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Sick Blood Work: A Hybrid Horror Experience


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#1 JadedPriestProductions   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:49 PM

Now, I know a flood of games have been made on the premise of being scary and or artistically disturbing. However, in the main stream, horror themed games are not what they used to be and they rely more on visuals for the scare than the game play and underlying story line. What I will start making soon is an experiment in returning to concepts that make games scary purely through game play. I am also enamored with classic arcade style games and I'm largely inspired by games like Venture on the Atari 2600 and Tower Of Doom for the Intellivision (which was canceled before it could be released because Matel pulled out of the video game industry). Both of those games were maze based games which, for their times were considerably scary with just your imagination to run wild as you fight the punishing gameplay.

Sick Blood Work puts you into an abandoned illegal laboratory where an independent research group was attempting to create a synthetic vampire virus. Before they could finish their work, they were seized by the government, but the head scientists fled before they could be caught. You are left alone (so you assume at first) with all the problems a vampire has (sun light burns you, you have to drink blood to live) but with none of the benefits (the experiment never worked, so you're just outrageously sick). You have to feel along the walls to see where you can go and where you've been (you have to find luminescent paint to reveal the walls in an otherwise black environment) drink blood from other test subjects (kinda like how you obtained health in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) and sacrifice health to get past certain obstacles (which is usually really cheap and frowned upon in most games, but that is usually because those instances are a result of poor level design; here, it's a core gameplay mechanic, inspired by Saw) all in order to find the exit. The entire game takes place in one massive level with traps, ghosts, poltergeists, and devils to avoid or attack.

I'm a n00b, i won't lie, and i plan on using Game Maker to make this as i'm familiar with the program. I came here to see if there's anyone who'd be interested in helping me create this simple, but effective freeware game. I am hoping to add more and more to this if i get help.

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#2 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6965

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 12:36 AM

However, in the main stream, horror themed games are not what they used to be and they rely more on visuals for the scare than the game play and underlying story line.

Scary games are really hard to get right and I think, that it depends heavly on the players game experiences. Scare and fear depends a lot of not knowing the known, that is you know that there's something evil, but you don't know enough about it.

This has a dramatic impact on games (and movies), because experienced gamers already know too much about the genre to get scared any longer.

Seeing your idea, you are working with a lot of cliches and cliches should be really avoided if you want to create a scary game. A cliche game can be fun (zombie games), but will most likely not be scary.

#3 diegzumillo   Members   -  Reputation: 235

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:28 AM

I agree with Ashaman73. Avoid clichés or at least disguise them well! ;)

I have a game suggestion for you, if you haven't tried it yet: Amnesia. Ironically, it's filled with clichés, but it was done right. It's the only horror game that achieved its objective, in my opinion.

A word of advice: An indie and even hobbyst (like myself) game developer have to be a does-it-all kind of person. You need to learn basics of programming and the basic to create art content and know how to put all together. One reason is because that's how small teams work. The other reason is that you'll hardly convince people to join you with a paragraph of an idea you had. So try to go as far as you can on your own, if what you have to show is interesting enough people might be interested to work with you.

Good luck on your project :)

#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17771

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 03:10 AM

Recruiting must be done in our classifieds section, but you can continue to discuss your idea here.

#5 Casey Hardman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2178

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 03:21 AM

jbadams, I was just about to note on the classifieds section. Good thing the site told me a new reply was posted and let me show it!


Anyway, I don't play many horror games, but I've seen some videos of them on YouTube (player reactions and such). The 3D ones I saw seemed to be similar to what you described. I think it was Amnesia where you had to move through darkness if you didn't have a torch, but it wasn't revolved heavily around feeling your way through walls, I don't think (you just had to keep up your supply of stuff that lights torches). Your idea sounds similar, but with luminescent paint instead of torches and candles, I assume.

I guess this is more about writing for games than game design, but:
I don't see why the government gives up on the building and the test subjects after the scientists flee, though. Wouldn't they still be interested in dealing with the test subjects? And where did the ghosts and devils come from?

#6 JadedPriestProductions   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 07:11 AM

I guess this is more about writing for games than game design, but:
I don't see why the government gives up on the building and the test subjects after the scientists flee, though. Wouldn't they still be interested in dealing with the test subjects? And where did the ghosts and devils come from?

they figured all the test subjects were dead and just didn't care. it's a fictional world, not one to necessarily reflect the american government. the grounds are haunted as the laboratory just happened to built on a site were real supernatural vampires used to terrorize a town. the devils are just there for the wtf factor. think back to old arcade games, they had ridiculous stuff going on and needed no explanation. also, the more explaination you give to the things that are supposed to be scary, the less scary it gets, your own imagination is what makes the scare. even though this is story heavy, i think the stories flaws make it more unsettling. I've seen Amnesia and i'd love to play it but my netbook doesn't have the specs for it. I wasn't aware of the classifieds section until just after i posted this here, but so far, i think i'll end up going this alone.

Edited by JadedPriestProductions, 19 July 2012 - 07:13 AM.


#7 Densoro   Members   -  Reputation: 196

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 07:10 PM

I agree with Ashaman: going with familiar monsters kind of lowers the game's scare value. Familiarity creates comfort, and being able to easily describe the monster lets us quickly tuck it away instead of letting it haunt us. That's why the early Silent Hill games were so successful: their monstrous freaks of nature weren't neatly summed-up, and encounters with them were hopefully short, with you either running away, shooting them, or being eviscerated. You don't have time to 'get to know' them, and that keeps them mysterious, unknown -- terrifying.

#8 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1974

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 07:39 PM

they figured all the test subjects were dead and just didn't care. it's a fictional world, not one to necessarily reflect the american government. the grounds are haunted as the laboratory just happened to built on a site were real supernatural vampires used to terrorize a town. the devils are just there for the wtf factor. think back to old arcade games, they had ridiculous stuff going on and needed no explanation. also, the more explaination you give to the things that are supposed to be scary, the less scary it gets, your own imagination is what makes the scare. even though this is story heavy, i think the stories flaws make it more unsettling. I've seen Amnesia and i'd love to play it but my netbook doesn't have the specs for it. I wasn't aware of the classifieds section until just after i posted this here, but so far, i think i'll end up going this alone.


From a story perspective "they figured" and "just didn't care" are pretty poor reasons for a government to do anything. I'd go more for something like "when they raided the place, scary things started coming out that the team weren't prepared for, so they collapsed the entrance with explosives to keep the situation under control". Which explains why it's hard to escape, and also opens the door for the government to send another badass team in at a later point if you want.

Similarly I'd question mixing story and arcade mindsets. Coincidences aren't a great explanation. Not explaining to the player is fine, but having possible explanations is very desirable. For example, the work is based on non-human archaelogoical remains, and they built the lab on-site to avoid the risks of transporting the material. There may be unknown caves below the lab with still-living critters, and the explosions open those caves up to the lab.

#9 JadedPriestProductions   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 08:00 PM

I like your input Jeff, i'll keep those ideas in mind. These are rough ideas for a first game. To say i'm a beginner is an understatement even though i've attempted this sort of thing before. My primary works have been in conceptual art, logo designs, music, and writing, but game design is one of things i've always wanted to delve further into.




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