Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
In this week's blog, I'm going to talk a little about what it was like remaking a game I made a few years ago that is also one of my favorites, Fading Light.
So, the original Fading Light, for those who don't know, is a short first person horror game set deep underground in the fictional Arkham Caves. The player finds themselves here after wandering from a tour group in the caves and while exploring falls down deeper into an unknown section of the caves. From this point on the players given objective is to find a way out of the cave. What could go wrong, right? Well, soon enough you discover you are not alone down in the depths of the cave and you find yourself being hunted by creatures of a dark primal nature.
Comparison of the games opening. Left: Original Right: Remake
From a mechanics point of view, while the original was good and well received, there were certain aspects that I would have liked more time to improve on.One of the main things the original lacked was a save system. Now while the game is short enough that players tend to finish it in a single sitting,I still would have liked them to have the ability to save. The monsters in the original were never inflicted much damage to the player and I had the players health regenerate. So while they were scary at first, they soon became clearly no real threat and as such just an obstacle to avoid.
So what are the main changes in the remake? One of the first things I wanted to address in the remake was the monsters. The original game had humanoid creatures that while they were scary, didn't feel quite natural to that environment. So the first thing from an artistic and aesthetic point of view was to change them. In the remake, the creatures are now arachnid monsters which right away feels more natural to the environment. In the original, the monsters didn't deal much damage and as a result didn't pose much of a threat. So in the remake, I knew right away that I didn't just want to make them more of a challenge but to make them a real terrifying predator. I removed the regenerating health system and made the monsters insta-kill the player. With improved pathfinding and AI, this makes them much more of a threat in game and with their spawning times and locations random, even I get surprised by them. With how they move, adding a scratching sound effect for their walk cycle makes for a good warning system to alert the player that one is close while at the same time acting as a sort of fear mechanic.
The next thing I wanted to improve upon was the reading of notes in the game. In both the original and the remake, you find journal entries. In the original these were marked as single illuminated pages in the environment. Reading one brought up a very basic GUI texture and placed text over it. In the remake, the journal entries are found in the environment as actual books that once you you interact with bring up a journal created in photoshop to give a better effect in game.
Original game note pick-up.
Remake note pick-up.
The next thing I wanted to improve upon was the lighting of the game. Mainly the players source of light, the lantern. Both original and remake are dark games for the simple fact that when you're deep underground it's pitch black darkness. Anyone who's been on a tour of a cave will be able to tell you that when they turn off the lights, you are left in complete darkness.
Now, in both games, the players main source of light is an old lantern that they find. In the original the lantern light flickered as you'd expect an old oil lantern flame would. The main problem with the lantern light in the original was that the flickering was perhaps to intense and unnatural. In the remake I've toned down the flickering and adjusted the colors to emulate a more natural effect you'd imagine from an old oil lantern. As for the overall color palette, the original was in hindsight far to yellow in its tone. In the remake I've reduced the intensity of the colors and went for more of a slight orange to the lanterns light.
Lighting in original game
Lighting in remake
The other notable changes in the remake include changes to the games pacing and structure of gameplay. Nothing to major but small changes that make certain parts of the game make more sense and improve the overall player experience. Having finished the remake I'm happy with how it came out. I was afraid going into it that it wouldn't be as good but I think it definitely improved on the original keeping what made it good while bringing something new to the game. If you'd like to check out the original, you can find info here. If you'd like to check out the remake, you can find info here.
Until next time!