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Premise

Cover Your Eyes is a traumatic 2D top down survival horror experience, focusing upon family, and the sacrifices we make to keep them safe. With two children under your care, you will have to fight, think and escape out of escalating circumstances as the town of Verwood undergoes an unprecedented metamorphosis.

Take on the role of Chloe, married mother of two working nine to five to support her family. One night, she finds out her husband has been having an affair with another woman. The shocking discovery is soon eclipsed by the town being struck by a supernatural catastrophe and her husband disappearing into the night. Looking for answers, Chloe takes her two children and heads out after him. The town has changed and monsters have come out to play.



Gameplay

Inspired by survival horror past and present, balancing both resident evil style action and the psychodrama of Silent Hill. The player will have to loot for valuable ammo, shoot or run from hostile encounters and use problem solving techniques to overcome puzzles. All while keeping your two children and sanity in check.



Features

  • Reunite your family and escape the town of Verwood.
  • Solve the mystery of who or what is behind the disaster.
  • Face off against other worldly forces.
  • Loot and manage supplies.
  • Decide when to fight. Those shotgun cartridges might come in handy later.
  • Think your way out of conundrums.
  • Keep a look out for your house cat.



Latest Blog

CYE What went right and what went terribly wrong retrospective.

Happy birthday!





One year from release, it's probably time to look back how the game did. Consider this as a educational self analysis. I'll break down the good and bad in the following categories. Marketing, Story and Gameplay. Along with final thoughts. Spoilers throughout.



Marketing


The Good


Trailers

Releasing regular small gameplay snippets and story teases over social media was remarkably fun albeit a little time consuming but I do honestly believed they turned out great in the end. There was difficultly in trying not to show off the whole game, however there was a good balance throughout. Had good reception with facebook groups and sub reddits, twitter was a mixed bag though.










Contacting press/media

Would file this under hit and miss. Did manage to secure over a dozen reviews on independent websites and youtube channels, but this was out of over 200 emails. Google alerts is absolutely fantastic to find out where people are talking in regards to your game.



The Bad


Target audience.

Even today, I still don't know who my game is for or where to find them. It doesn't fit under the rpg horror game template and it's too cute looking for survival horror, there isn't anything in here that breaks the mold. The most likely problem was that in my mind the game was aimed at people who wanted to play a "survival horror game in rpgmaker" which in itself is probably the most niche audience you can find.

Development started in 2012 and I guess the marketing aspect is from that era as well, e,g posting on forums and seeking reviews on web pages and not utilizing discord, instagram along with twitch to build said audience. The media landscape has changed and I was marketing from the past.


Not using GIFs more.

A static screenshot is less interesting than a moving one.

Normal screenshot.


GIF screenshot.


The GIF animation better represents the game than the lifeless screenshot I'd used back during the promotion stage. Should of showcased them more in hindsight.


Reviews

They were mixed. I was rushing towards the finish line and should've took more testers onboard in the early days to help with an outside perspective. I do think the game is in a much better place after a year of updates and fixes. From the looks of it, people do tend to take more notice of steam reviews than written press, all it takes is one negative review to absolutely annihilate sales D:


Zero post marketing

Launch day was the most stress inducing time I ever had in my life, with the end result with me having severe burnout. Five plus hours everyday for almost two years is not good for your mental wellbeing. I really wanted a break.

However, having extended holidays during a crucial period is no way a good idea and plays a major factor in killing your game before the first hurdle. Got to keep that momentum going.


Story


The Good


Set Pieces

This really tested my amateur directing skills along with my drawing but it really paid off in the end and helped throw the player off at times (in a good way.)






The big twist

That it's not neither a viral outbreak, ghosts, cults, witchcraft nor the main character going crazy. Instead it all turned out to be the protagonists husband unintentionally obtaining a magic necklace containing an jackass genie!

The first wish he made at the beginning "I wish this town would go to hell!" kicks off the events of the game and the second wish close to the end "I wish everything was just like before" placed the main character into some sort of time loop. Hence why Chloe sees "No time" and "Not now" prompts whilst out exploring. Not to mention various factions in the town competing to acquire (Rupert) or destroy (The devil) said genie. Of course it all comes across as convoluted at times but I'm quite proud how it wasn't the usual silent hill/resident evil survival horror plot template that we've all seen before.


The Bad


I'm awful at writing.

Hand on heart, I'm not confident at all with how to write a story. I got big ideas and know how to implement them but I can't seem to nail characterization down at all. Looking back, I should of had the main character have some more down time with the kids to help build up their relationship and also expanded more on some key plot elements. There was also a dramatic shift in tone from horror straight to action adventure three quarters in the game that threw a lot of players off.


Delivery on dialogue was way too slow.

I should of picked up on this part a lot sooner but it only caused a lightbulb moment after an number of reviews and editing in lets plays showed how big the problem was. They've been cut down dramatically through updates, however it did hurt the game in the subsequent months after launch.


Changed the ending at the last minute.

The original ending was very bleak and anticlimactic, basically everybody died in the end with only Rupert and the pet cat surviving! It wasn't fun to make and with the backdrop of the global pandemic, I thought it was for the best to create a somewhat happier ending rather than have gloom and despair. The trade off was to delay the game by two months to accommodate the changes, however I do think the final sequence is far more entertaining and I'd rather have it to be somewhat imperfect than the "everybody dies!" alternative.


Gameplay.


The Good


Presentation/details.

The main character Chloe has over 3000 sprite cells, from shouting at her children all the way to disemboweling the Devil. I did commit to making her an incredibly robust playable character that reacts to every situation.



My personnel favorite detail actually goes to her two kids when Chloe aims her weapon in game XD




Enemy variety.

Originally I wanted to make every enemy unique, however 200 plus monsters would of been overkill. Managed to make 63, some of them are admittedly edits of each other. I was proud of how they turned out, even if they're a little too cute.



I'd achieved almost everything I set out to do.

90% of all the ideas that were in my mind ended up in the game. Some things that I thought were impossible became possible and translated from thought into game better than I could ever expected. And for that I'm immensely proud.


The Bad


Level design.

Most of my attention was focused on sprites and you can sort of tell how uninspired some of the levels turned out to be. Most of the interiors came from one humongous tileset and outside in the town looked largely the same. With only one or two areas being the exception.


Making a action game in RPG Maker XP.

There were a lot of concessions made due to the engine. Midway through development I ended up having to cut the running feature due to lag, however it was literally a month before release where I'd thought about transferring to MKXP. After some help, I managed to get it to run on there and realized that I could bring back some of the features that were initially scrapped which led to the next problem...


The game wasn't 100% ready at launch.

There were still a number issues that I thought were sorted out but turned out not to be the case. I sent the review code one week prior and ended up receiving emails saying that they can't complete the game. Turned out I uploaded the wrong folder D:

I should of never of crunched myself for a release date that didn't need to be crunched for. I was so fed up of making the game on and off for several years that I wanted it to be out the way for good. Turned out I was still making changes up until the week gone past!


Final thoughts!

Cover Your Eyes started development in 2012, semi abandoned in 2015, rebooted in 2019 and released one year ago today on the 6th of November. I always wanted to make a video game but I'm still not sure if the painful dev time was worth all the missed opportunities throughout my twenties. From an commercial standpoint it was a absolute failure but as creative endeavor it was an startling success.

With the past successes of commercial RM games of yesterday, part of me probably got my hopes up way too high. And consequently ended up going away from commercial gamedev a little jaded and bitter. End of the day, the buck truly stops at me and shouldn't of made too many rookie mistakes. Regardless, I am very proud of the game and actually fulfilled my life long dream of something to call my own.


Will I make another game? Yes.


Will I take eight years to do so? Hope not. But I won't beat myself up to get it finished next time around.

  • Completed
  • Commercial
  • StarSkipp
  • Puddor (Portraits)
    Dingaling (Composer)
    Gibmaker (RGSS helper)
  • RPG Maker XP
  • Shooter
  • 01/26/2013 06:49 AM
  • 12/25/2021 07:41 PM
  • 11/06/2020
  • 86209
  • 46
  • 241

Posts

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LOL'ed at "lots of lag" xD looking forward to dis :)
The part about being dumped into a surreal town where all of the resident's fears, nightmares, and bad vibes come to life sounds a lot like Silent Hill. Am I wrong about this?
author=Wyvernjack
The part about being dumped into a surreal town where all of the resident's fears, nightmares, and bad vibes come to life sounds a lot like Silent Hill. Am I wrong about this?


Yes.
author=StarSkipping
author=Wyvernjack
The part about being dumped into a surreal town where all of the resident's fears, nightmares, and bad vibes come to life sounds a lot like Silent Hill. Am I wrong about this?
Yes.

I-I don't think I am. Am I? All joking aside, you've certainly got my attention with this one - regardless of what it's like.
Yeah I was being slightly facetious there. =P Truth be told, I've never played a silent hill game in my life unfortunately. Besides the old creepy town setting, the monsters/nightmares would be symbolic from the people who lived there and not from the protagonist herself.

So for example if the player were to go into a house, only to find out that the previous occupant was an obsessive cleaner, then the predetermined random event would deal with his/her phobias. It's actually one of the reasons why mapping is taking up most of my attention at the moment, mainly because I have to make sure every map tells a story/ or give a visual clue on what the player could possibly face around the next corner. Otherwise it'll just come across as random. :S
Survival shooter? Me gusta muuuuchoo.
I hope you remove the last feature soon :D
Gibmaker
I hate RPG Maker because of what it has done to me
9244
Hot dollars!
This looks really interesting! Definitely looking forward to it!
Nice one, looking good so far. Can't for a download of some sort...
shayoko
We do not condone harassing other members by PM.
515
that map picture got ma interest :D
reminds me of the mini map function which is a bit of a pain to build
hora hora
subbed! :D
Quick update! The game has been on hiatus for the past month due to personal health issues. However, all I have left to tackle now is one huge graphic/sound crunch and hey presto it'll be all done by next summer. :D
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
Hiatus or not, you get a sub just for that logo.
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
I'm assuming the logo changed since my previous comment. Too bad, cuz for me to comment like that it must've been something amazing.
Here we are! It was intially on top of a black background (white on white is gross) think I got rid of it because it was way too busy looking.

Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
ah, ya that would've gotten my attention :)
Maybe too much dripping blood? Lots of blood dripping close together is likely to attach to each other instead of form lots of little drops, if the surface it's running over is smooth like that.
My thoughts exactly, I liked the initial design but it felt off at the time. Really struggle with making fonts >.<
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