March 20, 2012 by Chris Whitman
Ever since I’ve moved to Vancouver, all I’ve done is work on horror games. Run (a body-horror-themed Flash game still in the works), Glitch (not actually horror, a little joke, you see), and now this—
This is Porta Lucis, a little Roguelike completed in about six days for 7DRL, the 7-Day Roguelike event. It is strongly inspired by the film Jacob’s Ladder and the works of Japanese author Kobo Abe. Like a lot of the things I do, I tried to break some conventions in what were, to me, interesting ways—for example permadeath works a little differently here than it at first appears.
As is typical of my style, it also contains rather a lot of text. You can mouse-over anything in the game for a title and click for a description (and I recommend that you do so). There is combat, something I don’t usually do, but it is deterministic and there is no health, so either you figure out what you are doing and make good tactical decisions or it will be a very short game for you. Plan on doing a lot of running.
There are multiple ways to end the game, none of which are readily apparent. I don’t want to say too much about it, because it is definitely a concept piece, but I will say that even though it’s a bit convoluted, it’s not about ‘getting it.’ Think of it as just something that is happening to you. These are things you experience and I’m not trying to get any particular reaction out of you or to trick you in any way.
Hopefully you find it a short, rewarding game with a few ‘aha!’ moments. The readme included in the .zip file describes the basic controls, and everything else should be clear (well, clear-ish) from the game itself.
Update #1! There’s an OS X version now!
Unfortunately it only works on recent versions of OS X due to complications with bundling Python applications under a bunch of constraints. Best, I could do in such a short time frame, so I hope it works!
Please let me know if either of these don’t work for you (assuming you’re running the correct OS version).
Update #2! Fixed a couple issues. There was a typo in the intro text, of all places, which is now fixed. Also, the game previously could not be switched into fullscreen mode or the quit menu brought up from the text screens. This is now fixed.
Update #3! Sorry, I broke the Windows build on the last update. It is now back and working properly again. Let me know if you have any problems running it.
Update #4! Fixed two issues that were brought up a few days ago—1. when you have taken pills, you can no longer view descriptions of objects that are no longer visible. 2. After pills wear off, Scavengers should handle standing in any objects that are now visible again in some sort of mostly reasonable way.
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