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Horror Game

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Hey I'm planning on making a horror type game, First/Third person mixed. I just want to get your opinion. Would it be like, "Oh no, yet another disturbing title". The horror won't necessarily be only human related, although that does cause the most "Aaahhhhhhhhhh", jump out of your seat and run around the room type thing. I know there are games like "The Looking Glass". I want to make it unique though, not just, open the door and a half sliced up baby comes running at you with a bucther's knife. It will be original. Just want to see what you think. Thanks

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Sounds good, especially if (as it sounds like you're planning to) you make it a psychological thriller type game rather than an omg-bits-of-dead-baby game. Freaky rather than gory. Only downside to that is that psych scary games sometimes will only work on some people - for instance I thought Ring was well scary but one of my friends didn't at all.

Have a storyline yet? :)

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No not a storyline yet, I still want to see whether it's worth persuing.

Yeah it will be more of a psychological thriller. You can only have so much gore in a game before it becomes boring. I'm also tired of playing games where you have to rescue the the hurt soldier, or take out the alien force that has somehow got into the world.

I want to make it so you say, "I'll be there in ten minutes!", and then you go 2 hours later.

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I came up with this for now, it'll probably change. Just a couple of ideas I'm throwing around.

Possible for an intro:

We went into the bedroom. He held me against the wall and whispered, "Don't try to understand."
I don't normally go off with someone for just one night, but this was different. I wanted to live. Being in a new place gave me the chance to explore new things.

"I want to be beautiful for you", I said as he stared at me. I beant down below his arms and quckily ran to the bathroom. Perhaps I was just naive when he asked me if I was sure that this was what I wanted. I went into the bathroom and closed the door.

The Basic Happenings:

The whole game is based around the Bedroom. Everything happens within the bedroom. It's a physcoligical game where the bedroom becomes the world. You will re-visit the bedroom many times throughout the game. I haven't figured out what the actual storyline is gonna be but this is what will happen.

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I can't remember the name of the game right now, but it was a PS2 thriller.

It tried to scared you by bringing the game into RL, and trying to mess with you. A couple of examples of what it did:

- Suddenly turn off your screen
- Tell you your controller stopped working
- Reverse directions on your controller
- Give you a warning saying you just lost all your save games

You can't scare someone by scaring the character, you have to scare the person playing. You can do this by either bringing the player into the game (immersion), or like the game I described, bring the game out to the player.

Too many games today are trying to rely on the "Enemy lunges at you from dark corner" or "Bad guy eating a corpse, eww scarey" and it just doesn't do it anymore on it's own. I personally love being scared in games, and I always remember the moments when I really jumped out of my seat, a couple of ways I suggest doing this are:


Get the player thinking about one thing then throw something else at them. Something happened to me playing far cry once that scared the piss outta me, I swear I had to stop playing for a bit.

I was going through a level that was all forested, with buildings up in the tree's, their were these four legged creatures all over the forest floor, making strange noises and attacking people, but you were relatively safe up in the tree tops (rope bridges between trees). At one point I entered a compound up on a hill, and inside I found some of these creatures. It was a little scarey, but not much since I was in control. I killed what I thought was all the creatures, and proceeded through a door to a small room.

Inside the small room was a window looking out to a gate, with a lever on the wall. I had to use the lever to open the gate outside, doing this got my mind off the creatures and everything else. After hitting the lever I turned around and moved towards the door, as soon as it opened their was one of the creatures on the other side just straring at me, and it quickly lunged at me.

Because I had lost my focus on the creatures (I thought they were all dead), and had moved my train of thought to the lever/gate, I wasn't prepared for something being there, it was so sudden that it jolted me, and I swear I jumped out of my seat and went outside for a smoke. This wasn't scripted, it just happened, I couldn't reproduce it if I tried. But you should try to incorporate this into your game, just don't overuse it!

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of the Unknown is one of the best fears to play up in a game. Too many games just throw everything at the player and never hold anything back. Use sound, and visual elements to get the players imagination running.

If you have some badass creature that you want to unleash at some point, don't introduce it early! Play up the sounds the creature makes, have it run by an area of the game (though dark so the player can't tell what is), show the shadow of the creature somewhere so the players know something is there, but don't let the player see it.

Communicate Fear

Not all scary moments come in the form of a first person experience, one thing you can do is have the player relive a scary momeny through someone/something else.

Have the player meet NPC's who are terrified of what they just saw, but don't have the NPC's explain everything, make it somewhat unintelligible, again let the players imagination run wild.

Have the player come across a bloody video camera (this was used in the movie house on haunted hill to great effect). The video camera has a small screen on it which the player can watch. Againt, don't make everything clear, the key is to plant the seed, let the imagination run wild with it.

Video screens work, communication over radio, both of these were used in Doom 3.

Calm before the storm

Silence can be scarey. By lowering all the sounds, possibly leaving an ambient (water dripping, etc.), you can create tension in the player, make them fear whats coming next. But don't always follow this up with something scarey! Unpredictability is key in a scarey game!

Am I going crazy

Make the player question what they saw. One idea I always had for a scarey game is to introduce visuals in the corners of the screen. Have quick movement of something in/out of the screen on the sides and make the player think something is there. When they turn around to look, nothing is there, they'll start to wonder what's going on and they won't be prepared for anything.

Another thing I thought would be neat, would be to have sudden images appear on walls, or other surfaces and then disappear quickly, don't let the player examine it, make them question what they saw. If a player is close to a wall, have a face suddenly appear in the design, then disappear.

Are those voices in my head?

Sound is key, and one of the things you can play up is voices. Faint voices coming from behind, quick, unintelligible voices that will make the player quickly turn around and again question what's going on.

Sounds of footsteps, gunfire, screams always work, just don't overdo it.

Flood the senses

Another idea I had for a game, would be to suddenly barrage the player with audio/visuals. This would work great after a moment of silence.

Iamgine you're you enter a large room, everything goes quiet, you're preparing for something big. Suddenly out of nowhere comes hordes of enemies, all different types, sound is coming from everything, you start firing at everything, nothing is dying, textures on the walls are changing, things are moving, you can't figure out whats going on.

Then instantly, everything just disappears, the sound is quiet, nothing is there, everything is normal.

Anyways, this was going to be a quick reply and it turned into a book lol. Just some ideas on how to make a scary game, remember, scary is not always about grossing out the audience.

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If you're looking for pyschological horror, try and find some info on a movie called Session 9. It will scare you to no end. It gave me a view good game ideas so it might give you some!

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There are plenty of 'scripting' tricks that Thesolitas mentioned, but they're only half the story. Actual gameplay is important, too. Make the game *hard*. I don't know what sort of gameplay it will have (do you?), but if it involves killing monsters, make them hard and make them few.

Also, play upon people's preconceptions. Use cliches - the door that a monster might burst from as you pass, an item lying about that you just *know* is going to spawn some bad guys - but don't have anything actually happen. The point is: people new to horror games will be pretty easy to scare, but those who play them a lot (and are harder to scare) will immediately pick up on these clues that they remember from other games, and be put on their guard. But if you execute them like all the other games, they will be able to predict what is going to happen.

Also, take a look at System Shock 2. Scariest. Game. Ever :)

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i was working on one for a while, it's based in a school. hehe, there's a good environment, for one. hehe, i'd love to see it actually made, so if you're interested in it PM me..

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