My Friendly Neighbourhood is a creepy-looking game about human-sized puppets that come to life and attack you while exploring the set of a Seaseme Street-like show. But while working on the game, its developer discovered a bug that made the already scary game even scarier.
First officially revealed earlier this month, My Friendly Neighbourhood is a survival horror FPS being developed by John and Evan Szymanski. Being a survival horror, you expect things to be scary. But not even its developer was prepared for how terrifying things would get while playtesting the game this week. At one point he encountered a puppet and shot it. It then split into a dozen puppets in a second before expanding into even more puppets. The explosion of deadly puppets filled the room and caught Szymanski off guard.
Something terrifying happened to me during development today. Think this might need to go into the game somewhere.
— John Szymanski, Ducky Dev (@Ducky_Szymanski) August 28, 2021
He shared the clip of this wild bug on Twitter, where it quickly went viral. John Szymanski explained to me what happened in the viral clip that led to this puppet explosion.
“So, I was trying to place in several Normans (the puppet) into the hallway,” said Szymanski. “But I have a system that places enemies in specific spawning locations, and it grouped all of them together in one spot and set their animation cycles all the same without me knowing.”
The moment he interacted with what he thought was a single puppet, all of the NPC puppets were activated along with their physics, so they began pushing and shoving each other out of the way in order to reach the player, creating the wave of puppets seen in the clip.
In his tweet, he explained that this horrific glitch might need to be included in the full game in some way. And he elaborated on how he plans to do that when I spoke to him.
“This effect is definitely going to make it into the game, but instead of relying on the failsafe interactions of the physics system, I’ll code the effect in a much more ‘intended’ way.”
This wouldn’t be the first time a bug or glitch has made its way into one of Szymanski’s games. He described how a glitch involving punching became a key part of one of his older games, Sumo Revise. (A game he admitted was bad and warned folks to stay away from.)
“If you, as the battling sumo characters, were to punch a couple of pixels below any platform, you’d inexplicably start rising directly through it at a pretty quick pace, almost like you were climbing. I decided to craft the entire game’s levels around this “feature. To this day, I have no idea why it happens.”
Now, after more experience developing and programming games, Szymanski feels like he is better at avoiding these kinds of bugs and glitches. However, he still loves encountering them, especially if they are funny or silly. As long as it doesn’t completely break the game, he prefers to leave these things in the final product.
Another example he gave can be found in My Friendly Neighbourhood. Players can find and eat rare candy bars that increase their speed for a short amount of time. If a player was to find all of these candy bars and use them at once, it could lead to a situation where they would move so fast they would fly through walls and clip through platforms. But since they are so rare and are only in the game more as a fun toy than an important gameplay mechanic, he’s leaving the speedy-candy-bug in the game.
“To get your speed going as fast as that would take a lot of doing. But, I mean, if you’re dedicated enough, you’ll have a ball. And definitely soft-lock yourself.”
You can check out My Friendly Neighbourhood on Steam. The game doesn’t yet have an official release date.