Asylum Update

Posted By: BrownEyedTigre

Asylum Update - 07/23/21 11:36 PM

Here is the latest update!

You can check it out on steam here with photos.

Otherwise, the verbage is below.

It Came from the ASYLUM! On Friday!

We bring assorted news from the forsaken and dusty corridors of the Hanwell Mental Institute.
Salutations, you highly esteemed folks! We finally have an overdue and proper update for you. And a big one with all sorts of news. It’s not like we were that quiet lately: there’s been lots of activity and tidbits across our cozy little spots in the vast extension of the digital world, but it’s about time we summarized our status in a nice writeup. How about we get started?

It's in the details

Our focus for the past few months has been to finalize the “critical path” of puzzles in ASYLUM and ensure the number of details in our scenes are consistent across the entire experience. This last bit means that there’s enough stuff to do or investigate in every location of the game, albeit not strictly necessary. If you played our demo, you know there were plenty of objects you could look at, receive a feedback, or perhaps zoom in, such as corkboard with a couple of easter eggs. This takes much time to implement, especially for a game of this size. The least thing we want is an experience that feels strong at the beginning but slowly becomes rushed and lifeless near the end. On the contrary, the whole game has been designed so that its conclusion shatters your mind, which means consistency and strong pacing. I dislike myself rooms without anything to do in adventure games – simply put, we don’t want to waste your time with lifeless locations.

Critical path means that every major puzzle has been implemented and the game can be completed from beginning to end. And we’re almost there: only one puzzle needs to be implemented from scratch, while two others are in the polishing phase. They’re complex ones and for obvious reasons I can’t provide more details (spoilers!), but we’re really getting close. In fact, we’re already performing internal QA and, good news is, there’s a growing list of content that’s quickly falling into the “we’re not touching this anymore” category. We do have a wishlist of stuff that we’d love to see in the game, and the question remains how much time we’re going to devote to that. But for now, our mission is to bring ASYLUM to a shippable state.

We devoted this week to compile a thorough list of pending assets, meaning a video, an image, sound effect, text blurb, etc., either due or requiring tweaks. Absolutely everything that’s required to have a Release Candidate version, down to the T. We’ll use this list to come up with a realistic schedule and a tentative launch date that we can share with our community. We still do have a few gray areas that are very hard to estimate (namely pending cutscenes), but those are dwindling by the minute.

To address a particular request in the forums: the demo we released last year in the context of the Steam Festival was truly meant to be limited, key reasons being that it wasn’t 100% representative of the final game. Missing voice acting and sound effects for instance hurt the experience to some extent and were among the biggest criticisms we received. After the demo was taken down, we distributed keys to fans that kindly asked us to play it on an on-and-off basis, but we stopped doing that now. The game is in an even better shape than it was last year, thanks in no small part to entirely reworked soundscapes (more about this in a moment!) among other crucial tweaks, including lots of feedback you submitted. Yes, we know you’re anxious to play the game, and yes, we may re-release the demo with these upgrades and voice-overs, which we’re hoping to being recording soon.

Increasing the family

OK, now let’s proceed with news about our team because, trust me, we want to finish ASYLUM as badly as you want to play it! Our newest addition is Manuel Jofre Poza, student of a filmmaking career in a public university (UNSAM) who brings a fresh new perspective to the project and happens to be a longtime fan of… Scratches! Which is super cool because he’s incredibly talented and attentive to detail, exactly the kind of role we needed at this stage. Manuel is doing thorough QA (and I do mean thorough) pointing out each thing that seems out of place. His first playthrough was a big success as he was able to complete a large chunk of the game in one go and without any hints. Yay! I love when he posts in our Discord group quick progress reports with our logo and cool info. Very professional.

It’s interesting to see the process here, identifying anomalies in a scene and quick ways to improve the atmosphere. For example, Manuel’s initial plan for the Boiler Room was to bring a sort of hazy look and volumetric light to the fire, but that’s easier said than done because this is an animated video on top of an image.
The faster workaround was to spawn a warm point light in that area, and voilà, more immersive flames! I really like it. I mean, you can almost feel the heat coming out of that thing.

So, big round of applause for Manuel, our newcomer who by the way just got married!

Next, I’d like to mention the involvement of Cornelis Sjöbeck, who happens to be a Kickstarter backer. Cornelis approached us a short while ago with a neat proposal: as a student in the final stages of a career in computer science, he needed to work on a master-thesis which he wanted to orient to composition/audio design and kindly picked ASYLUM as his subject matter. So, after a few meetings, Cornelis put hands to work on several new sound effects, as well as redesigning current ones. The improvement is shockingly good: beautifully balanced and mastered soundscapes bring a whole new level of immersion to our environments. Waterdrops, crumbling debris, gurgling sounds, buzzing lightbulbs, distant machinery, and a variety of ambient noises among a plethora of new sound effects. It’s a brilliant work and we couldn’t be more grateful for his involvement.

I mean, the guy went as far as using actual bones to produce a particular effect (I didn’t ask about the source of the bones, nope, don’t want to know).

Thanks again Cornelis for contributing to the project! You rock!

And the final but very important bit of news is the promotion of Elizabeth Burner, more commonly known across our networks as McQuigan, as the official Community Manager of Senscape! You’ve probably seen her doing the rounds on Discord and Steam, addressing all kinds of inquiries and topics, organizing activities and so forth. Senscape owes her a big deal, and this is an overdue promotion. Beth is closely aligned with the vision and ideals that make our community such a friendly place to be, so we’re all super happy to have her in the team.

All of this means that, yes, we’re growing and it’s an exciting time for the company. The most exciting times are yet to come, of course, as our mammoth project begins looking like a finished game. There’s never been a team this large working on the game (six people now!) and each passing day fewer tasks remain. I want to thank you all for your patience and support. Contrary to some things being said around, we are working on ASYLUM, and it will be released. I’ve always encouraged and addressed constructive criticism but for some reason, perhaps the times we’re living in, you often read comments that are downright cruel and hurtful. But for each one of those, there are many more words of encouragement that still remind me why we love and believe in what we do.

Anyway, I promise the next update will come sooner, hopefully with more decisive news. Until then!


Happy Gaming!
Posted By: Draclvr

Re: Asylum Update - 07/24/21 01:15 AM

I must say I did enjoy the pictures in my updates. But I will still file this under... meh, for now.

But thank you for posting it here!
Posted By: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Asylum Update - 07/24/21 01:51 AM

lol Drac! meh sums it up nicely.
Posted By: oldbroad

Re: Asylum Update - 07/24/21 03:28 AM

Thanks Ana!
Posted By: Mad

Re: Asylum Update - 07/24/21 04:21 AM

Thanks, BET 🙂
Got the update direct in a "backer email".
No release date given again but better than nothing 🙄
Posted By: revco

Re: Asylum Update - 07/24/21 03:53 PM

Nice to read so thank you for sharing this. Doesn't appear to be much of a game update...more of a team update. That's good I guess.

I'm going to play the demo again...hehe.
Posted By: connie

Re: Asylum Update - 07/24/21 08:21 PM

Thanks Ana, I got the backer update too.
Posted By: Orion

Re: Asylum Update - 07/25/21 01:45 PM

Well what da you know....finally a decent update, one pointing in the right diection. Sounds like they are getting the right people put in the right places to continue on. Definately a positive. We can only hope no more serious delays

Looking forward to playing this updated demo. Missed the first one and would love to get a chance to check Asylum out. Hope it happens

Gotta love this Cornelis taking on Asylum to for a master-thesis. You dont see that happening too often. Sounds like he is doing a good job. Guess we can only sit back and continue to wait

Thanks Anna for the good news

Take care all and happy gaming
Posted By: InlandAZ

Re: Asylum Update - 07/25/21 05:25 PM

Good ole AC what a great guy, miss chatting with him on JA.
Posted By: Draclvr

Re: Asylum Update - 07/25/21 05:28 PM

Well, HEY! We kind of miss chatting with you too, InlandAZ!
Posted By: lakerz

Re: Asylum Update - 08/08/21 06:37 AM

I backed this game seemingly decades ago (LOL) and at this point have reached a state of zen where if it is never released so be it, but if it is then cool. As a fan of Scratches I figured throwing some some extra $$$ on trust was worth it. I just hope AC is keeping his sanity at this point and does not have to check himself into said asylum before game is finished! Poor guy must have all gray hair by now!
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