November 6, 2011

Progeny: Buried Alive (Preview)

This week's game tells the story of Dan Palladian from the Progeny.

Before the crash, Dan was the ship's entertainment mogul, eventually owning and operating almost every single cinematic establishment on the ship. He wrote, directed, edited, and acted in all of his own films. He had recently married Paige Ellsworth, the lead actress of one of his latest films. But when the Progeny went down, the two of them were funneled into separate escape pods.

His pod crashed into a mountain and embedded itself deep in an underground cave. He survived for a week underground, defending himself with the low-tech energy pistol that comes standard in every escape pod and eating the cave-dwelling fungus and creatures he could find. Captain Moore found him after seven days.

Unlike a traditional platformer that is "on rails", this one will take place in a huge, expansive cave system with no designated "end" and no levels. You simply have to survive for 7 days; to that end, there is a big emphasis on open-ended exploration. Your "hunger" is constantly going up, but you can satisfy your hunger by eating mushrooms and eating the critters that you kill. If your hunger hits the max, you starve to death. So there is no way to simply wait around for rescue; you have to keep moving so you can forage and avoid starvation. Each in-game "minute" is one second of play time, so that means you have to survive for 2 hours and 8 minutes before rescue arrives. Most of the creatures in the cave will kill you if you get too close to them, so you have to be very careful and try to blast them from afar.

But there is a catch: your only light source is your weapon. The weapon has a battery that charges over time, but each shot you fire takes up battery power. So the more you shoot, the darker it gets, and you are in the dark until your gun recharges (somewhat quickly, however). Most enemies and food items glow in the dark (bioluminescence), so you can still see where things are, but you won't be able to see the terrain or non-glowing objects when it gets too dark.

In addition, enemies behave differently the darker it is. For example, the worm thing you see in the screenshot moves faster as it becomes darker.

I'm also working on implementing creatures that only exist in darkness. So when it gets very dark, their glowing eyes will pop up, but when the light comes back, there's nothing there. Stay tuned for more updates!


  1. Sweet action. I'm a fan of these dark and terrifying sorts. Is there going to be any crazy events happening or is it simply moving about in a large cave structure for 2 hours? Bosses?

  2. I plan on having a couple large monsters to fight, which you could consider bosses. They'll be tough. I'm also working on putting some stuff that hints of the history of what the Desian races did with the cave in the past.

    The challenge curve comes from a few key points:
    > As you eat up all the food in one area, you have to progress to the next area. That, or starve.
    > As you travel further through the cave, the food will be harder to get to because it will be defended by more numerous and more difficult enemies.
    > The more time you spend fighting enemies, the less time you spend eating. So as your character gets more hungry, you start to more frantically try to kill things. But the more frantic you get, the more disoriented you are because you will be shooting nonstop, running your battery out.

    Now that I'm implementing the "darkness" creatures, the game is getting much more chaotic (in a fun way). That is, when you burn down your battery and lose enough light, crazy aggressive creatures appear in the darkness and come after you, but when the light comes back on, they vanish. You'll never know where they are going to pop up. It's quite frightening.