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My survival horror game... Tell me what you think!


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#1 Exoaria   Members   -  Reputation: 167

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:06 AM

Hi all, I've decided to create a forum account on Game Dev because I wanted to sort of share my ideas with some people and get some feedback, I've already started coding this game in the Unity engine. I'd like to hear what you guys think of the story, and the mechanics. Suggest ideas that you would think would work in a game like this, please read carefully though and try to analyse what I'm saying. I want to have as much constructive feedback from you all as I can.

The Story
The game (titled "Dead Velvet") has two constant conflicting and sad storylines correlating with each other at all time. One often patronizing the other because of their deep differences. Although one story has ended, and the other is starting, they both have an equal amount of input into the game. For the purpose of chronological order and so that you can follow what is happening easier, I will start with the earliest point that this tale begins.

Alister Wilshire was the master of a house in England, just north of London in 1832. He was a cruel man, and a very violent one. He was raised in foster care by two violent women who would throw him in a basement every night where they would throw him half cooked fish to eat from the floor. At age 17 he killed one of the women who he called "Aunt", and was arrested near immediately. The court heard his plea and investigated the matter, and sentencing the woman who was still alive to a year in prison. He was left to his own devices after being excused, given the circumstances of his upbringing. He had absolutely no recollection of his mother or father, taking his Wilshire last name from the foster mothers, (The one who took him in, her last name was Hillshire, but he changed it to Wilshire shortly after killing her - also not to be confused, these two women were related and not a lesbian couple).

Developing a strong hatred for humanity, Alister started looking into weapon design and landed a job crafting spectacular pieces of work at age 21, gaining the attention of people all around. They looked up to him as a "prodigy for the country" and someone that would take England to a new level of technology warfare. He despised them though and claimed that he was only developing the weapons in order to provide more of the pathetic race a means to kill each other off so that he would not have to lay his eyes on them any more.
More importantly though, Alister was starting to make money, lots of money. He was very quickly becoming one of the richest men in all of North England leaving a lasting impact, and eventually founding "Wilshire Arms" - a weapons shop that escalated to one of the most famous and highest quality weapons stores in the country.

He began to get bored, though, no longer finding the pleasure in providing a means for them to harm one another. He decided to step down from his job, and take his money somewhere quieter where he could reside with his subtle burning hatred for the world. There was a hole inside of him that was quickly expanding into something much more. At a bar, a woman followed him home one day after he had something to drink. She claimed to find him the most strong and handsome man in all of England, but he brushed her off. Soon after she began pleading him to marry her, and she was not after his money - she was legitimately obsessed with Alister, and very young at only age 19 - he was into his 30's by this time.
Despite his growing hatred he decided to marry her, and bought a mansion for them to reside in. For 10 years they lived off the fat of the land, Alister would work in the fields whilst Sarah, his wife, would mend the house and keep it beautiful. But Alister still had the hole growing, and quickly became violent and destructive. Finally he began to push Sarah, screaming at her, hurting her and taking out all the pain that he had experienced onto her just as he had hated everyone else.

But one day the storm struck, Alister became fueled with so much rage that, upon browsing the newspaper one day he ordered in one-hundred and thirty two slaves being sold straight from Africa to work for him. This was for two million pounds at the time.
His wife was furious, but couldn't handle leaving Alister because she loved him so much and was in fear that he would harm her. Plantations were already disgusting many American citizens and they were even more rare in England. It was 1830 when this happened, and drawing very close to the time that they would be liberated.

By the time everything was set up, Alister had almost two-hundred African slaves in his fields, picking cotton and sewing his clothes. They were not allowed in his house under the impression that they would contaminate it. They would do the farming and wash all the crops for him, this was now the life that Alister had chosen. He treated these slaves with great cruelty, at one point drowning one of them in a river. It disgusted everyone around him but it was the breaking point for him, he had been overcome with evil and hatred for the world to a point of no return. Just when things could not get any worse, Sarah felt trapped with Alister and no longer wanted to stay with him, but instead of leaving, she fell in love with one of the slaves. His name was Aba. She would sneak out in the night to see him, visiting him and kissing him, and this went on for ONE YEAR. She would do it when Alister when to the bar, drinking, all the other slaves knew about it but supported her. They wouldn't dare help the man that destroyed their lives.

However, just as all things end. There was in fact a day when they were caught in the middle of the night. Alister found them together, in a shack. The door swung open on the two lovers, and the man that stood before them was someone who was a manifestation of all things vile and putrid. The look in his eyes was enough to strike fear into the bravest man's heart.
Without a word, he walked to Sarah, grabbing her by the head and throwing her into a wall. He then went to Aba and struck his stomach with a rake, leaving him to bleed and breaking his legs. He stood there, watching him for half an hour in the most excruciating pain with only the slightest bit of glee. But because he was so consumed with anger and hatred, and so satisfied watching this African man die, he did not notice Sarah coming behind him with a garden axe, slamming it into his back. At this point, Alister died. Sarah leaned on the dying Aba, who was about to pass away in tears, holding a shotgun to both of their heads. She pulled the trigger, killing both of them.

In 1833 a law was passed that all slaves should be liberated, so although they were required to continue working without ownership, they were soon set free to live their own lives thanks to Aba and Sarah. The house was closed off and not looked at again for many years. It was remembered by many as The Wilshire Estate, and nobody dared to enter it.
It was for good cause, though. The hatred that Alister held for all humans was so strong that it kept his spirit bound to the house, as the master, and also keeping Aba and Sarah with him inside. This was the place that he would torture their souls, and for so long he did this until one day there was a knock at the door.

Well, not really a knock. But more the door opening, to some Real Estate agents who were interested in selling the house. This was in 1850, as the house was passed onto the government because of the slaves, who passed it into Elder Gardens' care. They were a popular house management, building and reselling business trusted by many, and it wasn't before long that there was a quiet little family moving in. One man and his wife, and their little daughter Molly who was 7 years old.
Strange things happened to this family, and within months they were not themselves. Their daughter began to hurt herself, and the parents became angered. They started to get very scared by these changes and, for some reason, just before they were about to make the decision to leave the house they were all brutally murdered, and hung in the trees behind the house.

A letter was received to Elder Garden's shortly after from the family saying they had moved on due to unforseen circumstances and the house should be put into the care of Theodore Estates... who then sold the house again for 900,000 pounds. This time it was sold to a family of ten, including a grandfather and a small baby. All ten of them were murdered systematically in increasingly gruesome ways, and there was nothing left of them, but a letter which arrived at Theodore Estates' doorstep to resell the house.

This went on, and for some reason, nobody noticed. It was 200 years before there was a change in the system, and almost 100 dead bodies later. Alister had killed every one of them, trapping their spirits in his house with him and his hatred. They would kill anyone who dared to enter, and they haunted the very woods that surrounded the house in fear of Alister, who was the pure manifestation of evil.

--- That's the backstory of the mansion ---
--- Now onwards to the "game" ---

North England, 2012
Pier is a young actor who has a very bad anxiety disorder. He was married young to his wife, Elaine. The two have a very good relationship, although they often have trouble with Pier's constant emotional struggles. He is always paranoid that she may be cheating on him, or that something bad will happen. He hates horror movies, and can't stand anything that will put him on edge. Elaine supports him as much as she possibly can, often having to take him to the doctors or getting his medication for him when he's too nervous to go outside.

Elaine is a beautiful young writer who often writes screenplay for the sets that Pier involves himself in, both of them are wealthy and have a good life. Things are all going well until Elaine disappears.
This scares Pier so much, in fear that something may happen to her or that she is thinking of leaving him - these are the conclusions that he would jump to because of his trauma issues. A day later, he finds a letter addressed to her from - you guessed it, Alister Wilshire. Although, he was going under the name Asiret (Pronounced A-si-ray) Shilwer which is an anagram of his true identity (don't worry he only uses this for the letter). Inviting her to join him for a coffee and to talk about some possible writing opportunities.

Pier freaks out, grabbing the address from the paper (and of course she didn't need to take the page with her, we all have iPhone 5's and GPS's these days) and locating the address. It's only 45 minutes away from where he is, he drove to the address in a frantic panic scared for what may be happening to Elaine, and found a beautiful row of trees and a lovely white fence gleaming in the sun.


Posted ImageI've coded most of this bit, just thought it was relevant

and gets out of his car. This is where the game officially begins.

The Game (You just lost it.)

The gameplay elements are going to be different to that of normal survival horror. This isn't Slender or Amnesia. This is an ever changing interactive environment that wants to kill you. You'll constantly be trying to figure things out, solve riddles, and keep yourself safe. You'll get a gun, but it's absolutely useless. You won't be able to kill a goddamn thing with it (and that's a promise), but it will be useful for shooting rusted locks to open doors or to distract baddies.

You won't be able to see the amount of battery your flashlight has left, it will just be determined by the light it's giving out. You won't be able to see how many bullets you have left in the GUI, you'll have to actually open the gun up and count them, and individually replace them. Things are going to stalk you, and you're ultimately going to have to be tested in every aspect to win. This isn't a cheap scare though, it's an atmosphere. You won't have things pop out at you, I promise. You won't be chased every five minutes by a Zombie and feel constantly threatened, I'm trying to get across that some of these ghosts are lost, some are more powerful than others, perhaps even some have good in them, things vary. A lot.

For those of you who have played a Super Mario Bros. spin off titled Luigi's Mansion you'd be familiar with the ideas that will be implemented. Although a lot of things are different, it's relatively the same concept. You go through different rooms that you have access to in the mansion in order to gain access to more of them, you will have to endure different scares, solve different puzzles and riddles in order to achieve the goal, which is to find out what is happening to Elaine and ultimately get her back.

There will be boss battles, at the end of each area of the mansion you will be able to beat the boss. Technically you can go straight in and fight them as soon as you enter the mansion for the first time, but you'll die straight away. You actually have to go and find out about them, find out ways to defeat them and get a means to.
There will be a reason that all the ghosts in the house including Alister can't just detect and kill Pier like everyone else, (feel free to suggest ideas) so that it's realistic.

"Scares" are the games breathing point. I call them scares because... they're the scary bits. Y'know, the reason it's a survival horror title?

The games scares will be scripted, and not random. Things like furniture changing each time you go from room to room will be random, subtle things aren't included in this, but I mean when you enter a room for the first time.
One scare for example, is when you go into the bathroom to wash your hands in order to progress, and you see a twisted little girl in the mirror crawling along the roof in a dress with her head twisted around, no eye sockets and a severed black jaw. A steady horror sound will begin to play, if you look at the roof outside of the mirror - you will see nothing. If you look in the mirror again, she will be behind you. At this point you need to leave the room IMMEDIATELY or she will kill you. When you re-enter there will no longer be a threat in the room, just a silence and the sound of Pier breathing.

...So there you have it!
That's my game plan right now, and YES I typed this all up on Gamedev just for you guys to get some ideas and opinions. I noticed you guys are really responsive so I hope that you guys enjoy reading and give me some feedback.
Please give me all your ideas, sugggestions- even just let me know what you think. I'll be sure to add anything that I like in, and I'll give you full credit for the idea if I like it in one of the easter eggs - I'm carving the names of community members and people who helped develop ideas into the basement floor of one of the rooms with the thing they contributed.

If you've read this far, thank you so much for reading. You can email me at aesthetic.amorous@gmail.com for more details on the project.

When a pre-alpha is released, I'm more than happy to allow people to test it if you send in an application and agree not to distribute it. Posted Image Currently we're working on the forest and mansion design, and it's coming along very smoothly!

If you actually want to be a PART of the development team, we have a team of three which we're relatively happy with at the moment however we are still thoroughly reviewing all applications. You can view our (dated) application post here. I reposted it recently however the original post was in August.

Posted Image

Edited by Exoaria, 13 December 2012 - 06:08 AM.


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#2 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7789

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:19 AM

Didn't read the story, but the game part, here are my two cents.

First off you should look at the game design through the eyes of the potential gamers and not through the eyes of game designer. This is helpful to avoid creating nasty traps, clever puzzels etc. which are just ignored by the player or which he finds annoying. Therefore here are the two cents of a potential player:

You'll get a gun, but it's absolutely useless...
You won't be able to see how many bullets you have left in the GUI

You lure the player into a trap here. The players find a weapon which is finally useless to some degree, at least he will be disappointed of having a weapon which is a better lock pick. Building up an expectations just to discover that it is worthless is really a lover killer. When building a new game world, you need to consider the knowledge of a new player, therefore the line between refreshing surprise and deep disappointment is really fine.

There will be boss battles, at the end of each area of the mansion you will be able to beat the boss.

A boss fight... well,fighting a boss is more action game and kills the immersion of a horror game for me. Game like RE6 are no longer horror games for me, but this is just my personal opinion.

The games scares will be scripted, and not random. Things like furniture changing each time you go from room to room will be random, subtle things aren't included in this, but I mean when you enter a room for the first time.

Will this really be useful or scary at all ? I mean I never remember the placements of furnitures when running through a level. This could work in a story or movie where you give some hints and focus on this later on, but a game is always difficult. Either you need some cut-scenes to focus on the event (before-after) or it should be a very prominent furniture.

One scare for example, is when you go into the bathroom to wash your hands in order to progress, and you see a twisted little girl in the mirror crawling along the roof in a dress with her head twisted around, no eye sockets and a severed black jaw. A steady horror sound will begin to play, if you look at the roof outside of the mirror - you will see nothing. If you look in the mirror again, she will be behind you. At this point you need to leave the room IMMEDIATELY or she will kill you. When you re-enter there will no longer be a threat in the room, just a silence and the sound of Pier breathing.

Yeah, ghosts in mirrors are always scary *shudder*, so I like it, especially the interactive nature. But you need to be careful about the implementation of this scene. A new player would like to investigate the scene, either inspecting the mirror image or the roof. Waiting to long and getting killed for this is frustrating, especially if there aren't any hints about the danger, and learning by reloading isn't the best game design.

This is a good example about the difference of a horror movie/story and a horror game. A horror movie benefits from the inability to control the character and the audience need to watch the upcoming danger with horror, pleading that the character turns around and sees it too. This is not really possible in an interactive video game where the character is directly controlled by the player. Cut scenes destroys the immersions often and the interactive nature of the character controls lessens the effect (e.g. the character looks at his hands while washing it, turns around too fast, opens the inventory). So, be careful to implement scary parts known from movies or books, they are not really useful.

Edited by Ashaman73, 13 December 2012 - 08:28 AM.


#3 Exoaria   Members   -  Reputation: 167

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:47 AM

Didn't read the story, but the game part, here are my two cents.

First off you should look at the game design through the eyes of the potential gamers and not through the eyes of game designer. This is helpful to avoid creating nasty traps, clever puzzels etc. which are just ignored by the player or which he finds annoying. Therefore here are the two cents of a potential player:


You'll get a gun, but it's absolutely useless...
You won't be able to see how many bullets you have left in the GUI

You lure the player into a trap here. The players find a weapon which is finally useless to some degree, at least he will be disappointed of having a weapon which is a better lock pick. Building up an expectations just to discover that it is worthless is really a lover killer. When building a new game world, you need to consider the knowledge of a new player, therefore the line between refreshing surprise and deep disappointment is really fine.

There will be boss battles, at the end of each area of the mansion you will be able to beat the boss.

A boss fight... well,fighting a boss is more action game and kills the immersion of a horror game for me. Game like RE6 are no longer horror games for me, but this is just my personal opinion.

The games scares will be scripted, and not random. Things like furniture changing each time you go from room to room will be random, subtle things aren't included in this, but I mean when you enter a room for the first time.

Will this really be useful or scary at all ? I mean I never remember the placements of furnitures when running through a level. This could work in a story or movie where you give some hints and focus on this later on, but a game is always difficult. Either you need some cut-scenes to focus on the event (before-after) or it should be a very prominent furniture.

One scare for example, is when you go into the bathroom to wash your hands in order to progress, and you see a twisted little girl in the mirror crawling along the roof in a dress with her head twisted around, no eye sockets and a severed black jaw. A steady horror sound will begin to play, if you look at the roof outside of the mirror - you will see nothing. If you look in the mirror again, she will be behind you. At this point you need to leave the room IMMEDIATELY or she will kill you. When you re-enter there will no longer be a threat in the room, just a silence and the sound of Pier breathing.

Yeah, ghosts in mirrors are always scary *shudder*, so I like it, especially the interactive nature. But you need to be careful about the implementation of this scene. A new player would like to investigate the scene, either inspecting the mirror image or the roof. Waiting to long and getting killed for this is frustrating, especially if there aren't any hints about the danger, and learning by reloading isn't the best game design.

This is a good example about the difference of a horror movie/story and a horror game. A horror movie benefits from the inability to control the character and the audience need to watch the upcoming danger with horror, pleading that the character turns around and sees it too. This is not really possible in an interactive video game where the character is directly controlled by the player. Cut scenes destroys the immersions often and the interactive nature of the character controls lessens the effect (e.g. the character looks at his hands while washing it, turns around too fast, opens the inventory). So, be careful to implement scary parts known from movies or books, they are not really useful.

Thank you for the informative response, I believe that you have brought up some very important aspects here which I value.

I feel that a gun in a survival horror game either means that the player will be overpowered, or it's not really survival horror in the end. I mean, this of course is a broad statement but to me they just don't work. The reason that I'd include a gun is to mock the use of it against deities, pointing the finger at game designers who put shallow thought into their games and making a patronizing statement in that whenever you shoot a ghost, all you're doing is giving your position away, lol.

There will be some uses, as I said. Shooting down rusty locks, perhaps there will be some physical interaction with other physical people where a gun could come in handy, but as far as I can see it's just a funny patronization. I don't think many other games do this.
I wouldn't put it as a reward for a puzzle, you'd just find it in someone's desk, I hardly think it'd be a relatively necessary item for any part of the game. But again, it's just there, more of an easter egg that makes the player think they stand a chance just to laugh at them. Whether this is a good tactic or not, I haven't seen it happen before and I'd enjoy seeing the results. If people don't like it in the Beta I can always remove the feature.

The boss fight is a spin on the survival horror. For most of the game you will not be having much contact with other entities, it's more of an immersive experience which makes you think, and makes you scared and want to see what happens next. By no means am I saying this is an interactive movie, it's absolutely a fully pledged video game, just that the boss battles are really going to be a breathe of fresh air and creativity. They'll be similar to Zelda boss battles, for example the first boss is a girl possessing a marionette puppet. She's hung by 4 strings and you'll have to navigate around the room avoiding her attacks before she falls to the ground, you'll then have to use some scissors bathed in the master's blood in order to cut them. Each time you cut a string she gets faster and more difficult to avoid, once you cut all four strings the boss battle is done, and you can proceed to the next area.
I like it quite a lot, to be honest.

As for the usefulness about the furniture warping? No. But I want to give every opportunity to scare or make the analytical person think. It won't happen often, but enough to get people a little creeped out and expecting something to happen once again. That was just an example of one of the many subtle things I'm doing.

As for the girl on the ceiling, well that's a scripted scare. The player would know that she's there, and freak the hell out because the camera would immediately jerk upwards to the position on the mirror that she is located followed by an intense sound. The first thing that he would do is turn around to see that nothing is there, and then upon turning back towards the mirror she would be right behind you followed by another intense sound.
EDIT: On the occasion that a player didn't turn around she would simply appear behind you after a few seconds and whisper "Flee, flee, flee."

and learning by reloading isn't the best game design.

Oh god this is the only part where I have to say I disagree so so so much. I think that trial and error is one of the best ways to play!
Have a bit of a go at Dark Souls and Limbo then come back and tell me how you feel about that sentence.
I really do think that when done right the learning from your mistakes and knowing what to do better next time, or experimenting with another method is incredible! Especially when game designers like me are willing to provide multiple methods of surviving or escaping.

So yes, you're right in a lot of aspects but I still felt I should justify the topics that you brought up. I think getting away from that little girl is the first thing that player is going to want to do after the game makes it pretty much the most obvious thing on the screen.

Edited by Exoaria, 13 December 2012 - 08:53 AM.


#4 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7789

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

Oh god this is the only part where I have to say I disagree so so so much. I think that trial and error is one of the best ways to play!
Have a bit of a go at Dark Souls and Limbo then come back and tell me how you feel about that sentence.

I haven't the time to answer to your whole post yet, but here's quick answer for this statement at least.
I'm completely with you here, but the fine difference is, that you learn by failure not by test-and-try. If you don't have the chance to know the solution from the beginning, failure is forced on you, which is bad design. Players , at least me, don't liked chance-less learning, surviving the first encounter with this situation would be pure luck, the second is easy, so what is the benefit of this failure ?

I don't know the failure handling in limbo, but in dark souls failure is skill based and you don't need to reload the game. It is not about overcoming all obstacle with the first try, it is about giving the player the feeling, that he could have overcome it when being smarter or more skillful, but a more or less random death sentence is bad.

#5 Blackarch   Members   -  Reputation: 619

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:14 PM

Exoaria,

As a word of advice for the future, do not ship or distribute your game's executables with the PDBs as you have in your alpha archive. You are just asking for trouble from people who like to screw around, steal, and mangle with somebody else's code/work.

Software Engineer | Credited Titles: League of Legends, Hearthstone


#6 Exoaria   Members   -  Reputation: 167

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:56 PM

I don't know the failure handling in limbo, but in dark souls failure is skill based and you don't need to reload the game. It is not about overcoming all obstacle with the first try, it is about giving the player the feeling, that he could have overcome it when being smarter or more skillful, but a more or less random death sentence is bad.

Great point Ashaman! Perhaps I should revise the concept, and make some of the scares that can actually kill you a little more interesting. Walking out the door might be a little too simple, so I could make it a little bit more like "How" to survive the scare. You might go to the door, and it's locked, so you're suddenly in a freak out. The next time you go to the scare, I could make it occur in a different way but (essentially the same thing, just to keep it interesting) and the player has to figure out how to do it.
There could be a few ways to survive which are;
  • Drop a cross in the sink of water, and when she attacks, she'll fall through you and into the sink, screaming and disorientated leaving a chance for you to exit the room. The door will no longer be locked. - You'll need to have retrieved a cross from one of the other rooms.
  • Press the "talk" button whilst not looking into the mirror. If you have read her diary you will tell her that you are sorry for what happened to her father and that you don't want to die and she will disappear with a big wail. If you have not read her diary Pier will simply say one of his "Elaine!" calls.
  • Go in the room with one of the distorted dolls from the boss' room after beating her, and drop it down on the floor before washing your hands. She'll then go and pick that up instead of attacking you.
I could use this kind of sequences for all different rooms, and each item could serve a different purpose. No rooms could be compulsory, but just more of a thing to get you thinking. For each room we'll give a significant amount of hints as to what to do if the player will actually look around the mansion and try to figure it out.
For the cross, any scenario with a ghost involving water can benefit from it, but there are only a few. The diary is so obvious, that if you go into the little girls room I'll make it say everything so that both the player and "Pier" would understand. To make it even easier I'll write a note in her mothers room saying "I can't take this anymore, my dearest daughter was drowned in the bathroom this morning!". I'll not mention her love for dolls, however, the doll that you have to drop looks just like her.
I'm also contemplating where to add a Supernatural easter egg, that ghosts have a weakness to iron and get stunned when you slam it through them. You can't take iron outside of a room, but if there's some kind of iron in a room you can use it to your advantage.


Exoaria,

As a word of advice for the future, do not ship or distribute your game's executables with the PDBs as you have in your alpha archive. You are just asking for trouble from people who like to screw around, steal, and mangle with somebody else's code/work.

Thanks, Colossal. I didn't know this. However the alpha in that post is an old version and is actually nothing to do with our current one. It's more of a demo to show the atmosphere. There are none of my lines of code in it. :)

#7 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7789

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 01:38 AM

Thank you for the informative response, I believe that you have brought up some very important aspects here which I value.

I feel that a gun in a survival horror game either means that the player will be overpowered, or it's not really survival horror in the end. I mean, this of course is a broad statement but to me they just don't work. The reason that I'd include a gun is to mock the use of it against deities, pointing the finger at game designers who put shallow thought into their games and making a patronizing statement in that whenever you shoot a ghost, all you're doing is giving your position away, lol.

You have some good ideas here, but there are two things which irritates me a little bit.

First you have a strong designer view contrary to a gamer view. This isn't bad, but you must accept, that this will most likely limit the audience. You can compare it to an oscar winning art movie, which receives good critiques (from other designers), but are not really appealing to a broad audience (gamers), therefore think about your target audience first.

The second irritation is, that you have a strong movie tendency. The mirror thing, girl on ceiling, then at your back is actually a storyboard, which works great in movies like the grudge. It is unclear if you want to take the control away from the player in this moment, playing a cut scene, leading eventually to a quicktime event (quicktime event = pure horror Posted Image ). Story telling in an interactive manner is incredible hard and most games utilize cut scenes to lead the player through the story.

They'll be similar to Zelda boss battles, for example the first boss is a girl possessing a marionette puppet. She's hung by 4 strings and you'll have to navigate around the room avoiding her attacks before she falls to the ground, you'll then have to use some scissors bathed in the master's blood in order to cut them. Each time you cut a string she gets faster and more difficult to avoid, once you cut all four strings the boss battle is done, and you can proceed to the next area.
I like it quite a lot, to be honest.

Are you playing RTS games sometimes ? Do you know this missions, where you don't need to build up an army but just have a hand full of units to finish the missions. I believe that I'm not the only one hating this kind of missions in a RTS game, because they have not much to do with an RTS game at all.

Therefore be very careful not to be carried away with too many ideas known from other games. A boss fight like this is an action game, whereas your other part is more or less horror atmosphere + puzzles. This is the nemesis of game designers, in other words , feature creep.

As for the usefulness about the furniture warping? No. But I want to give every opportunity to scare or make the analytical person think. It won't happen often, but enough to get people a little creeped out and expecting something to happen once again. That was just an example of one of the many subtle things I'm doing.

As said before, you are overestimating the awareness of gamers. Best to observe an other player, who do not knows your game, play it and interview him afterwards. You will be shocked how little of your carefully designed features are considered actually as feature. Most is ignored or interpretated as bug.

#8 Exoaria   Members   -  Reputation: 167

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 01:59 AM

First you have a strong designer view contrary to a gamer view. This isn't bad, but you must accept, that this will most likely limit the audience. You can compare it to an oscar winning art movie, which receives good critiques (from other designers), but are not really appealing to a broad audience (gamers), therefore think about your target audience first.

The second irritation is, that you have a strong movie tendency. The mirror thing, girl on ceiling, then at your back is actually a storyboard, which works great in movies like the grudge. It is unclear if you want to take the control away from the player in this moment, playing a cut scene, leading eventually to a quicktime event (quicktime event = pure horror ). Story telling in an interactive manner is incredible hard and most games utilize cut scenes to lead the player through the story.

I think that this mirror sequence and things like it are too big of a jump to criticize until it's actually complete. Creating this game for me is going to be somewhat what playing it is for them. Lots of trial and error, and figuring out the best approach to win mind over matter.
Perhaps it's a little concerning that the more you are sceptical to my approach, the more excited I am over the challenge, and utter time consuming abilities it will cost me in order to achieve it. I swear I've seen it in many games before (take Bioshock for example), but in this thread it seems like something that has never been done before. I cannot tell you how much that excites me.

How about for now, we simply leave this debate as I think we're coming from two different approaches. You're more concerned with the dynamics and structure of an indie game going for something completely out the scope of most other ones in a manner that you find absolutely conflicting. I'm more concerned with making something that seems to be conflicting and ironic work absolutely perfectly within an environment.
What I do want to do, though, is let you play through the pre-Alpha when I have it properly compiled, and let you tell me what you think of it yourself outside of ideas. You can then see what I actually have in mind, and the way that I want to work it in order to provide a unique experience.

I cannot thank you enough for your constructive criticism and realist approach to my design. It has made me think and seen a lot of things in a new light, however I still feel that I can do this in such a way that it will be a completely fresh survival horror game that meets other elements.

#9 Memetic1   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:16 PM

Just an idea I like where you are going with this! I think it has a ton of potential. One thing I as a gamer are often disappointed in when it comes to games that are supposed to scare me. Is that so many of them depend on pure uch factor. I mean I can only see a cows head grafted onto a human body or whatever sort of gross alteration of the physical form so many times before it completely looses meaning. Starting from their I think you can do allot with story. Why is this scary/disturbing the scary for me is more in the meaning than in the appearance. That being said if the appearance is original enough or similar enough to something normal I think it can be effective. Think about it why do dolls/children/clowns creep people out so much its because their is enough their that we can identify with the subject. As for general ambiance I think introducing another dynamic into the game could pull the gamer out of the survival horror mindset that they could more readily be disturbed.

Ok onto my final point. I always find it very disturbing if you are able to blur the line between the game and real world. For example weave historical fact into the plot line. Making the horror element as believable as possible. You could for example claim that the spirits exist in the world of dark matter. Of course then you risk going into the realm of science fiction. Then again is that such a bad thing. Another technique that I have seen used is to address the player directly. Perhaps by saying to them that this game is really a way for the spirits to try and communicate with them. That the characters in the game aren't real and the real goal of the game is to interact with the player. Im kinda a sucker for post modernism though.

#10 Exoaria   Members   -  Reputation: 167

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:52 PM

Just an idea I like where you are going with this! I think it has a ton of potential. One thing I as a gamer are often disappointed in when it comes to games that are supposed to scare me. Is that so many of them depend on pure uch factor. I mean I can only see a cows head grafted onto a human body or whatever sort of gross alteration of the physical form so many times before it completely looses meaning. Starting from their I think you can do allot with story. Why is this scary/disturbing the scary for me is more in the meaning than in the appearance. That being said if the appearance is original enough or similar enough to something normal I think it can be effective. Think about it why do dolls/children/clowns creep people out so much its because their is enough their that we can identify with the subject. As for general ambiance I think introducing another dynamic into the game could pull the gamer out of the survival horror mindset that they could more readily be disturbed.

Ok onto my final point. I always find it very disturbing if you are able to blur the line between the game and real world. For example weave historical fact into the plot line. Making the horror element as believable as possible. You could for example claim that the spirits exist in the world of dark matter. Of course then you risk going into the realm of science fiction. Then again is that such a bad thing. Another technique that I have seen used is to address the player directly. Perhaps by saying to them that this game is really a way for the spirits to try and communicate with them. That the characters in the game aren't real and the real goal of the game is to interact with the player. Im kinda a sucker for post modernism though.

My entire GDD is basically "don't stick to normal survival horror". My game relies on Half-Life 2 technique. There are no cutscenes, everything is told from the first person view and scripted sequences. The horror scenes, well, my scares aren't the most important thing to me.
I'm not sure what you mean by the pure "uch" factor but I assure you I will not be welding a cows head onto my enemies body. For most of the game you won't be able to see your enemies, for example one of my ghosts are invisible in the light, but in the dark you can see their eyes. It is these kinds of sequences I will leave up to their player to figure out to himself.

As for a real world element... I don't think it's for Dead Velvet. I want the player to sympathize with Pier, not with themselves. It's a good concept though.




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