Elvar has been working on creating a complex animation blending system. It all might sound like techy buzz words, but what it means in practice is that Joe can do more… stuff, e.g. combine and mix different movements and such.
On the coders’ side we are fixing bugs, adding particles, animating background objects, and doing magic. On the graphics side we have already drawn scenes for all of the chapters, and most of them are complete. We are also ready to add sound effects to the game now, so our sound wizard is going to produce all sounds for chapter 2 this month.
Well, that is it for now, enjoy the screenshot. Can you find the place where we have already posted this location? It may or may not be in the same… time. Hint: look at our blog posts for 2014.
Have an awesome weekend,
I’ve made an Episode Two theme! I’ve spend quite some time making it, since it’s probably going to be the first music you’ll hear when you start Episode Two.
I’ve tried to sum up my own experience of the game and to include feelings of loneliness and despair, but also of hope and discovery. The theme is deliberately slow – to mimic Joe’s slow-paced journey through the game, and the pacing is deliberately a bit off-balance at times to mimic the feeling of sometimes being stuck and sometimes making a breakthrough in the game. I’m sure any player has their own unique interpretation of the mood of the game, but this theme sums up how the game feels to me. Hope you like it!
The work on Episode Two is progressing well. We’re currently concentrating on the second last chapter, which by far is the most challenging chapter to make. There’s a lot of time travel going on, which opens up a Pandora’s box of time paradoxes and continuity errors. A small deviation of the manuscript or a simple change to a puzzle can easily break the story, so we have to make sure that all of the 4 people working on the chapter follow the plan exactly.
Hi, I’m Linda, the main coder in The Silent Age game – as well as one of the co-founders of House on Fire.
A lot of you have been asking us when Episode 2 is coming out, and, although we can’t give you a precise answer, we felt you deserve to know where we are at. We know you have been really patient so far, and we’re grateful for that. And we understand it is sometimes a bit hard to wait
Anyways, I can tell you that the story is nailed down and ready. And also most of the puzzles are in place. In short, the core game is in place, meaning that we can play the game from start to finish now.
However, we still have to spend some time finishing designing all the scenes in the game. It takes a lot of time to design a scene. It actually takes several days to make one, polish it, then cut out all the objects that you can interact with and pickup. Just to give you an idea, you can look at Thomas’s last post with a short time-lapse video of how a scene is born. That 1 minute of video is actually 2 whole days of work.
Also, when all the scenes are done, we will still need to create music for the game. We make all the music ourselves – (we’re lucky that Thomas is both a designer and a musician). After that comes testing, and then publishing the game so that it will be out to you beautiful people.
Other than that there are some other tasks that we can do in parallel, so those will not add up to the total time needed to complete the game. Among those there is the programming, writing dialogues and comments, doing animations and creating sound effects.
We hope you can bear the patience of waiting a few more months. We are looking forward to deliver this game, and hope you will enjoy playing it just as much as we enjoy making it.
Have an awesome day,
We have some great news for you all. After collecting donations to keep development of The Silent Age Episode Two going, we’ve finally managed to secure the remaining required funding to complete the game. We have just signed a deal with CAT Game Invest, which is an investment company in Denmark investing in innovative and original ideas. They loved The Silent Age and are eager to help us finish the game.
CAT has agreed to fund the remaining budget and help us release Episode Two. CAT has previously invested in some great Danish success stories, such as Subway Surfers and the critically acclaimed Limbo.
This is in no small part thanks to all you guys who have showed great passion and interest in The Silent Age, especially with donations that have kept us going for this long. We could not have reached this point without you.
This means we can completely focus on developing the most awesome Episode Two possible, and no longer need to collect donations. We are therefore replacing the in-app donations with pre-orders in the coming days.
Thank you all for your continued support.
Uni and the team.
Making backgrounds for The Silent Age is hard work. But also a lot of fun! I’ve made a time-lapse video that shows the various phases I go through when I make a background.
I never have a clear image in my head when I start drawing a background. I usually begin by placing the items that are important to the scene – and then I plan the colors and the light. As the drawing evolves however, I tend to rethink both composition, colors and light – and the end product is nothing like the blurry vision I had in my head when I started.
Before and After
Listen to the background music track here