This game has become slightly more relevant recently as it served as base-inspiration for our Dreamhack entry Sins of the Past. Patient 06 was planned to release on 6/6/06 but never saw the light of day.
This game was our third and final-for-a-decade attempt at a light-system game. I knew the light system from Project C made my art look better with assisting me fake depth, and I learned from Train that light made my dithered edges look pretty sweet. Unluckily though I was a terrible terrible pixel artist who just dithered the fuck out of everything, not to hell but beyond stylistically, you know? It got a little overboard with this project. I definitely didn’t do the light any favors by picking this weird, awkward tile style. I remember being really proud of it at the time, but looking back it reminds me of the Nightmare on Elm Street DOS game, except that game had the good sense to have some character and not assume that any shortcomings in the art would be fixed magically with light.
The plot of this game is silly. It’s about a daughter who is going to visit her father in the psych ward of some “crazy person” hospital, and he’s in cell 06, and he’s patient 06. Upon arriving you find his cell empty except for a cryptic note, then the game starts proper. Or something like that, we didn’t completely get around to fleshing out all of the plot (which was mostly my task). It had a bunch of different versions, but the one that was developed the furthest just feels like a rehash of Project C. Frustratingly lost in a maze of darkness solving boring door-key puzzles while attempted to avoid the real meat & potatoes of the game, the enemies.
Each enemy was based around a different sense, so when you ran down the halls you’d make noise and alert the sound monster. To combat that, you could remove your shoes, but potentially cut your foot on broken glass and alert the smell monsters. That sort of thing was core idea of the game. Ideally levels would be built cleverly around those systems (see: Sins of Our Past DX) but I’m really a terrible level designer most of the time, if always eager to try.
In the end, we didn’t meet our deadline and momentum completely died for the project. Young game developers seem to have a better time of just saying ‘fuck it let’s make another game instead’, as opposed to working on something to completion. I was rushing to finish maps with boring puzzles in hallways that were too tight to even effectively experience the enemies, mostly because I didn’t give myself enough time to slow down and listen to the game and what it was actually giving me. I’d be years until I’d learn that was even a thing.
I’ll eventually find the ‘latest version’ of this project and release it here. Our old secrets need to find their ways into the hands of our enemies.