So first off, the biggest news - Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion: HD Renovation is coming to PlayStation 4 w/ PSVR support! It launches there on 10/29, and we’re really excited about it. They have very strict quality requirements, especially around VR, and so the VR experience has been enhanced and refined a LOT for everyone.
What’s In This Update
Engine update (2017.2.2p2->2017.4.30f1): This is an update that we’ve been wanting to do for a while but finally had to in order to publish. Unity 2017.4 is their “Long Term Support” version where they don’t add features but only fix bugs in the engine itself, so we’re hoping that this provides some fixes for strange issues that people have had that are beyond the scope of what we can fix.
As mentioned above, there are a bunch of big VR changes that we’ve implemented, for the purpose of increasing comfort and the overall experience:
- New HUD: Now the display of the interactable label, health, and stamina in VR is attached to where you are looking and collides with the world. The old HUD would cause depth conflicts with the world, which didn’t bother some people, but made others nauseous.
- Snap Turn Option: Turning options are now available, you can use smooth turn, or a snap turn of 30, 45, or 90 degrees. 30 degree snap turn is now the default, as it is much more comfortable than smooth turning.
- Updated render path to Single Pass Stereo: This was weird and complicated but the end result is that in VR the game renders a TON faster and should be viable to play on even lower spec computers.
- Removal of forced look changes/most forced movement: This was a common complaint and one of the biggest sources of simulator sickness. There aren’t a lot of places in Spooky’s where this happens (Boss Fight, ending of Karamari Hospital) but it’s jarring when it does happen.
- Hide world while paused: Again, this is to prevent depth conflicts between the pause menu and the world.
- Changed note placement technique: Previously notes were rendered regardless of what else was on screen, making for a jarring depth conflict when reading notes on popped out cutouts or when close to tables.
- Staircase Collision Changed: Staircases now use ramps for player movement collision - the previous jarring movement from the steps was a source of discomfort.
We realized that we were taking some overly cautious and very wasteful steps when loading rooms that would cause them to take a lot longer than they needed to, especially on slower hard drives. Removing those extra steps sped up loading by around 8x, causing new rooms to load in only a few frames. Because we now had all that extra time, we polished up the transition between rooms, so now the door opens to the unknown in a very over-engineered way where the speed of the door opening animation is based on how loud the sound effect it’s playing is. We applied similar techniques in to load things in parallel to reduce the game’s start up time too, so everything should feel quite a bit faster and smoother on the whole.
Akuma Kira made a 3D model for Spooky and it looks amazing. We integrated it using the same over-engineered audio code to make her mouth open and close based on how she’s talking. It’s also got a really cool “ghost world” visual effect that goes along with it and we like it a lot. You may have seen a preview of it if you pay attention to us on twitter. Unfortunately we don’t have a model yet for her halloween costume or nurse’s costume but those are coming, and using style swap you can still see them on the old Spooky (which also has mouth movement for talking too).
In the process of trying to make the Minigame Room load faster, we ended up completely rewriting it. Also, we got some renovated models and textures for the cabinets themselves. The result is super neat and we were glad to finally be able to give that room some love (after CAT-DOS got a bunch of attention last update). All the physical controls on the new minigame cabinets respond appropriately, there’s a new minor easter egg in Mall of the Spook, Ms Spook has an intro sequence, and Spooky Kart has a lot more cars to run over as a result of performance increases. Also all the cabinets had their audio rebalanced/adjusted plus had their music tracks broken up in to looping segments to create a more arcadey experience (overengineering audio is a running theme of this update).
Something we’ve seen be confusing for people is where their Endless Mode scores end up, since Steam kind of hides that information. In order to address that we decided to add a button to the main menu to display some leaderboard highlights. This new “Endless Scores” displays three views on the current Endless leaderboard: Top 20, My Score, and Friends. The Top 20 displays the 20 highest scores on the current leaderboard (as you might expect), My Score displays 20 scores around you (including your score), and Friends shows the scores of all your Steam friends (including you) so you can see how you stack up! Also as a part of this we updated the Endless game over to include a final “Endless Report” screen that tells you your new highest score and rank if you beat your old score, or tells you that previously you did better. Hopefully this makes the leaderboards aspect of Endless less confusing and makes people more inclined to participate.
These updates are small and don’t have big explanations behind them.
Updated TextMeshPro version and replaced a lot of legacy UI Text components with TextMeshPro ones.
New 3D models
Clay Man minion in the Boss Fight
Keys in Specimen 6’s area
The candle (now with a flame sometimes!)
Elevator polish pass to make the motion correspond more accurately to the audio
Good ending polish pass & minor updates so you can float around
- Ambient noises don’t continue playing between rooms
- Unknown Spec 5’s room no longer freezes the game if encountered w/ specimen off
- Neutral ending text stays on the screen long enough to read
- Boss Fight’s hand attack is now actually threatening (previously if you did not move, it would not damage you)
- A ton of small material cleanups for crispy pixel edges
- Some KH performance improvements
- A bunch of material fixes in Specimen 11s area. The flat top grill once again displays its front as it is supposed to
If you have “UI Cancel” and “Menu” bound to the same button (Default Esc on keyboard) and you use that button to close the pause menu, it will immediately re-open.
We’ve been working on the updates above and the PlayStation port at full steam since the last update in the summer. We know you’re all curious as to what’s next with regards to what we’ve laid out before. All of this is in theory and life keeps throwing us curve balls so this is what we’re hoping our plan is.
The next big update will be Spooky’s Dollhouse, this has been in progress for a while now. We’re working closely with Akuma Kira (who made the original Spooky’s with Sheena) on it, but he is also working on Lost in Vivo (which you should play) so work has been slow on it. Hopefully it will be done by Christmas but, again, no promises.
Additionally in that update we’d like to renovate Specimen 13’s area and chase. She’s still one of the few that hasn’t been updated or tweaked, and frankly her chase is kind of boring and anticlimactic after everything else in the mansion.
The Dollhouse update will come with a new Endless leaderboard and new specimen in Endless Mode. We are going to continue tweaking and refining mechanics. Currently Endless is in a pretty good spot in terms of removing unfair or overly random mechanics, but it might be a bit too easy in the long run/too easy to keep going infinitely.
BYOM work will officially start after dollhouse has been released.
If you encounter any bugs or issues, please report them in this post in the steam forums.
Play Lost in Vivo, made by Akuma Kira! It's scary.
And you can join our studio discord to hang out with us and other fans!