Friday, 20 March 2009

Lost Souls are waiting...

Dark Fall: Lost Souls is coming...

At last! I have some news about 'Lost Souls'. The game, which is a third installment of the Dark Fall series, is going to be a chilling treat! I am returning to the old train station and hotel, at Dowerton, and I will be taking you with me. Let's see if any ghosts were able to hide from us the first time round, It looks and sounds like the place is still very haunted; the rot has set in, and the place will soon fall. The location is so familiar to me, from my efforts back in 2001, but looks quite a bit more detailed and dark than I remember. Check the recent snaps, on the forums, or the website to see what I mean. If you are joining me at the hotel, make sure you bring a trusty flashlight, a thermos of tea and a good, sturdy weapon. We are going to be facing the Dark Fall itself, come late summer, so you had better be ready for anything!


About Lost Souls: You have unfinished business with the dead. Return to the Train Station and Hotel at Dowerton for a second time, there is a new mystery to solve, and new horrors to face. The old buildings have deteriorated since your last perilous adventure, so you must watch your step, and never turn your back on the darkness....for something hides there; Something evil, unknowable and hungry.


  • A brand new Dark Fall horror adventure.

  • From the pen of Jonathan Boakes, author of The Lost Crown.

  • Explore a derelict train station and hotel, abandoned since World War 2.

  • A new game engine allows full exploration and movement.

  • Physically interact with the eerie setting, to really ‘feel’ the place.

  • Use light as your weapon and ally, to fight the darkness.

  • A hauntingly creepy stereo score, to chill, alarm and horrify.

  • Explore the memories of the dead, in their own ‘nightmares’.

  • Discover the true identity, and power behind, the Dark Fall itself.



The dead of Dowerton are the least of your problems, as you are stalked from one derelict room to the next, by the Dark Fall itself. It wants your soul; to feed upon, devour and torture. You must make the ghosts of the hotel your ally, through any means you can. For it is only through successful exorcisms that you will gain the strength to battle the darkness that lurks in that long forgotten, abandoned place.

Coming very soon, to a cobwebbed shelf near you.


New website, new screens, new everything!

www.DarkFallGames.Com

The website is all new. New location, new pics, new text, new look, new everything! It's been hard work. There are also new versions of the previous Dark Fall games. I haven't 'done a Lucas' and changed any content to be flashier or out of place...no no...instead I fixed some old issues, built some Vista and XP friendly installers...and gave Dark Fall a bit of a Spring clean. There's a couple of new screens, (very minor) and some new sounds. Failed actress, Matilda Fly gets a theme tune! Which is quite apt, haunting and sad. Poor Matilda, she got boo'ed off stage, after messing up all her lines on that opening night, back in 1947. She said, at the time, it was a "fit of nerves"', but the stage hand could smell gin on her breath. I reckon she might still be lingering, at The Station Hotel. We'll have to keep our eyes peeled, while we wander Lost Souls. Oh, and George Crabtree also gets a theme. That blasted Journal of his went on, and on, and on forever (he won't be joining us!). I can't trim it, but I have added a George Crabtree theme, to make the reading experience bearable. Both the new tracks are available on the Music CD which ships with my new 'Pins & Needles' Limited Edition of both original games. It's a nice Music CD.

Lights Out is all at sea.

The big change is Lights Out!

It's been heftily re-vamped up to a new 'Directors Cut'. There were so many elements that got the chop, first time round, that I've always had an itch to fix. My Alienware machine broke down, a couple of weeks ago, so work on Lost Souls ground to a halt. So, I used the unexpected break to tweak Lights Out and get the new website together, with some essential Flash help from Matt Clark. It looks lovely, in a dark, disturbing way. The website accurately captures the tone of the next game, which is nice. But! Back to Lights Out. There's lots of new things to see and do. The Harbour Town, seen briefly at the beginning of play, has been made more lively, and interesting. There's a town drunk, to sing a sea shanty (clues!). Fog rolls in off the sea, and curls around the town. Naughty dockside 'ladies' clatter away on heels, from your approach... and your memories of the previous day now play an important role. Once on the Island, known as Fetch Rock, you will find the old Lighthouse a much more foreboding place, echoing with the ghosts of the missing Lighthouse Keepers. They make a proper impact this time round.


The Directors Cut allows you to 'talk' to the ghosts of the missing men, and get clues as to what happened, that foggy night in 1912. Later on, in the game play, seasoned Lights Out gamers will notice new, or revamped puzzles; like that blasted Boiler puzzle which really put a spanner in the works. I came to play/solve the puzzle, and found it, to my shame, completely confusing and unsolvable. Not quite sure what happened there...but, it's been replaced with a new, less taxing puzzle. Other 'changed' puzzles have been integrated into the world, a little better. There was far too much reliance on reading, in the original, to get past obstacles or get clues. The plot now reveals lots of those clues, in a more lively fashion.
There are still books, throughout the game, but the stories have been replaced, to include tales about the actual lighthouse. They have a much better tone, and add to the atmosphere. So, basically, there's lots of changes here and there, so do grab a copy off of me, if you want to see/play them. There's a new Direct Download version on The Adventure Shop, as well as the Darkling Room Store (that's me), and a highly personalised 'Pins & Needles' Limited Edition, if you want something a bit more touchy feely. It's a lovely item. Signed, numbered and home made. It also comes with the Dark Fall Soundtrack CD, which is a surprisingly good listen...and not all jumps, crashes and haunted house sound effects. There's the lovely Harp track, from the Dark Fall menu, as well as the new Matilda Fly Theme. But, best of all, you'll get to hear the Lights Out theme, in full, which is wonderful. Jan Kavan composed that track, for me, back in 2004. It was lovely to re-hear the piece, and include more of it in Lights Out. All in all, I am dead pleased with the new versions...and feel their re-release is highly appropriate, as the days drift past towards Lost Souls.


A Faithful Companion.


I've also put together game 'Companions' for Dark Fall: Classic Edition and Lights Out: Directors Cut. The companion files include a full walkthrough, which is detailed and includes all the new puzzles and clue changes, as well as quirky chapters that will enhance your experience. The Dark Fall Companion, in particular, has some super additions. The best is Tim's Hints; which is the full list of Tim's Dark Fall clues, and his actual voice to go with them. Lots of gamers missed Tim's Hints, the first time round. Not too sure why. The idea was that Tim would give you a clue as to the last puzzle to played with, if you returned to him on the train footbridge. But, somehow, very few people got to hear him. So, all his lines have been included in the Companion. Also, in there, is a list of all the Ghost-Hunting views you can catch in Dark Fall. There's quite a few, and some are in really obscure locations. So, they are all listed. Get hunting! Lastly, the Conversations with the Dead chapter gives a list of all the questions, and topics you can ask the chattier ghosts (bankrobber, SlyFox, and dying Civil War Hero, Tom Oliver). It's amazing what those ghosts will tell you, once you know what to ask. The same goes for the Ouija Board. A quick glance at the new Lost Souls screenshots will reveal the presence of a new Ouija Board, for the haunted hotel. So, brush up on your seance skills....you are going to need them!


And Finally...

Spring is here! It's great to be making some progress, after all those dark months. March is such a bright time of the year. The last few months got pretty ghastly, sometimes. Crooked Publishers (keeping ALL the cash, and disappearing), Useless Publishers (going bust just after sending out all the TLC stock) and Old Publishers (who just never stop spoiling things, and lying). All in all, I don't know why I bother with them. I haven't had a good experience yet, and (this is very sad) I am not the only one. There are loads of indies going unpaid, unappreciated and abused. For some, it is their first experience of game development, and they could well give up, after the experience. I had no idea quite how bad things had got until I came to the release of The Lost Crown. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. More indies are considering Self-Publishing, which I love! And others are seeking better ways to get their games 'out there'. Direct Downloads are a great new way to buy games, but, I imagine you are a bit like me....that boxed copy is always more appealing, if ecologically questionable. So, I'm going to be printing, packing and posting like the old days. Thankfully, I've got a new Post Office now. The original Dark Fall days were hysterical. I'd be queuing in the shop, along with people getting benefits, paying bills and ordering new passports with my arms packed full of postage bags! I was sending over 100 packets, some days. The Post Office hated me. Absolutely hated me. I think I must have been the only person who actually 'posted' things in that shop. How mad is that?! But, this time round, the lovely ladies at Looe Post Office will be helping me.



They loved sending that first run of Barrow Hill, a couple of years back, so are all set for my new venture. Just, please, please, don't get too annoyed if there's a fingerprint on the game box, or the post takes a day or two more than expected. Think of me, with straining arms, standing in the little ol'Looe Post Office...in the heat of summer, posting out the new versions. Perhaps I called it 'Pins & Needles' for that reason! Ha ha!

Back again soon....

Jonathan

P.s. Spread the news....a third Dark Fall game IS coming....I'm dead excited about this one, it's going to be ghoulish and ghastly!

P.p.s. I won an award at AdventureGamers.Com. An 'Aggie', they are called. For Best Setting, in TLC. Great news!

11 comments:

Jonathan Boakes said...

Oh no! This blog design made my Bullet Points into flowers! Ha ha ha! That's not very creepy, is it?! J.

Katie said...

OMG, this is wonderful news, Jonathan!!! I can't wait to return to the station!! I'm so excited!! And the new Journal and Lights Out...*squee*. Will we have to pay for them? :/ Still, more interaction with the ghosts in the Lighthouse, etc will be amazing. I can't wait, I am trembling with this awesome news!!! Great job!! :D

Anonymous said...

Yyyyyeeeeeeeesssssssssss!!!!great news!i can't wait for the game!!!

Katie said...

Jonathan-I'm buying the Pins and Needles Edition, of course, but I was wondering if there's a way to also separately get the Companion books, since if they add any story to it, I want it. lol ;) I don't think it comes with the boxed edition, so I'm not sure what to do. :P

adventuredog said...

I've been waiting for your big announcement since your teaser. I had to finally log in to congratulate you! The Lost Crown was awesome. I have been waiting many years for another Dark Fall. To return to the station is brilliant. Can't wait for lost Souls. In the meantime I am rushing to get your fancy dancy Pins and Needles to relive the spookiness and see your new changes. (The limited boxed set of course. Will also probably download the two new guides for all the extras. :-)

Both of the Dark Fall games had places where I screamed in surprise. I hope the new one isn't tooooo scary. ;-)

Thanks for all your hard work Jonathan. Best Wishes, Catharine

Jonathan Boakes said...

Hello Catherine, crumbs!, it's been an age since we last spoke! Glad you like the look/feel of the new Dark Fall, it is great being back in Dowerton...like the place was waiting. Unlike The Lost Crown, DF:LS will be totally CG (no photo backdrops), so it's strange that it feels more 'real'.

Jonathan

P.s. Don't get the companion files...they are included with the Pins & Needles Edition. I think you'll like the new Guide to Conversations with the Dead, which 'gives away' all the questions you can ask the ghosts, in Dark Fall. They can be quite surprising.

adventuredog said...

It has been an age!

The photographic backdrops for TLC were perfect for the situation - that is a gem of a game and I am distressed that you have had continued/ongoing problems with distributors - I had hoped that was past. There is something special about receiving the game directly from the developer though. :-) Your local post office should be happy with all the extra business. Sounds like it will keep you in shape too. ;-)

As always, I love what you do with light and shadows in the DF games, especially stained glass and reflections. And those creepy little background noises....even present while just viewing the new sample screens. {shudder} Most atmospheric and disturbing. :D I can't wait to play!

re: P.S. Thanks for clarifying Jonathan, I missed that bit about the companion files being included.

Barrow Hill was also a blast! You and Matt are really on to something. Cornwall seems to have a profound influence on your creative work. Thanks again for all the pleasure you give to adventure gamers. Catharine

Yer_man_in_japan said...

wow! you've been incredibly busy. you probably have a LCD tan by now.

Jonathan Boakes said...

LCD tan? I'd have to wash off the coal dust to know!

Mirabilis said...

Excellent news and congrats on the award!

I can't wait to see what you do with the train station this time around.

meghann-vampy said...

I just shrieked so loud with glee that I woke up the cat. I'm so glad we'll be going back to that hotel. The first game was the best, atmosphere-wise, and it looks like you retooled it just right. ;) The new releases of the Journal and Lights Out sound pretty great, too.