Don’t Forget: Amnesia Fortnight Bundle Released

By Jim Rossignol on February 4th, 2013 at 11:00 am.


Double Fine have collected up their Amnesia Fortnight prototypes (a two week period where they crafted games voted for by the public) and are selling them as physical and digital editions. The $10 digital pack contains the prototypes Autonomous, Black Lake (pictured), Hack ‘N’ Slash, Spacebase DF-9, and the White Birch, as well as previous prototypes for Brazen, Happy Song, and Costume Quest.

Explanatory video thing below.

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39 Comments »

  1. pakoito says:

    Hack’n'slash was such a big disappointment. I was expecting a smart hacking game + metagame and found Zelda with a diluted PC theme. One of the puzzles was confusing and I ended up trying to decode some hex files thinking the solution should be there, after several frustrating hours I found out I just had to activate to a non colorblind-friendly element on screen.

    I tried Brazen with a friend and liked it, it captures the MH feeling pretty well. I don’t know much about the rest :/

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      basilisk says:

      Was that the library puzzle? I’m not colourblind and didn’t notice that bloody thing either. This and White Birch really were quite disappointing affairs.

      Black Lake, on the other hand, was surprisingly awesome. And Autonomous was decent, though I’m not at all sold on first person perspective for this kind of game.

      All in all, I don’t think this is worth $10, to be honest.

      • pakoito says:

        Yeah, the lamp. Besides, glitches up to that point in the game killed you or crashed it, but that was the first one that you could traverse. Someone in reddit pointed it out and then I saw.

        Heck, I got so pissed I even decrypted the symbol alphabet they had going on and could read messages. After 3 hours I could read most wall symbols without consulting the cheatsheet.

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        Klydefrog says:

        The games alone may not be worth $10 but I think it’s a fair price considering it includes the documentary episodes which are worth a watch. All in all it’s a fairly interesting oddity and they are all just prototypes after all, I assume if they were made into full games they’d be a lot more polished.

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          basilisk says:

          Yeah, I didn’t realise this was with the documentary. $10 might be pushing it, but that thing is definitely worth watching.

          • RichieJohn says:

            $10 isn’t pushing it at all. Just think of it as buying the documentary and treat the games as playable extras.
            I found watching all of it and then playing the games to be a really special experience.

            Don’t expect too much from the prototypes because that’s what they are.

  2. abandonhope says:

    I can’t see myself paying for prototypes, but this was a cool thing to do and I hope Black Lake turns into a full-fledged game.

    • Sic says:

      I’m paying for them mostly because I support this way of doing things. I’m not entirely sure I’ll enjoy playing them very much.

      Still, a significant part of the games that was prototyped I had a crush on, so I’ll probably check them out.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Yeah. Paying for a game prototype screams foul in my mind in a very loud and brazen voice. Couldn’t possibly ever pay for that. Considering this is the same company that got 3 million out of a 400,000 kickstarter project, I wonder if Double Fine is becoming too ingenious for my taste when it comes to money gathering mechanisms. There’s somewhere an invisible line that I think is being crossed.

      Meanwhile, hope the term “demo” (with all its range of possible applications) hasn’t gone out of Double Fine vocabulary.

      This all smells wrong to me, despite the obvious community participation. For which reason I don’t even consider this a good idea, like you.

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        Okami says:

        It’s not as if they’re lying about what they’re selling to you, so there’s nothing foul about it.

        I also don’t see these prototypes taking the place of demos, since those are something else entirely. They are snapshots of finished games, made to market them. These prototypes are more like sketches.

        You’re not buying full games, but small sketches of games that may or may not be developed at some point.

        I actually applaud Double Fine for doing so. I’ve seen a lot of games that, for a variety of reasons, never made it past the prototype stage and the results were never seen by people outside the studio (and maybe by some publishers who were pitched the games) and in some cases it’s a real shame.

        This way these ideas make it to the public, people can play them and maybe the prototypes will inspire other developers to do something with them.

        It also gives people some insight into the development process of games, something a lot of people are interested in.

        And before you say, that they should just give them away for free: Why? People worked on them on their jobs, the same ammount of thought, work and heartblood goes into them as into more finished products, why shouldn’t they charge money for them?

        • Convolvulus says:

          Double Fine devs are always making excuses on forums about how they don’t have time to update their engine, patch their games, etc. Instead of investing the time to fully sort out what they’ve already accepted money for, they have a huge game jam and leverage their indie cred to make pocket change. I’m sure Amnesia Fortnight is a fascinating slap in the face, but I think I’ll pass.

      • Deano2099 says:

        What’s being sold here is essentially the documentary, which is a good 10+ hour documentary on Double Fine’s unique rapid prototyping fortnight. Of course, if you’re making a documentary like that, it stands to reason that you want to bundle with it the actual prototypes that come out at the end of it all, so people can actually try them. The prototypes are a living part of the documentary.

        If you’re buying this for purely gameplay reasons, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re not going to bother watching the documentary then yes, it’s just a bunch of under-developed games inferior to what you could get for free all over the internet. But taken in conjunction with the documentary as an insight into the process Double Fine use for generating new ideas, it’s fascinating.

        You’re purchasing a digital download of season 1 of a TV show about games making, with some bonus games.

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          Oozo says:

          What Deano2099 says.
          It’s not necessary for the games to be “fun” at this point, they just have to be the product of an interesting process which you normally don’t get to witness as an outsider. The value is evident for somebody who’s interested in game development, even though it’s necessarily so for somebody who’s just interested in playing games.

          That said, I was kinda surprised that the bigger part of the media limited itself to dropping the news of the Amnesia Forthnight, but hardly anybody followed the story once it was on.

          The results, though, are a very mixed bag — I agree with most people here that “Black Lake” really is already a diamond in the rough, “Autonomous” could point to something, and a bunch of games just couldn’t live up to the potential the pitch had. (For me, “Hack n Slash” above all; I also didn’t see much in the picht of “The White Birch”, and the prototype still looks like a sub-par “Ico” to me.)

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          “But taken in conjunction with the documentary as an insight into the process Double Fine use for generating new ideas, it’s fascinating.”

          I have my doubts there. I’ve seen enough gaming documentaries to know by now that the most I will get is a look at their corporate culture and very little being said about creativity processes and workflows.

          I may be being unfair though. I haven’t seen this documentary yet. What do I know? But that’s really not a sales pitch to me. It’s what comes on the cover of almost every game development commentary and is never actually delivered.

          Anyways, I was satisfied with your guys comments. And I’m reviewing my position on the whole thing. Thanks for having being civil.

          • Xocrates says:

            The amnesia fortnight documentary released a ~30 minute video per day for the duration of the event, this means that most of it is fairly freeform, with the camera crew essentially just following people around as they work.

            It’s one of the most honest and informative documentaries you’ll see.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        The Amnesia bundle, like Double Fine Adventure, is totally worth it for the documentary alone.

        • derella says:

          This is really the only reason I’d buy it — I’ve enjoyed the DFA documentary so far(wish they released parts with more regularity though), so I think I’d like this.

      • Sic says:

        There are absolutely no negative lines being crossed with this.

        You are paying to be a passive part of game development. If you think this is paying to get any sort of finished game product, you’ve misunderstood the whole thing.

        This is about being a part of the development process, getting very intimate knowledge about how a particular company goes about creating games. You’re paying for documentaries (films), you’re paying for the opportunity to play unfinished builds. That’s it.

      • Shuck says:

        A demo is essentially an advertisement for a released game, so of course it’s free. These are not – these are a look into the game-creating process at Double Fine. Creating rough, in-house prototypes is one thing, creating publicly accessible prototypes with explanatory context requires a good deal of extra work. Work that is not being done on other projects that bring in revenue. Which means if you want access to this sort of stuff, paying for it isn’t unreasonable.

    • Bassem says:

      How odd, I just left a comment saying the exact same thing, including “full-fedged.”

      Black Lake certainly is charming, isn’t it?

  3. mrmalodor says:

    Black Lake is the only one that looks like it has potential.

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      golem09 says:

      It was the one I wanted most, when we could vote prototypes.
      Then it didn’t make the cut.

      Now it seems, they made it anyway.
      Why let people vote for 4 games, when they make 5 anyway?

      Not that I complain, it was my favourite ;)

      • Didero says:

        From what I recall, after dividing up the employees between the chosen projects, they had people left over, so they decided to build a fifth game.
        They could’ve also just increased the manpower behind the first four games, but this works too.

        • welverin says:

          It was a bit hard to find, and took a while to really be explained, but after the pitches were selected each team lead said how many and what kind of people they needed for their project, one of them wanted so few people that, as you said, allowed for another prototype to be made.

  4. MondSemmel says:

    I played the 2012 prototypes when they were released in the Amnesia Fortnight Bundle.
    Disappointments: Hack ‘N’ Slash and Spacebase DF-9
    Interesting: Autonomous, Black Lake, White Birch

    Play Black Lake and White Birch with headphones, if possible. It really makes a difference.

    If you have trouble getting through a section in White Birch, watch someone beat the section/game on YouTube. There’s at least one buggy section that might make you hate the game otherwise…

    I hope at least one of the last three games makes it into a full title.

    • The First Door says:

      Spacebase DF-9 was such a huge disappointment for me, as it was the one I was looking forward to the most. There just wasn’t any… game in it, unlike the other ones.

      Still, I really liked the documentary stuff, so I’m rather happy with the money I paid for it all.

      • Xocrates says:

        Keep in mind that they’re prototypes made in two weeks, I didn’t find that DF-9 was disappointing so much as they were unable to develop it to a point it would be fun or interesting.

      • Buemba says:

        Spacebase has the most potential, but it needs the same amount of refinements Dwarf Fortress enjoyed over years to reach it. Which is why I was hoping it wouldn’t make it to the top 4 since it prevented concepts that actually could be made into interesting prototypes in 2 weeks from being produced.

        Yeah, I’m still bitter Kaiju Piledriver didn’t make it.

      • Sucram says:

        During the development videos you saw them realize that a sim like Spacebase doesn’t really work as a game until you have a lot of systems in place. It’s not like an action game where you can rough out a level, give the player a gun and it’s already fun on a basic level.

      • Yglorba says:

        Yeah, my reaction to DF-9 even during the voting was — two weeks to make a prototype for this? Are you serious? Dwarf Fortress, its inspiration, took two years to make its initial playable release, and that was building on top of design that the two guys working on it had been tossing back and forth for a decade. Games like that are vastly more complicated under the hood than they look, and take a huge amount more work than you’d think at first, because you need to design all these interrelated subsystems and make them interact reasonably — without those, you don’t even have a game.

        It’s unfortunate, because there were many other proposals that could have reasonably produced something fun in the course of two weeks. But DF-9 was way, way too ambitious.

  5. Acorino says:

    Black Lake and Autonomous are really good even as prototypes, and the documentary captures the process of creation really well, so I feel the 10$ are worth paying if you want to get a peek behind the scenes to see how a game comes together in the course of two weeks based on an initial idea. Progress is really rapid in such a short time span, so it’s interesting to follow from day to day.

  6. MOKKA says:

    Trust me the bundle is worth it just for the documentaries alone.

  7. TheLemon says:

    I must admit to being a bit disappointed with the whole project. There were some really cool ideas being suggested, but it seems like the only ones that got votes were the generic ideas with Black Lake maybe being the exception (haven’t played that one yet).

  8. Hoaxfish says:

    I think they could all make pretty good games, though Black Lake seems to be the best contender for a full length job. The atmosphere and art are fairly reminiscent of Psychonauts’s Asylum area and some of the freakier parts of the Zelda series. The whole stealth/accordion/lantern/senses thing could easily be fleshed out to make more complex puzzles.

    Autonomous feels like it could fit something puzzley/robot wars. Hack’n'Slash fits a more casual multiplayer session. White Birch could fit Ico for the whole empty exploration/progression.

  9. zeekthegeek says:

    I really, really enjoy Autonomous as it exists even in Prototype, despite some jankiness to controls.

  10. Bassem says:

    Don’t bother paying for these. I got them through the humble bundle, and they are not worth 10$. Wait for the final games if any. The prototypes are barely playable.

    White Birch and Hack n Slash are very disappointing. Autonomous is alright. Black Lake is pretty interesting, and the most polished of the four in terms of gameplay and atmosphere. I really hope Black Lake makes it into a full-fledged game.

    BRAZEN and Costume Quest prototypes are nifty, but again they really aren’t worth actual money. (Get the proper Costume Quest instead!)

    EDIT: Gah, forgot about Spacebase DF-9. I’m not into that sort of game, so I can’t comment on it.

  11. mixmixmixmix says:

    the 2-player production videos are worth $10. I’m loving this look into a rushed game development, playing the prototypes is barely the driving point for me. Also, watching Tim twiddling his thumbs because the teams don’t need him is hilarious.