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runemaster

Scaring the player

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Before I resumed work on Acronia, I wa thinking of making a space/horror game.One of the things I was thinking about was how you can scare the player. Some ideas : -Suddenly make two red eyes appear in the darkness.Not scary, but... -Make him look in a mirror and see something behind him or even better -make him see another face in his place, maybe a classical grey alien -??? Any ideas ? Runemaster now working on Acronia : Secrets of Magic Join the Game Developers RuneRing ! The Specular Lightosis Research Fund " "'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree"-Nazrix

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Don''t rely too much on visual effects, scare the player in a more subtle way. Use sounds and music to create a scary atmosphere. The player should always be aware of the evil presence, even if it''s not visible. Quite good horror games to me are Alone in the dark (the first one) and probably Silent Hill (not overly well done, but the scene in the locker room was quite scaring... if you don''t know it I could describe it, but I don''t really want to spoil it for people who haven''t played it yet but still want to).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The only time a game has given me shivers (so far) was actually in 7th guest. At the top of the main stairs there was a painting on the wall of some flowers I think. When you clicked on it, you saw a hand push fromthe other side of the painting, like someone was trapped in the wall.

It was a completely unexpected result. Gave me the willies.



Nazrix is c^H^H^H often talked about in sigs

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Just a quote to give an idea of one of the scariest monster ever in a CRPG : the grue !
"your torch is burnt out, you are in the dark. You are likely to get eaten by a grue..."
And that''s all there was to it. No one ever discovered what the grue looked like, as all those who met with it ... died.

youpla :-P

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Find * Psychological Pressure Points *, then exploit them !

In Danse Macabre (Stephen King''s exploration of horror fiction/films) , Stephen King says that Horror uses these psychological pressure points which everyone has to some extent whether it is the being lost in the woods (Blair Witch), stalked by murderers (Halloween), eaten alive, buried alive, going blind, being replaced by others or whatever. (These can be physichal, psychological, affecting love ones or whatever).

If you can incorporate REAL FEARS into your game, then you will manage to rise above 99% of the "Scary Games" that have been made.

Of course the other aspect of horror films is that the characters should be likeable, or at least that you are able to sympathise with them? You may ask whether the player "being" the character is enough (Doom, etc.) and indeed it probably is???? - Check out Harvey Smith''s article on player-character identities (don''t know what it is called) at www.gamasutra.com for some views on characters in games.

What do you think!

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Music and sound.

I repeat, music and sound.

Proof: Watch a scary movie with no sound.
Result: A comedy.

The rising crescendoes, then everything is quiet. All of a sudden, a loud noise: a scream, a crash, something breaking, it doesn't matter.

A pair of red eyes won't scare your players. A pair of red eyes accompanied by a low, guttural growl will definitely get something out of them.

Watch some horror movies and pay close attention to the soundtrack. Your players know that something is going to happen when the music starts getting louder. The anticipation is what gets their nerves up.

Remember: Most of your players have seen monsters in games and movies. The only way to scare someone is through subtlety. They won't be afraid of a monster they see in a mirror. They might be afraid of a shadow or some movement. Something they can't quite see, but they know it's there.

Hope this helps.

Edited by - Forneiq on October 7, 2000 10:24:28 AM

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runemaster : that would be to establish a sense of paranoia. "Did I see something move in this dark corner or what ?" I used to get totally scared in Quake or Doom in those dark areas with no lights or flickering ones, shooting because some pixels moved, or because I just wasn''t sure what was ahead... of course I had no sound, so it was actually the absence of those audio cues that scared me to death.
Having a crescendo until you see the "beast" works well when you don''t know what the "beast" is. After that it''s more like a cue saying "ok now, ready your gun, check your ammo, say your prayers, and good luck marine, ''cause the aliens spoted you" (you *have* to play Alien vs Predator to get what I mean )

Settle an atmosphere to make the player worry, then bend the rules that you create to surprise the player ! Like you said, a low vibe, or the classic violons playing with a crescendo are absolutely effective. But you have to avoid at all costs to create a routine that the player just learn as "just another clue"...

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runemaster, have you played halflife? along with sound and music to scare the player another well used technique is motion. The way a body holds itself and animates is also an important element in horror and thrill. I speak from experience as i''m a huge horror buff.

The strongest horror makes the viewer think that what is happening is the worst thing that could ever happen. It kind of puts the viewer on a one track mind of looking at things. So the objective is to put the viewer on the track of thinking what what''s happening can''t get worse and then it does and then it reintroduces the anticipation again making them think it can''t get more worst and it keeps going like this. You see???

"So you're the one that designed that game are you?"
*Gulp* "Umm, yeah"

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I agree with the points about subtlety and proper music (don''t put Thrash metal, or hip-hop in a scary game and expect people to be scared... unless you are in a dangerous Ghetto).

Paul Cunningham comes the closest to touching on the point about using things that REALLY WORRY the player. Make monsters which make the player worry that they will be infected with chest-bursters (biological horror), make the player worry that the NPC characters in the game are turning evil, etc. Use things which frighten / worry people in real life. This will bring a greater range of emotions to the game.

Like when in Half-Life because the mouse + keyboard control was so intuitive and it only took a relatively low drop to kill you, when you came up to a *huge* drop, and quickly used the mouse to look down as you stopped just away from the edge, this showed a huge drop and tapped into fear of heights.

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