The challenge: become a master monster hunter and wage a battle of wits against a cast of golden age movie ghouls in Ghostlight Manor, a new strategic puzzle game created by the University of Washington Bothell’s Digital Future Lab (DFL). Explore a haunted countryside as you rush toward the source of the invasion: a mysterious mansion at the end of a long and treacherous path. The bad news: each creature you encounter has unique abilities, and the fiends work together to try and stop you from reaching the manor and closing the portal to their dimension. The good news: you’re traveling with a robot assistant that lights your way, and the monsters flee its light!
The game launched in December 2016 with global availability on Steam, the world’s largest video game digital distribution platform, after the community ranked it in the top 100 most interesting new titles out of a pool of thousands of hopefuls. In the weeks since release, players from over a dozen countries have experienced Ghostlight Manor’s unique gameplay, including customers in Australia, Netherlands, China, Thailand, Sweden, Pakistan, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and others.
The DFL team also partnered with the military charity stack-up.org, a nonprofit with a mission to provide our troops serving around the world with morale-boosting games and entertainment. The DFL contributed 10,000 deluxe editions of Ghostlight Manor with a retail value of nearly $150,000.00 to stack-up’s 2016 Home for the Holidays campaign, and was the largest single donation in the organization’s history. For the people behind the DFL (including more than 50 students who contributed to every aspect of Ghostlight Manor’s multi-year production), the release illustrates a few of the many ways the studio uses video game development to educate students. These include focusing on the learning environment for teaching high-level concepts such as software project management, interaction design, and user research, to helping students explore and shape their professional identities by allowing them to significantly contribute to long-term commercial projects in multidisciplinary teams.
“This has been a big year for the Digital Future Lab, and CoMotion has been with us every step of the way,” said Jason Pace, Digital Future Lab studio head and Executive Director. “Whenever I say, ‘It would be really great if we could only do x,’ someone from CoMotion is usually one of the first voices to say, ‘That's interesting, let's figure out how we can do x.’”
A free demo of Ghostlight Manor is available on Steam for anyone who would like to try the game before buying, and the studio is releasing an expansion that includes online multiplayer modes in spring 2017 as an officially supported Windows 10 app with Xbox Live integration.