The Official Asylum FAQ

[size=18px]Every Thing You Always Wanted To Know About Asylum
And Weren’t Afraid To Ask Every Day (FAQ)

Hello Senscapers!

As months go by there’s understandably an increasing mix of worries, curiosity and anxiety about the status of Asylum. I’m not joking when I say that there’s been a constant flow of questions during the past few days, be it on forums, Facebook, Twitter or our YouTube channel. Thus, we have decided to compile this exhaustive list that addresses the most common inquiries and serves as an update for the status of the game.

1) Why is Asylum taking so long?

First, you should keep in mind that we’re doing this project on a shoestring budget, with money coming from our own pocket. We considered at some point to look for investors but in the end we wanted to retain our “liberty” and dedicate as much time as possible to the title. Because of this, the team has remained small with occasional shifts, and therefore properly scheduling the project becomes very difficult.

Second, Asylum is one big game. One of our main goals has always been to accurately reproduce a rundown asylum and, you know, asylums are pretty large buildings. On top of that, the game has a complex story that is intimately connected to the environment, so we have additional requirements to address besides modeling the realistic building. We’re also quite stubborn when it comes to accuracy and we’re making sure that the Hanwell Institute is as “architecturally correct” as possible. Suffice to say, the project scaled way out of proportions. But we’re managing OK.

And third, we’re developing our own game engine. From scratch. Ever hear when developers prefer to stick with pre-made engines instead of developing their own? Well, there’s a good reason for that. Dedicated game engines are extremely demanding projects and we couldn’t possibly tackle all these goals with a strict budget and timeframe. However, there are great benefits with this approach, as you will see.

2) Just how BIG is it?

We’re talking about the game here… Right?

This is a wireframe render of the main building. Take a look at the little human near the entrance:

That would be you and you will explore all the place from that perspective. Now you won’t be visiting every corridor in the left and right wings because a) it would result in a very boring game and b) if we had to do all that we would never finish it. That said, you will have complete freedom to explore the main body as you see fit, all four floors. Furthermore, we aren’t showing the basement (of course there is a basement!) and all the secret areas in this render. All in all, you will be able to explore about 100 rooms, and note we’re counting long corridors and large areas (such as the central courtyard) as rooms.

If you remember Scratches, this is over three times the size of that game, and far more detailed.

3) Are you insane?

Just a little bit.

4) Can you give us more details about the story of the game?

Unfortunately, no. We have given enough clues already and we want to keep everything under wraps. We certainly believe it’s the strongest point of the game and all five people that read the script agree it will be one hell of a ride. Not even potential publishers know it yet. One thing is for sure: expect an aftermath of months discussing with friends its many intricacies and twists.

5) Is it going to be point and click?

Oh yes. We’re attempting to strike a balance between old school and modern. The gameplay will be dynamic with many visual effects, but at its core Asylum will be classic adventuring.

6) What platforms are you planning to support?

Since we’re doing our own engine we have full control over this aspect of the project. At first we will support Windows and Mac. Support for Linux is planned too but either limited or “unofficially” (for example, we might support Ubuntu only). An iPad port is coming down the road, hopefully shortly after the first release. We have been approached about doing ports for consoles as well but nothing is set on stone. We are definitely giving that a shot though.

7) Is it going to be released on Steam, GOG or [insert your favorite digital service here]?

It’s still too early to say but we’re hoping all the major ones will carry Asylum. We’re against exclusives so the idea is to put the game in as many places as possible.

8 ) What about retail? Which countries?

Yes, retail is definitely happening in one way or another. As you can imagine we’re still in the middle of negotiations with publishers so we can’t give you enough details, but expect to see the game in many North-American and European retail stores.

9) Any ideas about the expected system requirements?

It shouldn’t demand much power. As usual, a good video card will be preferred. We’d say a 4 to 5 year old computer will be fine to handle the game. Basically, if you were able to play Scratches Director’s Cut you should be able to play Asylum, though you might have to disable many of the visual effects.

10) What is Dagon?

Dagon is precisely the game engine that we’ve been developing for Asylum. Both projects are strongly connected to each other, and sometimes when we speak about Asylum we’re also speaking about Dagon, and vice-versa. This engine is specifically tailored for adventure games, it’s multi-platform and darned easy to learn. Our philosophy behind it is to ensure Portability, Simplicity and Performance. And indeed, this is a fast engine. Not only you will be surprised by the graphics of Asylum but also the speed at which they are handled.

11) Is Dagon going to be free?

Better than that, it will be open source. We still have to decide some aspects of the project though, mainly if we will offer professional and dedicated support for a fee and if one or two expert features will be released to the public. Whatever we decide you can count on 90% of the engine to be freely available and open sourced, allowing you to create an adventure of similar quality and length of Asylum. Developers who are interested can expect further details soon.

12) What is your favorite color?

Blue. No, yellow!

13) How long is the game going to last?

So far we’ve been estimating between 12 and 15 hours but it’s likely going to be above 15. A healthy length that is ideal for the story we want to tell.

14) Are there going to be downloadable contents (DLC’s)?

Yes, we already have plans for some exciting expansions. One of them will offer a significantly different experience than the original story. At least another will be free, so that your patience is rewarded with a lengthy and enduring game.

15) What about achievements?

At first we didn’t plan to include achievements. After all they are a lame and trendy feature. But, truth is, they can be a cool extra if done unobtrusively that add an incentive to players, yet those who aren’t interested can ignore them altogether. Thus, we have come up with a number of original achievements that are strongly tied to the gameplay and story. They are supposed to reward the curiosity and dedication of players, for example, when they uncover all the easter eggs hidden in the game. We think that you’re going to love them!

16) Are you including many easter eggs?

This question comes up often, possibly because Scratches had many hidden references and small surprises for the good observer. So yes, expect dozens and dozens of such easter eggs in Asylum.

17) What is the secret of Monkey Island?

Wrong game. Next question.

18) When is Asylum coming out?

Ah, THE question. We don’t want to tell you a release date until we’re 100% convinced that we can meet the deadline, but we don’t want to pull an “it’s done when it’s done” either. We have to be honest though and we likely won’t make it in 2012. But 2013 seems to be just the perfect year for Asylum with that 13 and all. The game is in very advanced stages of production (that building above is fully complete for example) but we still have to tackle some important features and put everything together. We can already see the light at the end of the tunnel though.

19) You have been promising a playable teaser but never released it… I hate you!

That’s not even a question.

20) When is the playable teaser coming out?

We’ve always planned a playable teaser in the same tradition as Scratches (which had two of them before a proper demo). This one is taking long because it’s supposed to accurately show you how Asylum is going to look and feel and at the same time offer a robust glimpse into what Dagon has to offer. So it’s going to be one major milestone for us in every sense. At least we can promise the teaser will be released in 2012, possibly well before the end of the year, and it’s going to offer a nice chunk of the game. We won’t call it a demo because the full-blown demo will be downright massive.

So each passing day we’re striving to create a unique and timeless experience, one that will hopefully remain embedded in your mind for years to come. Thank you for being so patient and expect more news soon!

Sweet :slight_smile:

Patience +2.

DLC’s :smiley:
Can’t wait for the multiplayer zombie horde mode :smiley:

…what? :o

Here you can see another view of the building.
As you can imagine we can not reveal too much…but I can tell you that even when you see here the asylum as a whole , every room ( and there are a lot ), corridor, hall and whatnot, has its own treatment, so we hope that Hanwell will be a very…NOT nice place to explore :slight_smile:

Thanks for the update.


Well just let me say that when Senscape finishes this game and becomes one of the biggest indie game companies in the world. I’ll be putting in a resume to Senscape North America; good luck with the rest of the project…I can’t wait to play the final product.

Hey all,

New here but have been keeping my eye on Asylum for some time. Like many here I assume, I played and enjoyed what Scratches had to offer and am even more interested in Asylum but, more on that in a mo…

I am glad you guys have posted this, 'cos I was getting a little worried about the project. However, it is good to hear that you are making sure it’s all done right before you release, as this is something the big boys in the games industry don’t do much these days. I have to say, it sounds like you are really putting a lot of effort into making sure the details are padded out, and that is great to hear; it’s the little, tiny details that create the thick atmosphere you are after in any decent horror title :slight_smile:

Judging by the wireframes above, from an architectural standpoint I must say it looks very accurate… I currently work in the old Leicestershire Borough Asylum; the Towers Hospital in Leicester. It is closed now of course, the last inpatients having been turfed out before 2005 when it officially closed as an asylum, but it is still owned and operated by the health service and we still see a few outpatients there for talking psychological therapies; psychodynamic therapy etc. The original asylum block at the Towers, a three story corridor design building with male and femail wings and built in 1869, shares exactly the same kind of design as Hanwell Institute according to the wireframes above and the first floor plan on the website. It is actually scary how similar they look.

This original building has now been sold and is being converted into luxury apartments, of all things. However, I work still work in the extended wards which were built shortly after the original building and, as you can imagine, there are rumours abound that the place is haunted. We all know that some of the practices in these asylums were unspeakable and would just not be allowed to happen in the modern age and I believe these things left a highly emotional imprint on the atmosphere, the aura if you will, of the building. I certainly feel this when I walk around the corridors of the place early in the morning or later at night when few workers are still around… It’s hard to explain it but it is so very, very eerie, sometimes unnaturally cold and soooo tense… So this is why I have a vested interest in this game. I crave to see if you can create an exagerated version of this tension I feel sometimes when I’m at work.

Looking forward very much to the release, hopefully next year. Thank you guys.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! You can’t imagine how happy we are to hear first-hand experiences from someone who is working in an actual mental asylum. We studied many vintage blueprints and compiled hundreds of pictures, but we never had the opportunity to visit one of these eerie asylums ourselves. We really wanted to reproduce a faithful building, one that could actually function as a real asylum while at the same time serve the purposes of the game. It’s great to hear the effort is paying off.

Oh, we made public some work-in-progress blueprints here:

[url=] ... print1.jpg[/url] [url=] ... print2.jpg[/url] [url=] ... print3.jpg[/url]

There’s been some changes since then, but the structure remains the same.

We trust the final game will echo the uneasiness and paranoia of exploring a real asylum :nod:

Looks huge & scary. A definite place to get paranoid in.

can it happen any surprise for releasing asylum this summer? or should we wait till 2013? sorry but i am so inpatient need this game nowwwwww!!!

We will release a teaser later this year, but the full game comes out the next one… Sorry :frowning:

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

As excited as I am for this game, & no matter how impatient I tend to be… I am devoted to happily waiting for the teaser & the game. This game is going to be epic, take all the time you need, it will only make it better. It’s already bound to be the best, so yeah I will wait, as long as I need to. Until then I will just play Scratches again & again just to again remind myself of the love I have for the developers (no I’m not trying to seem like an obsessive 19 yr old girl. Who can blame me? That game is phenomenal!) & dream of the moment I get to play Asylum! I am so thankful to live in this day & age! Haha :smiley:

We’re blown away by your confidence! Don’t worry, we wouldn’t dare to disappoint cute girls :sunglasses:

Well I’m blown away by your work so I have no doubt in my mind! On a side note, thank you :wink: I’m blushing. haha


Call me a dope but I can’t a definitive place to download the latest teaser content + the latest Dagon engine. ???

You’ve probably tracked them down by now, but in case you’ve not…
Dagon 0.6.5 -

Teaser (has not changed since about May) -

New Dagon cfg file -

Those are the links indeed! At some point in the future we will repack the whole teaser and post proper links, but we’re waiting to add some new features to the game and engine. Also, the proper cfg file is actually included in the 0.6.5 zip :slight_smile: