To celebrate the one year anniversary of Amnesia: The Dark Descent we have decided to do a IAMA. The entire current team at Frictional Games will be up for questioning. Here is a list of all people and their user names (in order of being hired):

  • FG_Jens: Founder, sound designer
  • FG_Thomas: Founder, programmer
  • FG_Marc: Artist (models & levels)
  • FG_Luis: Programmer
  • FG_Marcus: Artist (models & levels)
  • FG_Mikael: Writer
  • FG_Rasmus: Artist (concepts & models)
  • FG_Peter: Programmer

Notes: Not everybody was working full-time employed during Amnesia.


Comments: 1862 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

Worst_Idea_Ever432 karma

Do you guys ever just sit around the office and watch youtube videos of people freaking out over the game?

FG_Thomas1112 karma

We might if we had a common office. The entire team has actually only met once.

noobscratcher349 karma

What was your most fasinating moment of amnesia development?

FG_Thomas1124 karma

When coding the water lurker monster I wanted enable it to hear stuff, so you could throw something in the water and lure it away. I added the code and started testing the section. As I jumped from crate to crate (safe from the monster) I suddenly got a chill down my spine as I heard splashes behind me. It turned out that the water lurker heard as I jumped on the wooden crates and ended up stalking me.

It was totally unexpected and ended up being an integral part of the monster encounter.

FG_Marcus682 karma

Maybe not the most fascinating thing, but the I had the oddest discussion with Thomas if the pig I was texturing should have an asshole or not

FG_Thomas457 karma

It's all in the details!

Warven210 karma

I don't have any particular questions, but I loved Amnesia and it was worth every euros. And I got to change all my underwears thanks to you.

FG_Thomas286 karma

Glad to hear! I also must say that I never thought people talking about diapers, underwear and defecation together with our game could actually be really positive feedback!

Deadliefoe201 karma

Do you support the idea of a charity event of Day9 playing your game?

FG_Thomas245 karma

Who is this? Does he scream a lot? Screams grease the machinery here at Frictional you know.

0sev197 karma

To FG_Jens: The sound was amazing!

FG_Jens176 karma

Thanks! Shared with Tapio (sounds) and Mikko (music), both might visit reddit later during the day.

MelonHeadMonStar57 karma

The Tapio from Overgrowth?

FG_Thomas76 karma

The Mikko from Overgrowth too :)

ZombieLobotomy184 karma

Did you guys get scared playing it, or does the development process immunize you to the pant moistening?

FG_Thomas291 karma

I tried and play test the game late at night, in the dark, when I am slightly sleep in order to check the creepy parts. Still never find it as scary as I can find other games (like first Silent Hill), but it can get pretty intense at times (eg when running from any enemy).

nothis148 karma

Game of the year 2010, if you ask me. I played through it and must have watched a dozen Let's Play live streams of other people playing so far. I love it when they have a cam video of their faces in the corner and you type "What's your room mate doing in the background, there?" in the chat... when, of course, there's no one there. :D

I had a gazillion questions but now forgot them all because this is way too exciting. Anyway, here are a few random ones I could come up with:

  1. Why do you think Sweden is such a hotbed for indie games development, currently? I mean, it really, really stands out.

  2. I always tell people that you didn't invest a cent in marketing and Amnesia was a "proper" viral success. I'm sure that's kinda sorta true but how much PR work does a game like that still involve?

  3. IMO, Amnesia got survival horror perfectly right. Penumbra was almost perfect, Amnesia is perfect. You said you learned certain lessons from working on Amnesia for your next game, what would those be?

  4. Is the "main language" of the game English? Sorry if I'm a little ignorant here (I'm actually from Austria but played the English version). How does the writing/translation process go?

  5. Will your next game be in space? I'm serious... I love sci fi survival horror. :D

FG_Thomas163 karma

1) I think one reason is since you basically get paid for going to university it is possible to work on your spare time a lot during that time. Might also be a bit of fluke.

2) As an example, doing our first teaser video almost took a week worth of work. Sending out review and preview copies is also tons of work (I spend easily 100 hours on it). So while we do not buy advertisement, there is a lot of work involved.

3) I go over most of this in a GDC EU lecture.

4) Yeah, we do everything in English (we even speak English at meetings). For actual writing Mikael has to answer.

5) I thought there was plenty of room in Amnesia? :(

rufenstein90 karma

Were you surprised by the amount of let's play videos?

FG_Jens148 karma

YES. Even more surprised that they keep getting created even now a year later. It's fantastic!

PleaseDontTouchThat54 karma

Do you have a favourite Let's Play?

FG_Thomas430 karma

I like the ones where they scream

[deleted]79 karma

What inspired you

FG_Thomas173 karma

Tons of stuff! Horror movies, novels, music, science and just lying alone in a dark room late at night thinking unhappy thoughts.

soybeans76 karma

What are each of your favorite horror films?

FG_Thomas198 karma

The Exorcist, Cube, Lost Highway and The Haunting (60s version) are at the top.

Brandonspikes64 karma

Plan on making another one?

rumnscurvy73 karma

Any chance you could get the rights to H.P. Lovecraft's stories/universe ? The last people who did rather bungled their game, but you know your stuff !

FG_Thomas136 karma

I actually think they are pretty much public domain now. Only thing that one might license would be Chaosium's "Call of Cthulhu" trademark (like headfirst did with "Dark Corners of the world").

That said, doing a proper Lovecraft adventure with shoggots, deep ones , and all that stuff would not be out of the question. Not in the near future though.

Captain_Awkward49 karma

I would love to know what percent of people beat that game. Personally I pussied out in the jail. Based on feedback what do you guys think? Did most people give up?

FG_Thomas192 karma

We are not really sure. It is actually the only reason it would be nice to have achievements, in order to track this sort of thing.

According to steam, our median play time is 1 hour 53 minutes, which should put the player right about at the water lurker...

0sev34 karma

I'm sure a lot of people are interested in the background of the Amnesia Crew.

So when did you all get together? What experience do you have (Apart from in frictional games)?

FG_Thomas50 karma

I made my first game when I was 16 (must have been 1997) on a Ti-83 calculator and it was a really simple text based fantasy rpg called "K├Âttermonstret". Before that I had never really used a computer, but now I was determined I had to make games.

I got a "portable" computer from my sister which was this heavy thing with a tiny red-tinted screen. On that I made some simple Q-basic games that where never really finished (start making a text based sci-fi game and whatnot). I then moved on to Pascal, learned that for a couple of weeks, and when I could not find the DrawPicture(...) function (seriously! I really searched programming language books for some language that could draw pictures) I moved on to C. I then got this book called "Dos game programming explosion" (or something) that promised me how to draw picture + it had space ships on the cover. There I realized that I actually had to code the darn DrawPicture function MYSELF (yeah, no nice libs for that back in the day). With this info inserted into my skull, I began programming my first game with graphics called "Project" (actually this was the default name for a project in the IDE I used and I did not know how to change).

In 1998 I discovered Allegro which made this drawing thing so much simpler and allowed me to play sounds too! After some misfires, I made a game called The Project 2 (found here ). I then learned some more and made my first proper horror game which took 2 years to finish and was out in 2001. It can be found here.

I then started to make a 3D game called Unbirth and it was during the later half of this project that I met Jens and the first seed for Frictional Game was planted. Unfortunley Unbirth was never completed and if interested you can found more about it here.

After that I hooked up with Jens (and another guy at his school) to make a game called Energetic (check here ) and after the Penumbra and stuff began to form.

DirtySketel29 karma

Amnesia is an emotionally provocative work - the key emotions being fear, and perhaps despair. In fact, I'd call Amnesia the most triumphant example of a scary 'game'. Fear is an ancient, carnal response which translates well to interactivity. How well do you think other emotions can be conveyed via interactive media? Would you consider trying other extreme emotions outside the horror genre?

FG_Thomas43 karma

My view is that video games trump all other media in making the player become immersed in a certain situation. So, obviously video games can (in my view) be used to create just about any emotions. I think the problem with current video games is that they try and convey these things like books and movies. Games are quite different and in order to use its strength for this, you need to take a rather different approach. For example in horror movies, the emotions of fear steam from us empathizing with the characters portrayed on screen. But in a horror game, you do not emphasize, you as a player are actually there! And so you cannot do scary stuff in the way that movies do (show through eyes of the monster in a cut scene, etc), but have to approach it differently. I think horror games have come to really grips with this around the time of the first Silent Hill (even though it is filled with filmic imitations). For other emotions, we have not really attempted and as I also think horror is by far the easiest to convey, there is a long way to go.

And yeah, this is something we will explore more in our next game. This time we will try and not be so "primal" (as in convey responses that pops almost automatically), but to go for something that requires the player to think but that will in the end have a much greater impact. It will be very interesting to see how it turns out.