Here it is, another weekly dev. diary. Previously, we have shown you the graphical features of the game, and the improvements we are making in the look of the game, but we also said that the gameplay will be mentioned later. Well, let's cover some basics about it right now.
3:00am Dead Time. A tactical-first-person-horror game.
It should be called TFPHG, but the pronuntiation is plain horrible. Instead, we will call it a terror game, with a heavy focus on tactic gameplay. But, what do we mean with tactic gameplay?
Let's explain the game. As you have read in the main post, and as we have said since the beggining of this project, 3:00am Dead Time is a different kind of terror game. It will not be based in a "Collect X items" gameplay, nor in a "just watch the events and survive them". We wanted the player to explore, to interact, to investigate. We decided that the best approach was to make the players be paranormal investigators with their own TV show. But in order to make that possible, we had to implement and think of multiple gameplays.
The player should go to a mission, and investigate the paranormal activity in the zone. Why? Because the player wants to impress their audience! To have the best TV show, they need the best paranormal experience, either waiting for it to appear, or invoking it...
But if it will be a TV show, most of the time they will not be alone. Thats something we said from the very beggining (and it was a main feature from the start). The player will go to investigate with the help of other members of the show, like cameramen, reporters, specialists... and then we realised that our game needed a tactic focus.
Tactical gameplay in 3:00am Dead Time.
If we wanted a group of characters to help the player, he should be able to give them specific orders, so they can really be an aid, and not an obstacle. They should be able to follow the player, but also to react in their own, and to warn about the paranormal phenomena that they are watching. We wanted this to be as simple as possible, but very effective. We have designed a practical and easy to learn HUD system to give instructions to the NPC's, and we hope to show it to you really soon. It's way more impressive in video than in photos.
The ability to go with someone to investigate does not make the experience less scary. It just helps to set the atmosphere, and make the whole TV series ambiance credible. We are confident you will like it. Also, it makes this game very unique. But if you like a challenge, you will be able to go on your own, and experience the game completely alone. You are free to chose.
The crew and the equipment.
3:00am had also another key feature from the beggining : the crew and equipment management. The player should be able to select the equipment they want to carry, and the team members they want to take to a mission. Buying new cameras, new recorders and advanced equipment, open new locations, secret places, hidden phenomena and stories... All of this to make the game replayable. Every time you play, the paranormal phenomena will change, and depending on the items you use, you may or may not see some special events. The experience will be different each time. The equipment selection and the crew management is being developed as fast as possible for Beta 0.2
You will need also the help of different specialists, like demonologists and ufologists, if you want to get the most of each location. They can help you to learn where and when is better to take an action in order to see the paranormal beings. This feature is expected to be finished for Beta 0.3.
As you see, the game will be a lot more complex than other terror games, but sharing the best components of the genre, like the story driven plot, the clues around the locations, the overall mystery, and the dark and creepy athmosphere. There will be a few jumpscares, but the focus will be on the ambiance and the exploration, and not in sudden and loud noises.
3:00am Dead Time, the TV show.
And finally, the last key feature of the game, announced also since the very beggining, and coming to a reality day by day : the TV show.
In this game, we wanted the player to see the events through a camera, but that was a resource already used by other games. But it missed something all times, a little detail that ruined the whole idea of a camera viewport. Why do you use a camera that cannot record anything? Why is the story about recording paranormal phenomena, without actually recording anything, without being able to see your experience later? Then, we decided : in 3:00am dead time, the player's camera will be able to record. And he will be able to see the final video. But not just that, the player will be able to edit that video, and mix it, cut it, and add nice effects to it in order to make a TV episode, with watermarks, icons pointing to the phenomena...
The recording system is being tested by our funders. They have received a little demo showing that it is possible to record and replay the videos in our game. It is even possible to record at different qualities, and everything without a high end machine. We know that we are taking longer than expected to release Beta 0.2, but in the end, it will be worth. We are giving everthing for this game, our nights, our spare time, our money... because we want it to be the best horror experience for a PC, and the most complete one. The demo released a month ago, is just a sneak peak of the intro to the first mission of the game. Each mission will have its own story and locations, so the game will have several stories, all of them complete and complex, with a lot of mysteries and clues to discover.
We hope you will like 3:00am Dead Time, and remember to check our profile often. We are going to have nice and exciting updates soon.
The Irreverent Software Team.
Also, in a side note, we wanted to say thank you to the indiedb team for including us in their featured games list of Q4 2012, and to all of you, our awesome followers and supporters, for making this possible. You guys have even made 3:00am be on the top 100 list almost twice per week, and that is a great achievement for a three months old game. We thank you all for this.
Remember that you can vote 3:00am Dead Time for the indie of the year awards, and all the other games in this site.
There are a lot of wonderful games to see, and vote.
Thanks for reading!