We are Krillbite Studio - developers of "Among the Sleep". A first person horror game where you play as a two-year-old. We recently launched a Kickstarter for our project. Ask us anything!
I am Anders Ugland, Lead Game Designer at Krillbite Studio and director on Among the Sleep. With me, I have brought some members of the team:
- Martin Kvale - "noctilucentclouds" - Sound Designer
- Bjørnar Frøyse - "volantk" - Art Director
- Adrian Tingstad Husby - "Bromlebass" - Potato
- Espen Kielland - "Sepotix" - Animator
- Svein-Gisle Sætre - "Slish86" - 3D Artist
- Ole Andreas Jordet - ole_andreas86 - CEO/Programmer
Feel free to ask questions regarding the project, the kickstarter, the team or anything else to any member.
If you would like to know more about the project, please head over to our Kickstarter page.
EDIT2: I'm awake once again! I will keep answering questions throughout the day, so fire away if you have any.
Blood and gore is a big one. We also want to refrain from using jump scares actively, and only use this as a tool to create horrifying suspense and tension, the way it should be used.
Personally I was terrified of the dark, and what might be lurking where it cannot be seen. These are both examples that has made it into the game.
How do you feel about your great start of the campaign on kickstarter? Did you expect such enthusiasm?
Short answer: we had no idea! Even though we were optimistic (we naturally love the concept ourselves!), we pressed the green button, crossed our fingers & had a beer.
We are also extremely happy and overwhelmed by the success we have seen in the last few days. Makes it all warm and fuzzy inside!
This project looks so ambitious, I'm really happy the kickstarter/greenlight is going well!
- What other games do you draw your inspiration from?
- What do you want the players to take away from the game when they've finished?
- Was this a collaborative idea from the start?
- Is the teddy bear going to accompany the player character during the game as a sidekick?
Thank you again so much!
Hey, thanks for the kind words!
We draw inspiration from several games. Although, we find Among the Sleep quite different from other games, so there is no game that particularly stands out.
We want the players to have experienced a good and solid story on multiple levels, both by observing the exact levels and events of the game, and metaphorically. We want to create an eerie experience through immersion, and with this, provoke emotions like fear, which many of us does not feel very often.
The idea behind Among the Sleep initially started as an idea I got a good while back. I pitched it to the team as we were going to do a game as our thesis project, and we ended up making what became the start of Among the Sleep. Since then, the game has taken several drastic changes to become what it is today. So saying that it has been a collaborative idea from the start is pretty accurate!
Yes, Teddy will accompany the player as a sidekick. But mostly hanging on the child's back, so you don't have to worry an annoying AI following you around.
Thanks for showing interest in the game!
Most horror games these days rely too heavily on blood and gore to set up tension. Do you feel your game explores this or gets around it by other means?
Among the Sleep does not focus on blood and gore in any way. We believe creating tension through suspense, created by an eerie atmosphere can be just as scary - perhaps even more so. This is the type of horror that we try to create.
I say Oculus, you say ...?
No thanks, I really hate that instance. The blue drake NEVER drops.
What is the inspiration behind this game?
Hey! We draw inspiration from various films, games and other things, but mostly from our own childhood memories and fears. We've had several sessions where we have talked about what frightened us the most when we were children, and we try include this as much as we can in the design!
Hello, I'm a 16 year old high-school student and it's pretty much my dream to do what your team is doing. I love horror games and some day would love to start making them myself. Your project looks incredible! Is there any advice you can give me for making a game myself? Anything I should know? Thanks in advance!
Sorry for the late answer, just woke up. Cool to hear that you want to make games. I can give you some general advice, but it depends a bit on what you specifically want to be working on in games. Do you want to do technical or artistic stuff? I'll get one of the krillers working with what you're interested in to drop of some tips if you respond, for now I'll drop off some general tips:
- Play a lot of games, and analyze them while doing so. There is a lot to be learned by the many fantastic games out there, and that goes for any genre. If you analyze while you play, it will help you understand how to make the player emotionally engaged, and how to create what is called "flow". Some of these things may be very subtle, and some pretty obvious. Here's an example;
I was playing some Dark Souls yesterday, and arrived at this location.
This is one of the more obvious ones, and an example of good level design, at least in my opinion. Something grand and intriguing stands towering in the far distance - perfectly framed by a narrow corridor. A way to make the player interested, and give her hints about where she is heading without explicitly using text or voice to say it. As you get closer to this strange tower, it also gives a sense of progression and distance traveled.
Get in the habit of rapidly prototyping and iterating your ideas. It is very easy to fall into a trap where you decide to create a game before you know that it's working. Before deciding to create a game, you should ask yourself "do I know that this game will be fun to play?" If not, then it might not be a very good idea. If possible, prototype the core mechanics and gameplay and tweak this until it's fun. By trying the game, you will quickly realize whether it will work or not.
Work as hard as you can to become as good as possible in your field of expertise. The industry is hard to enter as it is still quite young and the competition is fierce. This will also prepare you for the many hard working hours that is likely to come if you start your own studio.
The more understanding you have of the other parts of the development the better. The smaller your team is, the more roles each member will have. An artist with basic knowledge of scripting for instance is a great asset to the team.
Eat your vegetables, stay in school, don't do glue.
Thanks for the kind words and for showing interest! : )
Thanks so much for responding! I love horror games, and would love to make them in particular. I'm always closely examining things when I play video games, textures mostly. Or something will happen and I'll stop for a second and think about how the developers did it. One of my favorites is F.E.A.R, I know the game like the back of my hand. The artistic side of everything sounds best for me, I'd love designing some sort of level and seeing it come to life. Thanks again for replying!!
Cool! It sounds like you're off to a good start then : )
Keep doing this, and look up some guides and try doing a bit of work in the various fields as well. This will help narrow your path for later when/if you want to pick a specific one.
Also, even though you love horror games, keep your mind open and look at other genres. Try finding what makes you love horror games so much. Is it something horror games does right that isn't yet much done in other genres? If you can find these things then maybe you can apply them to other genres to create similar fantastic experiences. And maybe you will like other genres even more than horror?
Although, I'm not one to blame you for wanting to create horror games :p
Thank you for one of the most unique premises I've ever heard of in gaming! Shout out to /r/AmongtheSleep ! Cannot wait to play the game.
What games have inspired Among the Sleep? It gives off a big Amnesia: The Dark Descent vibe.
Do you guys have any comments on the current revival of survival horror gaming?
When I was a kid I was terrified of the dark and my imagination ran wild. I really hope the game manages to capture that childhood terror and vulnerability.
Hey! Good sir Snake_Byte! Thanks for moderating /r/AmongtheSleep, we've been following your updates since the very first one! : )
I started writing Among the Sleep about 6 years go, so quite a while before Amnesia came out. That being said, when Amnesia came out, it helped us out tremendously by showing how well a horror game with a non-violent character can work. So there is definitely inspiration drawn from Amnesia, fantastic game!
I am very excited about the many horror games surfacing at the moment. I think that the video game medium has great underused potential when it comes to provoking various emotions within us. And I think that the horror genre is currently growing because people are realizing this when playing titles like Amnesia and Slender. The industry needs these kinds of games!
How many jump scares are you going to utilise? I'm a hundred percent serious when I say thy I won't buy your game if it has built-in jumps scares. They're a cheap Mechanism: I want to be deeply unsettled, not undergo a series of sudden audiovisual changes.
The game does have a few jump scares, sorry. But let me explain why. In my opinion, jump scares are a bad thing and may feel cheap when a game ONLY uses jump scares and calls it a "horror game", when it really is a shooter for instance. Jump scares are a great tool to create suspense and tension. It's a way of making the player feel frightened, which takes full advantage of the"deeply unsettled" state which you mention. This being said, I will say that we work hard to avoid this whenever we can.
what are your favorite kinds of muffins?
I must agree with Martin on this one, glazed it is!
Q: You indicate in update #1 "We want to add Oculus as our first stretch goal, so at the moment it’s a bit dependent on the Kickstarters success - we'll see!"
I don't see the actual stretch goals defined anywhere. What is the amount of money you need to raise before adding OR support, and is this a for-sure thing? (I've backed this project, chiefly in anticipation of it supporting the Rift.)
We are currently working the numbers, tweaking the exact stretch goals - which will be released on our Kickstarter page for everyone to see once we are 100% sure they are realistic. Stay tuned to our Kickstarter page, and you will find them there eventually!
Are you aware that YouTubers such as PewDiePie are playing your game? Also, how do you feel about them playing it?
EDIT: I'm not Pewds. That was almost awkward.
EDIT2: Just checked uploads on YouTube, and now Markiplier is playing it! You guys should be super proud.
Sorry for the late reply, I just noticed that the question wasn't fully answered.
We are aware, and we are very happy about it! Personally I think Pewdie's video was awesome. It's always exciting to watch people play our game, and it's very fun to see that they enjoy it. Also, we're very proud of what we have created this far, and we're at a stage where we want people to see it. So having a person with as many subscribers and followers as PewDiePie play the game is very cool, and naturally pretty scary!
How did you initially fund the studio 2 years ago til this day?
We have been very fortunate to receive some funding from the government, which has helped out a bunch. But mostly, we have been working part time jobs on the side in order to survive.
Is this the same game I saw posted on /r/gamedev a while back? The one where you are a baby crawling around a creepy house?
Yes, we posted in /r/gamedev in May of last year, when we released the first trailer for the game.
You seem to have a very effective team.
What factors/aspects do you believe create a good indie team?
I believe that what makes a good indie team is the balance between creative and hard working members, who all share the same vision of what they want to achieve. This vision is the core value, that defines the team's projects in the end. A group of people all sharing the same passion to create similar things, and using this passion to fuel the drive is incredibly valuable, and can result in magnificent things.
...or something! At least it's what I personally believe.
How you will handle deaths (or being caught)? You already answered how to deal with maintaining the horror aspect after being caught by using dynamic atmospheres that wont become stale, as well as encounters, and that sounds great.
However, I recall a bit of drama early in the process about the protagonist and how he/she might be treated throughout the game. Do you plan on making the act of being caught a more psychological thriller? i.e. you would simply "wake up" somewhere else only to continue again? Or will you simply black screen the game and ask the player to restart?
Hey, we have elaborated slightly on this in our FAQ and some questions, I'll post it here:
"On a thematic level, death works very vaguely in Among the Sleep. But short answer: yes, you will be able to die."
We are still experimenting with this. One possible solution I find interesting is the child "waking up" but in the same "nightmare", like you mention above.
A thing worth mentioning is that we wish to refrain from using violence and gore in the game, so there won't be any death animations or the like using any of this.
Kamphare, no question, sounds like a pretty cool idea but I do have a observation about the proof picture. Are you aware you have a sticker still attached to the bottom brim of your hat? Just thought I'd let ya know.
Hey. Haha, I didn't expect this question. Yes, I am aware. I am one of the silly people who thinks this is cool. But only the small shiny ones, I removed the humongous square white price tag sticker that was next to it.
What do you plan to do with all the extra money you're obviously going to get? Hire more people, make the game longer, or better looking?
I personally would love if you lowered the price. When there's a lot of interest, the lower the price, the more people buy it and everyone is happy.
It's still a long way to go, let's not jinx it! If we are fortunate enough to reach more than our goal we would be incredibly happy. I don't think it would be likely for us to add more members at first, but we want to use the money to improve the product for when we ship it.
We are currently working out the numbers on some stretch goals, which will be revealed on our Kickstarter page at some point. Keep an eye out for them there!
Sausages or tacos?
I cannot give a statement at this time, but please stay tuned to the FAQ at the bottom page of our Kickstarter for an answer in the near future
You gonna play me in Starcraft again soon Kamphare?
Of course! Any time - Just let me download this HotS thing and we can get it rolling. Who are you by the way?
My question is how are you going to keep that scene of true terror throughout the game? I know with games like amnesia I was horrified until I finally got caught the first time, then I came back and it all seemed so much less. How do you balance out making sure the player is afraid of the consequences of not hiding from whatever is out to get them, and not giving away that hanging sense that is relieved when you've finally seen your "fear" and gone through it.
If you head over to our Kickstarter page and check out the environmental teaser, you will see that the different environments differ from each other by quite a lot. By introducing the player to new surroundings with an unique audiovisual setting, along with our focus on the overall dramatic composition, we hope to achieve just this.
Also, we won't use the same monsters multiple times, so the player will never know what to expect.
Why are you so damn awesome?
Because we have such fantastically handsome friends and backers like yourself!
I was wondering if the movie insidious had any inspiration to this movie?Looking through this game as a child is amazing.It is not a vessel but as a child because of how a child thinking.A child and his teddy bear as a real thing talking back and forth and you make that through the player's eyes.You guys really make a wonderful game and I was wonder such as I bought the $15 kickstarter when are we looking to get a possible open beta or are there going to be any other promotions for kickstarter, such as a goal kickstarter to where we try to make it pass the goal and each step will unlock other things to be add-ons later in production?
I don't know about the other members of the team, but I have not seen Insidious myself.
We will reveal stretch goals, which will work exactly like the "goal kickstarter" that you describe. Once we are done with tweaking the numbers for these, we will post them on our Kickstarter page.
What's the story behind the name?
It's actually the name of a song that I'm quite fond of. The story goes something like this; we started working on this game as our thesis project. After a long time the project was still unnamed, and I thought about this while listening to the song. I gave the project the working title "Among the Sleep" because I absolutely love the title, and it was nice to have a name for a change. We kept working on the game for many months, and the name grew on all of us, and we just ended up liking it too much to change it.
I also find it very fitting as it is quite mysterious, and makes one wonder about what it might mean, what is "the sleep?". It suits how we imagine a child's mind working. Surrealistic and strange.
What allowed for all of your creative juices to flow together and create a massive mess of ultimate Creativeness?
An interesting question. I think we were lucky when we created a team of very creative individuals, that all of us shared the same vision, or at least learned to share this vision over time. With everyone striving for innovation, we have just ended up where we are today.
Hey guys! i really liked the gameplay video of among the sleep i cant wait till it comes out! What inspired you to make such a unique game?
Awesome! The concept of playing a toddler in a first person horror game was an idea that popped into my mind a while back. I pictured a child running from his bed, being chased by a shadowy figure. Then hiding under the stairs, watching the monster descend, and continue his search. I started toying around with the Idea, and it gradually turned into Among the Sleep with a lot of help from every member on the team. This idea combined with the team's shared wish to create innovative experiences is what inspired us to create the game!
I absolutely love this idea, it's brilliant, one of the biggest points of any horror game is that you have to feel vulnerable - no one is scared when they have a shotgun, or when they can be hit a thousand times without dying, or when they can easily run away - but being a child takes away any hope of retaliation, or escape, etc. It's PERFECT.
How did you come up with the idea of being a child? Who had the idea? Why on earth did no one think of this earlier?
EDIT: And why is there always super early kickstarter discounts? I can NEVER manage to hear about a game before these are sold out D:
Thanks a lot! I completely agree with you, although, allow me to say that I really like the Idea of having a shotgun - but only if you have 2 shells, and nothing else.
I answered this a bit earlier in another question, but I'll give you the short version. I came up with the idea some years ago. The vision of a child running from a monster and hiding, seen from a first person perspective just popped into my mind.
I'm sorry you missed the early discount. It's just about luck I guess!
The game will be release even if you don't have $200,000 for the project? I will feel so sad if i can't play it :(
We will definitely continue with the project if the kickstarter fails, but this would mean that it would take a lot more time to complete. My biggest concern with this, is that the longer it takes for us to complete the game when relying on income from other sources like part-time jobs, gradually the risk of the project just dying increases. We are barely able to go on currently because none of us have children or house mortgages, so the longer it takes the more likely it becomes for members of team being forced to quit due to financial reasons.
That being said, everyone at Krillbite work very hard to see Among the Sleep being finished, and we will continue to do so, no matter what!
Is there a specific horror game trope (awkward controls, dodgy camera angles etc) that you are deliberately avoiding while making this game?
Also, can you tell us about some of the fears you and the team had as children that made into the game?
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