Remembering Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (part 4)

Hi everyone!

Another day, another excerpt from the Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs design documents! This time, we reveal a more in-depth document that includes maps, interactions, encounters, inventory, and more in a level-by-level breakdown. Enjoy!

 

Frictional Game: Design Document
Author: D. Pinchbeck
Date: 30.6.11

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Summary

The year is 1883. Wealthy industrialist Oswald Mandus has returned home from a disasterous expedition to Mexico. Traumatised by the deaths of his wife and children, he has thrown himself into work for the last four months, constructing “the greatest engine of the age”, a vast complex above and below the London streets. The machine’s purpose is unknown. There are rumours of an unholy technology, of deaths and misadventures, of screams from far below the ground. The stench of stale blood is always upon him.

The game starts with Oswald awakening from a fever, and pursuing what he believes to be the ghosts of his children. He follows their voices through his manor, through a strange airlock structure into a chapel that also seems to function as the entrance to a huge abattoir. Mandus realises he has constructed this machine and it is vast; it also seems connected to his expedition to Mexico. The structure is filthy and swamped with lethal infectants, it also seems to be occupied by a degenerate form of man-pig. As Mandus travels through the machine, he begins to realise that the disease he is so susceptible to is interwoven with the machine’s purpose. A new voice begins to speak to him, claiming to be a god. Although he initially writes this off as his delusion, Mandus comes to realise that there is indeed another presence in the machine, and it is The Machine itself. This machine intelligence needs Mandus’ help, to flush the infectants from its system and restore purity. Mandus realises that this is the fundamental purpose of the entire machine he has built. Around this point however, his travels through the machine lead him back above ground into a Hotel where it seems people are being fattened and fed into the machine: that it is designed for the mass slaughter of humans, not animals. Mandus realises that he has brought something else back from Mexico with him, something inhuman, with horrendous designs for London’s population. The machine, believing itself to be a trapped God, requires a massive sacrifice to wipe the filth of humanity from the world and restore its purity and power. It also boasts it has manipulated Mandus not only to construct its body, but then also to sacrifice his children to keep it alive, and then to journey back into it, diverting the filth and disease and building its power. Mandus realises he must destroy the machine, and travels deeper, finding a steam-powered neural network that forms the machine’s brain. He crosses this Tesla field, and leaps into a chasm at the centre, travelling past the sewer systems used to keep the central processor cool, arriving at the machine’s soul, a pyramidal structure deep underground. At the summit of the pyramid, he finds a strange orb that seems to give the machine its sentience. Determined to destroy it, he uses blasting charges to bring down the cavern roof, breaching London’s sewers into the machine and drowning them both in shit and filth.

 

HUD + INVENTORY

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs retains Amnesia’s inventory screen, with a slight re-design. Oil is retained, as is the lantern, and so are tinderboxes for candles. The health counter is retained with a reskinned heart graphic. The sanity meter is replaced with the Infection meter, with a graphic of a pair of lungs, altering like health according to the level. The notebook is also retained. Fewer inventory slots will be needed.

INFECTION EVENTS

Rather than sanity, A Machine for Pigs uses Infection events as a mechanic. Monsters are infectious, rather than inflicting damage directly. Parts of the environment are also infectious.

Like Sanity, INFECTION is staged on x levels:

LEVEL 0: Default – no adverse effects
LEVEL 1: Light infection. Visual overlays in corners of screen. Occasional coughing.
LEVEL 2: Moderate infection. Player takes a health hit every couple of minutes. Everytime this happens, they stop and vomit/cough. More coughing and hoarse breathing. Mild visual distortions and overlays.
LEVEL 3:  High infection. Heavy distortions, heavy breathing. Movement impaired (wobble walk). Frequent coughing fits and vomiting. Health hits every minute.
LEVEL 4: Lethal infection. Barely able to move – crawling along. Periodic blackouts. Big visuals.

Infections are counteracted by Laudanum and Penicillin (not named as this, but it had precursors going back to 1875!). These are spawned if needed on level loads – in other words, they are there if needed to keep the player going through the game, but player cannot stockpile them. Also some Infection events are capped at the level they can take the player to, so even a poorly playing player will not die at environment infection.

Penicillin – reduces infection by two levels
Laudanum – reduces infection by one level

HEALTH

LEVEL 0: Just dandy – default.
LEVEL 1: Battered but alert – no adverse effects
LEVEL 2: A serious injury – slight visual wobbles.
LEVEL 3: Critically injured – red mist…

Health hits are counteracted by bandages.  

The Monsters

The basic monster is the Manpig, a hideous splice of man and beast. They are highly infectious – each hit pushes the player up another infection level.

The whole game map

 

Design Walkthrough with maps

1. Mansion

Straightforward exploration, no entities. The player begins in an adult’s bedroom, on the floor, by a four-poster bed that has been caged. This leads to a landing, with a staircase going up to children’s rooms. In the nursery, a model of an Aztec temple complex. The bathroom on the master bedroom floor has a bath full of blood. In a second bedroom, a view out over London. A second hall leads to a split-level entrance hall, at the bottom of which we can follow another corridor to a greenhouse. All the plants are dead, diseased. A door at the back leads to an alley.

Nothing occurs in this section, apart from voice-overs. It’s a tension building exercise, there’s no gameplay as such. The mansion is richly furnished but dark, grimy. Colours are deep: reds and greens of furnishings, wood panelling, portraits and furniture. The children’s rooms are super-dark but we can take a lantern from Bedroom 2 and light our way up there. Candles can be lit around the place too. In the nursery, a rocking horse rocks in the dark until we light it: then it stops.

The action is driven by us pursuing the ‘ghosts’ of children (audio triggers) whilst we are orientated to the basic story of Mandus, his expedition, the death of his children, his return and his collapse into fever.

EVENTS:

  • OnStart – visual distortions, fixed view rise from bed
  • Leaving bedroom, childrens voices and footsteps up to nursery – door slams shut to it.
  • Door on right slams and locks
  • Lights go out in nursery – voices “Sshh. He’s coming, he’s coming.”
  • Rockinghorse is going in the dark as we approach. Then the candles light and it stops.
  • Visual distortion on look at map of Aztec. Machine voice low “Mandus….”
  • In bedroom with cot, behind player child foosteps again running away.
  • End door slams again, player approaches “You can’t come in”. Crash of furniture smashing around the room into door.
  • Bathroom – flash/disort. Seconds of bath filled with blood, saw and implements on the bathroom floor. VO: Child laughing. Door slams somewhere below the player.
  • In cupboard in bathroom is laudanum
  • TB: Drawer in second bedroom. Pig mask on the bed. Bed is caged. Visual Shudder
  • Third bedroom: music swell at skybox view out of the window.
  • All the lights go out with big crashing below us.
  • On approach to landing door, it swings open for us.
  • Both doors below in hall slam shut, laughter and footsteps.
  • Office ground floor: TB and note. Visual shudder on pick-up.
  • On approach to greenhouse, sound of pig squealing and smashing glass furniture. It’s a mess when we get there. There’s a pig body lying in broken pile of shit. The greenhouse door at the far end shuts as we approach. “Come on papa, this way!”

 

2. Cellar / Chapel

Brown and yellow tone to this cellar area that contains crates and barrels. It introduces the disease mechanic – because sooner or later we have to become infected by the tunnel towards the coal cellar. First we have to climb onto a split-level walkway and pull a lever to release the block holding the barrels that impede our path. These roll away and we can descend a short ramp into the second cellar section. In here, another split barrel leaks infectants and we cannot pass. However, if we collect a rock from the coal cellar, we can break the support of a walkway, dropping it down at an angle so we can reach another lever and drop the grille out from under the split barrel. This gives us access to a third cellar, with steps to an office. Inside the office is medicine to beat back the infection, and a strange airlock. Unlike the brown/yellow cellars, this is metal, smooth, hydraulic. There are strange markings, based on Mayan pictograms.

Beyond this airlock is an alley leading to a chapel. Normal in most regards but it is caked in blood and filth. There are disturbing stained glass windows in the style of Mayan/Aztec stela (a cycle of a man, a machine and a pig entwined, and other scenes of slaughter).

The altar area is barred off. To get to it, we need to find a cross, which, if we look closely, has a pig jesus on it, and insert it into the altar. The bars slide up and we have access to the priest hole and bell tower. Pulling a bell opens a slate in the priest hole. We know we want to go down there because when we are close to it we can hear voices.

It’s very dark down in the hole, but we seem to be in a large room full of cages, creating a mazelike path. Things move and make unpleasant noises in the dark, in the cages. There are patches of low-level infection around, and then something slams against the bars near us and our infection levels shoot up (establishing monsters=infection). After we fell, the priest hole door slammed shut behind us so the only way is forwards, and at the far side of the holding pens, we see the start of a conveyor belt. A huge smear of blood along the belt draws us in.

From the chapel on, things have gone very quiet – no ghosts call anymore. Light and colour shift from the normal, mundane brown hue of the cellar to a colder blue of the chapel, with vivid reds on the stained glass. The holding pens are extremely dark – lit only by our lantern (which we collect from the Office)

EVENTS:

  • Door to cellar is locked. When the player turns their back on it, it unlocks and opens.
  • Entering cellar – visual overlays, diseases and filth everywhere, distant pigs squealing, machine VO: “Mandus….”
  • In between blocking barrels, the player can see a manpig move across the cellar (delete after this event)
  • INFECTION event in second cellar. Player infected to level 2 as soon as they come down the stairs. (patches of water here from broken barrels)
  • Body of worker. Steal lantern and use disinfectant (he has 2 batches)on self to get rid of infection. Avoiding infective water, to get back out.
  • Lever at end of walkway releases ground wedge and rolls barrels out of the way down into cellar 2.
  • INFECTION event: barrel over grill is broken and seeping. If the player is at level2 of infection or worse, spawn a disinfectant on the overhead walkway.
  • Lever missing from slot on walkway, it’s in the bottom room.
  • Candles light in front of the player on the way down the stairs.
  • Visual shudder on re-emergence.
  • Lever causes grill to open, drops barrel into gunk, grille closes again, “Mandus….”
  • Draw in office desk full of glasses – visual distortion, SFX
  • In alley, each corner children running “this way! This way” We’ve found something! Come and see!”
  • Church doors open, wind sweeps in and knocks over candlesticks, sends bible papers flying.
  • On altar, Lantern oil, medicine and disinfectant.
  • Player must ring bell (loud, distortions) to slide open secret wall behind altar (priest hole) – drops through floor to cages.
  • No lights down here. Beasts bang against cages. Factory key is somewhere in the maze, needed to open final door

 

3. Factory

We are on a dark conveyor belt, sloping downwards. There are occasional walkways and locked doors to either side. Along the ceiling, a wire runs with meat hooks. There is filth and gore everywhere. Mandus’ VO talks of creating this abattoir, taking advantage of the most modern industrial techniques to vastly increase its processing capacity. We hear The Machine for the first time, and the ghosts. It is a fusion of Victorian walls and these odd instances of more modern tech, conveyors and hooks. We pass a set of mechanised knife arms, hanging limply. Behind these is a control room, wheels and dials that resemble the inside of a Jules Verne bathysphere. Plus armchairs and archaic consoles.

Around a corner, the pigline suddenly enters a much bigger room, dropping away three storeys. Ahead of us, the line crosses the room and ends in a grille. Mandus observes that the filth must be clogging the machine, and he should clear it away to get the engine working again, to open the doors. We see a ghost behind the grille. We can drop down onto a caged roof below us and see three huge pistons inactive in caged areas. Rickety wooden maintenance steps lead down. Here, as elsewhere, we have this strange fusion: wood and metal, archaic and modern. There’s a door in the far corner we could reach by dropping into a piston cage and crossing it, but there’s a beast inside and it’s foully infective. Instead, the only way out of the room is through a hole in another piston cage’s floor. As we pass through, The Machine begins to speak to us properly for the first time. It is sick, dying, drowning in shit. It needs to be clean. It begs for our help.

We drop into cramped pipes. Concrete, grey, slimy. Potentially water at points. Very dark – we will need our lantern. The pipes slope down and down. At points off the main path, there are views onto rooms below. In one, we see a four-poster bed in an opulent bedroom with a man ****ing a pig on it. This room is identical to the ones we find later in 07Fattening. In another, we see a freezer with human carcasses hanging from meat hooks, also a scene from 07Fattening. In another, a man with a tube connecting to the stump of his neck. Strange lightning flows along the tube. Eventually the pipe tips sharply downwards and we fall into the sewers.

EVENTS:

  • Office by line at start: more lantern oil, medicine + dis (spawned if needed)
  • Entering pig line- big flashback distortions, sounds of squealing, buzzsaws, etc.
  • Passing first blade section, more distortions “Papa, come and see! What is it Papa?”
  • Factory this time is covered in filth and shit and rust. VO Machine: “Filthy.... so unclean…” Mandus VO about cleaning it to start the machine again. Children” “Again! Again! Make it go again Papa!”
  • Manpig in piston cages – angry, trapped, beating on the bars. Big visual hit (no sanity meter).
  • Drop into office, massive crash and bang from down below. (has the pig escaped fear shock!)
  • In office, potential spawn point for supplies
  • Machine VO’s start here.
  • At foot of stairs, manpig hurls itself against the bars trying to get at us. On proximity, fire INFECTION event.
  • As player moves away towards well corner, big SFX of it hitting the bars behind them.
  • Machine lights gaslamps to lead player towards the well.
  • Particles up from well?
  • At end sections of pipesystem, more lamp oil spawns. Windows into rooms with (animated) sequences.
  1. Caged four poster with pig ****ing a corpse on it.
  2. As we approach “no, no, no … arg!” then we see a freezer with bodies hanging from hooks, one twitching and bleeding
  3. Corpses on tables without heads and blue lightning tubes

 

4. Sewers

If the cellars were yellow, the church blue and the factory brown and grey, the sewers are green: old, damaged stonework, pure Victoriana. A central trough with a walkway on either side. Some areas have water, others are dry. There are three levels to the sewers. A beast roams this place, we will need to avoid it to avoid being infected. Off the sewer somewhere is a room where something has made it’s nest. If we become too infected we pass out and recover here (there is always one room per map designated as the recovery area – always a nest). The sewers are relatively simple and big, giving us time to deliver big plot VOs: Mandus’ discovery of an Orb in Mexico in the temple complexes, and The Machine explaining how Mandus must divert the flow of effluent into the boiler where it can be burnt off and used as fuel, as well as stopping it infecting the engine. Close ties between Mandus and The Machine, both are susceptible to infection.

At the end of the first level of sewers is a large underground reservoir, lethally infectious. Above us we can see a bridge and above that a ledge. Working our way up to the ledge via the bridge and two more levels of sewer tunnels, we find the Flush Controls, and divert the flow of shit in the sewers. With a great rush, we hear water moving. Returning, the water levels have dropped significantly, opening up another bridge and a new tunnel leading off. These climb upwards, and we follow them until we reach a maintenance hatch and a ladder. This joins another series of gore-streaked pipes, which are less sewage than offal disposal, and as we climb up, we hear snatches of conversations between Mandus and another man, discussing the architecture of the plant and it’s purpose. Mandus is cagey: “There are surely not enough pigs in London to feed the hunger of this machine!” “It all depends on what one classifies as a pig, my dear Dr Olafsen”.

We emerge in an exterior yard, London skyline, fog and smog. Ahead is a brick building (the yard is enclosed with fences, we cannot leave any other way). Inside the building, we can see an offal chute leading back down the way we came, and conveyor belts leading into blackened ovens. It is part kitchen, part crematorium. Wagons of unidentifiable waste. Off this, an office. The desk drawers are full of teeth and glasses. Another door leads us to a maintenance corridor, again, turning from wood panelling to stone. We slope downwards again, until we reach an elevator, which is the only option available to us. We go down.

EVENTS:

  • Variable water level: Starts on map. Where the busts are, are sluice controls.
  • INFECTION event – all the water is hugely infective. Occasional bodies float along it.
  • Manpig / maybe 2 on pathways around the level.
  • Doors added into junctions. At least one door slam/lock on approach – or bang against it on approach.
  • Sluice out on ledge by big tank. Distortion – effect – shift sewage to blood? – pieces of meat rain down from up above in the darkness?
  • At base of stairs leading to upper level stairs – bodies float down stream along the sewer – one suddenly moves and screams.
  • Upper level: player will be expecting another pig, so can play audio hell with them – also maybe a shadow, or see a pig from a distance vanish around a corner.
  • 2nd upper sluice control – water level drops.
  • Control room – huge rush of water dropping, loose all the water down plug hole in large tank. – seal off huge doors at water edges of the map.
  • Tank drop and climb-  lots of VOs. Hallucination of Aztec temple.
  • INFECTION event: automatically take the player to level 2 unless they are there already
  • Ovens – VO on approach, cut as player enters room
  • Heavy distortions + VOs in the oven room. Spawn point for medicines in the office on one of the drawers. Shudders on seeing the glasses and teeth.