The developer commentary is a feature/game mode in Frictional Games's Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The game plays out as normal once developer commentary mode is activated, with the sole difference being that floating golden microphone-like entities within cogwheels can be found all around Brennenburg Castle. These can be activated by hitting the action button to play audio files consisting of commentary from the developers, talking about the development of the game, the story and level design, and what kind of feel they were aiming for with the area. The feature was announced during the game's development, on February 2010, as a feature that Frictional promised would be added to the game once it had reached 2 000 pre-orders.
The developer commentary mode can be activated by toggling the Commentary option that can be found in the games settings menu.
By February of 2010, seven months before the games' release, Frictional Games was running low on funds for Amnesia: The Dark Descent. After tossing ideas around, Frictional decided to do a discounted pre-order of the game, and promised that they would add the developer commentary if they reached 2 000 pre-orders. At first, pre-orders were slow, but the amount of orders increased after Frictional joined the Humble Indie Bundle and offered pre-orders at half the price. On 11 May 2010, after the bundle offer had ended, Frictional announced that their target of 2 000 pre-orders had been reached, and that they developer commentary would therefore be added to the game.
The implementation of the commentary was inspired by games such as Half-Life 2 and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Recording was rendered difficult because of the the lack of a centralised location to record at, which meant that everyone had to make do with their own recording equipment. This resulted in a noticable difference in recording quality from commentary node to commentary node. The total recording time for the commentary was approximately 17 hours.
The developer commentary nodes appear as yellowish-golden microphone encompassed in a yellow cogwheel that rotate counterclockwise when touched. When activated, they play an audio file, and radiate "waves". While the audio file is playing, the volume of all other audio is decreased significantly to make the commentary easier to hear. The icons were created by Marc Nicander, after Thomas Grip had suggested a more simple model of a clickable billboard.
Thomas Grip – Introduction
Can be found in the room Daniel wakes up in.
Hi. My name is Thomas Grip, and I am one of the co-founders of Frictional Games. I work with engine code, game play code, design, and many other things for Amnesia. In my commentaries, I will mainly focus on the design behind the different parts of the game. I hope you'll enjoy them.
Thomas Grip – Rainy Hall
Can be found in the hallway with the large door.
The name of this level is Rainy Hall, and it's supposed to be a combination of atmosphere setter and tutorial for the player. We wanted the player to start the game in a slow way, so they could settle in, and get used to how the game works. Amnesia is not a game with constant action happening all the time, and we wanted it to have a constrained map where the player gets used to this. The only thing you need to do is to follow the track and get to the end of the level. Also, following tracks is something that becomes very useful in later levels, so we try to teach players this from the start.
Thomas Grip – Dismembered Archives
Can be found immediately in front of the door leading to the Old Archives.
This is one of the first levels that we created for the game, and it was initially part of the Archives level, which we will reach in a bit.
Amnesia started out with a pretty different design, and when we redesigned it, the maps did not fit. This caused us to split them up and scatter them out. So in the first design, after this corridor, the Archives level [was] supposed to follow and the room lying there now was built much later. In fact, the first designs did not have Daniel waking up with amnesia at all! Luis actually added it later on. In the first story draft, Daniel still had hidden memories, but he was still unaware of this at the start of the story. However, as we redesigned things, we found the 'waking-up-with-amnesia' thingy – although a bit cliché – much more fitting.
Luis Rodero – Introduction
Can be found in the room with the lantern.
Hi there! My name is Luis Rodero. I am mostly the tools programmer, level scripter at times, and perhaps the main reason why the rest of the core team of Frictional Games is pretty much forced to speak English at our internal meetings, as I am the only non-Swede here. Now, what a Spaniard is doing with a bunch of Swedish guys, is a whole different story we wont be discussing today.
By the way, I will be talking mostly about tools and scripting. I hope [you'll] like [it].
Luis Rodero – Almost as Planned
Can be found in the room with the lantern.
The editors themselves went through a lot of design changes during the development. Not that many in visual appeal as in internal stuff, like data structures and handling. This happened mostly because, at the beginning, we only knew the basic stuff that needed to be in them, and as they grew in features and functionality, they started to kind of fall apart – mostly due to my big lack of previous experience in projects like this.
Right now a loud 'what the hell' still sounds in my head when I look at some parts of the code, but I am still proud of them. They can also get a bit buggy at times, but hopefully this won't happen again in the future – and I've already got some nice ideas for the next iteration of the tools!
Mikael Hedberg – Introduction
Can be found in the room with Daniel's Note to Self.
Hello everyone. My name is Mikael, and I am the writer for Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Mikael Hedberg – Getting the Story Going
Can be found in the room with Daniel's Note to Self.
I think we can all feel the story kickstarting as we finish the letter from Daniel. The game itself is just filled with confusion, and I think we are really doing the player a service keeping it simple in the beginning. Basically, 'Try to take your revenge on Alexander' – that is the premise of the game. You don't really need to dive any deeper than that, but hoping that the player will care about the story, they have the entire game in front of them to decide if they think killing Alexander is justified or not.
Marc Nicander – Introduction
Can be found in next to a broken pillar right at the start of the area.
Hello. My name is Marc Nicander, I'm a 3D artist and level creator at Frictional Games. I started out as a helper, during Penumbra: Overture, and was finally hired as a full-time artist in a later part of Penumbra: Black Plague.
Marc Nicander – Entrance Hall
Can be found next to the previous commentary node.
The Entrance Hall was first shown in our first gameplay trailer. While the layout hasn't changed much, the details certainly have. We build our levels from sets of pieces. In this case, they're the castlebase set. While carefully planned, set bases made the level building very easy. The levels became very similar, and we had to make special pieces to the levels. Now, one and a half years later, the special pieces make up but half the pieces in the castlebase set.
We made changes to incorporate these objects into the earlier levels. An example of this can be seen if you compare the hole in the roof now with the one from first trailer. The new roof was made in the middle of the project, when we built level 9, Back Hall. A special version was made to give the roof hole in the Entrance Hall more depth and detail.
Luis Rodero – Know Your Latin
Scattered throughout the game, you can see some signs written in Latin. The reason for using it, is that it was considered the language of culture and science; as most scientific and philosophy authors wrote their works and treatises in it.
As we are dealing with a castle dwelled by a pretty smart guy that has been around since the renaissance period, Latin all around the place was something we should expect. Being the only guy in the team that had a direct contact with Latin – in high school to be more precise – well, it was kind of logical that any translation to be done [would] have my name on it.
Translating stuff into Latin was a kind of strange and fun task to do. At first, I had a classic Latin dictionary, so if I had to translate any modern term I [would] have to track its etymology down to the Latin equivalent or look for a synonym or similar expression that had a direct translation. Then I had the luck to come across some dictionary for modern stuff online that addressed most of this stuff for a huge lot of terms; so it couldn't have come at a better time. Some days, I would have Sebastian dropping a list of nine or so entries to be translated, and before finding this dictionary, it was quite a lot of work. On a side note, we even had a 'choose your Latin' poll on a couple entries, just to pick the one that sounded better for everyone. Results were pretty unanimous by the way.
For some final words on this, I must confess that, while I was pretty good at this in high school, that was like fifteen years ago. So right now, I am not one hundred percent sure translations are correct at all, but I took the time to make them at least plausible. My apologies go in advance to any Latin guru up there playing the game, as I myself get on the verge of losing my temper when I see stuff like this [that is] obviously made up.
Luis Rodero – A Whole New Toolset
Can be found on the second floor of the Entrance Hall.
If you [didn't follow] our development blog back when we started, you might have missed one of the biggest changes in our production pipeline – two years back, we started a toolset side project to ease and speed up the creation of content for the game.
I'd say the Level Editor, which is what we – or more specifically Jens, Marc and Marcus – have used to build all the halls and corridors you are walking through right now, is the big star of the pack. Its workings in a nutshell, [is that] – while all the models and assets are actually made in software like Maya or Blender – everything geometry-wise in the levels is put together in it. Then lighting and sweet details, like decals and fog, are added in. While this approach might sound simple, really nice stuff can come out from it, as you can see in the game.
Thomas Grip – Hubs
Can be found near the entrance to the Refinery.
This is one of the many hub levels in the game, and this is the design concept that we started out with in Penumbra.
The idea is to give the player some freedom where to go, but at the same time give a clear objective. In this level, the slime obstacle is the thing that the player needs to get past, and all other levels then have [the] things needed to do so. The slime itself is one of the few puzzles left from the initial designs, and the one I'm probably the least proud of. Now that slime appears all around, it feels a bit forced that you need to have a potion on the slime.
Many testers also complained that they wanted other options [for] getting rid of the slime, like burning it. However, creating a potion is the central theme for this hub so we had to let it be. I don't think it's that bad, but we probably could have redesigned it if we had time.
Luis Rodero – It's a Material World
Can be found in the Catalogues room, where Wilhelm's contract can be found.
To finish this little overview of our tools, I must mention the material editor; available both as a standalone, and built into the other editors.
The program itself is very simple to use – you have some material types, defined by the engine, and you can throw in textures to reuse for diffuse, normal maps, height maps, as well as some variables to control specific parameters for a material type.
When I was writing it, I could just stare while the preview model rotated around itself and the parallax mapping effect was on, when testing. Just for fun.
Luis Rodero – Fun With Furniture
Can be found in the same room as the previous node.
Another piece of the tool set is the model editor, used to create the entities you are interacting with while playing. Basically, we take a model and set up some parameters, like physical bodies, joints, and user defined variables. We can also attach some entities to them – like lights, particle systems...
When an entity is finally set up, it is ready to be placed in a level using the level editor. Examples of entities here are doors, lamps, most furniture, critters.
Thomas Grip – Problems With Not Being Fun
Can be found in the Study room.
This level was changed a lot, and I think it's one of the most tweaked levels that we've got. Not only was it part of the big Archives level that we had to split up, but it was also hard to get it engaging enough.
The problem here is that we don't have any sort of fun mechanic [to] rely on to make the game engaging. Instead we rely on story, atmosphere and environment. This is true for many of the levels, and the game as a whole; but this was kind of one of the larger levels that we made, and also one that didn't have [many] puzzles and such. So, when testing it, we quickly [got] bored with it and wanted to add more spooky events to spice it up. But then, later on, testing proved that these events weren't that necessary. And we also felt that they were a bit lame and not fitting, so we decided to remove them.
Then, at the back part of the level, we wanted to make a more linear experience with the current player getting trapped and all, forcing the player to solve the 'destroy wall' and 'find secret door' puzzles. Previously testers often missed that they can solve these problems.
The level is now very different from the earlier designs.
Mikael Hedberg – Writing From the Beginning
Can be found near the piano in the far room in the Archives.
When I started writing, I [only had] the outline and the framework for the story, and the first few levels in the game design document – so I ended up finalizing a lot of material for the first levels, and then when those were done, we planned out the last two-thirds or so. This had a funny effect, since I had to not only cater to the story, but to stay true to the stuff I'd written for the first levels.
Usually you can go back and forth while writing and change things, but if you've already recorded voices, you really shouldn't because of the costs. So the first text really shaped the rest of the material in an interesting way and made them matter in a way I hadn't thought about.
I really like how this thickens the story elements, as I am able to jump back into the material and keep using and reinforcing certain concepts. Agrippa is, of course, the most extreme effect of this method, which grew from a small reference to becoming one of the most important characters in the game.
Thomas Grip – Themes and Creatures
Located at the start of the level.
A major design guideline for us was to give each level a unique theme – something that all puzzles, events, and the general atmosphere, was built upon. This makes each level a little piece of the story and theme at large, and also gives them focus, so the player is not distracted with too much information.
The theme in this level is the strange creatures that lurk in the castle. The player first spots them momentarily in the Archives, so here is the perfect place the build some fear.
There is never any real threat in this level, but it's much darker than any before, and there's a constant pressure with boards creaking and the like. The flashbacks also give hints of where the strange creatures come from, making all events focus on the level's central theme.
Jens Nilsson – Introduction
Can be found at the bottom of the stairs.
Hello! I'm Jens Nilsson, co-founder of Frictional Games. I work mainly with the sound, gameplay and event scripting in Amnesia: The Dark Descent. For my commentary in this game, I'll jump back and forth between the topics of sound, puzzle creation, and even talk about making this commentary.
Jens Nilsson – My Past, a Level Crafter
Can be found next to the previous commentary node.
The basic structure of the earlier levels in the game has been built by me. I have not created models or anything like that, but I have built the levels with the graphics from the artists using our level editor. This was the very reason for us to create the level editor, as it would allow for the whole team to work on levels, building them from scratch if so needed. For our previous Penumbra games you could perhaps tweak a level a little bit, but making a whole level was the job for an artist and no one else.
In the early days of the Amnesia project, the artists had their hands full with making graphics. And so, I was the one building the levels. Looking at the levels now, a lot of things have changed and improved, but the base is still there, showing that the idea to create the level editor was a sound one – one of the few things in fact with the Amnesia project that has not been scrapped, reworked, or modified heavily.
Luis Rodero – (Almost) Everything is Particles
Can be found in a corner near the stairs.
The particle editor is also a fine part of the tool bundle, and it is what we use to create particle effects for maps and events. We use particles to do nice effects, like the flames in torches and the smoke that comes out from them. All we have to do is add one or more particle emitters, set up some parameters like starting position and speed, and all sorts of fadings in size, color or speed.
It's funny how you can simulate all kinds of effects with such simple elements. I very much recommend you try it yourself.
Thomas Grip – From Wine to Acid
Located above the well in the center of the laboratory.
In early concepts, this was meant to be a sort of wine testing room, and directly connected to the Wine Cellar. The reason for the whole 'wine testing'-thingy was that we planned on having more laboratories in the later levels, so a lab here as well felt kind of strange. Then things changed, and only one lab was left and designed, so we changed the name to 'Laboratory' instead.
The whole 'wine-testing-facility-that-could-make-dangerous-acid' felt kind of strange anyways.
Thomas Grip – How Names Come About
Located at the very start of the level.
This level was first called 'Distillery', and if you check the data file, it is still named as such.
Now for some reason I told Mikael, a writer, that it was called Refinery, and the voice-over was recorded with the wrong name. Since it's easier to change a name than a piece of voice data, we had to rename it.
I am glad that it was Refinery though, and not King's Hall or Grandma's Vegetable Patch – That would not have been as fitting!
Jens Nilsson – Piece of Wood
Can be found in the area with the pulley contraption.
The end puzzle with the crank and pulley contraption was a tricky puzzle. Not to create or on a technical level, but purely on a noticeable level.
We added stuff to the puzzle perhaps four or five times, because after each test session we kept having testers that did not see the piece of wood that you [need] to break to complete the puzzle. Originally, you could only break it, so we added the option to pull it out as well. Then we added a faint light to draw attention to it, and also tweaked the description of the crank. After that, we added so that when you pull the crank, there is a bit of dust falling from the piece of wood; and we also did a slight change in the angle of the piece of wood and changed the color and the texture – all to make it as noticable as possible.
So, the question is, did you notice the piece of wood?
Mikko Tarmia – Introduction
Can be found on top of some crates at the very start of the level, after the area has been flooded.
Hello. I am Mikko Tarmia, the composer for Amnesia: The Dark Descent. You may have heard my music before if you have played the Penumbra game series, and I did a couple of tracks for the Penumbra tech demo too.
So this is my fifth project with Frictional Games, and I am happy to be a part of the team.
Mikko Tarmia – Guardian Theme
Can be found on top of some crates at the very start of the level.
The guardian monster has its own musical theme, which you can hear in many situations in the game, even if the guardian is not physically present.
Actually, it's more like a noise-sound than a certain melody, and I've played it with my bassoon. The theme has many forms, and this one is almost the direct sound coming from the instrument: [Audio]
And this noise, which sounds like screaming, is a highly modified version of it: [Audio]
Thomas Grip – The Lurker Hears!
Can be found near the gate leading to the second large room.
At first the creature in the water, affectionately called Lurky here at Frictional Games, did not have a sense of sound (hearing). Later on we wanted to add it, though, so the player could lure it away by throwing stuff in the water.
When I added this, something unexpected happened: Lurky started following me! When you jump on a crate, it hears the sound you make when you land, and it goes to it to investigate. This was a very fun emergent behavior, and I think it made him even more menacing.
I also wanna add that Lurky was kind of inspired by my favorite movie as a child, Tremors. I guess this early obsession might also explain some creatures in our older games.
Thomas Grip – Playing With the Player
Located at the very start of the level.
This level is the high point of the Lurker buildup, which sort of started at the entrance level with the slime appearing. It's supposed to be a sort of roller-coaster ride, and is designed to be easy enough to be completed on the first try – yet it should also be stressful.
Many of the things in a level that seems like you barely make it are just scripted to [seem] that way. But it's nothing you notice, because they're blended in with the truly deadly stuff.
Tapio Liukkonen – Sound Creation of the Waterlurker
Located at the very start of the level.
Hi! I am Tapio, and I made monster sounds and vision sounds for this game.
Yeah I just love this monster; and I think it was pretty fun to make, because there were underwater sounds as well as sounds from above. I think I wanted it to sound like a very big monster, but still very fast, and I thought that the voice itself needed to be high-pitched screaming, because water is splashing around and messing [with] other sounds.
Actually, a great example is the attack sound – there is a big water splash as it stands in the water. At the same time, you can hear a short scream sound, which is made from cat sounds, and I think it works great.
I think other great sounds is when it is eating in the level. You can hear it eating meat, and hear the bones crushing under the water. I made the eating sounds by walking in water and breaking dry wood and sticks. The sound itself didn't need much processing or editing, because it sounded almost like you hear now.
Well, this is the water monster, so I recorded lots of water sounds. For example, bubble sounds are made with a watering can which is sunk in the water; and when it's chasing the player, its movement is made by a big rock, which I just dropped in a lake. It feels like it is running after you, or hitting its big hands underwater. I think there's lots of power in this monster.
Thomas Grip – Contrasts
Located in front of the fountain.
This is the second hub level of the game, and it's supposed to give some contrast to the stressful lurker encounter. We think building up contrast like this is extremely important for the horror mood. Only by seeing a bright level can you appreciate the dark one, and so on. If you do not do this the player will get used to the stuff, and the effect will lessen greatly.
Mikael Hedberg – Writing Herbert
In the original pitch, Herbert was a fairly important character, but it didn't really reflect in the game, so we tried a few different things to incorporate him but it never really made any sense.
Herbert was important to Daniel's background, but in the end, he didn't have any impact on the story happening right now – that is, the conflict between Daniel and Alexander – so most of his things were cut during the last stage of production.
Marc Nicander – Building the Elevator
Can be found in the large hall with the elevator.
When I first started working on the elevator, I had detailed concept art as the base of my work. This is both a blessing and a curse. Concept art saves a lot of time for us artists, as we just have to copy what we've seen in the picture – but it also takes away some fun parts of our work, as we don't have to design anything ourselves.
In this case, the concept art was very detailed and there wasn't much to change. However, I noticed that the roof part in the concept was dark and dull, so that's where I could add details of my own. I added patterns to fill out the empty space. I wanted them to fit with the eastern feel of the elevator and took inspiration from Arabic windows.
In the end, it isn't a very big addition, but it adds to the overall impression of the elevator as something exotic. It doesn't really fit in with the blue-grey stones of Brennenburg.
Thomas Grip – Connections
Located at the very start of the level.
In this room, everything is connected to destruction and home. This was Daniel's home as Alexander's guest, and the diary entries are about Daniel being home in London and things falling apart. These sort of connections are not something that we wanted the player to get. Part of it should end up in the subconscious, and work towards building the mood.
Also worth noting is this focus, as explained in the commentary of the Wine Cellar, where we want the player's attention on a certain aspect. We hope this makes the story clearer – the idea is to slowly build it up one part at a time, giving the player time to digest and think about it.
Mikael Hedberg – Writing Daniel
Can be found right next to the previous commentary node.
Daniel is a pretty complicated character to write for, as we didn't want the player to feel that they were losing control by having feelings imposed on them. After the amnesia kicks in, everything which is Daniel is essentially gone. The player is the new Daniel, and he should be able to act the way he pleases, and even reject his own background as he discovers it.
That is why everything concerning Daniel is flashbacks. Even the diary entries are read as what is being told is happening right now, that is, it is the old Daniel telling the story, and not the player reading it.
Mikko Tarmia – Character Themes
Can be found in the room with the bed.
If you listen to the music tracks more carefully, you may find that characters have their own musical themes, which can usually be heard when you read papers during the game. These themes appear in many variations, so it's not always so easy to recognize them immediately. And at the end of the game, some of these themes will go quite insane.
Oh, and that's Daniel's theme which you can hear in the game's menu screen. Let me play it to you with piano: [Audio]
Marcus Johansson – About Creating Props
Can be found in the room with the bed.
When we create props, we usually have concept pictures, or reference images, to look at while modeling the object; just to make sure it stays within the art style that we are going for. When creating a chair, a table, or a bookcase – just to name a few – we usually have to plan the measurements before we get them into the game, because having something in the game that isn't the right size can break the immersion. Sometimes we have to cheat that and test it out because the camera perspective can really trick you.
I have the perfect example of the camera tricking you sometimes. Take out the lantern in-game and look at the wall, or an object in the same height as the lantern, and try guessing how big the lantern would be next to that object – and then walk up as close as you can to that object and compare. To get a good example out of this, you'll see that the handle of the lantern is in fact very small, but it fits right when it's close to the camera. But we don't want to go on a gut feeling of the measurements of every object as that could really get out of hand quickly, and a lot of things could feel out of place. So it's basically a matter of changing the scale if it feels weird.
When modeling the prop, we would try to make it as close as the reference images as we can, or, if we've got a sketch, that is. It's often a quite simple process that usually doesn't take that much time, but it completely depends on what it is and if the sketch we have is detailed.
Before giving the model a texture, or working on that, we need to create a UV map for it. A UV map can best be described as an image with painted and edited details to it, that is wrapped around the object. So the texture for a cardboard box, for example, will look like a box that you have unfolded onto the ground.
After the UV map is created, we start to work on the texture. And here, we usually start with adding untouched materials – like wood or metal. These are from free photos found on the internet. We also paint in dirt in corners, highlights on the edges, then add them.
You can also make and add an ambient occlusion map to the texture; which is basically a process where the computer calculates where the texture should be dark, and where it should be light.
We often generate a normal map based on certain details in the texture. Normal maps use light to add bumps or dents, without using more polygons on an object.
For specular maps, we use the red channel for the intensity level of the map, and the green channel to determine the power of it.
After all the textures are done, we export them to COLLADA format and import them to our editors. There, we set material values, create bodies for collision, and stuff like that.
Marcus Johansson – Filling Out and Making Breakable Objects
Can be found near the breakable window.
This map was one of the most fun to make because of the rooms, and [that it contains] more objects than we usually add in a level. I think the first two rooms were pretty good just because of this. But we can't add these many objects in every room of the game, because that would, first of all, be very demanding on your PC's performance, and a lot of our players don't have gaming rigs. Secondly, it wouldn't make sense if every room or corridor was a storage. We also tried very hard to vary the levels and rooms as much as we can do.
This level, was also the first time in the game the player had any contact with the outside, so for this part I had to make a couple of wall pieces: a pine tree, and a breakable version of the window; and I can talk a little bit more about the breakable window here:
When creating breakable objects like this, we have to, first of all, break the model by splitting parts up, and creating pieces. Like on this window, it has a lot of wood parts that are loose after it breaks. Those parts are remodeled into broken versions, and in the broken version of the window, they're actually hanging in the air at the same place they where when the window was whole.
After modeling those, and exporting the model into COLLADA format, which our engine handles, I use our in-house Model Editor, set each wood part up with a body for collision, and I also add weight for it to behave realistically. I also add a material type– in this case, wood. And that is so that a sound is played when a piece hits something.
You can also set up more advanced stuff; like how it will behave in water, how fast it can travel, and how fast the speed will decay, but also a lot of other settings as well. But when that broken version is done, I also set up a special entity of the original window, where I set it to break at a certain force. And when that happens another entity will load, and this one will disappear. In this case we load the broken version of the window.
We also set it up so our particle system with glass shards is going to be played as well as the break sound. And as soon as you break that window, all of that is happening. And since you probably threw something at the window, the force of that object would make the wood pieces fly, not fall straight to the ground as they would otherwise.
That is pretty much how we do it with most breakable entities. But of course creating a particle system and sounds for it is needed too. And in this level, you can also see a lot of props that I made earlier before we started making maps. And these are objects like shelves, tables, chairs, paintings, etc. But of course, I didn't make ALL the objects in this level.
Thomas Grip – The Joy of Travel
Can be found in the room you enter through the window.
The decision to have the player go outside on this map started out as a quick and dirty idea for some sort of puzzle. However, it turned out very nicely, and to see the trees really gives a feeling of being in a castle, not just on some set.
The first idea was not even to have the player break the window, but to just have it opened directly instead. But when we added it, we felt it gave a really nice 'feel' and reward for finishing the puzzle.
In retrospect, we should have had more moments where the player ventures outside as it gives this feel of being a part of a larger world.
Thomas Grip – Darkness
Located at the very start of the level.
Again, there are a lot of elements here working together. Not only does the player enter the darkest level yet, they'll also come up against a dark part of Daniel's memories.
We've tried to have all aspects of the level work towards this goal. Hopefully, it creates an oppressive and disturbing feel to it.
Mikael Hedberg – From Scare to Plot-Point
Can be found in the area directly behind the caved-in corridor which has to be cleared with explosives.
At first, the hunted girl sequence was just another scare; but as the story took shape it just became a great plot point– which was, 'this is when Daniel snapped'. He does all these weird and evil things, but he tells himself, 'the ends justify the means'; but when he finally kills the girl he just can't make up excuses anymore, so he goes mad and as a final attempt of saving himself, he drinks the amnesia potion.
Of course, the player wouldn't realize this as he encounters this first sequence, but it becomes clear when he finds the last diary pages explaining the situation, making it all come full circle.
Thomas Grip – More on Contrast
Located at the very start of the level.
This is another one of those contrast levels. This time calming the player down for what will happen once the elevator is finally running. The map is still dark though, giving a bit of foreboding for what is about to happen.
Marcus Johansson – Becoming the Plumber
Can be found just outside of the room where the rods are inserted.
When I first started concept art for this level, I was pretty happy because I think it looked very interesting, with all the pipes coming from random places and going throughout the level. But I was also a little bit worried, because it looked so time consuming to create all the pieces and placing them in the level. In the end, I was right about that, because it did take a lot of time to make everything fit together. But I also think it was worth it, because it's a very interesting looking level, and we also used the same pipe system for other levels.
As for all the pipes in this level, I modeled and textured them in Maya. I think there are twenty-six different pieces of pipes that I made. I had to import the wall pieces used in this level into Maya as well and make a temporary little map, to check if the pipes were the correct length and all. I also had to make sure all the pipes snap and align well at 0.25 meters in every axis– otherwise, placing all the pipes in the level would be nearly impossible.
As for creating the texture for the pipes, it was pretty easy because I went with a simple kind of rusty metal look. And when that was done, I started with the pipework in the level. As you can see, there are a lot of pipes in this level.
After this map was done, you can say I pretty much become the plumber of the team, and for some reason I got most of the pipe-related levels scheduled to me. Hm.
Thomas Grip – Like at a Theme Park
Located in the middle of the elevator.
This elevator ride is actually constructed like one at a Swedish theme park. It's not the elevator that moves, but the wall. I assume movies use this same trick a lot.
Prison – Southern Block
Marc Nicander – The Dungeonbase Set
Located at the very start of the level.
The second chapter introduces the dungeonbase set. It was designed to look older and more worn than the castlebase set. It's supposed to show the original pieces of the castle that haven't been rebuilt over time, like the newer areas. Original pieces for the set were a bit blocky due to the tiling, but as special pieces were added you could start to build more varied levels.
In the final game, we're using the dungeonbase set for prisons, shrines, and sewers.
Thomas Grip – The Danger is Real
Can be found at the end of a corridor.
Previously in the game it has been all about events in the past, but with these prison levels we wanted to bring it to the present, and many events experienced are happening here and now. An example of this is a prisoner being dragged off at the start of the level.
Here also starts the most encounter-intense part of the game, and we were a bit unsure on how [many] enemies we could add. We added what we thought was enough, but after some testing and feedback, we decided to add even more.
The amount of encounters experienced depends a bit on how you play a level, but hopefully you should feel constantly oppressed. Since this was the last level that this enemy has a greater part in, we're not fearing in overusing it either, so I think the amount of enemies here is pretty nice.
Prison – Northern Block
Thomas Grip – Claustrophobia
Located at the beginning of the level, after exiting the narrow tunnels.
A goal with this level is trying to get the player to feel a bit claustrophobic. First off, we start the level in a tight space, letting the feeling hit you directly. Then the idea was to actually decrease the horizontal view, squeezing the view together. But it became a bit problematic, and we felt that the design of the level was enough.
It is very dark, and can be hard to find your way– which is actually kind of surprising since the level has a really simple design; but because of some dead-ends and similar-looking locations it can be quite hard to navigate. In the end, we also put up some signs to help the player along and get the right balance between annoyance and disorientation.
It's quite hard when you want to expose the player to negative feelings, [because] we might make them quit the game. It's a fine line to thread, and I'm sure not everybody will get the right experience. But I guess, that's just one of those risks that you will have to take in interactive media.
Marcus Johansson – Creating the Pig Corpse With Ragdoll
Located next to the acid barrel in the kitchen.
This pig was the first object that I ever tried to rig as a ragdoll, and I'm pretty satisfied with the end result.
I'm a little rusty when it comes to making organic creatures like this, so this was basically the only model that I had as a little ongoing project that I could get back to work on when I had some time off from other work. All other models are pretty much on a tight deadline, so it was nice to have this model that I could get back to work on from time to time, almost as practice.
When I started to model the pig corpse, I thought right away that I needed to do it right from the beginning, so I googled a lot of pig pictures. Since we wanted a rotten look to it, you can imagine I found a lot of weird pictures.
Other than the look of the model, the only difference from creating a prop, is the fact that you have to plan the mesh so it's nice for animations as well as good for importing to a sculpting program, like Mudbox or ZBrush. In those applications, you add details to the model – pretty much like a clay sculptor – and then you transfer those changes to the normal map that you use for the in-game model. I used ZBrush in this case, and I was happy to use it because my skills in that application had started to fade away.
Creating the texture for the pig wasn't the easiest thing to do, because it isn't easy to find good reference pictures of rotten pigs with moisty skin. The biggest issue was, in fact, getting the skin to look unhealthy, but I think it turned out pretty nice, even though it could need a little more work. But to be able to put in more work, we need to have more time and resources, and as a small indie company that isn't something we have.
For the ragdoll, I had to first set it up with a 3D-program I use called Maya. I created a skeleton for the pig and skinned it so that each part of the pig model moves with the correct bone. After that, I used our in-house model editor to set it up with bodies, with weights for each individual part; like legs, head, and body. Then, I connected it all together using joints. When done right, with the correct weights for each body part, it looks and works quite nicely.
Entrance to Cistern
Thomas Grip – Finally, Light!
Can be found close to the entrance to the Sewers.
After the prison level some light is needed, and that is what we want to give the player right now. We also wanted to have an environment that did not look like anything else the player has seen so far.
When the player has endured the dark and gloomy dungeon levels, we wanted to give some sort of reward for coming so far, and this level is supposed to be that reward. The sound of water is also found quite soothing for most people, so we wanted them to relax and calm down – only to be more susceptible for more scares later on, of course!
Jens Nilsson – Making of Commentary
Can be found on top of the ladder.
I figured I'd add a little something about the commentary, why it is in the game and how we did it.
As you probably have noticed by now, the quality of the recordings are a bit different. We tried our best, but as we do not have an office, everyone had to care for their own voice recording and make due with the equipment that they have. For me, as a sound artist, and for Mikko and Tapio, this was not really much of a problem – we've all got our sound gear to rely on. But for the rest, they really had to work to make the best out of their shit microphones. They even got a checklist of things to do, such as 'put a sock on the microphone' and what angle towards the microphones to speak at.
The reason as to why we did the commentary to being with, was that when we were working on Amnesia, we started taking pre-orders of the game, and we put up a meter on the website saying that if we got 2,000 pre-orders, we would add a commentary to the game. I suppose you know the answer to the question if we met that goal or not.
Jens Nilsson – Sloppy Testing
Located a bit ahead at the very start of the level.
This level consists of three parts of a puzzle. For each part you complete, you get one step closer to getting the machinery running. It does not matter which order you do it in, so you can complete the level as you like.
When I scripted this level, I made a basic function for completing a puzzle. Then I added specific tweaks to each puzzle to make them unique, and then finally a grand version of a complete puzzle function, to make it really noticeable when you finish all three of them.
I got surprised when several testers said that it was not clear as to when they completed the whole level. But on the first puzzle, it was really nice, but that on the second or third puzzle, they did not really notice that they had accomplished something successfully. As I was about to start working on this, I noticed something really strange: I had, for testing purposes, made it so that when completing the first puzzle, you would get the grand puzzle completion function – which meant that the first puzzle had a big bang of events while the other two would only have the minor small puzzle completion events. It had been like this since I finished the level, so no one had never experienced the actual sequence of events meant to take place!
These types of bugs are pretty nice to fix because you only fix your own stupid mistake, and then all is done.
Thomas Grip – Dark Themes
Can be found just around the corner at the beginning of the level.
This map is all about themes, and actions the player does are meant to reflect what happens in the diary entries.
The player needs to turn the valves in order to progress, but at the same time things go bad every time this is done. The level gets darker, the sound of someone being trapped gets louder, and the water lurker seems to be coming closer. Everything tells the player not to turn the valves, yet it must be done.
Something that reflects how Daniel feels in the diaries.
Thomas Grip – Inspiration (2)
Can be found near the tank from where muffled sounds can be heard.
The inspiration of this level came from me visiting the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. A fun thing was that Jonas, the concept artists who drew the design, had also visited it the same summer, so he knew precisely what I was after.
The fish that can be found were also inspired by the real thing.
Mikael Hedberg – Writing Alexander
Can be found in the middle of the corridor.
Alexander, along with Daniel, makes up the foundation for the entire story. Together, they make the core conflict.
There was a lot of background for this character as he is in a sense the villain, so I wanted to do everything that I could to make him likable and have people sympathize with him. It's just the best way to make a bad guy – if we can have the player feel for their opponent, they might start questioning their own actions.
Alexander's story is quite interesting in its own right, but in the end it was important to have the story deal with the relationship between Daniel and Alexander. That's why there is so much about the last few weeks, and so little about the history of Alexander.
Because after all, since we're playing Daniel, and he seem to want to get back at Alexander, We the Player want to know how bad he really was and decide for ourselves if we think he should be punished.
Thomas Grip – Based on True Events
Located just outside the room where the copper pipe can be found.
The flashback of the guy trapped is actually inspired by true events. During the bubonic plague outbreaks, people were buried so quickly that it was not always checked that they were properly dead. This meant that people sometimes woke up finding themselves locked up, entombed, surrounded by corpses. Scratches on doors and walls of such rooms have been found, confirming that it did happen.
Thomas Grip – Respect for the Dead
Located right next to the corpse on the table.
As with the cistern, this takes the player closer to Daniel's dark past. It was important here that the corpses did not have the normal gory shock value but was more true to reality and disturbing. We really wanted to approach the stuff with respect, and not just show it in an exploitative fashion. I hope that shows when you play the game.
Marc Nicander – The Sewers
Located at the very start of the level, at the bottom of the ladder.
Somehow, every adventurer finds themselves in a sewer at some point in his life, and Daniel is no different. Usually, these levels tend to be a bit dull, but this one turned out quite okay. It's quite a step up from the last sewer I did in Penumbra: Requiem.
It was supposed to be a blue-tinted level with a feeling of being cold and damp, but it stood out too much to really fit in with the other levels. We settled for a green-tint on a brown dungeon set, as it worked nicely as a transition between the cistern's green stones and the brown torture nave level.
Luis Rodero – My First Puzzle
Located next to the spinning mill.
This here, was my first job at scripting a puzzle. I must say that I like working on scripts, but that's probably because I love anything that looks or feels like programming. Scripting puzzles does not involve just writing a plain script. You also get to edit entities, create particle systems, set up stuff like areas and entities in the level to support the script...
It is actually a lot of fun, and it allows for quite a bit of creativity. This particular puzzle is about having to jam a kind of water mill to be able to get through it, but it first needs to be slowed down somehow.
Luis Rodero – Learning the Craft
Can be found next to the broken pipe that sticks out of the wall.
This pipe you see here can be broken to be used later to jam the mill. It is actually a model with two bodies joined by a hinge joint.
To do this part of the puzzle, I first made it so you can break the joint at some point when pulling, but this just felt really strange, so I just asked Jens how we were doing this kind of stuff in the game, and he told me to just add some area that counted hits in the script. So every time the pipe collided with this area, a certain variable was increased by one. If you enable the debug window, you can see this area when activating the draw physics debug option. When this variable reached a given value, it triggers the breakage of the pipe, spawning the broken pipe item, and that's how it works.
Luis Rodero – A Poor Choice
Can be found in the room with the machinery that controls the rotation speed of the mill.
This is the machinery that controls the mill rotation speed. There is not much to say about this part, just a couple levers that change some values when moved, and do stuff when the right value is set.
As you might already know playing around with the combination of both levers, you can notice a background sound changing. At the time of working on this there was no proper sound available for these background sounds, so I just picked some place holders from what was in there already. I thought that the creaky sound that is heard when the elevator falls down will do a nice one for the mill's speed. How wrong I was! It was unbearable to say the least, so I just ended up removing all the placeholders, and leaving a to-do note in the script.
Tapio Liukkonen – Sound Creation of the Brute
Can be found in the room with the dead grunt.
When I was looking at the concept art of the brute monster, I thought that it should sound like one long tone which is coming from a tube; and because it doesn't have a mouth it should sound like a hollow thing, which can't make clear and complex vocalization.
Firstly, I recorded lots of different kind of dogs, and I edited them to play as one tone. I had lots of discussions with Jens, and I think I got the right idea, but there was a feeling that it was going too close and it wasn't scary and blah blah blah...
So, it wasn't really scary, it was just a big mess. I think I made something like five or six different versions, but the problems didn't go away. Finally, I just removed the dog sounds, and used my own voice. I made it with an old metal sink, speaking through the tube and putting the microphone in front of the sink. And that way, I got more control of the vocalization, and the tube kind of sound was natural because it was coming from out of [a] tube.
I think the brute's movement were the easiest ones for me. I knew from the beginning how I wanted it to sound. I wanted it to be very metallic since it has lots of metallic things in its body, and it should be a very heavy, scary guy. I was a little bit worried about how the high-pitched screeching would work, but it actually turned out great with the music, because the music is very low frequence and the movement is high frequence, so there is a nice [spectrum] of sound. Together, they make the brute even scarier!
Luis Rodero – Level Creation for Dummies
Located at the very start of the level.
After almost two years of continuous development of the editors, this was my very baptism of fire in level creation. My first big level edited ever, that is. Making the base for this level was my assignment for week eight this year, and I must confess I was pretty excited about it all. You know, not ever having used the editors in a real-life run, I was wondering how well I was going to do.
Luis Rodero – A Feature is Born (and a Bug is Killed)
Can be found at the top of the spiral staircase.
A good thing about me using the tools I am dedicated to to develop, is that I could get a close view on how they feel when working with them, and it's easier and quicker to get bugs fixed when working like this as they usually get in the middle of the way and the only solution is just getting your hands dirty and fix them. This also works well for small features that don't take much time to add. I'm not sure which one I added from working on this level, but it usually starts like thinking, 'Oh, being able to do this or that would be really nice', and ends up with the feature in the editor.
Not everything works like this, you know. I actually have an endless list of stuff to add to the editors, but there is always so little time. They will come eventually, that's for sure. Or maybe not.
Thomas Grip – Agrippa Inspiration
Located in the room where Agrippa can be found.
The Agrippa waking sequence is inspired by the movie Seven, when they find the sloth victim. I thought that scene was really disturbing, so it stuck with me. When writing the design of the Agrippa event, it came to mind instantly.
A fun thing about Agrippa is that he was first supposed to be a severed head that was placed at several locations in the game. He then later turned into the guy that is in the game now. If you're wondering why he does not have a lower jaw, that's because we did not have the resources for voice sync. It was then worked into the story though, as Alexander does not want him talking when he shouldn't.
Mikael Hedberg – Writing Agrippa
Can be found near the massive door leading to the Transept.
I told Thomas that I wanted a character that the player could look at, or at least know that someone was talking to him right now. As in, no flashbacks, no ghosts or memories. Just something solid that the player could depend on being real. However, a character's really expensive stuff. You need a voice, a model, textures, animations, behavior... So we finally came up with this idea about a stationary character so we could cut down on animations and behavior.
At this time, Agrippa was just a character – a real historical character actually – I had used as the writer for a letter found in the first stages of the game. But we upgraded him, and made him a part of the plot.
The reason I find him so valuable is that he joined the ranks of Daniel and Alexander, making this so much more complex and intriguing. And of course, it also quite naturally led to the split ending thing.
Luis Rodero – A Nice Experience
Located in the room with the holding cells.
Back on the level editing, it was an interesting experience, to say the least.
I started with a room with a door leading to level 22, and made my way up from there. I managed to build a reasonable base in a bit over a week's time. It took a bit long, having [to take] into account that not all models needed for the level were available at the time I started working on it. And that, blaming my inexperience in level building, I had to remake some parts a lot of times, like the room I started with. It was Marcus who took the level from where I left it, and I must say he did an awesome job. I'm not sure how much of my original work still stands in there, but the final version looks really sweet.
I didn't get more level creation assignments after this one, mostly because I am actually more productive in other kinds of tasks. But I am happy I had the chance to try.
Jens Nilsson – Avoid Capture
Located on top of the first flight of stairs.
In this level, it is easily done to not see the whole level. If you have all the orb pieces when coming here, you will get captured at the start, and will not get a chance to see the rest of the level. There is a whole area to the east consisting of two very detailed rooms.
So if you end up being captured on your first visit, make sure to come visit again.
Marc Nicander – The Torture Chancel
Located in the center of the four pathways.
The torture Chancel was an interesting level. It made a clear break from all the claustrophobic tunnels that make up the majority of our levels. It also presented a challenge, since we had to fill that space with interesting pieces, and still be able to run it on older computers.
The idea of the level is to give the player a sense of what is to come, and to give them a feeling that maybe all this was here even before Alexander built this castle.
As a contrast to the mystic shrines, we have an electric barrier in the back of the level. The idea in the design of this bit is an homage to the movie Event Horizon.
Thomas Grip – Inspiration (3)
Located at the very start of the level.
The staircase is inspired by The Haunting, the black and white version. I really love spiral staircases and I find there's something ominous about them.
Also worth noting is that the torture devices in the level are all real and that things similar to those depicted had happened in real life. Even in present days, for example, the Strappado is still a common torture method.
As discussed on another commentary spot, we tried to take this subject seriously, and stay away from just evulging in gore and stuff.
Thomas Grip – Is This Torture?
Can be found in the small room at the top of the spiral staircase.
It's kind of fun, or perhaps you should say disturbing, that the methods Alexander describes in the note could almost be used to describe how we do horror. I will let you draw your own conclusions from that.
Choir – Entrance
Jens Nilsson – Horror of Your Own Voice
Can be found in the room to the right after entering from the Nave.
For the torture levels, it was not all that fun to make the sounds. It has a nerve-wracking feeling to it, and I can't say that it is completely enjoyable to make entertainment out of such horrible contraptions. This part of the game is not for show and fun, it's purpose is to create an instinctive feel of horror and repulsion to what these devices are capable of.
In the vision, as Daniel performs the ritual, the muffled sound of the man on the table is my own voice. I do some exclusive appearances throughout the game. In fact, in all Penumbra games, I am fairly certain there is a Jens here and there. But nothing prior has been so disturbing to work with as in this vision, when having to tweak the flow and style of the events, and at the same time having to hear your own panicking, pleading muffled voice.
Choir – Main Hall
Thomas Grip – Inspiration (1)
Located at the very start of the level.
The inspiration for this level came from the first Silent Hill game, when you run around in the town. I wanted to recreate the feeling of being lost, knowing that dangerous creatures lurked in the fog. I did not like the map in the Silent Hill games though, as you always had to switch back and forth between it. So in all our games, we try to come up with other ways to help the player navigate. In this level, it's meant that you should follow the pipes. This was not very apparent to all people though, and that's why there's a little event at the start.
Jens Nilsson – Many Solutions
Can be found in the cell you wake up in.
Escaping the cell has several solutions. In the very first version, there was only one solution to everything. Then by mistake, we had forgotten to remove the hammer item, so obviously testers tried to use it to break down the wall, complaining loudly to us when it did not work. So we added that possibility, and when doing so, all of a sudden, the option was there for the player to have a metal bar item as well. So we also added a second solution on how to obtain the key in the pipe: You can use the metal bar to push it out. The original solution is to get the bucket, fill it with water and pour the water down the pipe.
There is also a third option for getting out of the cell. Do you know how to do it?
Thomas Grip – Making Chases Un-Annoying
Can be found near the door that is unlocked with the rusty key.
The player feedback from Penumbra: Overture's chase scenes was that, all who completed them on the first try liked them, and those who did not disliked them. So in order to make the upcoming chase scene engaging, the idea was to make it different every time you failed, instead of forcing the player to repeat the same thing over and over. So if you have failed it once, we do our best to make you believe that, 'now is the time when the chase will begin'! This is true for other parts of the game too, but I think it's most apparent in this section.
This hopefully means that however you play the sequence, it ends up being thrilling and not annoying.
Mikael Hedberg – Who Reads Loading Texts Anyway?
Located at the very start of the level, after escaping the cells.
One of my favorite additions to the game was the loading screens – How they were able to mirror and foreshadow the action of the player. Of course, there might not be that many who actually pay attention to these little snippets of things, but there were some really good stuff in there.
There is even one character's life you can influence through the game, which is only mentioned in the loading texts, which is Hazel, Daniel's sister, which will either live or have died when she was young depending on what the player chooses to do in the game.
The actions don't correlate of course, but it is supposed to show that the way the player acts is a part of Daniel's real inescapable behavior. If the player plays Daniel in a caring way, he will have saved his sister from her death when they were younger, and if the player shows no will to help others, she will have died.
Mikael Hedberg – Outside Brennenburg
Can be found next to the table with the note that causes the Zimmermann Farm flashback to occur.
One thing which worried me was that the player would feel trapped within the castle in an artificial way, that is, that they would perhaps realize that they are running around these boxed-up levels. A good way to disarm this feeling is by adding exterior levels. So I asked Thomas; 'Could we show the outside, somehow?'.
He already had some ideas, but he figured they would have to be cut eventually because of the costs.
So I was really happy to see this making it into the game. It just gives you that little reminder of that there is a world out there, which is not only made from references.
Jens Nilsson – Too Harsh Design
Located in the laboratory where Weyer's Tonic can be created.
In the original design, the player had to make sure to have all of the ingredients for the Agrippa potion before getting captured earlier in the game, or else it would not be possible to complete the potion in the laboratory. After early testing sessions, it was clear that this was way too harsh, as the player can't really escape the capture scene when he has all the six orb pieces. Luckily, this level had areas that all suited to add variations to the puzzles from the original ingredient gathering.
Depending on what ingredients the player has when coming here, there will be extra objects and areas to interact with to gather the missing ingredients, allowing you to complete the 'sawing off Agrippa's head' puzzle.
Jens Nilsson – Tunnel and Orb Sound Design
Located in the room with the electric barrier.
Sometimes, you just can't get completely satisfied with your work. This level is one of those for me. I tested a lot of different versions for how the electric tunnel should sound, and for how the Orb should explode. In the end, I think it turned out okay, but it was definitely not how I imagined it to begin with.
With the tunnel, I tried to have it a bit mechanical, but also with a wooden type of rotating sound to connect the machinery to the center of the story. The same with the electric barrier – It is very easy to get into too much of a sci-fi mode, with a modern electric humming type of noise. So I did my best to keep it like a simple electric malfunctioning sound.
With the orb explosion at the end, or perhaps the implosion of the orb, it was important to have a sound that would work when standing next to it as well as [when] being far away, because the orb can explode when you wreck the machine for the tunnel. With this in mind, it is a very powerful but very damp and dull sound when the orb breaks.
Luis Rodero – Don't Cross the Streams!
Located in the room with the electric barrier.
The energy stream particle system was a pretty fun assignment to work at. After thinking a bit about it, I chose to make it in sections and put them together using the level editor and script, as creating a so big and complex particle system would have taken a lot of time to pull [off] right.
This way, I just made the 'start-gathering' part that happens right at the barrier passage; a mid-stream part that I just repeated using areas and synchronized using timers in the scripts, so it looks like a single stream; and the end part, when it gets to the orb. Then Thomas added some more details, and this, what you can see here, is the result of that. I must say I like how it ended up being.
Jens Nilsson – Polish Addictions
Can be found in the room you start in.
From the beginning, this level was more of a mood level with not much more to do than to explore it, find the diary, and then continue on into the final encounter with Alexander.
When I started my polish of the level, I felt that as the second last level of the game, it did not really build things up so well. It was too simple for this late part of the game. So at the start of the level, I've added a chase sequence where the guardian is getting close to you, and you have to run in and close the door.
It's not a big addition to the level, but it gives that little feeling, I hope, that you are running out of time and that you have to push forward and face Alexander as soon as you can.
Mikko Tarmia – Choir Voices
Can be found in the room with Daniel's diary page.
There are a few music clips which includes some choir singing words, and I must tell you, that these words don't mean anything in any language – or at least I didn't intend them to mean anything. I used a sample library which has its own word-building function. So you can have a choir singing words, and I just invented words which sounded cool: [Audio]
So don't bother to think what they are singing, that's a waste of time.
Jens Nilsson – Audio Levels Predicament
Can be found on the left side of the orb chamber.
The main issue with this level was the buildup of the sound, and balancing that with the voice of Alexander. I had to make sure that all the sounds and music in the level start out at a really low volume, so that there is a lot of room for them to get louder and for more sounds to play, as time is running short and the portal opens. I also tweaked it so that Alexander's voice is louder at the end than what it is at the beginning, to make sure it is always easy to hear what he has to say.
If you listen to the music, you will notice that halfway through the countdown of the portal opening, it changes to a more intense and stressful version. There are also the monoliths rotating in the air that has a deep grinding sound that gets quicker and louder the closer you get to the end.
Removed commentary node
There is actually one more developer commentary sound file, but it does not have an appearance in the game. The file is titled "03_marcus_start", implying that it might have been intended to be in the Archives level. It may have been removed on accident, because it was considered excessive, or for some other reason.
Marcus Johansson – Introduction
Hi. My name is Marcus Johansson, and I'm a 3D artist and level creator.
I started my work with Frictional Games when Amnesia had been in development for a few months. I started as an intern, doing mostly modelling and texturing. My internship ended at the same time I finished my studies, and I was was fortunate enough to be hired by Frictional Games right after. Now I mostly do modelling, texturing, and creating levels; and also some minor animation rigs and simple animations.
When making the wall pieces you see in this level, it was actually the first time I made something else than regular props. It was a lot different, because all the sections should fit together without visible seams. When making a prop, like a table or a chair, you pretty much know [what] the end result will look like if you have a sketch or if you have reference images, but since these walls are combined with each other to make a room, you don't really know exactly how it'll turn out until all those props, lights, decals, and particle systems are in there as well.
Because we use the same wall pieces over and over again, I had to be very careful when adding detail to the edges, because if you aren't, you can end up with walls where you can see visible seams where the pieces fit together. And if these edges are very visible, the player might notice that, and it can take away some of the immersion if the level feels too fabricated.
In Photoshop, there's a great filter that I use to check if everything tiles together well. It's called Offset, and it basically offsets the marked area and wraps it around, so the edges are now connected in the middle of the marked area. And here you will see the exact same thing as if you were to tile the walls with each other. So when you have done it, you can paint over these visible seams and make it tileable, and then reverse the offset filter.
- As seen in the level editor, the names of the developer commentary figures are named "commentary_icon_#".
- A developer commentary figure can be walked through, as it is not a canon object in the game's universe.
- "Marcus Johansson: Becoming the plummer", located in the Machine Room, is spelled incorrectly.
- The commentary "Mikael Hedberg: Outside Brennenburg" is named "25_mikael_zimmerman", suggesting it would be used on level 25, which is the Cells, but is actually used on level 26, which is the redux of the Nave.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Teaser, Web Site & Pre-order, frictionalgames.com. Blog post posted to the Frictional Games blog on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- The Terrifying Tale of Amnesia, escapistmagazine.com. Article by Thomas Grip posted on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- 2000 Pre-orders reached!, frictionalgames.com. Blog post by Thomas Grip posted to the Frictional Games blog on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- Commentary on Commentary, frictionalgames.com. Blog post by Thomas Grip posted to the Frictional Games blog on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 2020-12-17.