An Interview with J. Pinal and the Irreverent Software Team Behind 3AM Dead Time

3AM Dead Time

Do you believe in the paranormal? Have you ever heard voices in the middle of the night as you restlessly try to fall asleep? Maybe things have gone missing in your house or suddenly moved across the room. Or even worse… you may have experienced  an Alien Abduction! Or a violent attack by shadow creatures! What ever your experience is with ghosts, creatures of the night, etc, we have all heard disturbing and terrifying accounts from our families, friends, and the crazy cat lady. But, even if you think you have a good story there are some accounts that are so terrifying and strange that they hold a place in history. These accounts send chills down our spines. Even though they may have occurred decades ago and in a places we’ve never been to; just hearing these stories can keep us up at night.

Keeping you up all night and scaring you to the bone is exactly the goal of the Irreverent Software Team. Creating their own web of horrifying and confusing paranormal events, which I should add are inspired by true events, the team hopes to shake up the Horror genre with their upcoming game 3am Dead Time. The premise of the game is a group of paranormal researchers who travel the world trying to find haunted locations and deadly creatures all while being filmed for a TV series. Players must become adept with a variety of equipment and learn how their teammates will react to different scenarios.

For some more insight into the game’s features, developer J. Pinal and the Irreverent Software team took some time out of their busy schedule to talk with me about 3am Dead Time.

In 3am Dead Time players will be faced with different paranormal stories in each episode. The trailer says that these stories are inspired by True Events. Can you tell our readers about some of the specific events that will be referenced in the game, also how did the team sort through the stories they wanted to incorporate?

We can only talk about the inspiration we had for the first mission, as we want to avoid spoilers for later episodes. The game has several different missions, each inspired not by one but by several different encounters and events. We then reshaped those events into a new original story.

For the first mission, we took some elements from the 1994 Guarapiranga case, located in Brazil. Which was a very disturbing case of alien abduction. As well as details from the interview and documentary material surrounding the Travis Walton abduction. That case may be familiar to anyone who has seen the movie “Fire in the sky”. Also there are elements from the Betty Andreasson case, along with many other reports from all around the world regarding the “bedroom intruders” and a few more from the Colares case.

You have mentioned on your site that “the scares come from the locations and getting you immersed in the environment rather than a gallery of jump scares.” Do you think other games in the horror genre rely too much on jump scares?

Definitely.

Ever since screamers got big on YouTube and free short horror games started to gain popularity, everyone tried to mix both and copy them. A lot of people did so without realizing that many of the free horror games got popular because of their content and not just the jump scares.

A jump scare is great at the right moment and in small doses. You need to have something to back up and justify the use of a jump scare. We want to tell a story first, to hook the players with the atmosphere and the mystery. Not just shock them with a jump scare in every corner, or a figure jumping and screaming at the screen.

3AM Dead Time

What kinds of equipment will players have to become familiar with for 3am Dead Time, and how much will equipment choice affect the outcome of an episode?

The players will need to use many different kinds of equipment. Technical items such as cameras, recorders, motion trackers, barometers, Geiger sensors, hidden microphones etc. will all help to detect the paranormal during investigations. Other non-technical equipment will include items such as amulets, figa stones, quartz crystals, obsidian amulets, incenses, etc.

Every item comes with a brief explanation, and during the course of the mission the player will need to know exactly which item is the best fit for the situation.

And yes, the equipment you choose at the beginning of a mission certainly has an impact on the outcome; both in the score of the level and in the story. Since the wrong equipment will make it harder to collect enough evidence. Our story is written in a way that even tiny decisions can result in a very complex consequence in the end.

I am really interested in the Mood and Behavior of the AI that will be implemented into the game. How exactly will your character’s fear response affect the mood of the game?

In the game we have parts called EVENTS and ENCOUNTERS. Everything that happens during the mission has an effect on the different characters. Each character gets more or less affected by different things, and their actions can change depending on what happens to them.

In the single player version for example you might be working with your team to get evidence of a creature inside a dark corridor. But if one of your team members is afraid of the dark, he might run away and try to escape at the slightest noise.

The game will also react to the characters actions. The paranormal events and encounters will start to become attracted to the characters that are more scared. It is similar to how a wild animal would chase a person they sense is afraid.

The 3am Dead Time demo is available on Windows and Linux, what kind of feedback have you been getting from players?

So far we have gotten a very good response. People have been very supportive of the game and with their help we fixed most of the technical issues found in the demo, like a few bugs related with the controls. We’ve also had a very good reception to the game’s atmosphere, mechanics and old-school style, where you have to collect samples and fill in the gaps of the story with clues and a lot of exploration.

Unfortunately, in the Linux demo we haven’t got as much feedback and it hasn’t been easy to develop for the platform due to limits in our own hardware. But we will keep developing and testing this version and doing our best to keep it up to date and on par with the Windows one.

3AM Dead Time

On your Indie DB page it says you are looking for voice actors/actresses. For someone interested in applying what should they keep in mind before sending in their submission.

We are looking mostly for a range of voice actors and actresses rather than how much an individual can change their voice. The game relies heavily on story, and our story touches upon some very dark and mature topics. So we are looking for people who can display a range of emotion and personality through their voices.

Also, we are giving a lot of priority to the audio quality. The sound design in our game is very important and has so far been something that people have really appreciated. To preserve the atmosphere of the game we want to keep the audio at the highest quality possible.

Does the Irreverent Software Team have any paranormal stories of their own?

Yes, but we cannot assure that they were real paranormal events. We have had our fair share of…unusual and strange situations. The previous home of one of our team members was very strange. We often heard the voices of children, and none of us have any small children. Also things would vanish for days or change places on their own. Strange noises could be heard during the nights, and insect infestations would come out of nowhere. For example dozens of dead spiders and other insects appearing overnight…

The house was sold several years ago, but it is still empty as far as we know. Strange things like that and many other small events and encounters with shadows and figures occurred inside that home, as well as in another developer’s house. These personal stories also helped inspire some of the events in the game, and the attitudes of some of the characters.

Just like our own team, the characters in the game are not all believers nor all skeptics. I will say that the views and reactions of some of these characters reflect that of our own team.

The only seemingly paranormal experience I’ve had in my life would have to be when I unknowingly locked my cat in the closet. I was certain there was a demon shaking my closet doors that night and that I wouldn’t live to see the morning. Of course, when I opened the closet I was greeted by my little grey cat who was very angry… Am I a terrible cat mom? I’d say it’s debatable. Anyhow if you are interested in following the progress of 3am Dead Time be sure to follow Irreverent Software’s progress at the following links. Indie DB Twitter.

According to my license I’m an adult… I think that means I can perform a citizen’s arrest now. When I’m not protecting civilians I enjoy indulging in sci-fi or martial art movies. I play videogames when I can’t fall asleep, and if that doesn't work I fistfight the ghosts in my basement. Nice to meet you.

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