Activate The Three Artefacts And Then Leave

Ah, the working week hasn’t begun until we’ve posted a dreadfully sinister indie game. Courtesy of the Indie Games blog, Activate the Three Artefacts and then Leave has you navigating an ominous, claustrophobic environment using your mouse, the WASD keys and by listening out for sounds, though that description doesn’t convey the game’s nightmarish atmosphere. It plays a bit like the hallucination of a sedated hospital patient who’s been left staring at white ceiling tiles. Videogames! Go play.


  1. Quasar says:

    Looks fun. Is there no way to un-invert the mouse? I really, REALLY hate inverted mouse.

    As I believe PCG once said: ‘Gordon Freeman is not a plane, stop trying to fly him’

    • Urthman says:

      Stop pretending that how you map the X-Y plane of your mousepad to the X-Z plane of your computer screen could be anything but an arbitrary decision.

    • Quasar says:

      Hey, people can use whatever control scheme they like. I just felt like following up my comment with a witty quote.

    • Brumisator says:

      I second that motion. Needs proper control control. And mouse sensitivity slider.
      Nice Quote, btw.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      I seem to remember that when mouse control first came into style for FPSes (I believe Unreal was the first that defaulted to it), “inverted” was normal.

      Also, it’s totally logical. I pull down with the muscles on the back of my neck to look up, so I am imitating that with the mouse.

    • dragon_hunter21 says:

      For everyone with inverted controls and weird DOF, try playing on Good graphics settings. For some reason there’s a bug with Beautiful and Fantastic settings.

  2. Quintin Smith says:

    That’s very odd. It’s not inverted when I play it.

    • Quasar says:

      Now that I’ve started playing it, it seems that your avatar is in fact a flying avatar. Which makes perfect sense.

      I am therefore to be disregarded on this point.

  3. garry glitter says:

    mines not inverted either

  4. Demon Beaver says:

    Profoundly disturbing. I like it.
    For me the mouse is inverted too, but I don’t care…

    EDIT: Only inverted in full screen

  5. Sulkdodds says:

    but how do I activate artefact???

    • Henke says:

      just bump into the artifact to activate it. It’ll start rotating slowly when it’s activated.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Aaaah, okay. That’s how you do it. Oh well.
      I figured it was already rotating when I found it, so I didn’t make the connection.

    • Henke says:

      Yeah there really should be some more visual feedback to let you know the thing has been activated.

  6. Harbour Master says:

    Man. I’m not going in there again. Now all I can see is edges everywhere I look. My wife has turned polygonal.

  7. tsupar says:

    The shortsightedness effect absolutely screwed my eyes up. Might be because I’m shortsighted in real life, but I find this unplayable.

  8. mcnostril says:

    The “leave” part was taking me forever so I just gave up.

    • Henke says:

      Try to remember the same static noise that you heard as you entered the thing. That’ll guide you to the exit. I did make it out but… the ending was kind of a letdown. (Spoiler Alert: there really isn’t anything more to this game than it says in the title)

  9. Sarkhan Lol says:

    Fine, I’ll play it, but if it ends with a smug authorial twist deriding me for being stupid enough to active the three artifacts and leave, I’m sending you a dead rat in the post.

  10. boab says:

    Is there a game over screen? Pretty cool anyway.

  11. castle says:

    This should really be tagged with “increpare,” the (great) developer who has been featured on the site a few times before. Good to see him moving in new directions.

  12. increpare says:

    Only inverted in fullscreen? Queer. I didn’t intend for it to be inverted at all. Testing on my machine, it’s not inverted either in fullscreen or windowed mode. I’ll look into it – thanks for letting me know :)

  13. Brumisator says:

    I don’t understand the graphics. Are there supposed the be screens that make your vision blurred or unblurred at random intervals? Because that makes no sense. Parts of my graphics get blurry as I advance, and others get unblurry, and that has nothing to do with the proximity of objects.

    I play on the highest graphics setting, with an ATi 4870, latest drivers.

    • mcnostril says:

      I’m pretty sure that’s intended.
      It’s supposed to be weird.

    • stahlwerk says:

      I guess it’s an ATi thing, I experienced the same weird artifacts (ha!), like half an edge would be sharp and the other half completely blurred with a hard crease discernible.
      I suspect it’s a symptom of the bug described here.

    • cfoust says:

      Try turning the graphics down. “Good” looked a lot better than “fantastic” for me.

    • mwoody says:

      I get the same thing on an NVidia card. I think that’s how it’s supposed to look – like a really strong on/off depth of field effect that doesn’t actually correspond to how far away things are, so it ends up being sort of like when you get crap stuck in your eye.

  14. increpare says:

    The inverse mouse thing is a bug. I’ll look into it. Thanks for letting me know.

  15. stahlwerk says:

    increpare strike again. Thanks for yet another fever dream turned digital.

    I couldn’t figure out how to activate the only artifact I found, so I quit the game (yes, lazy, I know). I also didn’t like the blurring effect, but mostly because it seemed broken on my Juniper GPU, it didn’t seem to blend correctly between mipmaps, which may be related to the bug in texture filtering that AMD allegedly fixed for the 6xxx series.

  16. DarkDobe says:

    I, too, am curious as to the whole activation process. Half of the listed controls (namely jumping/firing) have no effect, in fact clicking in game drops me to desktop :3
    I -am- playing in a window, however.

  17. Faldrath says:

    My Norton 360 went all crazy when I tried to run it, and deleted the executable saying it was “acting suspiciously”. Whee.

  18. Kieron Gillen says:

    Haven’t finished it, but it’s fucked my eyes up good and proper and let me appropriately nervous. Good stuff.


  19. gabanski83 says:

    Going off the article image, at first before actually reading I honestly thought this was something about a minimalist texture pack for Minecraft.

    Sadly, it was not to be. Sigh.

  20. Chris says:

    Wow, that was pointless, *and* gave me eye-strain from the fuzzy graphics. You have 3 ‘fire buttons’ and a jump button that do absolutely nothing, and as far as I can tell no way to interact with the ‘artefact’ when you do find one? (I presume that’s what the spinning thing I found was, anyway). If I wanted to be stuck in endless monochrome cubes, I’d get lost in a bad Minecraft cave.

  21. Salem5 says:

    Complete Trial and Error thing, don’t overanalyze it is pretty basic in everything.

    Hints which are borderlinging Spoilers:

    You just have to try stuff out, meaning that you can look for the next artifact and see how that one reacts. If you don’t notice anything after you tried all three, then just assume that you did activate them somehow.

    There is an ending, I even restarted the game to check ;)
    I had some problems on the leaving part because I changed midgame to headphones (I never noticed how noisy my PC is). The blurreffect seemed weird on my system too, leaving distance objects clear sometines and near ones partialy blurry.

  22. Nersh says:

    Do I lose Art Points if I admit that I didn’t ‘get’ it?

  23. Tim Ward says:

    Accidentally found an exit and couldn’t find my way in again. Slightly relieved.

    Reminds me quite strongly of House of Leaves.

  24. Tim Ward says:

    Accidentally found an exit and couldn’t find a way back in. Slightly relieved.

    Reminds me quite strongly of House of Leaves

    • stahlwerk says:

      Oh no, is editing broken already?

      Edit: Test

    • Resin says:

      Awesome book.

      I liked this game, but I had problems ‘activating objects’ or at least didn’t see any ending
      played with sound off so maybe thats my problem.

    • Tim Ward says:

      The double post is part of the art, guys.

  25. Sinomatic says:

    An interesting ten minutes in terms of audio-led ‘gameplay’ (should I even call it that? Exploration maybe?). But the lack of mouse sensitivity slider made me want to weep.

    • mwoody says:

      I’ve gotten to where I couldn’t function without a mouse with sensitivity adjustments on the device itself.

  26. PleasingFungus says:

    Found three artifacts, activated them, left.

    Strange game. (Though I wouldn’t expect any less from increpare.)

    …my eyes hurt now.

  27. Baf says:

    Ooh. Rhombic dodecahedral space-filling. Neato.

  28. Lambchops says:

    I activated two artifacts and all I got was this lousy disorentation!

  29. dragon_hunter21 says:

    That’s a bug, actually. You’re playing on Fantastic or Beautiful graphics, yes? Play it on Good and the DOF and mouse work right.

    • mwoody says:

      Oh! Yes, this man speaks the truth. Set it to “good” and all the technical problem vanish.

    • mwoody says:

      Oh! Yes, this man speaks the truth. Set it to “good” and all the technical problems vanish.

      (I’m adding this text in an attempt to get past the Spam-o-tron, which for some reason thinks I’m trying to sell… I dunno, shoes probably.)

    • mwoody says:

      Well I’ll be dipped, there ya go. Set it to “good” and things work perfectly.

    • mwoody says:

      *sigh* Damn you, spam-o-tron. Making me look like an idiot.

  30. Tangy says:

    I found one artefact but then kept going round in circles, so I quit. Interesting in terms of how disorienting it is. When I spotted a gap I didn’t want to look away for fear of never finding it again.

  31. RagingLion says:

    I need to go back because I got lost after finding two artifacts pretty much straight away, but that may honestly be one of my favourite gaming experiences of the year. Exactly what I needed before going to bed.

    You say sinister, but I found it actually a supremely comforting and warm, fuzzy experience. I love the exploration focus of it and trying to navigate with auditory as well visual senses. I just wanted to stay forever in that quite regular ellipsoid cave which was almost completely silent apart from a soft hum, which was convenient as I got lost in there for quite a while despite the seeming simplicity of it.

  32. confusing1 says:

    Cool game. sad thing is all i could think about was mine craft while playing it…

  33. Jetsetlemming says:

    That was weird. I found all three artifacts but couldn’t find my way out, probably because I had This American Life (how apt!) playing in the background so the audio cues were lost on me. Normally I hate indie games that have escape as a quit game button with no prompt and no save, but this is one of the few where it’s appropriate.

    I can’t help but meld this in my mind with Minecraft, as lately I’ve been using extreme fractal settings in the world gen tweak mod and just exploring wild, Dali-esque environments in that game, too.

  34. KenTWOu says:

    My eyes hurt after playing this game. If that was the purpose then they should add 3D anaglyph support in it.

  35. Cystem Glitch says:

    I hate being lost and feeling helpless / trapped, but I had to finish this game! hopefully I get nightmares.