Hi! Not to flatter myself too much, but just in case anyone’s curious about the backstory for my game, Night House, here’s a little about how I put it together!
My good friend Steph Cherrywell introduced me to Quest last year when she was working on her first game, Whitefield Academy of Witchcraft. I thought I’d try my own hand at using the system, so Night House began as an experiment just to get the hang of how to use Quest. I worked on it on and off for about about a year.
I’m a big horror buff, so I wanted to try to make something a little bit creepy. The feel owes a lot to some of my favorite fantasy/horror media like ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Krampus’, ‘The Gate’ and ‘The Hole.’ One of the scariest things I remembered was waking up in the middle of the night as a kid, hearing a thunder storm raging outside, and knowing that I needed to go to the bathroom – but that there was a dark hallway between me and relief. I started by just trying to recapture that childhood sense of dread and just built from there; the story began to take shape as I went along. I wanted the game to have a definite sense of place, so I set it in my own childhood – which is why it has a late 80s/early 90s vibe to it that a few reviewers picked up on.
I wanted it to be a game that would reward you for exploring, so there are lots of clues hidden everywhere that gradually reveal different parts of the story (many of the reveals aren’t even integral to the story, I just wanted the world to feel real and fleshed out)
Originally I toyed around with a few, much darker, stories for Night House – one of my early ideas was that it would ultimately turn out that the player was the only survivor of a murder-suicide or a cult ritual, but ultimately I wanted to tell a story that was creepy but not depressing. I wanted it to go to some surprising places, but ultimately finish on a more hopeful, light-hearted note whichevever ending you chose.
–Making the Game–
Not much to say here: I wrote it in Quest. I’m not a programmer, so pretty much everything you see in the presentation of Night House is a standard Quest feature. Since this was my first IF game, I relied on the experience and feedback of my very kind beta testers who all knew a lot more than I did. I’m indebted to all my awesome beta testers Andy Joel, Egghead Cheesybird, Steph Cherrywell, Norman Rafferty, Rich Finn, Holden Crick, and Khatoblepas!
My background in IF is mostly playing classic click-and-point Sierra and LucasArts adventure games, so in retrospect I think I assumed too much that most players would, like me, think more in terms of using the compass and I didn’t realize until later how much IF players love to test a game’s limits and seek out the cracks, so hearing feedback both before and during the Comp was a great learning experience for me.
Unfortunately it was only after IFComp opened that I realized a Quest game can only be played online by uploading the game to UK Adventures. And while I really like that site, it’s got that pesky session time limit that frustrated so many players. That combined with the fact that a lot of reviewers didn’t like Quest’s combined click-and-parser interface left me pretty pessimistic about Night House’s chances. But I’m very happy to see that some people enjoyed the game and that it did as well as it did. I’m really stoked to be 8th place!
You can find Night House for post-comp playing (or download!) at
textadventures.co.uk/games/view/ … ight-house
I’d recommend downloading (or making an account to sign in) to avoid the site’s time out. I guess that’s it, but please feel free to hit me up if you have any questions or suggestions! Thanks to everyone for playing and for all the great feedback!