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FPSC Version: eX Nine

This is my mini-project following me through my six months of extreme working hours


Jacob Craven is trying to keep his frayed life from unraveling. His days are increasingly being invaded by his nightmares which manifest into the dark corners of his existence. Beings incarnating nothing but his fears. Although he tried to escape for years, a strange outlandish being finds and contacts him every night in his dreams showing him uncomprehensible images and messages. Although a new clue about the remains of his long-lost equally troubled sister allows him to hold on to a last beacon of sanity, the line between reality and delusion is steadily growing more and more uncertain.

Read this letter to get a grip of the games storyline and tone:


My dearest sister,

It has been too long since I ever saw you for me to remember your face…time left nothing more
than a ghostly shadow of your face on the only photograph I have… maybe I’m just too old now to remember.
I’snt that what being old is all about? Slowly fading out like your memories.

I used to deny it for years… run from it as it grew stronger. The dreams.
It is save to say that I saw every single part of the world. Russia, China, the states…
All of them drenched in the dark shadows of my nightmares. Our Nightmares.
You see… Samantha… typing down your name almost made be burst out in tears. Strange… I felt so empty for
so many years. You where strong enough to admit your nightmares…to talk about them as they started to slowly
manifest in your daily life…as they started to stare at you whenver you looked in a mirror or your reflection in
a puddle of water. Thats why they locked you up…they told me you where dead. Died in a carcrash on a schooltrip I later
found out never happened.

Nobody will ever read this letter… All hope is gone. The only reason for me to take this last step is the sheer fear to face
my dreams without waking up. To be trapped in them forever. I am too old now for running. I ran 30 years. Odd! How the intensity of
my dreams just decreased depending on how much I moved.

I think it has troubles finding me, connecting with me whenever I keep moving. It is getting impatient and more agressive…the dreams get more intense, they start to show up as shadows in the corner, as reflections in the buildings and I am not the only one sensing them. It is getting worse. It keeps talking to me silently showing me these pitchblack images of impossible geometry and I can feel its
terrible loneliness and I can see its eyes… I can see an eternity of waiting. If I only could understand its demands…
You see, my beloved sister, I don’t think it wants to harm me… its being is just too powerful for my weak soul… these dreams are just becoming so real because… my head is so full I sometimes can barely understand my own thoughts.

Mother died last year…that is how I found out about your past…your real past. They locked you away in this 3rd class mental hospital. Almost no documents where left, no adresses, no phone numbers. Only a card where all relevant information has been burned away. New Hope Mental Asylum. It took me a few months to find it. Almost no records have been left of this asylum… the only somewhat relevant information was on a hobbyphotographers website.. some clam who takes pictures of abandoned places. He refers to his gallery as “in the mouth of sadness” and claims the “air” in the hospital to be so dreadfully hostile… that there is some unnatural presence there that he only took a few pictures of the entrance hall and didn’t dare to venture any further. Oddly enough, the place closed down due to a fire shortly after you died. Oddly enough, there are no traces of firedamage on the pictures on the website.
The author claimed to return to the building at daytime…his webblog hasn’t been updated since. At least I got a location now.

All I hope for is to find any sort of clue from you that might help me end this nightmare… how I doubt it. Isn’t this just the last resort of a dying man? What is left in such an asylum after 30 years of decay? I hope more than there is left of me.


 Current Budget:

(this includes no content I already had, only media strictly bought for catathrenia)



This isn’t a horror game. More of a mystery adventure. I settle more for a dence and dreadful mood than flatout scaring you like in former titles. The gameplay revolves around finding clues about your sister while wandering between dream and reality. I like to call this “bipolar” gameplay as it has 2 completely different sides in the same game. Also the puzzles will work that way later on in the game. 2 choices, you do either get rewareded or badly punished for your action. No in-betweens.

This has slow adventure gameplay in the real world and more fastpaced “condemned” like gameplay in the dreamstates.


The focus of this project lies on how low I can keep the memory cap. Most levels only use 1300 to 1500 Megabyte. I chose an abandoned asylum as those abandoned buildings have little furniture left. So I can do most athmosphere with the textures and the lightmapping instead of cramming it up with stuff. It also features a lot of selfmade models…but not that much, its a miniproject, lets keep it lazy.

Another interesting note is that you can choose between full postprocessing, simplified postprocessing and black and white postprocessing in the final game I think thats a nice touch.

This game has custom characters.

Also, if you ever wanted to see a running tub in FPSC:


There is also a lot of gruesome stuff in this game so don’t let your kids play it if they are under the age of 14 … if you do you should get your head examined.

I’ve had another full 2 hours this evening for Catathrenia. Well, its save to say that the final game won’t blow anyones mind, but it will run solid and deliver some good mood and fun.

I also managed to get a good shader for my Weapons done. However, some firearms will get a different shader later on.

I made some images but I barely got myself around mapdesign. So yes! No big fat imageblocks like in the Shavra-Dead Frequency thread on the TGC Forums. I will get back on Shavra btw. big thanks to Bugsy! He has gotten some gears going in my head that should allow me to get the thing working now in 1.19

There are no more artifacts of the normalmapping or overshaded specular highlights on that book anymore. I spiced up the texture aswell because thats how I roll.

Constant development is the best development because it never stops.

I was jerking around with my entire shader collection to get a good ghost shader for hours…until I realised that the best ghost is done without any shader. Check out this image and see if you can see it creeping through the hallway.

Its not unlikely that this ends up being another hallway shooter. I really don’t know.
We will all see once the full version is out there. I think this will be a 1.18 Release. So far I released something in every version since 1.14 (I think) so I don’t see why skip 1.18.

You guys probably want to see some more screenshots, so here you go:

Quote:“Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.”

That quote doesn’t quiet fit the storyline but its nice anyway.

Remember when I told you that I will explain the new storyline? Well…I still want to do that as I have 2 Catathrenia updates on the to-do list for this week. (yes! I have a to do list now). This also includes 3 conceptual drawings for this project.

Well, someone on this planet might have red my outcry review on my blog…and if you did, I stated that some clam should do a “moving” game in an old-footag-grainy movie style (instead of a boring slideshow). Why not being that clam? I think the style works very well with the game’s ambitions. Make up your own opinion on some images:

(Remember that you can also play this game in prestine black and white)

User Posted Image
User Posted Image


I felt like doing a last reality grounded update on this. The leveldesign from this set on will be a lot more surreal

This is also the place where you receive the intro speech. I want to have an animated character here having a conversation with the protagonist..however, we all know what happens to naive ambitions a developer has at the start. I am very optimistic about this project though so you can expect a few extra goodies from me.

Thats pretty much it for this time.I won’t blabber on about my project and bore everybody. He, who has a question shall feel free to ask whatever he wants.

The game has a budget of 85 € now. (I bought some videoeditting software and a few points for the GC store)

Future levels will be strongly inspired by one of my favorite painters: Salvador Dali!!


I finally wipped out a new summary for the updated storyline. While I’m aware that some of you may not like the loss of such elements as reality – dream switches and the underlying insanity that comes with it as planned in the original concept. This game will also lag a lot of the logical puzzles to open doors and get machinery to work it had in the original level but therefore it will be a lot more creative. Puzzles will be solved in more interestin ways, locations are more artistic and the overall quality has been greatly approved. However, the dark and desperate tone of the original is lost and removed with a much more pleasant but still dark concept.

The characters are much more defined and there will be a few interesting fellows you meet along your journey into…well…the protagonists subconciousness.

Oh! I almost forgot to actually post the new storyline:

After the funeral of his recently deceased father, a young mechanic ends up being plagued by intense nightmares. Nightmares so vivid, he starts to suffer from severe sleep deprivation, depression, fear attacks and slight reality loss. Visiting numerous psychologists didn’t help much. Even less traditional therapy such as wingwave coaching or hypnosis didn’t reveal the cause of his troubles. He suffers until contacted by a less conventional psychologist who offers him a possible but dangerous solution. His theory suggests that the vibrant nightmares are a defense mechanism to hide a surpressed memory within his subconciousness under the disturbing images. An experimental machina should allow the protagonist to wander through his dreams in full awareness without waking up. Traveling inside his own mind. However, if he dies within this highly drug influenced trip…he might remain comatose for the rest of his life.

Fight, solve puzzles and survive through abstract dreamscapes to uncover the true source of your nightmares burried within the depths of your subconciousness.

Adapt or perish.

Now, remember, if you are interested in the technical and theoretical aspect of the game, feel free to ask. I won’t go into technobabble unrequested and I have no idea what to write about in my next tutorial… some input on that would be desired aswell as comments and criticism

I’m sorry if these images don’t load correctly, I had to resign to an alternative imagehoster as mine didn’t cooperate this evening. Now I am aware that none of these images show a lot of gameplay. I just don’t feel like this aspect is yet polished enough to be shown already. Concidering all the high grade FPSC Projects out there…I have a bit of a name to keep

But I stay true to my wacky amateur flavor my projects have…for instance: I picked up drawing again.

Quick update!

I made some progress with the game and felt like sharing a few thoughts. I aim at telling the story with strong visuals that should represent certain ideas which is why I will be most likely forced to model a lot of extra props for this title (which has been originaly designed to be as lazy as possible…but I guess thats just how creativity works). I already made like 30 entities including variations and I’m just getting started with the more abstract levels.I show you all of this later.

Lately I remade and reimported Benge’s G3 from Modelpack 6 which is the most prominent weapon in this game. And yes! There will be weapons in this game for two reasons. 1: I always wanted to make a game featuring the Modelpack 6 Weapons which I never did. 2: Its a horrorthemed game, no survival horrorgame or similar. I don’t aim only to scare you, I aim to do a lot of artwork and convey a story while making a fun game.
Besides the usual retexture, soundexchange and Airmod polishing I also mapped all textures on a single image and attached a customized shader to it which makes it look faboulus in motion. I made a screenshot to convey hot it behaves.

Weapon Shader Demo

Upper: facing lightsource
lower: not facing any lightsource

as you can see, the shader adapts to its environment and is gentle on the hands while a lot more intense on the gun itself. This is in itself not a big accomplishment, I just want to point it out, that even though my game has a strong overgrained and overbloomed style to it, the gun never shines like a christmastree while I see a lot of other FPSC titles where the shader effects are so overdone that it hurts the eyes. Most of the time they look like shiny plastic. Thats a major complaint I have about shaders, they are rarely used in a decent way. (to be fair, in FPSC they are a pain in the rectal area)

Thats enough of that

Don’t worry, clocks will only be a big thing in the second interval.

A friendly music composer I met on Moddb made a bunch of neat ambientmusic for my game In fact, this will be a great contrast and addition to my …slightly more insane musical pieces. You should definately check them out and his other stuff:

Catathrenia BG Soundtrack

I also wrote (yes! wrote…prepared and thought about and all that) a bunch of possible riddles and puzzles to build into the game. Most of them are hard work and I will certainly drop a lot of them as I simply don’t have the time. I just hope I can get your interest in some of them as I don’t want to bore you with “find the switch and drag the box over the platform” puzzles.

Now, a few more images and I hope to see you all next update.

Feedback and questions are appreciated!


User Posted Image
 Bad news first: I had to delete 6 entire levels. Yeah! there is a lot of work going straight down the drain. Those maps where simply not working well, went too hard on the memory cap or wheren’t fun to play.
If you are working in a wierd setting like this where there isn’t that much realism to hold on to, you still need to give the game some sort of grounding and sense of danger or you hit the player over the head and the game ends up being boring. You can also not string together 4 levels of pure puzzle solving and story elements or you lose the folks who are not that invested in the storyline, not yet really into the setting or just want some relieving action. You gotta get the player to get chased by something or the entire hostile athmosphere gets lost. There is a lot of work involved to get a game like this working in fpsc.
 Bottomline, I had a hard cutback on progress but it made up for better flowing- and more coherent gameplay.
 I got to work on the health system which invites to explore the level (we’ll get to that later). It strongly relies on the use of various chemicals and items you can find and you can carry 3 flasks (healthpotions) with you. In fact, there is a passive inventory (keys, puzzleitems and ingredients) and 2 active inventories: (Weapons and Potions). Things you carry and can consume are allocated as icons on the left side of the screen (very small and stylish icons…dont worry, I wont overload your HUD with crap) In Fact, the health-o-meter isn’t visible at all and can only be triggered by pressing a button. You’ll see what I did there once its finished. 🙂
 I’ve been thinking about adding a few more weapons. It has 3 so far and since I clear the inventory of any tools and documents you dont need anmyore there is room for infinite guns. If you got a stellar idea that would suit the setting, feel free to air your mind. …I’ve been concidering a crossbow btw. 🙂 User Posted Image  
You will also get mechanical puzzles to solve…this is not part of one of them. In fact, thats just there to spice up the first chapter’s scenery. User Posted Image  
I really like this room. There will be a lot going on in it aswell 🙂 User Posted Image  
Don’t worry, I won’t overuse windows as much as the screenshot reals might make you think User Posted Image  
That thing is… I dont know what that is either User Posted Image  
Well, you get a lot of readingmaterial in here too…but hey, in other games you just get a screen full of text, here you can run around with it. 😉
 User Posted Image User Posted Image User Posted Image  
Thats from the “desperation” subchapter…its very minimalistic User Posted Image
 I finally have a good setting for the dogman character…so in your face! He has new sounds too.

About serygala

Who really has time to think about a summary of himself on the internet? I like art, women, gamedesign and I love coffee. Everything else is too much information.
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