Thanks for your feedback so far, guys.
Ofcourse secret dates, which the game may check for, won't be spoiled or advertised by myself. The only thing which I will inform players upfront is that secrets or easter eggs unlock themselves when the game is being run after the IFComp ends on its usual date November 15th. So it's all bonus.
Any other magic days won't be spoiled directly, only through hints or talking in riddles about it. In fact, I already added a second magic date to Dead Hotel which the game checks for in 2012. I guess you all know which date that is. That's a hint. Try to run Dead Hotel on that special date this year...
If I remember correctly, I believe the roguelike game Ancient Domains of Mystery modifies your states depending on the date that you create your character. For instance, I think if it happens to be Friday the 13th, your character starts out cursed.
Yeah, Friday 13th. A controversial date. For some people it's a cursed day, for others it's day of good fortune. I like it. Definately interesting to think how the game may behave on that day.
Your idea sounds good. It would be especially helpful for a game with multiple paths or endings. It would be a good way to get players to come back and see the other possibilities. I liked the way it worked in Dead Hotel, but I think it would probably be best to include your best content upfront, especially if you're in a comp.
Yes, that's what I thought too. It's a way to get players replay the game and explore multiple endings. And sure, I should first focus on the main content and make it as good as possible before adding any bonus/secret content.
Another thought -- this could tie in to a sort of meta-puzzle or meta-adventure, like the hat thing in a few of the Comp games this year. You have to play the game on a specific date to get a special clue. This could be a clue to find more Easter-eggs within the game itself, or it could send the player on a hunt through the web or something.
Hmm, I'm not sure if it's a wise choice to give the player a special clue on a specific date only and then never again. What if the player misses that specific date in the first place? He/She would probably never know that there was any clue on that specific date. See the problem?
In my opinion specific dates (for instance, March 17th 2012 or whatever) should be only used for little gimmicks, but not for game-specific elements. For instance, when the player runs the game on that specific date a short message in the game could be displayed or the game may not run on that day. This way, even if the player misses that date or doesn't know about it, he/she won't miss any game-related content.
I think the best way is to check for the kind of dates which occur multiple times or in a regular fashion. You mentioned Friday 13th. That's a good example. There will always be a Friday 13th. So checking for those kind of dates makes more sense imho. Birthday dates are another example. You run the game on my birthday each year you get bonus features to play with.
And as usual I will check for periods of time and not just points in time. You know, from IFComp October 1st to November 15th the game behaves like this. And from November 16th (actually November 22nd in the case of Dead Hotel) the game behaves like that. This is how it works in Dead Hotel. And players can't miss any game content this way. Except that second magic date in Dead Hotel which I previously talked above. But that's just a gimmick. If you miss that date in 2012 this year it won't matter actually, because it's nothing game-specific.
Will there be a sequel for Dead Hotel? I think it is a good candidate for a sequel.
Uhm... I haven't decided yet. Would it make sense to make a sequel for a game called "Dead Hotel" where the objective was to escape from that hotel? I mean it's not like the game character returns back to the hotel. He escaped from it and that's it for Part 1. What I mean is that there'll be no "Dead Hotel 2". If I decide to make a sequel / Part 2 then it's going to be released under a different game title. Otherwise it would make no sense unless I come up with a story where the character has a good reason to return to the hotel he previously escaped from. I have to think about it.......