Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Painscreek Devlog #7: Collaboration Tools Essential To Our Team

(In-game documents categorized inside Trello.)
Throughout our five-and-a-half years of developing The Painscreek Killings, we designed 9 custom buildings, developed 20 characters, constructed more than 100 documents (consisting of diaries, newspapers, flyers), produced more than 900 props (half of which were not used for the final build), and wrote about 26,000 words. Along the way, our team grew from two to seven members. Yuri, our one and only programmer, worked from Japan while the rest of us were stationed in the United States. Looking back, we could not have managed it without a few, essential collaboration tools. Surprisingly, most of them are free.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Painscreek 6/21/2018 Patch Notes

Hi everyone. As of today, we've finally finished optimizing the game. This includes the Mansion, which is the heaviest scene in the game, as well as all other smaller and medium-sized scenes which were not originally part of the optimization but we decided to include them as well. Improvements to the game are as follows:

1. Reduced the game's file size from 18GB to 10.6GB, a reduction of about 40%.
2. Reduced RAM usage by approximately 40% when accessing the Village scene.
3. Reduced RAM usage by approximately 30% when accessing Mansion and Hospital scenes.
4. Improved Unity's batching process by about 40%, which is the number of files needed to be read by the CPU, especially when accessing the Mansion and Hospital.
5. Improved load times when switching between scenes during gameplay.
6. Improved prop textures for some locations.
7. Lowered the system requirements to run the game (as shown below).

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Painscreek Devlog #6: Designing The Menu & UI

(An early design of the Painscreek's grading system. Background image taken from 'The Secret World'.)

When first designing the user interface, we decided to go with a minimalist design, for a number of reasons. First, we couldn't understand how to use Autodesk's Scaleform. Second, we were new to Unity and didn't want to spend a lot of time on implementing a complicated UI. Third, we thought that an immersive experience meant placing on the screen only what was mandatory. Fast forward 5 years later: Although more UI elements were added as the development progressed, our end-product embraced much of what our original design set out to be. It was rough in areas, but it got the job done.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Painscreek 5/31/2018 Patch Notes

Hi everyone. We've finished optimizing the Hospital, which is the second heaviest scene in the game, and revamped textures for a number of props. Improvements when accessing the Hospital are as follows:

  1. Reduced Hospital loading time.
  2. Reduced RAM usage.
  3. Slightly reduced GPU usage.

We are currently working on the Mansion, which is probably the heaviest scene in the game, followed by a full game optimization shortly after. Once that's done, the game should run much better. More information on that later.

Hot Fix 1:
Some users were having issues on loading into the game after the latest patch. The problem was hunted down and the game should be stable now. We're sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused.

We're going to be doing an additional fix very soon to patch another small problem.

Hot Fix 2 (June 1, 2018):
Certain UV maps had some issues. These were sorted out.
Some objects were missing their colliders, and others were accidentally made hidden. All of these have been fixed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Painscreek Devlog #5: Who Is Steven Moss?

When a game has no quest journal, no hint system, a playtime average of over 10 hours, and it requires players to trek over twelve locations, is there anyway to prevent people from getting lost? Hints are important in entertainment. A hint system is found in nearly all 'hidden object' games. In more modern games, important items either have a glowing aura around them, or the main characters have a heightened vision that makes the important items stand out from the background. Both of these are useful techniques and helps to ease the players' frustrations when they get stuck. However, we felt that the above methods would break the immersion of our game. But, even though we didn't want to break the immersion we still had to consider the following: how can we prevent players from simply getting stuck? Would the systems mentioned earlier cheapen the whole feel for everything? Would they ruin a detective game that attempts to mimic real life? What could we do that wouldn't be in-your-face? Could we use an in-game person?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Painscreek Killings Rated Excellent By! recently reviewed 'The Painscreek Killings' and rated it excellent with a score of 4.5/5! Here's their verdict:

"The Painscreek Killings is an engrossing, complex, challenging murder mystery that makes you feel like a real investigator. Dig out your notepad; it’s time to uncover the secrets this sleepy, abandoned town is hiding."

Click here to read the full review.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Painscreek 5/9/2018 Patch Notes

Hi everyone. Here’s a list of things that were patched/implemented:

1. Optimized the village, one of the three heaviest scenes in the game. This includes optimizing the terrain and improving the terrain textures, which helps with reducing the RAM and GPU usage, and the loading times,.

2. Proof-read all documents (U.S. English).

3. Updated the disclaimer at the beginning of the game, informing players of the reload option should they encounter technical issues during gameplay.

4. Fixed incorrect dates which caused inconsistencies in the story's timeline.

5. Minor bugs fixes listed by players posted in the Steam community forum.

6. Removed AA option since the game uses Unity 5.3.4 engine which does not support that feature.

7. Implemented full Steam Controller support.

8. Made changes towards the end of the game to improve the player's experience during gameplay.

We thank the community for their support and being patient with us. Currently, we are working hard at optimizing the Hospital and the Mansion, which are the remaining heaviest scenes in the game. Upon completion, the game's frame rate and loading time should improve considerably.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Patch To Fix The Tutorial Achievement

1. Fixed a bug concerning the Tutorial Complete achievement preventing users from unlocking it. (If it doesn't unlock automatically you may want to wait to complete the game so you can start a new one. This achievement should be unlocked after you complete all the tutorials, the last being the one on sprinting after you unlock and enter through the front gate of Painscreek.)

2. (This update was released earlier but wasn't significant enough to have it's own patch note post.) Re-added the invert mouse option, as after the Controller Update the invert axis function in the Calibration settings only worked for controllers and not the mouse.

4/26/2018 hotifx :
3. Fixed an issue where the Best Friends Forever achievement was being unlocked incorrectly.

Thank you!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Controller Support For TPK Now Available

Hi everyone!

This one took a while, but we are pleased to announce controller support for The Painscreek Killings. Most major controllers are supported and feature full customization. These changes will be added to the demo as well so feel free to try before you buy. Also if you encounter any bugs please post them on the Steam discussion page for our game and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Here’s a list of things that were patched/implemented:

1. Implemented Controller Support for most major controllers

2. Implemented Lense Dirt slider in the video options so that now you can adjust it to your liking rather than just on/off.

3. Implemented Sprint Toggle setting to Control Settings to make it so that you can toggle sprinting on and off instead of having to hold the Sprint key to run.

4. Added support for a few more resolutions (namely Ultrawide 3840 x 2160)

5. Fixed typos in Act 1

6. Fixed an issue where controller settings would reset after closing.

Hope you enjoy :)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Painscreek 2/16/2018 Patch notes

Here’s a list of things that were patched/implemented:

1. Implemented a Reload button in the pause menu for players who fell through the world or got stuck behind furniture. It has a wait time of 2 minutes, after which the player will respawn to the entrance of the location. Any items picked up prior to this and photos taken will still be in your possession.

2. Implemented FOV slider in the video options.

3. Dirt lense removed.

The following were part of the demo, but implemented in the paid version as well:

4. New props were added to some locations and a few items were shifted around to accommodate a better experience for new players.

5. Additional audio content were added to a few key locations that gives reason for players to visit certain locations.

6. About 25% of the game content received proof-reading and grammar check.

7. Players can continue their save game from the demo version to the paid version so they do not have to replay the beginning part again.

We understand that some players are still affected by the low frame rate, long loading time and game crashes. We have recently found out the problem and are in the process of fixing it. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that needs quite some time to fix. We will post updates on its progress from time to time.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Painscreek Killings Demo Now Available On Steam!

The Painscreek Killings demo is now available to download! It contains the complete Act 1 and the playtime runs between 1 to 3 hours, depending on the player’s play style. The full game will run between 10 to 20 hours for most players. Click here to access the Steam page.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

PAX South 2018: Recap / Reflection

We had an amazing time at PAX South 2018 and we loved meeting all our fans!  Whether you came to try out The Painscreek Killings demo or have already been a fan since the beginning, we just want to say THANK YOU!