Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thy Shadow Updated

Thanks to all the feedback that has come in on The Consuming Shadow so far. A couple of large issues came to light, so I've uploaded a version that takes care of them. I won't make a habit of putting out new versions regularly; like I said, I plan to put out a much fuller version further down the line. This is only to handle some big issues that may spoil the enjoyment of the beta and get in the way of assessing the game as a whole.

You can download version from the same page as before. Here's a complete list of changes:

New features:

- Added the much-requested keyboard controls

Originally I only had mouse-controlled movement 'cos I like the idea of a single-button game. It's nice to have a hand free to drink with, and the possibility of a future tablet version has crossed my mind. But on reflection I didn't see any reason not to also have the option of keyboard controls if a keyboard is available.

So you can now use WASD or cursor keys to walk, holding down SHIFT to run, and the number keys 1-3 can be used to switch ammunition types. You can also press ESC to either flee the dungeon or to quit out of the Magic menu without casting a spell, which was another annoyance.

- You can now pistol-whip by right-clicking, as well as by left-clicking within melee range and left-clicking anywhere with an empty gun

Game-breaking bug fixes:

- Fixed the game crashing when you try to attack the Tall Man

Silly me: the damage checking script was trying to check the Tall Man's health variable, when the Tall Man doesn't have a health variable because he can't die. Incidentally, gameplay tip: stay the fuck away from the Tall Man.

- Fixed the ladder disappearing in the endgame dungeon

Minor bug fixes:

- Clicking to dispel a message while your mouse is still over the bottom-centre button no longer presses the button again.
- The Pentagram Necklace is no longer overpowered

Instead of eliminating sanity loss from spellcasting, now it only halves it, so you can't just cast Mass Death and Restoration infinitely. (The effect stacks if you also have the Rosary equipped)

- Fixed inscribed runes sometimes hanging around outside the casting menu
- The Fat Man no longer respawns infinitely during hunter escapes
- Fixed being able to cast magic infinitely while under the effects of drugs

See, what happened here was that there's the raw Sanity stat and there's the Trip stat, which is the amount of sanity the drugs have added. Previously, casting magic only reduced the raw Sanity, but now if there's no raw Sanity left it takes away from Trip instead.

Cosmetic changes and other tweaks:

- Hunters now fade in when appearing in a new room, rather than popping into existence at the door

That's about it. Please download and install the newer version if you intend to keep playing and testing - save files and score data from the previous version should still work. I learned my lesson not to use Game Maker's built-in save function after Poacher.


  1. I have not heard of this until today, looking forward to trying it out! :D

  2. Poacher was absolutely amazing btw.
    Because I am lazy I am waiting for the promised full, finished version of this game to play.


    Is no-one else getting this?

  4. Wow, Yahtzee returning to one of the things I first remember him for, talk about full circle.
    I remember reading about homemade point'n'click adventure games years ago in Hyper Magazine. I didn't really pay attention to the title author at the time. Then, a year or two ago, I was sorting through my things when I found a stack of old Hyper mags. I started flicking through them when I came across an opinion piece about the old Dizzy games that caught my eye. The title author just so happened to read 'Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw'.
    I went through the entire stack looking for Yahtzee in the credits and I soon realised that he'd been the writer for nearly all my most memorable and favourite pieces in that magazine. I threw out all the issues except for the ones he'd written for.
    So here's to you Yahtzee, for both inspiring me to get into writing and for the countless moments of entertainment over the years. I've been an admirer of your work for longer than I even realised and I hope 'The Consuming Shadow'' turns out to be another success.

  5. I'e been playing the game almost nonstop since yesterday, and tehere's only one suggestion I can think about: you could add an option for the player to take their own notes. It's hard to remember all the hints given by the runes you find in dungeons, which are not spelled out in the notebook. Oh, and BTW, thank you for not spelling them out. :)

    I've also encountered a bug where there was a corpse near the corner of a room, and I was standing that corpse. I pressed F10 to go to a window, for some reason, and my character appeared stuck between the corpse and the wall, and I couldn't move him over the corpse. Had to turn the game off. I couldn't reproduce that since, but if it happens, I'll try to make a video and post the link here.

    Other than that, it's been a helluva ride, and I look forward to playing the full game when you complete it.

  6. I just wrote a review of this game, loving it by the way. Another good job by Yahtzee.

  7. Got the best ending! The only thing to spoil the moment was the clatter of the chandelier-thing in the ante-chamber: I went straight for the ladder and warped while it was moving, and the sound effect never stopped.
    And yes, there has to be an 'I've figured it out already'-button somewhere. In Stonehenge, redundant clues are probably the last thing you need.

  8. Most upgrades seem to add something for every point one inputs except for driving speed which flatlines after the third point at a 60% increase. If this it intended, maybe add some warning text?

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  10. One suggestion, and maybe I'm dense, but exiting out to the main menu only gives you the options to continue a saved game, or start a new game. What about the option to save and quit? Like I said, I could be missing it too!

  11. This is probably an intended feature, but I want to make sure that monsters sometimes being silent (whereas they usually make a lot of noise) isn't a bug.

    If it is an intended feature, it does create the problem that the player can leave a room with a monster in it, losing sanity, without ever realizing that there was a monster, missing their chance to choose to fight it instead.

  12. I've beaten the game four time so far, and it is simply lovely. While the core experience is pretty solid, I'm very interested in seeing what gets added in the fuller version. There's just a couple of suggestions I'd like to offer:

    As it stands it's really not feasible or helpful to get past level eight or so: The amount of experience needed to level up scales up disproportionate to the amount of experience you're likely to gain by playing as your skills improve, and once you hit the 30,000 + pocket change 'experience cap' of reliably stopping the god with some sanity left the sense of improving from one run to the next pretty much fades away. Of course leveling up isn't really important once you've got six points or so to put into key areas. Speaking of which...

    There is very little reason to improve lock-picking. Almost every dungeon seems to have a key-ring, and since you're rewarded for exploring you'll likely find it. If you don't have the health or ammo to search for the key-ring you're usually better off just ignoring the locked doors and sneaking out of the dungeon anyways.

    Armor Piercing bullets are practically useless, especially compared to hollow points. There are very few situations where you're facing more than one enemy in a room, and even then the chance to line up a shot that will hit multiple targets is rare.

    I feel like there's some situations where an additional choice option would be useful, like trying to kill/escape from the cop if he tries to confiscate your special ammunition.

    It would be helpful to be able to bring up a map when searching for jobs, to avoid accepting a task and then realizing it's on the other side of the country.

    I was a little surprised that trying to ignore the text in the sane ending didn't do anything. Not that it matters, but I was kind of hoping for a chance to hand in the badge, the investigator's earned a rest.

    I totally understand the reason for this game-play and story segregation, but it still seems a little silly that, after presumably years of studying these old ones, the investigator has yet to discover things like what color they're associated with. He's going into this surprisingly well versed in some areas (spell-casting, even though he doesn't know any spells), but surprisingly lacking in others (the most basic facts about his enemies, which he is fortunate enough to miraculously find stuffed into trashcans and rusted lockers).

    Overall though, it's a very enjoyable experience, and I look forward to the next update, whenever it may be.

  13. You should look into an expanded iOS version of this, YZ. If you can get over your doggone anxiety and put it up, I'd definitely pay money for it.

  14. I've played through the game once and I quite liked it. Something that I might even have paid a dollar or two for; maybe we'll save that for the final version, though. I also think you could bundle the Chzo point-and-clicks together and sell them for $5.99 on GOG (indies can contact them pretty easily these days, I hear).

    I digress. I was thinking that maybe you could add a bit of variety and/or difficulty to the suicide thing by giving us slightly randomized controls: you may have to mash the spacebar or another key (within reason, of course) instead of clicking every time. Why not change it mid-way if the player is taking too long? Perhaps increase the frequency of control-changes if the character is in particularly bad shape or has tried to shoot himself a few times before? I'm not a game designer so what the hell do I know, but I think it would work fine.

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