Real World Time and Weather in Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

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Real World Time and Weather in Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

Imagine you’re riding the bus and playing a great game on your PS Vita. The bus drives into a rain cloud, and… can that be? Now it’s raining inside the game! Later at home, thanks to the one-two punch of Cross Buy and Cloud Save, you pick up where you left off on your PS4. And when the sun sets outside your window, it becomes night in the level you were just playing! That’s what happens in our upcoming game, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon, thanks to the positional features of PS Vita and PS4.

In Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon, out soon for PS4 and PS Vita, you play a jumping spider. You can walk on walls and ceilings, jump, and use your silk to create threads. Draw any shape with those threads and it’ll form a web, which is how you catch the variety of insects found at each location. As you make your way from room to room, you’ll slowly realize that you’re exploring an abandoned estate, one riddled with mysteries, clues, and puzzles. Like any good spider, you leave the place covered in cobwebs.

Time and weather matter when on the hunt for bugs. At night, the fireflies and crickets emerge while moths circle around lights. When it rains, mosquitoes come out and inchworms dangle by threads. On a clear day, you might smack a hornet nest to do battle with its defenders, or carefully craft a strong web, required to trap the largest insects. And what dictates whether it’s day or night, rain or shine? The real world. Once you give your permission, the game determines where you are, looks up the time of day and current weather, and mirrors those in the game. So when the sun rises or the rain falls outside your window, the same thing happens inside your game at the mysterious Blackbird Estate.

Time and weather even affect the story and puzzles. Obviously a spider can’t crawl up the water spout when the rain is washing down. The windmill is so old that the sails don’t spin all the way around unless it’s raining, so to explore the whole thing wait until rain falls in real life. If you’re impatient you can use the weather device, but choose carefully — the weather device and time machine give you control, but only one of them can be used per real world moon phase. Moon phase? Yes indeed, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon tracks that too, and you’ll need to be on your best spider sleuthing game to determine how moon phase impacts the deepest, most hidden puzzles and snatch up that Platinum Trophy!

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon on PS4 and PS Vita

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon on PS4 and PS VitaSpider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon on PS4 and PS Vita

There have been a handful of video games, some of them really great, that use your real world information to create gameplay. We were inspired by those, but we wanted to push it further than we’d seen before. Each of the game’s thirty levels can be played in all four possible conditions, each a new combination of insects, secrets, and features, each with its own leaderboard to track which player has truly mastered Spider’s deep scoring system in that environment. We hope that Spider draws you in, that once you’ve been through Blackbird Estate a first time, you’ll eagerly reach for your PlayStation when you notice those raindrops falling outside your window, to follow up on a clue, go for a high score, or just to see what happens in the Graveyard on a rainy night…

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11 Author Replies

  • Wait, so this is a puzzle game… on Vita… with a Platinum trophy… AND real world time & weather influences? This sounds awesome! I feel kinda bad for folks who live where the weather hardly changes, but up here in Vermont it seems like my gameplay experience will be changing on the hour ;-)

    Do you have an idea roughly when the game’s coming out?

    • Not only am I also originally from Vermont, this game is set in Vermont! Or a fictional version of it, anyway, one in which secret societies built even more buildings engraved with arcane symbols and hidden doors than they already did in Vermont. But a lot of the locations and story elements are very much based on real life. Have you ever heard of Wilson Castle in Proctor? That’s just one good starting point. We don’t have a release date yet, but we’ll post about it as soon as we do!

    • No kidding! That’s too funny. I’m not from VT originally, but I live and work here now. I’ve heard of that castle, but I haven’t been. Thanks for the tip (and for the cool looking game :-)

  • Now this sounds really cool! Love how your game changes based on real world conditions. Do you have a release window for the game yet? weeks? months?

    • Definitely weeks or months! ;) We are doing our best work on it, and we’ll post with a release date as soon as we are certain of one. I hope you find the locational features to be as fun and even a bit magical as we believe they are!

  • YES, this is quite the pleasant surprise!

    Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor was probably the very first mobile game I ever played on my iPod Touch (yes, before the iPhone) and I loved every minute of it! (Hard to believe it came out all the way back in 2009?!)

    Any hint of a release date or price at this point? (and hopefully the Vita will have the touch screen controls which made the original game so much fun!)

    • I second this – Spider: Bryce Manor is still the best game ever created for mobile.

      What a huge surprise to see this headed to Vita/PS4!!! When??!!

    • Wow, thanks guys! We put our hearts and souls into Bryce Manor, and we were glad so many people loved it. But quite honestly, as good as that game is, it is going to look like a prototype compared to Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon! This game has so many more insects, more environments, lots more secrets, puzzles, and story, and of course innovative new features like this real world locational feature, which makes exploring the Estate and hunting for bugs so much more dynamic and replayable. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it. We will post a release date as soon as we are certain of one!

  • This game is going to take super long to finish you’ll have to wait several months just for it rain.

    • Ha! Well, actually, that’s what the Weather Device is for. If it hasn’t rained in a while, you have the technomagical ability to make it rain in the game. And you can do that more than 8 times per month, which is a pretty solid bit of power (the Weather Device and Time Machine are powered by moon phases, you see). Some of our playtesters live in drought-stricken California, and they really wish the Weather Device worked in real life, not the other way around.

  • Looks like a great game…will it be able to be played on the PlayStation TV?

  • Sounds like a fun game. I have one big question. If you don’t release the game until the Winter months, is it going to be harder to catch bugs with the snow flying, you will have snow won’t you? I live in the Big Mitten and the old saying here is wait 5 minutes and the weather will change. Like the idea of weather changing to real time, just worried about power outages during storms where I live. I would be playing on PS4.

    • Great question! The game is set in the fall, so we map all types of precipitation on to rain. If it snows in the Big Mitten, it will rain in Blackbird Estate. We felt sticking with autumn was best. Among other things, there are lots more insects alive in the fall than the winter, so you don’t have to wait until spring to eat your share of bugs. If your hardware has access to GPS and you give it permission to use it, then it uses GPS to do your real-world location look-up. Otherwise it uses your internet IP address, again only with your permission. (But definitely give it permission, since the data is only used to make your gameplay cooler.)

  • Interesting concept, but pass. I’m scared of spiders.

    • We actually implemented a special mode for arachnophobes this time! We’ve heard your comment many times in the past. You get to play as a… well, not a spider. It’s a surprise!

  • Very cool game concept (location based dynamics working upon gameplay). Should be fun to see how it turns out.

    Regarding the time-machine/weather machine: I typically only get to game when I’m back from work (i.e. at night), except for weekends. Some have wondered above about how real-time weather stasis may challenge gameplay, and I wonder the same thing about time of day. What if I only ever see the game during the night?

    Would it be possible, rather than to have us invoke time/weather-machines manually (with cut-offs, etc.) to have a ‘simulated time/weather progression setting’? That is, the game essentially simulates the occurrence of weather and time (or maybe simply switches the locales it uses for you). That would probably be a better experience than having to manually invoke those ‘machines’.

  • To be clear, what I meant above was to have that feature as an *option* for people who may not experience that much variation along the times they play the game. Obviously, it wouldn’t compare to the original aim of the game where actual weather/time affects it.

    • Yeah, we seriously considered an option like this, where the game world has a life of its own, following its own clock and weather simulation. But part of the magic of this game is how it blurs the lines between game and reality. It’s almost .. creepy!.. the first time you realize the game world changed to night because the sun set outside your window. It’s like the game is watching you. And it’s super fun the first time you think “Well, it’s a full moon tonight.. what clues should I follow up on.. oh! I know!” and your plan works out. So we wanted to stick with our guns on that, to ensure as many people participate in the experiment as possible. The Time Machine will be handy for you, on those occasions when you want to see what it’s like during the day. It’s a mysterious mansion, so you won’t be disappointed by spending most of your time there at night! Thanks for your question.

  • Playstation TV compatibility???????

    • Sorry, I wasn’t avoiding your question. I’m more on the creative than technical side, and I’m not actually sure if our code runs on Playstation TV. It’s planned for PS4 and Vita. I’m looking into it!

    • Thanks guys…it would be great if it was…a lot of people enjoy playing the Vita games on the TV when they are not on the go…keep up the good work!

  • This reminds me of Spider: The video game. Will this get physical retail?

  • Another question…what is the difference in cost releasing a game with only digital download vs. the physical cartridge? Is it that much of a difference? Thanks.

    • I’ve been in the games industry a very long time, but it’s been many years since I had to consider the complexities of boxed goods, manufacture, and distribution. So I’m not the person to ask. I know my friends at Harmonix pulled off a miracle when they not only made a game that required unique hardware but also made that game massively successful (Guitar Hero, of course). I heard about some of the issues they had to grapple with, which is about the last time I had any recent information on this topic.
      In any case, the overhead cost and effort associated with making a game for download-only is way, way lower than printing that game on a physical medium and shipping it to stores around the world. Tiger Style is a tiny company, so we aren’t in that league. But who knows, maybe someone will decide they want to do that for us! That would be like winning the lottery!

  • Your game looks great! I like puzzle games and platform games, so this looks like it would be up my alley. It’s also refreshing to see a game like this incorporate real-world time and weather conditions. Even better yet, that data is being used as an integral aspect of the gameplay. I’m surprised that there aren’t more games (in other genres, too) doing things like this, and I hope other developers will take notice.

    I hadn’t heard of this game previously, but I’m glad you informed us about it. I will certainly follow its progress now.

    • Hey thanks! To make a game whose gameplay really varies with time and weather, the game systems need to be responsive to the qualities of those conditions. Other than just changing appearances, why does it matter to the game if it’s dark vs. light? If it is wet vs. dry? It makes a big difference for driving cars, for example, so I’m surprised there aren’t more driving games that try this. In our case, it works well because such different insects come out in different conditions, and also because even a simple thing like a little rain can make a big difference to a tiny spider!

  • The concept of the game sounds very interesting and worth of experimenting with. I’m also curious what this alternative for people afraid of spiders might be. I hope the game comes out this year!

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