Routine Is Anything But Routine, Also Beautiful

By Jim Rossignol on June 26th, 2013 at 11:00 am.


We’ve mentioned before how Lunar Software’s UDK-powered Routine is something like Amnesia in space, but I don’t think the last trailer really nailed how impressive their level design is. Take a look at their latest, below, for a taste of that. Yeah, that metallic taste is concentrated atmosphere, right there. They’ve been saying stuff like “Be immersed with Full body awareness, Deadzone aiming, no HUD, no health bars or points system… you must run, hide and survive the best you can against what lurks in the base.” And, with that, I just realised we totally haven’t interviewed them about the project yet. That changes right now! To the email-machine! Which is this, here. Mm.

Anyway, go take a look at the trailer, it is sumptuous. If I can use that word to describe a terrifying moonbase interior. Of course I can. We writers use words with mad abandon. There’s no stopping me!

__________________

« | »

, .

101 Comments »

  1. amateurviking says:

    I have a problem. This looks amazing. I desperately want to play it. I also know that, based on how the trailer shit me right up I’m too much of a coward to.

    I still occasionally stare at Amnesia in my games list, shudder, then go play something with moonbeams and unicorns.

    • RobertJSullivan says:

      I feel you, I’m going to buy this day one because it looks amazing and I’m not gonna be able to play it for more than 2 minutes because I’m a coward D:

    • El_MUERkO says:

      /\ wot he said

      I am a giant sissy, to play through FEAR without having a heart attack I had to turn off the sound and this looks infinity more terrifying.

      But as an aside, can you imagine playing this using Oculus Rift?! I’d have to wear an adult diaper and would probably end up with PTSD.

      :*(

    • DiamondDog says:

      Right there with you. I’ve always liked the idea of these games. The atmosphere, the intensity. But then I play them and after I jump out of my skin a few times I just can’t continue.

      There’s something specific about the difference between a jump scare in a film and game, though. I love horror films and being scared, but when I’m in control and I have to activate the scary bit by just walking forward… I can’t do it. My brain craps out.

    • razgon says:

      Hah, glad I’m not the only one – This looks positively stunning, but playing with Oculus would probably kill me outright, so I’ll stay clear of that particular incarnation of the game.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      *lalalalalalalalalalalalaaaa*

      Has it finished yet?? Can I come out from behind the sofa? Sorry about the smell by the way…

      Ugh, so pretty, but definitely not downloading this one, I don’t think my heart would thank me.

    • Fox89 says:

      I have the same issue. With Amnesia I got to the water part and that was as much as I could take. This… I’ve watched the trailer twice now and even though I knew where the scares were the second time around I still jumped and banged my knee on the desk.

      In other news; fucking ouch

      • Claidheamh says:

        I did finish Amnesia, and what a great game it was. But I’m sure the water section shortened my heart’s lifespan by several years, and that’s just one fraction of the game.

        • vivlo says:

          so, how do you feel having overcome your fears and finished your game ? is the accomplishment worht it ? do you feel better after than before ? it’s a genuine question, since maybe the reward is worth the necessary pain… but, maybe not!

    • Lambchops says:

      Who knew there were as many scaredy cats on RPS!

      • dE says:

        I envy them. I really do.
        I have no trouble getting into the atmosphere of games, but for the love of , games just don’t scare me. I’d love to be scared by games but it simply doesn’t happen for me. Which makes me sad.

        • DiamondDog says:

          Do you want to swap brains, dE?

        • fitzroy_doll says:

          Agreed – I “get” atmosphere and tension, and am frequently surprised/startled, but never /scared/. The closest was Dead Space. Amnesia was a nice game for me but nothing like what other people experienced.

          • derbefrier says:

            yup, I hear people say they couldn’t finish amnesia because it was so scary. I couldn’t finish it because I got bored. Horror movies, and games have never done it for me. Even as a kid these things didn’t scare me. Maybe I was surprised by sudden loud noises but never so scared I couldn’t finish watching the movie or playing a game. The idea that could happen seems so foreign to me. Its hard for me to grasp how someone could be so scared of something they know isn’t real yet I see comments like these in everyone of these articles. It sucks to miss out on a whole genre of games just becasue you perceive things a little differently then others. Its weird how mediocre a lot of these horror games become when your unaffected by the most important aspect of these games.

          • fitzroy_doll says:

            Ringu (the original) did it for me. But that was really the last time…

          • vivlo says:

            you have to somehow “want” it, “want” to believe, let yourself go into taht fantasy world, let your brain believe it’s real, just forget that it’s not real. It is a kind of process, contract, between a narrator and a public, in every kind of fiction ; the acceptance of what you see even though you know it’s not real.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            Movies and games can scare me, but it’s with things that traditional horror doesn’t cover. Things like nuclear war and radiation, highly infectious disease, the breakdown of society, and things like that. Some zombie things get me because of these, but it is hard to find scary stuff otherwise.

        • jrod says:

          DayZ is the only game to truly scare me (at least at first). Even after playing it for a long time seeing other human players caused some serious serious anxiety/fear when my char was all kitted out nicely.

        • sk0pe says:

          there are actually people that don’t get scared by fiction because their brains can’t be fooled to take it for real. not mine actually, i belong to that long list of people which own Amesia and the likes but cannot play it.

    • riverman says:

      the only game that I was too scared to play without taking breaks was system shock 2. this trailer alone has my palms sweating. attention, world: this is how fear is manufactured. two FPS shoddy nightvision through the back of a gun thingamajigger. enemies you are too fucking scared of to know what they even look like. death splashing its way toward you as you fail to climb a ladder in time because you shit your jumpsuit and it’s weighing you down

      • vivlo says:

        yep, the whole thing becomes well less scary once you see the shape of the thing.

  2. Pich says:

    Meanwhile Dead Space 3 is a third person cover shooter.

    • Desmolas says:

      You did that deliberately, didn’t you.

    • Claidheamh says:

      Are you serious? And if so, did you play Amnesia? I don’t remember a single jump scare in Amnesia. And if you’re not talking about jump scares as cheap scare tactics, then can you elaborate on what you think cheap scare tactics are?

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Does a serious person say things like “Amneotic Fluids: The Duhrk Duhscent?”

        Sadly, they probably do.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      The first Dead Space had no cover to shoot from, as nothing was shooting back.

      Also just because you can make a stupid name for something doesn’t mean you should, but then again you’re probably the kind of person that would type “micro$oft” or “windoze”.

  3. Desmolas says:

    Oh man, the sound design sounds amazing!

  4. Petethegoat says:

    That magic blaster thing sounds so funky, it’s delicious.

  5. killmachine says:

    i like everything about it. except, it scares the crap out of me. :)

  6. Forceflow says:

    Damn scary. They borrow heavily from “Moon”, though – which is a good thing.

  7. Dawlight says:

    I knew the moment I saw this on Greenlight that this was exactly what I had been looking for. But then I realized that everything sounds good on paper, and I decided to forget about it.

    My hopes are soaring high again after seeing this trailer. That is just some amazing stuff right there.

  8. WJonathan says:

    That moonbase is from the future…of 1978!!!

    • Smion says:

      I love how it apparently takes 20 seconds to download a 46kb file.

      That said, even though the design is wonderful (also, I didn’t know Unity could look this good), I didn’t find this trailer that scary. I guess the soulless sight of metal will never scare me as much as flesh

      • amateurviking says:

        I think it’s in Unreal isn’t it?

        • Smion says:

          Aye, I misread UDK. But still, the water in the sewers looks weirdly amazing (weirdly because it’s a sewer level after all)

      • honuk says:

        yeah that stood out a bit. as in, like, completely pulled me out of it a bit

        then again, I spent the whole trailer pretending it was System Shock 3, so I’m probably not the best guy to talk to here

        (that robot was even a SS2 robot!)

        • distantlurker says:

          Rogue Trioptimum A.I. don’t make DOOM clones, but if they did, they’d be the best DOOM clones in the World ^^

        • riverman says:

          the trailer fondled my scarybone in the same was SS2 did so many years ago. With extreme trepidation, I can’t fucking wait for this to come out. I am pumped like like 90′s hightops

      • Jason Moyer says:

        Sounds about right for 80′s tech.

    • Penguin_Factory says:

      I believe the game is actually set in the 80s or there abouts, as I read somewhere that the premise is that the 60s lunar program led directly to the construction of a moon base.

  9. Muffel says:

    A game with an atmosphere and world design which seems as good as bioshock and is as scary as Amnesia? AND in space? Yes, please.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Otherwise know as System Shock. Which this game reminds me of quite heavily.

      • Muffel says:

        Indeed.

      • cunningmunki says:

        Same here. Can’t. Wait.

        Is there a button on Steam I can keep pressing to make this game arrive sooner?

        • tnzk says:

          Yeah, it’s hidden under the Half-Life 3 store page.

        • Samuelson says:

          Yeh, but money disappears from your bank account every time you press it.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          You can press any button and you will be closer to the game’s release after

  10. Ross Mills says:

    Basically “If Doom 3 was actually scary”?

    • tnzk says:

      People keep saying that, but Doom 3 was scary in that cheap, one-note, monotonous way. It never gets under your skin though.

      And if this was Doom 3 in terms of game design… f that. I’m glad Doom 4 is apparently back to killing hordes of monsters Rambo style. That was the main problem with Doom 3, not its cheap scares.

      • Ross Mills says:

        Oh no, I just meant the aesthetic of the environment and weapon. It’s even a moon of mars, right?

        • Soldancer says:

          I have played through Doom 3 twice, and though the monster-closet jump scares are a bit cheap, there is some really good ambiance and creepy environmental effects. Both the original base design and the portions of Hell that begin leaking through have their own creepy charm.

          I think you are right about it being on one of Mars’ moons. The email in the trailer mentions something about Phobos, which (along with Deimos) are Mars’ moons.

          Seeing as Phobos means “fear,” I find this totally appropriate.

          • Fox89 says:

            The transit system is called ‘Lunar Transit’ though. Maybe just a company name, but if it is ‘Lunar’ than it should be Earth’s moon.

          • Mctittles says:

            I’ve played Doom 3 a few times and personally I think the real excitement is on the multiple playthrough (with harder difficulty). You already know what is coming and therefore dread it more. Plus it really gets my adrenaline going when I find the nice strafe shoot turn shoot balance.

  11. Lars Westergren says:

    A pinch of Amnesia, a sprinkle of System Shock 2. Stir gently, drip on open eyeball until heart stops.

    Usual first person nitpick – a beautiful reflective floor, but as usual when we look down I guess we will see nothing reflected of ourselves? I understand it is difficult to do in game engines though, and I usually don’t let it bother me much.

    • cunningmunki says:

      You know what, you’ve touched upon something that has continually baffled me for years. In the past, being able to see yourself in FPS games, whether it’s by looking down or by looking in the mirror or both, was becoming more and more apparent as the years went on, and then suddenly, it seemed to disappear.

      I can’t remember the last FPS game where I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and then gave myself a couple of minutes to become familiar with the person whose eyes I’m looking through. I know many games employ annoying cutscenes to give you a good look at your character, but seeing yourself while you’re in control of the character is different. Only Portal 1 & 2 spring to mind, since you can see yourself through the portals, but other than that… I draw a blank. And as for being able to look down and see your body, or legs, I can think of a few, but not as much as I’d have expected (and why is it never an option?).

      SInce it’s clearly possible to achieve, without putting much extra strain on your graphics card (simply by the fact that it has been achieved, several times), why has it fallen out of vogue? I think it’s a very effective immersion technique, and certainly helps to remind you who’s body you’re inhabiting, something FPS games are sometimes criticised for, especially if you’re supposed to make some kind of connection with your character (in some games, like multiplayers, you’re not, so that’s ok).

      There’s a bit in Bioshock Infinite that got me thinking about this again. Towards the start of the game you see a very brief reflection of yourself, of Booker DeWitt, in the glass of the vessel that transports you to Columbia. It was a deliberate reminder that you are playing a character, someone with a voice and a past. It was refreshing to be able to look my FPS character in the eyes, albeit fleetingly, like I often could in the FPS/FPSRPG games of the early 2000s. And I realised how much I really miss it. I’d even settle for at least casting a shadow once in awhile.

      • amateurviking says:

        I loved how in Metroid Prime when it got dark you sometimes caught your face reflected in your visor. Beautiful touch.

        As for legs in games. Halo had legs I think? And Deus Ex showed your reflections in shiny floors. Struggling to think of anything from the last decade though.

        • cunningmunki says:

          It’s more the reflections than the ability to see your body. I’d certainly prefer to see my feet in games where I need to balance on ledges and such, but that’s not too uncommon. It’s the lack of reflections that’s weird.

          Do you mean the Original Deus Ex or HR? In the original you could see yourself in the mirror, but in HR I don’t recall seeing any reflections.

      • Skabooga says:

        As far as odd examples go, Serious Sam: First Encounter and Second Encounter both allowed you to see yourself in reflective surfaces. I remember being impressed upon seeing that because it at first seemed out of place, being such a fine detail in a cartoonishly outlandish game, but upon further reflection, a game all about spectacle would naturally have it.

  12. Serenegoose says:

    Not that I’d ever play it – I’m too frail by far, and couldn’t even finish the amnesia demo – but the inclusion of a water monster seemed a bit… ill-advised. Do you really want people to play your game and be thinking the whole time ‘this is just like that bit in amnesia!’

  13. Blaaaaaaag says:

    No idea if it’s deliberate or not, but I really dig how the night vision on the tool thing only updated a couple times a second. If that’s a design choice, kudos to Lunar for it. Really adds to the tension, I feel.

    • Syra says:

      Yeah that gun/scanner/optic tool is a great touch. The grainy slow updating effect I hope is intended!

  14. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Finally, another game that uses this sort of In-game User Interface with control panels. I loved this so much in Doom 3 (and also Hard Reset), and I keep wishing to see it in other games but it rarely happens, even though it’s incredibly intuitive and versatile at the same time.

    • philbot says:

      Yes, I got a lot of doom 3 vibes from this. That was one thing that Doom 3 did well; the in-world computers, It was a lot more immersive. I don’t understand why other developers don’t want to use this system!?

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Because for as good as it is for a mouse, it’s a horribly awful system to use with a controller. So if your game is targeted at consoles (even consoles and PCs), it would be a bad design choice.

        • Soldancer says:

          Completely agreed. I played Doom 3 on the console, and I invert my “look” thumbstick, so as flavorful and well done as the screen interfaces were, they just don’t work with a stick.

          That’s one of the great things about PC games like this – they don’t have to worry about our console brethren, and can design things to work the way they want.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Yes! I thought it was a brilliantly simple solution, made possible by higher resolution in-world textures. I think RAGE employs the same technique, but you’re right that it doesn’t get used enough.

      @VelvetFistIronGlove – As for being bad for controllers, what in a FPS game is good for controllers? ;-) But seriously, since you have to aim at your enemies with your controller, why is it any harder to aim at big buttons on an in-world display screen? Don’t say ‘auto-aim’ or I’ll cry.

  15. Gargenville says:

    Kind of disappointed with the emphasis on dark corridors. Echo Night is still the only game that sort of gets how a silent, brightly lit space station can be more unnerving and lonely than any amount of metal tunnels (shame its terrible to play though).

    • riverman says:

      This is an old one, but Mission:Critical got that too. Terrifying game for a pre-rendered point-and-click

  16. Dowr says:

    I genuinely hope this isn’t rubbish.

    I have desired an Amnesia-in-Space even before Amnesia was announced.

  17. Jake says:

    It looks (and sounds) beautiful and seems to tick all the right boxes, but is ‘what lurks in the base’ just the robot from Buck Rogers? I am not sure if that is all that scary.

    • RobertJSullivan says:

      It looks there’s both robots and organic enemies, the thing in the sewer didn’t sound like a machine. But it’s just speculation, judging by the Greenlight page you have to learn by yourself what happened in the station by searching reports, audio files and all that stuff.

  18. AngryBadger says:

    This is going to be absolutely terrifying on the Oculus Rift!

  19. Kaira- says:

    Looks good visually, but otherwise… not terribly impressed. It might turn out good, but right now it seems too much spook and too little dread.

    • tnzk says:

      There was about 20 seconds of spook in that 4 minute trailer full of dread. It looks like System Shock and Amnesia bumped uglies and had Routine.

      What I’m more concerned about is if all it has is constant dread. Not because I hate getting scared, but… I do like good game play too. Amnesia was one scary game, but its gameplay was a little… pff…

  20. Shadowcat says:

    Damn you, Steam logo. Damn you to hell. (Developers: Please don’t make this require Steam…)

  21. Viroso says:

    I wish first person games, specially the quiet ones, removed the heavy breathing sound.

    • cunningmunki says:

      You know that’s just you, you know, breathing, don’t you?

      • Viroso says:

        Oh I thought it was some invisible pony you carried around in every game, I even had a name for it. But now it makes sense.

        • cunningmunki says:

          My invisible pony’s name is ‘Charles’; he’s an asthmatic with tourettes. Very distracting.

    • riverman says:

      I thoguht they nailed it in this trailer; a turd in your pants and one second of running, and you’re choking for air; that would be me

  22. inkreis says:

    Oh look: It’s System Shock in space!

  23. cunningmunki says:

    Speaking of ‘no HUD’, have you seen the latest Wolfenstein:TNO gameplay footage? There’s no HUD either!

    The cynical part of me assures me that this is simply because it’s a gameplay trailer and they just want to show off the graphics ‘n’ stuff without all the objective markers, enemy markers, grenade markers, crouch icons, ‘press ‘R’ to reload’ messages, minimaps, compasses, hit markers, awareness markers, objective reminders, ‘press ‘Q’ to use’ messages, XP pop-ups, achievement pop ups, health bars, stamina bars, ammo counters, ‘press ‘X’ to do a fucking scripted takedown’, etc, getting in the way.

    The slightly more optimistic part of me has my fingers crossed.

    • Soldancer says:

      I think “no-HUD” is a deliberate design choice in this instance. It makes me think of two related points.

      1. Many games let you customize your HUD, such as when/if certain elements are present, etc. More games need to do this, even outside the horror genre.

      2. Some of the scariest FP games I’ve played have no HUD (Condemned and Anmesia leap to mind). It creates more tension and immersion.

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed, too.

    • riverman says:

      the second sentence on the link in the article:
      A non linear experience lets you explore any part of the fully open Moon base and find out secrets that other players may not!
      Be immersed with Full body awareness, Deadzone aiming, no HUD, no health bars or points system… you must run, hide and survive the best you can against what lurks in the base.
      There are no health packs or multiple lives, in Routine there is a Perma death system that will keep you on the edge!

      this trailer is likely representative of exactly what we will get.

  24. Scumbag says:

    For some reason I see more Cryostasis in this then Amnesia. Maybe it’s just the gun-scanner-thing.

  25. jonahcutter says:

    This looks so much more fully realized than I imagined.

    Between this, Maia and Sir, You Are Being Hunted, the sci-fi survival-horror (sub?)genre is looking incredibly rich.

    And all because of indies. Thank you indies!

  26. Shazbut says:

    For me, this is the most exciting game currently in development.

    Surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention this yet: that opening line in the video is a reference to the first line spoken in System Shock 2.

    If they get this game to play even as half as good as it looks, I will be proud to be part of their subsequent death from suffocation from the weight of the money that is thrown at them.

  27. Cpt.Average says:

    This looks freaking AMAZING, I haven’t seen anything like as good as this in forever.

  28. The Sombrero Kid says:

    LOOKS
    FUCKING
    AMAZING

  29. riverman says:

    perma death, no health, no HUD; the anti COD