Friday, 10 September 2010

Amnesia "Launch" Trailer

We just finished our "launch" trailer for Amnesia The Dark Descent. Watch here:

Now for a quick making of the trailer:

First of I started out making a text synopsis over the clips needed for the trailer. I had an idea of starting the video with a lynchian stare, that should set the mood for the rest of the trailer. My design process was then for me to lock myself inside a dark room, lie on the floor and mumble stuff while gesticulating in the air.

I then showed the synopsis to Jens and when he had approved after some smaller changes, I set Marcus and Luis to work with recording. I gave them descriptions on how I wanted the clips to be, they then recorded something, sent sample and I mostly told em tons of stuff to improve. It took a day and something like 5 - 50 retakes for each shot (one ended up not being used) to complete. We now had the clips!

One clip was missing though: Some fancy logo animation! This we could not do ourselves so I started looking for a company to do it for us. This turned out much harder than I thought! First finding a company was a pain; all I ended up finding where wedding photographers and the like. Nothing what we needed obviously. After some work I manged to find 19 different companies and mailed em. Three replied! All of which where fully booked or on vacation of course. But from one company, whose staff was on holiday, we got a tip about Atmospheres, a UK company that ended up doing the animation. I think it ended up very nice! Especially given the time and resource limits we had to give the company.

Jens now started working on the editing. This has caused us tons of trouble with all codecs and other crap that never works out as planned (blog post about it here), but Jens has started to master it now and is usually pretty quick. So he cut and mixed with the cut em together, which took half a day or so. I contributed with the graphics for the texts and some quote mining (a skill any dev needs to learn!). After some minor fixes, the editing was done!

Finally was time for Jens to put sound on it. You see, in order to get nice sound you do not keep anything from the original clips, and add new sounds for all. Otherwise you get all kinds of cut off sounds between cuts. It ended up taking Jens over three days to complete this (and is why "launch" trailer is not on launch). The final project file contained 52 tracks, each track having hundreds of sound samples.

Fun fact is that this process of design -> graphics -> editing (scripting) -> sounds is pretty much how we made levels in Amnesia!

There you have the story! Lots a work for a little over two minutes. Hopefully it will lure someone into buying! :)


  1. Is the game going to be rated (i.e. by the ESRB)? If not, what would you guys consider it as: T or M?

    - Feryl

  2. i would like to know how well amnesia sales are going ( i hope you made a good start)
    how much copies have been sold so far?

  3. "Is the game going to be rated (i.e. by the ESRB)? If not, what would you guys consider it as: T or M?"
    Since it is not yet rated, I cannot say what marking it have. However, it is a very mature game both in visuals, sounds and themes, so I think it is on par with a disturbing horror movie.

  4. I really like the trailer, it combines 2 things what amnesia does really well. Atmosphere and "OH SHIT RUN" moments.

  5. I'd like to buy a boxed Amnesia for GNU/Linux. Is is possible to get it anywhere? I looked on Amazon and couldn't find it.

  6. This game is one of the best horror-game I ever played. Thanks and nice trailer!

  7. The Amnesia logo animation is sort of inspired by The Thing logo animation (except that this one is CG and somewhat stylized)? Anyway, looks nice. Nice touch with the beat/ripple effect, too.

  8. I would really like to see a Gamasutra postmortem article on Amnesia, you know, interesting dev-related inside info.

    BTW, since as soon as a new blog entry appears the old ones seem to be forgotten in a way, I'd just like to say that I made a comment on Thomas' remark about giving the player the complete emotional freedom in order to evolve the medium, and I'd like to see a brief comment of his, or of anyone's on the Frictional Games team interested in the subject.

    Also, a modding question: How much freedom will one have? (Just the tools/editors, or some sort of mini framework-like SDK for modders, or even near-complete source in the future? You know, when you come up with a new game and a new iteration of HPL engine...)

  9. Player freedom:
    Have begun on a blog post about that.

    It is changing maps and some game settings.

  10. Finished the game and I really enjoyed it. I was so tense playing it that the next day I awoke with a kinked/sore neck hehe. The only aspect I did not care for was the game telling me when I was afraid (using the brain-o-meter). It would say I was scared when I really wasn't, while sometimes was nervous as hell, but Daniel was "OK". Besides that I loved it. I would also have liked more varied villains, and a better understanding of the story, especially the ending. Anyway, great job and I await the sequel =)

  11. Just started playing the game and though "this would be quite cool if there were sliiiight changes in the in-demo part so the player who played the demo before would be additionally surprised/scared/confused :) Just an idea for next time.

  12. Just found an inspiring article I think will interest both the writers and readers of this blog:
    {Emotion in Videogames: [...] Can Videogames Make You Cry?}

    According to the text, all kind of games, except for the more dull flying-simulator type ones, have great potential for evoking all kinds of emotion, but most only scratch the surface in this regard. This includes some types of games you wouldn't look at as particularly emotionally engaging.

    " The most startling survey result for me was that two-thirds of all gamers think games exceed, could exceed or could equal the emotional richness of other major forms of art and entertainment:

    Games already are beyond books, movies and music
    in inspring emotion -- 9%

    Games could go beyond them -- 32%
    Games could equal them -- 27%"

    So, the audience is aware that the medium has great power, and is waiting/expecting for it to evolve! And this article was a few years ago, I suspect.
    This means that Frictional has fertile ground, and that there's more than enough to explore.

    Another interesting point is that MMOs didn't rank that high - because of the general perception that player-to-player interaction is really only rudimentary. The question is, can it go much beyond that? It seems that we are more emotionally open to NPCs.

    The emotions that games in general manage to produce:
    frustration and wanting to overcome it
    awe and wonder
    compassion for others

    What a great, yet unused potential! Thank you, Frictional, for trying to move things further.

    This makes me think about what I loved about great horror games _other_ than horror - the other emotions that give the horror more gravity. The dark beauty of Raccoon City (RE2/RE3/REOB), the silent attractiveness of Toluca Lake (in SH2/SH4), and the felling of sadness that something once fair had been corrupted, the thrills of the chase sequences such is Escape From the Fishman (CoC:DCOTE), and the almost-legitimate self-damnation for being so curious as to neglect other people's safety, which resulted in the death of that little Innsmouth girl in the same game (although the game forced the unfolding of the events).


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