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davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost

At the turn of the 19th century, Oswald Mandus wakes on the floor of his bedroom, unable to remember what has happened, but hearing the voices of his children calling him.


Please tag all spoilers and avoid talking about stuff that comes up later, but feel free to speculate if you haven't played this game yet.





The somewhat bluntly titled a Machine for Pigs is a 1st person horror game released in 2013. Unlike its predecessor, Amnesia: the Dark Descent, this game was developed by the Chinese Room, a studio known mainly for the slightly experimental walk-through story-game Dear Esther. This game, however, is a lot more interactive than that.




A Machine for Pigs is not a direct sequel to the Dark Descent, but it shares the same universe and some of its gameplay elements. Where the Dark Descent was set in an ancient castle, a Machine for Pigs takes place in a Poe-esque mansion full of hidden corridors and secret doors, and mixes in the horrors of mass industrialization. The inventory system has been removed; if you want to carry an item, you will have to do so by holding it out in front of you. The only exception to this is the lantern, which you constantly carry with you, though you will no longer need to find fuel for it. The sanity effect, where you would become wobbly if in the dark or if seen by monsters, is also gone, though being cautious with light and hiding in darkness is still important. Puzzles and dangerous situations are less present, and the Chinese Room clearly intended to focus more on keeping the narrative flowing than making things difficult for the player. Unfortunately, that same narrative is as sloppy as it is fragmented, and poorly tied together. Aside from that, the main character realizes things much slower than the player will, making a Machine for Pigs a bit less of a thrill ride, but still a fun spooky story to venture through.




One of my all-time favorite LPs is Penumbra by Crackle. Like that one, this LP will be subtitled to try and preserve the atmosphere as much as possible. Since the diary pages and journal entries provide important backstory, I've chosen to narrate those within the game. For those who prefer to read those at their own convenience, I'm including alternate videos where the text stays on screen for a second or two, so you can pause if you wish to read them. I highly recommend you do, as they are pretty essential to keeping up with the story.

Be aware that this game is dark as hell (as in lack of light), with an oft-present colored fog to make things even more difficult to see. I'd recommend watching fullscreen in high quality to get a sense of what's going on most of the time.









































Throughout the game, you have a journal that updates when you encounter new things or situations. Whenever this icon appears in the lower right, you receive a new journal entry to read:







Aside from that, you find scattered pages (“found documents”), usually old diary entries from Mandus himself, but some written by others. Unfortunately it seems like the writers messed up their dates, as a number of found diary pages don't make sense timewise. Mostly the problem appears to be that the years don't match up. I'll try to list them in a logical order.


Not dated



The Wizard of Oz did some modding to make Machine for Pigs's lighting moodier:

The Wizard of Oz posted:

I've been goofing off with making Some Mods for Pigs, and collected a few I've got stable:

http://www.filedropper.com/burtonradons-somemodsforpigs (I don't think this file hoster is evil)

Go to the Hamnesia root directory, rename "resource.cfg" to something like "resource-original.cfg" in case I screwed up, and then unzip the archive there, and it should run fine. The changes I make to "resources.cfg" are just to add these lines after "<Resources>" at the top:

code:
<Directory Path="/mod - Burton Radons - Lantern Shadow" AddSubDirs="true" />
<Directory Path="/mod - Burton Radons - All Shadows" AddSubDirs="true"/>
Lantern shadows is a must-have; I hate it when lanterns in games don't cast shadows, particularly horror games. For all shadows, I enabled them for every light source that can project them, which seems to be all spotlights.* Anyway, the performance impact for all shadows is usually not noticeable, but it's often very subtle, as they use a lot of cookies to simulate shadows from windows and such, and they'd already enabled shadows somewhat inconsistently when they have dramatic effect. I'm the kind of guy who looks for my character's shadow as the first thing I do in a first-person game, so I like shadows to be correct.

You can enable or disable one of these by opening "resource.cfg" in a text editor and surrounding the line with "<!--" and ending with "-->", as in:

code:
<Directory Path="/mod - Burton Radons - Lantern Shadow" AddSubDirs="true" />
<!--<Directory Path="/mod - Burton Radons - All Shadows" AddSubDirs="true"/>-->
Or just delete the line, whatever.

* Shadow casting from a point light (that emanates in all directions instead of one) is far more taxing, so most engines don't support them well or at all, and it's usually a bad idea to turn shadows on for them anyway because they're often supposed to be very diffuse lights with very soft shadows.

davidspackage fucked around with this message at 19:52 on Sep 4, 2014

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Velius
Feb 27, 2001


I never did finish Amnesia, and didn't get Machine as a result. I'll be following this, I think. Do you think removing sanity was a result of a smaller studio lacking the background to implement new effects into the (licensed) engine? They're kind of a key aspect of the Penumbra and Dark Descent games, so it's weird they just flat removed them.

resurgam40
Jul 22, 2007

Battler, the literal stupidest man on earth. Why are you even here, Battler, why did you come back to this place so you could fuck literally everything up?

Huh. I loved the hell out of The Dark Descent, so I was naturally curious about this game, but the reviews always kept me from paying full price. So I'll be following this with interest.

DumbRodent
Jan 15, 2013

Heart Thumping Field Trip
BIG PANIC?


Oh hell, I knew I remembered your username! I loved your LP of Hopkins FBI and I'm ecstatic you're doing something new.

I'll definitely be following this- this style of LP is the exact sort of thing I like.

tlarn
Mar 1, 2013

You see,
God doesn't help little frogs.

He helps people like me.


I remember seeing your test post on this game a while back and really liking how you handled the subtitles. I'll be following along.

OG17
Oct 6, 2002

IF I AM TROLLING REPORT ME!

Does this game pick up?

You could consider taking a page from System Shock and so on for the notes, where instead of freezing on text while you read it aloud, you'd just briefly show it and then resume gameplay while continuing narration. A video this slow didn't need these extended breaks.

Geop
Oct 26, 2007



Oh geez, I missed this being posted! Glad to see this getting started; loved the test post you made a few months back

Five
Jan 6, 2009



OG17 posted:

Does this game pick up?

You could consider taking a page from System Shock and so on for the notes, where instead of freezing on text while you read it aloud, you'd just briefly show it and then resume gameplay while continuing narration. A video this slow didn't need these extended breaks.

Please don't listen to this guy.

Speedball
Apr 15, 2008



Hah, the menu is out of focus. I love it.

DumbRodent
Jan 15, 2013

Heart Thumping Field Trip
BIG PANIC?


Five posted:

Please don't listen to this guy.

Seconded. Just my personal preference, but I really like the narration breaks. Makes it easier to take in the narrative in the slow, methodical way it so likes.

Bobbin Threadbare
Jan 2, 2009

I'm looking for a flock of urbanmechs.



A game like this is slow and methodical anyhow. No need to aim for a speed run.

davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost

Velius posted:

I never did finish Amnesia, and didn't get Machine as a result. I'll be following this, I think. Do you think removing sanity was a result of a smaller studio lacking the background to implement new effects into the (licensed) engine? They're kind of a key aspect of the Penumbra and Dark Descent games, so it's weird they just flat removed them.

I don't know much about the Chinese Room, but all they seem to have released is extremely story-driven games that guide you along a linear path. You get to decide your own tempo, but there's not a lot of freedom otherwise. I can't tell if they removed the traditional sanity effects because they were unexperienced with it, or because they just felt it got in the way of storytelling.

I only played the demo of the Dark Descent (and watched the whole thing in LP form), but I do think AMFP is less interesting for it.


OG17 posted:

Does this game pick up?

You could consider taking a page from System Shock and so on for the notes, where instead of freezing on text while you read it aloud, you'd just briefly show it and then resume gameplay while continuing narration. A video this slow didn't need these extended breaks.

This is a legit complaint, and I realized that once I've put a whole video together, it's fairly little work to render a second version with the narration removed and the documents limited to a second or two of screentime. I'll upload two versions of each episode so people can pick whichever they prefer.

OG17
Oct 6, 2002

IF I AM TROLLING REPORT ME!

davidspackage posted:

This is a legit complaint, and I realized that once I've put a whole video together, it's fairly little work to render a second version with the narration removed and the documents limited to a second or two of screentime. I'll upload two versions of each episode so people can pick whichever they prefer.
If it's really no trouble, this'd be great. Obviously though if it turns out that no one's watching the cut versions, don't feel obligated to keep making them or anything.

davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost




So, here's an alternate video with subtitles only.



I would've had the second video ready because I left it rendering when I left for work this morning, but as these things go, I found a mistake in one of the subtitles afterwards and felt so annoyed I'm re-rendering them now. I'll probably be able to put it up tomorrow.


Journal pages this update:



Found documents this update:

davidspackage fucked around with this message at 18:31 on Jun 7, 2014

tlarn
Mar 1, 2013

You see,
God doesn't help little frogs.

He helps people like me.


You're a swell guy, you know that?

davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost




Let's have us an update. If it needed emphasizing, Mandus is clearly not alone in his house.





Journal pages this update:



Found documents this update:

davidspackage fucked around with this message at 18:41 on Jun 11, 2014

DumbRodent
Jan 15, 2013

Heart Thumping Field Trip
BIG PANIC?


Your pacing and tone is spot-on. Your subtitles almost seem like an organic part of Mandus' progression. Can't wait for the next update!

I really like how A Machine for Pigs does its best to make you actively feel like you're taking on the role of a madman. It may be more linear and segregated from gameplay than Dark Descent's sanity system, but reading your character's unhinged notes as you progress helps remove any sense of stability or strength you might hold onto. It helps that I always found this game pretty well-written.

Tiny Turtle
May 2, 2008

Hi, buddies!


This is fantastic. I'm checking this thread far too often for updates, too. I absolutely love how creepy the house is made by all those locks, and doubly so with the secret passages. So far I'm actually preferring this setting over the original. Looking forward to the next update, buddy!

HopperUK
Apr 29, 2007

Clear off, fatso, this is a respectable establishment




Love what you're doing with this! Despite a lot of the internet apparently thinking it's Gaming Satan, I absolutely love Dear Esther and I'm excited to watch this playthrough.

Sanguinary Novel
Jan 27, 2009


Thanks for playing this game. Horror games aren't anything I would ever play myself, being a big baby, but the stories that go along with them are a guilty pleasure. Narration and subtitles just make it even more movie-like.

Serenity Dove
Jan 29, 2008

If I had a Pikachu, it'd probably eat my stuff.


I really enjoyed the first couple of videos and the way you've implemented the subtitles is spot on. I think there's the right balance between commentary and silence. It lets you focus on the game without getting too distracted by reading the subtitles. Also they are written very well and feel very much like they're coming from Mandus himself. Will be following this for sure.

davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost




Mandus tumbles into the cellar. By the way, it's really worth it to play this game with headphones, to appreciate the sound design. I didn't while recording this material, which is why I don't give any reaction when you hear a woman crying on the other side of the wall, about three minutes in.





Journal pages this update:



Found documents this update:

resurgam40
Jul 22, 2007

Battler, the literal stupidest man on earth. Why are you even here, Battler, why did you come back to this place so you could fuck literally everything up?

Oh my... seems somebody was tweakin' around with things no man was meant to wot of. Hope whatever resulted from that was secured down here well. (A vain hope, probably, given that... whatever it is stomping around...)

Iceclaw
Nov 4, 2009

Fa la lanky down dilly, motherfuckers.

Okay, is the game even trying to pretend it's not reusing its twist from the first game? Mandus built this thing, that much is obvious, and it's probably doing something really nasty.
Speaking of which, the Brenneburg concoction? Oh, Mandus you fool.

tlarn
Mar 1, 2013

You see,
God doesn't help little frogs.

He helps people like me.


Ooh, that document mentioning a concoction made things a lot more interesting from a narrative standpoint.

I also like that it's taking us longer to get a good look at the monster, or at least it feels like it's taking longer. It helps that it doesn't seem to shamble like the ones in the previous game as well.

coleman francis
Aug 8, 2007

Tap tap
The ketchup bottle
None will come
Then axolotl

Hair Elf

I love this game. One of my favourite things it does is shown off in the very first video, though it took me a while to notice it when I first played it. I don't know if I should point out what and when it happens because it freaks you out the first time you notice it and I know if davidspackage would want me to.

coleman francis fucked around with this message at 14:20 on Jun 12, 2014

davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost

Iceclaw posted:

Okay, is the game even trying to pretend it's not reusing its twist from the first game? Mandus built this thing, that much is obvious, and it's probably doing something really nasty.
Speaking of which, the Brenneburg concoction? Oh, Mandus you fool.

That's one thing that started to annoy me a little when I first played the game - reading Mandus's journal entries (meaning the ones he writes as he goes, not the old diary pages you find), he maintains this mystified attitude even though the documents he finds, and especially the phonograph recordings, spell out the fact that he built this machinery. Amnesia doesn't really cover the bases when you literally hear your own voice say "yes, I built all of this." But in time, you'll get a bit more context for that, plus an explanation for just why Mandus has lost his memory in the first place.

Also, avoiding plot spoilers on The Dark Descent, I think it's probably worth explaining to people who haven't played it that Brennenburg is the name of the castle where that game takes place.


coleman francis posted:

I love this game. One of my favourite things it does is shown off in the very first video, though it took me a while to notice it when I first played it. I don't know if I should point out what and when it happens because it freaks you out the first time you notice it and I know if davidspackage would want me to.

If we're thinking of the same thing, it's something I only noticed when I re-played that section after recording. A certain disappearance act? For some reason it didn't properly trigger in the recording I used. I'll make a short bonus video to properly show it off.

Pyrogenesis
Feb 19, 2013



This is pretty drat brilliant and uncannily suitable to the point that a GOTY or something of this game should add your speech, davidspackage. The producers didn't realize what they were missing.

Calamity Jane
Nov 4, 2009


Pyrogenesis posted:

This is pretty drat brilliant and uncannily suitable to the point that a GOTY or something of this game should add your speech, davidspackage. The producers didn't realize what they were missing.

Absolutely. I'm a chicken when it comes to scary games, so I started watching the narrative videos because usually player narration breaks the tension. Your reading voice and the echo effect (I think?) you added match the game so perfectly that I watched the whole first video without realizing they were coming from you. Awesome job.

I think your narration is also helping humanize Mandus a lot more. It's harder for me to care about a character I'm playing as when they're faceless and voiceless, especially in a game like this where there are no real interactions with other characters that help flesh things out. The narration and subtitles add a touch of personality.

Sindai
Jan 24, 2007
i want to achieve immortality through not dying

Count me among the people who legit thought the narration was an ingame thing until I got confused about why there were two versions of the videos and read the OP.

coleman francis
Aug 8, 2007

Tap tap
The ketchup bottle
None will come
Then axolotl

Hair Elf

davidspackage posted:



If we're thinking of the same thing, it's something I only noticed when I re-played that section after recording. A certain disappearance act? For some reason it didn't properly trigger in the recording I used. I'll make a short bonus video to properly show it off.

It happens more than once, the first time I noticed one was waaay later in the game. I'm excited to see if I can spot more times chinese room messed with our heads.

McKilligan
May 13, 2007

Acey Deezy

Sindai posted:

Count me among the people who legit thought the narration was an ingame thing until I got confused about why there were two versions of the videos and read the OP.

Wait, wait, seriously? The narration of the diaries isn't part of the game? Holy balls, color me impressed, you've got a hell of a voice for this kind of thing.

Iceclaw
Nov 4, 2009

Fa la lanky down dilly, motherfuckers.

Same here. That's impressive, mate.

Tiny Turtle
May 2, 2008

Hi, buddies!


Count me as one of the people who thought the voice was a part of the game. That poo poo is excellent, buddy. Well done! I can't wait for the next video, I'm checking this thread twice a day at this point.

resurgam40
Jul 22, 2007

Battler, the literal stupidest man on earth. Why are you even here, Battler, why did you come back to this place so you could fuck literally everything up?

W-wait... that narration is you?

I am a slow muggins who skims posts, so I'm late to this party, but drat that's... Wow. Good job.

Attestant
Oct 23, 2012

Don't judge me.



drat, I thought that was actually original for the game too.

Regarding the talk about the mindfuck on episode one, could someone maybe hint (spoilerd or PM'd or whatever) at what to look at? I want to review the first vid to see if I can spot it, but I'm also dense as hell.

davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost

Well you guys are just too kind! Good to know you're enjoying it.


edit July 10th: swapped this video out for a longer one.


So, here's a very short video showing what I assumed coleman francis meant. Like I said, when I was recording the first video for the LP, I didn't actually know this can happen, but reviewing my first video, I don't think it triggers there. There's a similar instance in either the first or second area, where one of the Native American busts on the mantelpieces suddenly has a pig mask put on it when you return. I've only had it happen to me in my first playthrough, and have been unable to reproduce it for this LP.

I'll probably have more occasional bonus videos as we go, but mostly I try to include everything I can into the main videos.

davidspackage fucked around with this message at 18:35 on Jul 10, 2014

tlarn
Mar 1, 2013

You see,
God doesn't help little frogs.

He helps people like me.


If anyone's interested, the folks over at GOG are selling Machine For Pigs for US$6.79, sale lasts for the next hour and a half from this posting. Looks like what they're doing with their summer sale is revolving games into short, but constant sales, so it might revolve back into sale again in the future if you miss it. Kinda wish they didn't do it like this, gotta keep a constant vigil on the site if you have your eye on anything, but oh well.

edit: Oh hey, it's still on regular sale for US$10, still cheaper than usual!

tlarn fucked around with this message at 23:57 on Jun 13, 2014

davidspackage
May 16, 2007



Nap Ghost




Out of the curious airlock, Mandus finds himself wandering the silent offices of a factory.





Journal pages this update:



Found documents this update:

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LordGugs
Oct 16, 2012


Really enjoying this LP, your narration really adds to the game. I feel that the setting of late Victorian industry really adds to horror for some reason. Also as a note for those who don't know the "Debussy" the narrator mentions as being used to sooth the beasts is the late 19th century French Composer Claude Debussy. He is known for his soothing musical pieces.

Here is his most famous piece "Clair de lune:"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlvUepMa31o

Another famous piece of his is "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn" written in 1894: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YazhxBA7oo

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