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Development Diary Part II – September ’23

by | Sep 20, 2023 | News | 0 comments

Hi everyone,
Welcome to the second Still Wakes the Deep Dev Diary; join us as we continue our deep dive into the game’s development. Before we crack on, please allow us to say thank you for all your kind words about these Dev Diaries, we love how they allow us to connect with our community.

???? It’s time to find out more about what’s cooking in Beira D.

Art / Animation / Lighting

→ The scale of the rig: Part 2

For the first part of the story, see August’s Dev Diary

“When we started moving into production that’s when we started to focus on how we were going to achieve this sense of scale that was so essential. One key aspect was having the player move between tight, claustrophobic spaces and very human, domestic ones to provide contrast to the huge, exposed industrial environments. We also found as is common with making a first-person perspective that we needed to break away from a real world 1:1 scale to make it feel right.

But it wasn’t until we started working with audio that we began to find success in capturing the weight and size of these structures. When the art team heard the huge boom of the waves against the legs, the groaning and creaking metal and distant reverberations across the space we started to feel like we were getting close to an authentic depiction of being on an oil rig in the middle of the north sea.”

Laura Dodds, Associate Art Director


→ Scouting for the Announcement Trailer song: Part 2

For the first part of the story, see August’s Dev Diary

“Sadly, Flora had passed away a few years ago, but through some research I found that her daughter, Maggie MacInnes, is also a Gaelic traditional singer and harpist.

So this is how I learned about Maggie; I then listened to some of her songs and was instantly struck by her voice – beautiful and original, yet to my ears with a similar tonality as her mother’s. I got in touch and that’s how she ended up working with us. We talked on the phone about the project and the song, and Maggie suggested some verses that are most relevant to the game’s story. It’s of course a short trailer so we could only fit in two verses. It was then a very swift process; she recorded a couple of takes for us at home and nailed it instantly. Just a brilliant artist and performer.”

We now have a link to Maggie’s full song, too! Enjoy: SpotifyUK iTunesUK Apple Music

Daan Hendriks, Audio Director

Code / Programming

→ Explore and Discover: Seeing the beauty in horror

“Explore and Discover” is one of our game pillars, so in a typical Chinese Room fashion the first thing we wanted to try out was to find beauty in the horrific changes around you on the rig. We set the bar really high, and wanted to create an environment that feels real, scary, and weird.

Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 is the perfect choice for this. We want to give the players the best experience on both desktop PCs and consoles. It is a powerful modern rendering engine that allows us to be creative. With Lumen and Nanite we can now explore real-time lighting and give fine detail in our scenes.”

And of course, the rig is located in the North Sea, so we need to have stormy weather – rain, wind, rough seas, mist, gusts – Niagara (Unreal Engine’s next-generation VFX system) allows us to plenty of freedom in this area.

We also used ControlRig (the scriptable rigging system) extensively for procedural animations – but more on this later.”

Louis Larsson-De Wet, Associate Technical Director

Community / Comms

→ Working with two major announcements at once

It sure has been a busy time here at The Chinese Room’s comms team. In the last month the game also participated in the Xbox showcase, platforming the people behind the screen making the actual game, resulting in a Worldbuilding mini documentary that enriches the player with more insight into what we’re crafting.

We’ve participated in IGN’s Fearfest, our Senior Designer Jade Jacson has travelled to Gamescom where the game journalism community was seemingly very impressed with what they’ve seen thus far.

We couldn’t be happier. The Guardian even noted exactly how we want our projects to be experienced: “The game’s cast of relatable human characters hints at the kind of grown-up, A24-esque scares that video games don’t often deliver.” Even the genius that is Sam Barlow (Her Story, Immortality) is curious – we are so proud and excited to share the title with you.

Us at TCR comms team have also been ever so slightly busy only with. An announcement of one of the most anticipated game sequels of this century?? At PAX West we revealed that Paradox Interactive chose our studio as the developers for Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2. We’ve been working on the project, alongside Still Wakes the Deep, for a couple of years now and cannot wait for the passionate fan base to get their hands on the project in a year’s time. We’re incredibly proud of both titles – one our own IP and the other one being entrusted to us – and hope to achieve a wonderful synergy between the two communities.

Oh, and remember our 1970s-themed party for the announcement of Still Wakes the Deep? Well, we had to one for VtMB2 of course, too, and thought you’d enjoy our commitment here too:)


Marijam Didžgalvytė, Senior Marketing Executive


→ Voice-over

“This month I had my first opportunity to attend voice recording sessions for Deep. We worked with SIDE London to record our brilliant cast as they performed lines that ranged from heartfelt dialogues to shouted Scottish swearwords and even whistling. The talent of our cast as they switched between voices and emotions was incredible to witness, and hearing lines we’d worked on in many sessions at the TCR studio being performed was so gratifying and thrilling. It’s apparent that our human 1970s drama is going to be one of the most special things about Still Wakes The Deep. More about our absolutely stellar cast in months to come…

Adding here a little video Dev Diary we did for our previous title Little Orpheus where you can see that we take voice-over very seriously and have a lot of joy doing it.”

Rob McLachlan, Lead Designer and awesome human being from the seventh dimension


→ Knowing the game

“One thing I have found that devs find helpful is when QA knows the game inside and out. Sometimes devs don’t get a chance to play the game for weeks and a huge amount has changed in that time. But since QA tests the game each and every day we know exactly what’s been added and what’s in need of fixing. Knowing at a glance: the scene number, the context, the bugs which exist in that scene and who those bugs are assigned to, can speed up the process of review and refinement infinitely.”

Tom Grant, QA Tester


→ It’s just a game

“It’s just a game” is something I say fairly regularly. When I worked in live event production it would be “It’s just a big party in a field” and when I worked in bars it was “it’s just fancy drinks”.

The point is, very little in this life is worth working yourself into the ground, and part of my role as Associate Producer is to gently remind some of our more passionate developers of this fact.

Our team is incredible, but they put a lot of pressure on themselves, because they want this game to be perfect. I can understand that, but it’s vital to the well-being of the team that they don’t work evenings and weekends to make x, y and z look absolutely flawless.

We’ve all put our blood, sweat and tears into this process at one time or another, but ensuring that everyone has enough of those fluids left to make it to the end of the project is a vital aspect of production.”

Jacob Jackman, Associate Producer


A big reveal of info about the game is coming out next month, if all goes well. Stay tuned, we’re relishing in giving more insight into the experience you can expect. For all in-depth news about our studio, game development resources, recommendations and other awesome content – sign up to our monthly newsletter.

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20th September 2023 | News