*️⃣ Phantasmagoria: Nightmare's End (WIP)- First 4 chapters released ~99k words so far

Phantasmagoria: Nightmare’s End

“In the midst an elm shadowy and vast, spreads her boughs and aged arms. It is here which men say the Oneiroi hold, clinging under every leaf.”

~Virgil

nighttree

When you sleep, you leave the realm of the wakefulness into a place where your greatest dreams and worst fears are all possible. You are at their mercy, as events twist and move about, neither solid nor necessarily true. The Elm of dreams is a dangerous place to rest, for in the branches above roost the Oneiroi. They are the children of Goddess Nyx who rules the night. Through the darkness these spirits fly on wings as dark as midnight, seeking the helpless minds of those who sleep. They are the daemons of dreams.

What becomes of those who sleep beneath those boughs? You’re about to find out.

  • Travel though the a land of myths and nightmares with your ever present captor, one of the Oneiroi who has taken an unfortunate interest in your soul.
  • Beginning with only a candle and your wits, navigate the maze successfully and meet the challenges without faltering.
  • You will be watched. None may cheat their way to victory in the Oneiroi’s games.
  • Meet the denizens who reside in the twilight realms. Some may be helpful, many are indifferent. Most will be more than happy to seek your demise.
  • Choose your difficulty level. Did you wander into the realms by accident, did you deliberately seek to destroy the evil that haunts these lands?
  • Revisit the harpie’s roost for in an included mini-game.
  • Battle monsters, find valuable items, answer riddles, navigate mazes. Fight, talk, evade, run away if you must!
  • Try to keep your sanity and find a way out before your light fails and darkness falls forever.
  • Wake and return to the world of the living… If you can.

Black background recommended for extra atmosphere :slight_smile:

Hi everyone. This is a random hobby project I’ve been chipping away at on and off since about 2020. I was debating when to release any of it out into the wild as I’m also getting another game ready for submission, and a previously published game edit finished up at the moment, but given I’ve been sitting on Phantasmagoria for a while and it is close to being finished (barring it needing any major edits or scenes added) so I figured I’d upload the first three chapters if anyone would like to take a look at it and let me know what you think. (Any constructive crit, spelling errors, missing things, bugs etc all very welcome! Please tell me what you think is wrong :sweat_smile: ) Might need a bit more to it, but also very interested to know if the stat balance is ok or if it seems too hard or easy. More will be posted as I can get around to sorting out the remaining chapters so they’re complete and working.

Other stuff:
In the final game, the candle bars will be yellow to indicate the flame like below. I just can’t do that while it’s hosted on dashingdons for testing/updating easily.

Currently the first three chapters are available to play (approx 72k words)

Anyways here the game link: Phantasmagoria Game Link

A few random notes on the game.

Are you only writing dark spookyish games now?
No, it’s just I’ve had a few games inspired by prior Ecotocomp entries. Raishall is an extension and edit of a 2019 game (this is in final beta on the forums, please consider testing if you like this game :slight_smile: ). This one has been adapted from the idea of my 2020 Ecotomp game. I do still write lighter stuff (check out Cage Break on my itch page for an example if interested) and the next game I plan to work on from here (Dragon Chronicles) is also much lighter in tone.

Can you die/be defeated by the Oneiroi/other enemies before the end?
Yes you can. You can change up the difficulty in the start menu by allowing you to get different amounts of extra health or light on demand if you need it. Bear in mind you need to invoke these boons before you hit zero if you’re going to use them. You can also alter a few other aspects of the game such as getting hints for some sections if you want them. (Options will be presented in game or in the stats menu. I recommend giving the how to play the game in the stats menu a quick read).

Alternatively there is a storyteller mode which should prevent you from dying from loss of health and light at least (please let me know if that plays up anywhere if you use it. Thanks!) although you can be defeated by failing other tasks even in this mode. Most places will allow a do-over if you meet and early end, and there are actual story scenes for certain areas that can only be found if you “fail” so don’t be afraid of trying different things.

Can you see the whole game in a single playthrough?
No. There different ways to approach some sections and some branching. I’ve tried to mark some of the more distinctive branch points with a note. Would be great to know if that’s helpful or annoying. I may put a toggle if it’s unwanted to turn it on/off or get rid of it entirely.

Is this mythology inspired?
To an extent. There are definitely some figures from mythology (mostly Greek) that make an appearance and calls into question just where it is your captor has brought you and how real any actions you take there remain. Not all creatures/locations can be found in mythology though. The Oneiroi has a fairly vivid imagination when creating challenges for its captives to overcome.

Will I have to answer riddles?
No, they are avoidable in most cases in the main game as there is more than one way to approach many of the obstacles, and the mini game is optional to play if you dislike guessing riddles. If you do want to play them, I’m putting in a range of options so you can choose the difficulty from hardest (free text entry) to a bit easier (button press options), have 3 different types of hint systems you can set to trigger if you want them, or just ask for the answer to be given. So no one should get stuck and not be able to complete the game because of them.

Will you include an option to romance the Oneiroi?
No sorry, I know it’s unpopular but just doesn’t work with the story premise. It’s never been at all human in nature and kind of more interested in tormenting the souls of its victims forever, rather than settling down with a mortal and caring overly much about their happiness.

Edit: I’m possibly working in a kinda RO options in the extra mini game included (more into to come) that will be playable after completing the main game, although given who and what they area, exactly how much is romance and how much is them playing it straight or tending towards some mind games is debatable and it’s up to you should you wish to go down that road.

The game name is too long.
Yeah I know. By one character. Still trying to decide what to do about that :sweat_smile:

Update list

22 Jan: Grammar and minor bug fixes.

8th Feb: Grammar and bug fixes. Added a small scene if choose to turn off the main path in Chapter 2. Cheat menu for anyone having trouble finding one of the two ways out in the forest if you get lost in there. Chapter 3 released.

63 Likes

Was this available on another site before? I seem to remember playing it awhile back.

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The game concept this is based on a short ectocomp entry so I’d say that’s why it’s feeling familiar :slight_smile:
The starting sequence with the elm to the river would still be recognisable from the original as I used some of the code and locations and expanded sections out where needed. It diverges into a completely new story after the river.

Edit: As an explanation, originally this was going to be a clean up and minor edit to add a scene that I didn’t have time to write due to the time limit in petite mort games ectocomp, but kind of enjoyed writing on it so much that instead of just doing the update, I kept going with more edits and more additions until when I checked in on it the other day seeing it was getting close to what I’d consider done that it’ll probably end up being my longest finished game to date. Surprise longer than expected games are always surprising. That’s what I get for fluffing around with it in bits and pieces as a hobby project for so long :sweat_smile:

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Damn a first release with 3 chapters? Interesting.

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Another great little time killer? I’m off to play. I can appreciate short stories with conclusions. Bring them on.

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Hey all, thanks for the likes and for those who expressed an interest :slight_smile: . I’ve been flat out for over a week with work so haven’t been able to get the next chapter sorted and up. I should be able to have it edited within the next few weeks (if I can stop adding extra scenes- but it really did need it to link two events. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Is anyone interested in a chapter by chapter update as I get them sorted? Alternative is to not update until the game is completely finished and just run a beta then for anyone wishing to test it. Kind of looking like it’s one that is going to create very little discussion while in progress.

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Ooh, I really love the feeling you’ve managed to create… I can’t really describe it, bit I like it. And also, it’s really intruging, I’m interested in this world you’ve made. Will replay it later :slight_smile:

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Thanks so much @AAChmielewski! So glad to hear someone likes this game, really appreciate your comment :smiling_face:

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Actually, I liked this one alot, more than Raishall. (Don’t hate me, please).

The combat system is accessible and well laid out, and the ability to collect and use items does add some degree of strategy and RPG mechanics to the game. The prose is evocative and the writing is good, and it is woven pretty well with the combat and exploration to create a sense of challenge and danger.

Some notes:

When fighting the cursed forest, after using an attack, I’m sent back to the previous menu where I have the choice to fight or flee. This means I have to click through two choices each time I perform one attack - maybe the option to flee can be put below the attack options on the same menu.

There are four instances of gosub lightbar without the * in phantasscene2.txt, right below *label tunnelcollapse (yep, I went through the code to hunt them down).

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Of course not :smile:

That’s a really good QOL point. I’ll move an option to flee into the fight menu once its started so you don’t have to go through two separate screens.

Whoops, I’ll get those changed soon.

Thanks so much @ChanceOfFire! Really appreciate the feedback and bug reports :slight_smile:

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Will the health bars be yellow too? I don’t think stat bars with different colors are a feature, or I would have already done so for my own project.

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I really enjoyed the demo, it’s excellent - Looking forward to more (and of course I’m developing a crush on my Oneiroi captor because I’m that kind of reader :flushed:)

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I see a fellow stockholm syndrom enjoyer. :wink:

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Yes I think I’ll see if I can make them all yellow. Hopefully that will be ok as I think it’ll really suit the game for atmosphere far better than red. I was thinking about asking CSG if I’d be allowed to even have two colours for the stats (candle and other- I think it could possibly work with few changes to the style file if I make sure the candle stat bar is always on top, but I’d need to check it and see what happens) but it might not be possible I think as I’m not sure they want a whole lot of HG authors to start playing about with their source code. I’d be lovely to have the candle yellow, and the other bars a different colour to separate them out, but that would involve adding a separate script (definitely not allowed) or making significant chances by adding to existing style file which I’m not sure would be approved to publish via HG. It is possible though if you wanted to use it in something like an IFComp game :slight_smile:

Thanks so much @azerty, glad you enjoyed the demo :smiling_face:

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Hi all, the next chapter’s writing has been finished being filled in for the missing writing gaps ( chapter 3 is about another 23k words, the whole game will be longer, I’m just fixing it chapter by chapter as I go :slight_smile: ), although it still needs bug squashing and a good edit. I may well put this chapter up as there’s been a little interest. An update should hopefully be pushed within the next week or so all being well. (I’ll update the thread when its done.)

I had what I hope will be a good way to finish off the game’s final chapter (something I was having a bit of trouble with bringing everything together and around full circle so it feels complete) but I think this will hopefully work ok. It involves some delayed stat effects though from decisions made though the game so when its out would love to hear if it works or if it needs better sign posting when it comes out. That’s for a later update though :sweat_smile:

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New update uploaded with Chapter 3. I think its debugged but if anyone runs into any issues please let me know. I’ve also fixed a few typos, bugs and choices/items not activating properly in the previous sections and there’s an extra mini scene between the intersection in the mountains and the well.

Current upload is about 99k now. (I did a quick count and was like so close to 100k but no cigar :sweat_smile:). The total project wordcount is sitting at roughly ~145k though and I still have to fill in some blanks and add the final chapter so will be longer than that.

And yes you can try to pat the hound if you really want to (and have the items required to get close enough) although I’m not going to be held responsible for the outcome :dog2:

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Don’t know if this is a typo, but the hound burned me, so I could hold you responsible… :thinking:

Other notes:

8set mind -5 in hound2b.txt, I guess this was a missed shift key.

There is one instance of gosub lightbar without the * in hound2b.txt, after *label fleefight.

About adding riddles to the next chapter (based on your post in the other topic), I’m not sure. I did have two optional riddle-based quests in my game, but I received absolutely no feedback at all regarding that. You could do it like the Dryad’s Riddle, where there is an option to simply cheat and get the answer if you’re stuck. Do you plan to make them multiple choice or open-ended?

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Thank you for those! Yes the 8 is a shift non-press and I’ll get the gosub fixed. (I did give due warning about the hound but yes that was a typo. In saying that since I wrote the thing I guess you really can blame me for it anyway :smile:)

Hmm, yeah about the riddles. I had some in my other game as well and got very little feedback I remember on those either so I’m not sure how they were received by most players. (Like, hate, indifferent.) I tried to have a hint and save point system there too so that no one got stuck on that chapter if the riddle was too difficult. Interesting you did not receive any particular thoughts on yours either.

I guess I’ve done a split path in the next chapter where you can choose to avoid them all together by electing to do a different task to get past (there’s 3 potential options depending on what items and your health is like when you arrive to successfully pass that section) so if anyone has a particular dislike of riddles it is avoidable in most cases.

I’ve also got a hint system in there (up to 3 extra hints), some extra settings in the stats menu (from being given letters to a cheat where it gives the answer straight out) and a safety net save point so it doesn’t send you back to the beginning if you answer incorrectly and instead gives the option to restart the chapter. So I’m hoping it wont be too frustrating rather than fun for anyone.

It’s open ended as I wasn’t sure that making them multiple choice wouldn’t make it too easy (or frustrating if I’ve really messed up on the riddle creation and it just doesn’t make sense to anyone because none of the answers look right. Although I guess that is something I could have a setting for in the stats menu to allow the option to have preset guesses rather than open) I guess I’ll just release the chapter when I’ve got it sorted out and see if anyone has any thoughts? It’s probably easier than a hypothetical where its hard to know what the system is and how playable it is without seeing it.

I thought it might be fun to have a little mini game challenge where you could answer the rest of the riddles available from the start menu once you’ve gone through the game once for anyone who particularly likes those sorts of games, but it doesn’t sound like many would be that interested in that option? Might need to wait after the next chapter releases. If there’s any interest, it probably wouldn’t be that difficult to code in a mini “quiz show” with some altered text, but if no one wants it then probably not worth the time to make it.

Thanks again for your thoughts on this!

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Arguably I’m the one you should blame, since patting the very good bo - er, I mean the hellhound - was my idea in the first place.

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Update is still a little way off, but by request I have added in some button choices to the riddles. Players have now got two different ways in which riddles can be answered if you decide to go down that particular path in the next chapter. Seems like some people love them, some hate them, most people just don’t want to end up stuck. How does this look?

Setting changes allow: Free entry and choice buttons.
There’s also an existing hint system that’s already there that for the free text entry can give you the number of letters or the first letter if you ask for it.
You can also get one hint per round from the Oneiroi. (It’s not the one asking the questions.)
If you get really, really stuck (or just hate riddles) you can also change the settings to just tell you what the correct answer is.
(Admittedly this makes the menu settings a little busy.)

Anyone want to answer the riddle by the way :upside_down_face:?

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