A downloadable nightmare for Windows

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Cardiac is a surreal horror experience created for Halloween.

Slop your way through a strange and unsettling dream.

Everything was created from scratch in my free time over 6 weeks as a personal challenge instead of inktober this year. I'll be uploading some breakdowns, 3D assets, textures/materials, soundtrack and project files over the next few weeks. Feel free to use them for whatever you want.


Gamepad Controls:

L2 - Reach out with tendrils to latch onto the world

R2 - Pull your mass towards your tendrils

R.stick - Camera Control

Mouse Controls:

RightMouse - Reach out with tendrils to latch onto the world

LeftMouse - Pull your mass towards your tendrils

MouseMove - Camera Control

Esc - Quit Game


StatusReleased
PlatformsWindows
Rating
Rated 4.1 out of 5 stars
(70 total ratings)
Authorkatanalevy
Made withUnreal Engine, Substance Painter & designer, Blender
Tags3D, Abstract, body-horror, Dark, Halloween, Horror, Physics, Singleplayer, Surreal, ue4
Average sessionA few seconds
InputsMouse, Gamepad (any)

Download

Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Cardiac.zip 910 MB
CardiacSoundtrack.rar 16 MB

Development log

Comments

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Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 70 · Next page · Last page
(+1)

I wonder what was your inspiration for creating this game?

(+1)

It was based on a painting I did a few months before of a strange sentient heart:

Deleted 39 days ago
(+1)

DOES work on Steam Deck, ONLY if you edit the launch options to "Force the use of a specific Compatability tool" and set it to "Proton: Experimental."

Wow, that's great to know! I hadn't tested this one on the Deck yet but Proton constantly amazes me at what it can run. Thanks for sharing that for others that might be interested.

(+1)

Wow, what a great atmosphere. Really fantastic work, looking forward to your future projects!

(+1)

Thank for this game !

Wow. Looked amazing and mixed with the atmosphere and those sounds it was an awesome experience. 

(+1)

Great game, loved the eerie vibe & the body horror was spot on

(+1)

This was AMAZING!  I'll never be the same again!

Ha! Thanks so much for playing and glad you enjoyed it. Right on the money with the Beksinski and Giger influences :)

was this a ue4 game or you made, wow amazing visuals

Thank you! The engine is UE4, all the models made in Blender and Medium (VR sculpting), textures in Substance and music/SFX in Reaper. :)

Wow, this is amazing art

Super moody experience. Very artsy cinematography (Lynch comes to mind) and fleshy, visceral map design. Big kudos to the ambient soundtrack, as well. I still find myself intrigued by the prototype—that early version of the game that was, at the time, in full color and stuck in a perpetual cycle. Something about the process of looping through familiar maps feels particularly oppressive to me. It feels inescapable, no matter what you do. A different type of prison.

(+1)

Gives of Zdzislaw Beksinski atmosphere, really enjoyed it, captivating, stunning.

(+2)

Beksinski is my favourite painter so it's really great to see someone pick up on that. Eraserhead by David Lynch was the other big influence on this project. Glad you enjoyed it!

(+1)

If not already familiar you might enjoy S.V. Mitchell's and Chet Zar's art. That was an experience.

(+1)

I have seen some of Chet Zar's work before and love it, but I hadn't heard of S.V. Mitchell, thanks for the tip!


So this was interesting. I played it because it gave me Carrion vibes, but was intrigued by the game's goth-like horror atmosphere which looked pretty good. The music on the other hand was really great and was used well, I thought at leas! There was no such story that I could discern, so everything seemed random and meant to 'shock' the player or make them think about it. I could stretch out some metaphors about the tunnel and the cage and the 'graveyard' area but other than that, I didn't feel like there was any coherent story being told with the game. Also thought the cinematics were a tad bit too long and there were way too many fade to blacks, but that's just me.

Other than that, it was an interesting and intriguing game which was a neat to play at the end. 

(+1)

Hi thanks for playing and taking the time to record and post your gameplay. The game has nothing really in common with Carrion, I'm not sure why you kept saying that. It was supposed to be more of a dark inversion of Katamari, a completely non-violent roll through a surreal dream. It's based on a painting of a weird deformed heart that I did several years ago and images from some dreams I had.

Интересная задумка. Странно,но мало ))))


Thanks for playing, but this is just the demo, not the full game. The full game is much longer. :)

For the people saying they have trouble running it, I have found a fix! Make sure to run the game as admin! I had the prerequisites installed but still getting crashes, but running as admin has fixed it.

(+1)

So glad you managed to fix it! No idea why it required admin to run, but well done finding that out.

(1 edit) (+1)

Wow. So that was a thing. Lol

For me, I adore dark and disturbing visuals like this. And I like them even more when they seemingly have no reasoning behind them. Like, the image of a heart, or other mass blob of movable flesh, maneuvering through a world filled with calcified human parts and rusty metal. There's something really fascinating about that. 

So kudos for being able to put this all together in 6 weeks.

Should you ever plan to develop it further, here are a few thoughts I had about my experience.

First, I do think I like that each stage of the game doesn't really tell you what you're supposed to do, but it was easy enough to know where I was supposed to get to.

However, I do think that rather than just fading out after the player character gets to where they approximately need to be, there ought to be something more that indicates players have reached their destination. I get that the experience is meant to be dream-like, so the scenes will fade seemingly to random new locales, but I think a bit of extra art direction could lend itself to making each stage feel like it has a definitive start and end, while still maintaining the aesthetic.

Second, the in-game cut-scenes are a bit too much. I feel they keep me out of the game more than draw me in. I specifically had an issue with the skull socket part, as that cut-scene really dragged on. If you were to adjust that level so that the player character started more at mid level to the skeletal structure, and then had the lighting make it even clearer that the player has to reach a particular spot, that would achieve the same goal as the lengthy cut-scene does.

Third, and this is just my very personal preference; I think I'd enjoy the game a bit more if you only used the tendrils half the time rather than all the time. Like, if I could move about with WASD like a slug, or if you had a some kind of secondary movement more like a worm where you stretch forward the whole mass and pulled the rest up from behind, I think that could contribute to the atmosphere a bit more so that the player isn't constantly clicking around with all the rapid sticky slapping sounds, and getting tendrils caught into the camera.

All in all, it's a fantastic achievement in the time you dedicated to it. I'd love to see more games that use these kinds of visuals. And thanks so much for the experience.

(+2)

Thanks very much for taking the time to play and leave such detailed feedback! 

I don't plan to revisit this project to develop it further but I wholeheatedly agree with all of your points here and the feedback is very useful for future projects. A few people brought up the fade length in my project after this one too so it's definitely something I need to find a better way of transitioning. And the cutscenes were way too long, but I was watching a lot of Tarkovsky at the time and was really into long lingering shots. I don't know how he makes his so gripping!

Thanks for sticking with it and playing through to the end.

Oh that's hilarious, and makes so much sense. I've been meaning to watch Tartakovsky's work, but my best friend has told me that Stalker and Andre Rublev were the most engaging. I was fascinated by the imagery being discussed at the beginning of Solaris, but I couldn't make it past the half way point.

(+1)

Solaris is a tough watch, I enjoy it but it's definitely not his best. Your friend is absolutely right they are the two most engaging and I'd add Mirror to that list as well if you enjoy them!

(+1)

Fell out of the large nest full of finger creatures and was sent back to the start.
100/10 best game design.

My aim was to address the severe lack of finger creatures in games (probably since Abe's Exoddus!) so I'm glad someone appreciates them :)

Deleted 3 years ago

Ah I see what you mean, but the game restarts in a loop right after the bit they are talking about and it tells you just before you drop down that's it's going to do this.

(1 edit)

I wish I discovered this game earlier. I am absolutely, positively IN LOVE! Such a quirky mechanic being a literal heart attaching yourself to wall and objects to get around, but it works so well with the entire aesthetic. The mood, the sounds, the mechanics, everything worked so well to draw discomfort yet curiosity from the player. I HIGHLY recommend anyone stumbling onto this page to check it out yourself. Definitely so if you are an indie dev looking to see what an original, well executed, surreal horror experience can work! 

Not for the weak minded aka me.......

Sooo damned surreal, Thank you for the creepy Giger fun!

Thanks for checking it out, great video! I think you are the only ones to get the reference to Ligeti's music for 2001, such a wonderful composer. Also if you like Giger then you should definitely check out the Polish painter Beksinski, who was an even stronger influence on this.

Well we both do like that move :D, and just checked out Beksinski.. that is some cool stuff!
Nothing beats Giger though, he is my all time love.


Thanks again :)

Don't know what I was looking at but it was one of the most pleasant and terrifying things I've seen... which doesn't mean I even understood what I was looking at 10/10 if I don't understand it can only mean I haven't descended far enough into madness.

Deleted 16 days ago

That's unfortunate! Did you try installing the UE4 prerequisite from the folder provided? Do you know if your video card supports virtual textures? What is your system spec?

Deleted 16 days ago

Yeah sorry, there are no lower graphics settings and it needs quite a good pc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhe3vSe-mmw

Ahaha, your guess is as good as mine :)

cool cool game <3

real spooky

(+1)

Intense !

(+1)

Such a cool concept! The physics a great too, the music, the graphics.  Man just a cool game overall.  Only thing I'd like to point out, doesn't seem to have any limitation to where you can go on the "second level"? when you're on the ground floor looking at the statue after the cinematic.  I rolled forever in one direction just to realize I had to go back and it took me forever. Cheers!

(+1)

Thanks for playing and for your kind words. I can't believe I forgot to put collision on the walls in the second area! There are a few other bugs with the background music cutting out if there are too many player slop sounds playing at once too. Unfortunately I don't have the project files to go back and fix these things anymore. I hope they didn't hamper your enjoyment too much and thanks for taking the time to post a video.

(+1)

The fleshy gross sounds of this game is what sold it for me. For reference this is from your original demo but I'm so glad to see there's more and will hop on to playing that asap

(+1)

This game was amazing! Thank you for creating such a great experiance!

(+1)

You are very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it

(7 edits) (+1)

ABSOLUTELY massive! This is worth a 12$ greenlight on Steam.

+The originallity of the concept.

+The atmosphere of free exploration and at the same time a sense of unknown inminent danger.

+Everything is dark,weird, but at the same time morbid and your design in the gameplay level system attracts the attention: it's a puzzle? I'm gonna dye now? what if I fall again? why I'm eroding the sand? are those hands going to harm me? 

+Every step is a constant mistery, not obvious and intriguing.

+Lovely disgusting.

I take my time, to do some testing on several machines:

CRASHES with dialog telling it has to crash : 

*nvidia GTX 1060 drivers version 441.20 direct3D api 11

WORKS ok and perfect framerate: 

*nvidia GTX 750 Ti drivers version 388.13 direct3D api 12

Are you saving a crash.log somewhere, and I can send it to you?

Might it be the d3D API version 11 or 12? 

Critics: The music AI is not as perfect and the music cuts and ambient loops do not serve the invisible "companion" story-teller purpose they should be, hence you notice the music. In my opinion the overall sensation is that the music is "imposted". The moments it works it's marvelous, it gives you hints of where to go to exit next level. But as I've said, the transitions, ambient-event loops or the music-AI needs a bit of rework.

Wow, thank you for such a kind and honest write-up. I'm really glad you got that feeling of uncertainty and imminent danger that I was aiming for. 

I appreciate you taking the time to try on a few different machines as it's not something I have access to test on. My thoughts are the same as yours that it is most likely to do with the d3D API versions. I used a few new features of UE4 including Virtual Texturing, which is not supported on certain cards. To fix it I would have to replace every single texture in the game, which unfortunately I'm not willing to do. I fall more into the art side rather than programmer so the crash log probably wouldn't make much sense to me. I have a GTX 1080 so I thought the 10-series would be fine. I plan to release a colour version at some point as many have missed that from the prototype so I may replace the textures then and perhaps there will be less issues.

I know exactly what you mean with the music. I had much grander plans for interactive/adaptive music but so many of the music features in Unreal are still very experimental and new to me ( the next version seems to be much more stable). I think I know what is causing the cut-off music bug too and can probably fix that when I have some free time. It's too many slop SFX playing and they are taking over the music slot, I just need to split them on different sound classes.

Thanks again for taking the time to play and for your insightful thoughts

Thanks for answering and clarifying things. Pleased to help/test anything, I'm a computer engineer degree so C++/C# it's like my second language. I do not have yet enough time to put my hands deep on Unreal/Unity thought.

(+1)

Loved the dark atmosphere.

(+1)

Interesting game.

(1 edit)

Hey, I'm also getting CTDs. Once after the initial cutscene finished, then another in the birdcage. The birdcage threw an actual error, though. LowLevelFatalError {File:Unknown] [Line: 3347] LiveRequests.Num or NumLiveRawReqeusts was > 0 in ~FPakAsyncReadFileHandle!

Possibly a typo in that second variable?

Specs:

Ryzen 9 3900X 

64GB RAM 

MSI GTX 1060 6GB

(+1)

Thanks for the detailed report. I think it might be due to UE4 compression on the pak file. I'm going to upload a new build today that should hopefully fix it. I'll make a dev log update when it's up.

Hi! I enjoyed playing "Cardiac" a lot, but I got an error on the part where you are caged with "Things" that jump like you. I just got out of the cage and looks like I fell from the scene and got this error:

LowLevelFatalError [File:Unknown] [Line: 836] 
Rendering thread exception:
LowLevelFatalError [File:Unknown] [Line: 3347] 
LiveRequests.Num or NumLiveRawReqeusts was > 0 in ~FPakAsyncReadFileHandle!

0x00007ff86193a839 KERNELBASE.dll!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61ab3f8c7 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61ab0e88a HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61aac4537 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61aac4438 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b816ed1 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b818864 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61baa48f1 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61baa8434 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61bed4b72 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b303e23 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b30401d HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61be66b34 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b4d86f7 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b4f2beb HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61aa2bb79 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61aa2bc83 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b502f32 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61b503ae8 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61ab50b2b HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff61ab4b077 HEART-Win64-Shipping.exe!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff863197bd4 KERNEL32.DLL!UnknownFunction []
0x00007ff8647eced1 ntdll.dll!UnknownFunction []

Is it supposed to be like that?

(+1)

Sorry to hear that and thanks very much for posting the error message. It's the end of the game anyway, it just loops back to the start. I've no idea what is causing it but this definitely helps me start to work it out.

(1 edit)

I just went back to play the update, man really great work I'm amaze you did all this by yourself, do you have a twitter account I would love to follow you there to see what you do in the future, also would you be open for collaborations?, I work with UE4 same as you and I made a few titles with it, let me know what you think about this.

good luck with you future endeavours :) 

Hi, thanks very much for your kind words and the offer, but I prefer to work alone to maintain creative control and work at my own pace. I wish you luck with your own endeavours too though.

No worries I completely see where you are coming from, it's super hard to work with people and maintain a single voice.

Glad you understand. Oh and excellent work on What's Behind the Mirror, I look forward to trying your other games.

Absolutely loved this and was so excited to play the full version!

Thanks for coming back to play it and great video. Apologies for freaking you out at the end :)

It was great! I love getting freaked out lol 

Show post...

ba<k

Very interesting, how I interpreted your work is that an artist pouring his heart and blood over his canvas creates magical artworks of bucket and thing I was not sure of. But pouring so much of his heart into his art costs the artist much with the poem and the finger chicken nuggets as a metaphor for artistic dissent. 

(1 edit)

Looks very good and great atmospheric . 


But the game just crash at the end where I getting attack by those disgusting worms things before the game crash.

(+1)

Ah sorry to hear it crashed on you, I made that part just before I uploaded so only tested a couple of times. I'll take a look at it this weekend. Thanks for letting me know!

el juego perfecto para jugarlo en halloween en la noche con las luces apagadas, el cuarto cerrado, coger unos buenos audífonos y estar completamente solo!

(+1)

I really like the movement concept! I could imagine a frankenstein-like scenario where you are the heart and slowy build yourself back into a humanesque being (a zombie I guess) by finding your limbs, organs and head, all of which change and extend the movement capabilities provided. And what then? Idk maybe go into another area and attack civilians or something. Maybe it's halloween and no one suspects the horrors that will follow after they innocently open the door for you...

Also just a quick question: How did you create the first part of the level? I tried to redo something similiar myself but it went nowhere... Like, did you create a landscape and then put on the organ-material onto the landscape-mesh?

Anyways I really look forward to further development and if you'd like to develop it further (even after Halloween and not alone anymore) I'd be up for that.

Cheers and really good work so far imo.

Zenahr

(1 edit) (+2)

One of the original concepts was to have parts falling off like an inversion of Katamari and Frankenstein creature, so you're not far off.

The fleshy level part was sculpted in Oculus medium but you could do it in Blender too. Took a lot of work deleting all the outside faces tho. To make it quiver - I used a couple of blended panning noise textures hooked up to the displacement channel. 

I might release some breakdowns and project files sometime after if people are interested.

The reply is very much appreciated!

Muy buena ambientación, estaría perfecto

Para Hacer Una gran historia

What an interesting game! The movement was a lot of fun to play around with! Here's my playthrough:

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