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Flare_Project

How far can scary games go?

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Flare_Project    100
Im developing a game at the moment (FLARE - Age of Destruction) you may have seen it in the Help Wanted forum. Anyway its a horror game, set in the near future, but its not as unique as i had hoped, the story is new, its set in the UK, not a popular setting for games today. It has those 4 armed mutants and zombies that creap up on you from all angles, it even has an evil faction trying to take over the planet, but what else do people look for in horror games? Im working on an idea at the moment, its that all you can see is what your torch is lighting up. this would make for good gameplay, as you would get scared S***less when a mutant jumps out of no where, or a creature that hisses from the bright light of your torch. The game is set mostly outside, and so there are levels in the day, which can ruin it slightly but it makes sense. Looking for any comments, what do YOU want in a horror game? providing its unique. Thanks FLARE_Project

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oscinis    209
Darkness can be a very powerful element on a horror game, but it can be overused and reduce from the experience of the game overall. Doom 3 for example - I found the game very difficult to play without the flashlight mod. Often small details emerging from darkness can be very useful as well, including things like glowing eyes, scritchy noises and footsteps, etc.. Darkness doesn't always have to be omnipresent, either; in fact, it's generally not a good idea for everything to be dark. Shadows and silhouettes of monsters walking or scampering around the corner get me every time. A light area can also give a player a sense of safety, which is necessary at intervals.

Audio can also play a huge role in a horror game. "Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth" does a great job with this. Conversations amongst the townspeople can be listened in to, revealing small details about what's really going on in the game and pointing to events which can put the player on edge. Ambience, and lack thereof, is also very important. Wind, faint laughter (sinister or innocent), and screaming can do a whole lot for your game. But, in the context of a game with a good amount of ambience, taking it away can be a great way to come up upon a particularly frightful moment.

Another thing Dark Corners of the Earth does particularly well with was visuals. Scattered around the game there are objects and signs of events that cause visual, audio and control distortions. For example, a rusty trashcan in a dark alley with a single source of light dimly illuminating blood splatter on the wall. Looking at the blood splatter would build up the level of insanity, adding the previously mentioned distortions and adding ambient noises. Not necessarily from an actual presence in the game, but purely to add to the suspense.

Power is something to be closely monitored. Controls can be touchy, as well - you don't want the player to feel immobile or unable to retreat, but you don't quite want to put them in a position to simply skip past all of the monsters and other elements. Overpowering the player to make them feel superior to the enemies in the game isn't a good thing to do in a horror game. That's not to say that rewards shouldn't be had, though. Throughout levels the player should be given access to better offense and defense, to give them some accomplishment to negate being scared all the time, and perhaps have some taken away temporarily. This can cause the player to plan ahead more intently, adding to immersion of the game. Intimidation is scary! I would be terrified if I wandered into a dead-end room to scour for supplies, and upon turning back toward the door saw a snarling, aggressive monster. But I would not feel any pressure if I could simply outrun it and unload dozens of shells into it without much repercussion.

Another thing worth mention is that heads-up displays can take away from the immersion of any game, and with the horror genre this is indispensable. But keeping the player away from their vital statistics, such as health and ammo, isn't good either. I suggest showing these in the pause menu and whenever their values are changed (getting hit, firing a shot, picking up ammo) to minimize HUD usage but keeping the player informed. Percentage-style health meters aren't so great either - experiment with a vague "you're doing fine" / "you better get a health pack NOW" display, perhaps with color or noticeable limping, slowed movement, and/or heavy breathing.

I hope this has provided some biased help. Just remember what is horrifying to one person might not be worth a second glance to others. What you want to achieve is keeping the player's attention and leaving them immersed in your world.

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tstrimp    1798
Don't take away the hud. It isn't worth it. How is it more immersive to have to pause and stop the action to see your status? It's annoying as hell. Silent Hill did this and I'd have to pause the game every so often to see if I needed to use the medicine yet.

And don't over use darkness. That's also quite annoying. I want to be able to see where I'm going and if you have to resort to cheap tricks like stuff jumping out of the dark then I don't think the game is really worth playing.

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oscinis    209
Quote:
Original post by tstrimp
Don't take away the hud. It isn't worth it. How is it more immersive to have to pause and stop the action to see your status? It's annoying as hell. Silent Hill did this and I'd have to pause the game every so often to see if I needed to use the medicine yet.

I suggested hiding the HUD if there's no reason to show it. Do you need to be reminded of how badly you're hurt when you're limping around and bleeding?

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tstrimp    1798
Quote:
Original post by oscinis
I suggested hiding the HUD if there's no reason to show it. Do you need to be reminded of how badly you're hurt when you're limping around and bleeding?


If there is a difference between injury states that is hard to tell simply by looking at your character, then yes. In Silent Hill is was hard to tell if your health was in the orange (can take another hit from most things) or if it was red. That makes a difference between whether to heal or not. If you make your player stop and pause the game just to see if it's time to use a health pack or not then your players are going to get annoyed with you.

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Crimehawk    122
Horror games... seems to be the growing game design topic just about everywhere.

Ok, so here's soem of my ideas and comments :)

First, darkness is, like said before, VERY overated. Light can used to cause even more fear, but people just don't seem to see it. In the light people can see where they are going, and go which way they want... or so they think. For example:

A classic walk in a plains field. Dusk, daylight just coming. Previously, the player has been running away from a nighttime/darkness only evil scarecrow (yes, corny, but just an example). So it's daylight, and the player can see where they are. They see traps, weapons, whatever, and wish to avoid these things (leading them on a path where you want them to go). through the maze of 'the player choosing where to go' the player gets to an appointed trap. They suddenly fall through a trap door in the ground. The sunlight shines through the hole. The palyer see some more light spots ahead. Now timing must be tried, and tested, but give the player a short period of time to try and discover where they are (no movement, just looking). As soon as the figure out their surroundings (1-3 seconds probably, maybe not even that long) the scarecrow comes flying and tries to attack, but is blocked by the ray of light the player is in. So after a while the player realizes that they must move onto to the next light spot. So they make a mad dash to it (while the scarecrow is preoccupied with doing...watever). After a while of this, the player gets to a final ray of light. All others go out. The ray the player on starts slowly to get smaller. This is the climax of this exmaple. Panic. To get a person scared, they must have a 'chance' to survive (which would be the light dashing) and then the panic of the 'hopeless' situation. While the ray is getting smaller, have the scarecrow nearby, nearly hovering. Now a 'hero'. A farmer comes, and falls through a different trap, which just happens to be above where the scarecrow is. The scarecrow is crushed by the farmer, and a ray of light shines on him. He tells the player to leave. Player leaves, but the road is blocked by the hole the farmer left. So the only way is to patch up the hole (luckily, supplies are very close). Player then moves on, but stops. A little dialogue or noise or something comes up almost as an 'oops.' The player realizes he just killed the farmer, by removing his ray of light. "guilt" another fear builder. so then in a cutscene type thing, the scarecrow jumps out of the was-newly-covered hole, holding the dead farmer. and yeah, you can from there.

But the point of that example is prove a couple things.

1) Darkness is over rated, when over used. Some elements can use darkness, but if you can scare someone in light, it will be truly scary.

2) Catch them off guard. Like in the example, the first trap the player falls through. The player gets into the game, and suddenly 'SNAP' something happens. DO NOT over use this as well, it could ruin your game

3) Fear, panic, guilt, and many more can make the player scared or feel helpless, which is desired in a horror game


Just a quick example (kind of based off the movie 'Darkness Falls') but yeah, you get the point, hoepfully that helps :)

Matt

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oscinis    209
tstrimp makes good points, I believe that I do as well. Take both opinions as you will.

Reading Crimehawk's post above (which is good), I started to recall some moments in Half-Life 2 and other games. Moving with teammates (or otherwise benevolent characters to you), it can be quite a shock when one of them drops dead in front of you, or is grabbed by an enemy, buying you some time in an intense situation.

Just a quick note. Again, take this all as opinion.

Edit to include one more thing: MUSIC. Skipped over it before. Music can be very important. Have you ever tried to watch Jaws without music? It's quite a different experience. Watch horror movies and pay attention to the soundtrack.. you'll see what I mean.

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RivieraKid    698
Quote:
Original post by tstrimp
Quote:
Original post by oscinis
I suggested hiding the HUD if there's no reason to show it. Do you need to be reminded of how badly you're hurt when you're limping around and bleeding?


If there is a difference between injury states that is hard to tell simply by looking at your character, then yes. In Silent Hill is was hard to tell if your health was in the orange (can take another hit from most things) or if it was red. That makes a difference between whether to heal or not. If you make your player stop and pause the game just to see if it's time to use a health pack or not then your players are going to get annoyed with you.


when you get attacked it tells you your health. Riddick, escape from butcher bay did this and it worked fine. I like the resident evil health system aswell.

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AdamC    131
Have you ever had a nightmare? What scared the crap out of you?

Personally, the scariest thing I can think of is when you try to get away, but you just cant... you want to run, but youre moving slowly, and the thing thats coming for you is hauling ass ,mean and looking to devour you. A series of tight holes and snares that slow you down as the approaching enemy smashes through them would be good.

What about "close calls". Environments and hazards that make it seem like you barely escaped, even though in reality they will not hurt you. Falling walls, fires, explosions, traps and incoming attacks all pre-scripted to make it appear like you just scraped through.




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Galliard    128
Quote:
Original post by AdamC
Personally, the scariest thing I can think of is when you try to get away, but you just cant... you want to run, but youre moving slowly, and the thing thats coming for you is hauling ass ,mean and looking to devour you. A series of tight holes and snares that slow you down as the approaching enemy smashes through them would be good.


I'm not sure this applies as well in a game as in a nightmare. It's terrifying as a dream, since you can't escape and you can't fight back. But as gameplay, it's lacking. The real terror is in the helplessness of the situation, but you're never actually helpless in a game.

As for my suggestion, I think you should make sure to not rely too heavily on enclosed spaces to generate terror. Not everyone is claustrophobic and small areas, when done poorly, reduce tension by being easily defensible. When done correctly a large open space can be just as terrifying, especially if empty.

I also once read an article (I can't remember where), that discussed horror games being predictable. The main point was to mix up your scares. For example, if a monster jumps out from behind every window and never from behind a door, the player will quickly adapt. He'll carefully watch windows and ignore doors. To avoid this, have the player be ambushed inconsistently. Don't always scare him at an obvious spot. Sometimes you'll want to scare him a little early (before he's ready) or a little late (after he's relaxed).

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Flare_Project    100
Thanks for all of your ideas, i will try to include as much of this as i can, on the HUD, i think i will keep it minimal, just health and ammo. and i thought about the blleding limping thing, i will include that. would be scary if you could see a trail of your own blood following you. (Shudders)

Darkness i am still a bit iffy about, no question that it will be used. but i think some of the levels will be more about discovering what happened to the mutants, also safe points will be used. however not perminent ones.

Thanks again.
FLARE_Project

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wpdesign    151
I worked with a project as the storyline designer and assistant project manager for a game where a man is sent to investigate a house where a man and his family once lived, but odd/strange events keep happening. The longer an owner of the house stays, the more clear the visions are, and the more often.

The idea was taken from a portion of Vampires: The Masquerade "Bloodlines". A haunted hotel that was owned by a father who brutally murdered his family.

We didn't go into the "jump out and scare you" mindset, but instead I created a different idea to make everything clear as day and easily seen. The house ended up being a place where serial killers were taken to be executed, as the death penalty wasn't allowed in that area. The visions were those of people they killed, and how, because their spirits had not left the house. One of the greatest scenes is where you hear a person walking upstairs, and if you choose to follow him, you see down a hallway where the light is on in a room and a kid is humming a song, drawing on some paper. As you get closer to the room, a portly man wearing an executioners mask walks to the door and slowly shuts it, glaring at you while holding an axe in one hand. You hear the kidd humming as the door shuts, and after a minute you hear the kid screaming and running around. You could easily tell what was going on in the room...kid was being chased. At one point, the axe even goes through the door when he swings it at the kid. Finally, after about a minute or so, it gets quiet. You open the door, and the room is empty.

The idea is that, if you get something sick and twisted, and don't hide it, that can scare the hell out of you. Make it so the player is helpless to do anything about it, unless it affects them directly, and make it so they HAVE to encounter it. In the game, we created 12 different serial killers, all with their own agenda and method (the executioner, who watched his mother get killed by execution in the early 1900s; the WWI solider that was a torturer that couldn't get enough of watching a human suffer; the Mirror, who had multiple personalities, one that was violent and the other that was depressed). There were so many times where you could just see what was about to happen and alot of the testers would be looking at me and the head designer saying "You can't do this...oh my god..." right as they could see something coming. If the people playing can see something coming, and you don't TRY to make it look like a surprise, it adds alot to the shock and scare value.

I'm going to be posting my resume and advert on the help section to offer consulting and writing for game designers. If you need some help with your game, let me know.

Ben
Willow/Phantom Design

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Rhaythe    145
Following through on the previously mentioned 'audio' factor a bit... your players are smart people. They will be able to tell when audio elements are reused. It forms a pattern, and that's what is the greatest killer of horror: predictability. In order to truly scare the player/reader/watcher, you have to maintain that level of unknown and unpredictability. Too many horror instances follow a pattern. For example:

1) The music swells. The camera zooms in close to the protagonist's face. The eyes widen. Then the camera swings around to show the "horror".

2) Silence. Protagonist peers around a corner. Cue sharp music notes or screeching sounds and evil unknown creature in darkness.

3) Blackness. Heartbeat sounds. Heavy, gasped breathing. Someone finds a lightswitch or flashlight or lighter, and BOO!!

You've seen these in a movie before, and do they really scare anymore? Viewer expectations have grown used to such formulamatic elements, and they don't work anymore. Instead, scares have to be a bit more creative. Find a movie or game that scares/scared you and really analyze what it was that scared you. Was it the darkness or lighting? Was it the sudden sound or dreary silence? Was it the flicker of shadows? Once you have an idea of what it was that specifically gave you chills, you can recreate it.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
It cant just be a quick jump out though...you need to follow up. If something flickers in the shadows, have it keep doing so as you're walking. Make it dead silent except for when the flicker happens. Repitition can work in your favor for things like this.

Take, for instance, the House of the Dead series...you get freaked out and they STILL keep coming at you. Cheap scares feel hollow...a sudden "boo!" event cannot compare to the continued scare. Think of things like Jurrasic Park, when the T-Rex chases down the vehicle. That right there is a continued scare, and that gets your heart racing.

However, on the other side of it, things like Fear, where you would go through a door and hear the "noise", or turn the corner and see the girl there, it was sudden and scared you to see her there, but it always followed through...her running at you for a few seconds, staring at you...launching you out a window...so on.

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Wixner    163
To be honest, I was to tired to read all of the post, but you must keep in mind that fear is an individual feeling. For me, the event of a suddenly appearance of a mutant-zombie-squirrel triggers the feeling of surprise more than fear. Well, perhaps the squirrel part isn't that frightening in the first place ;)

Fear can also be psychological; The Clown from Stephen King's IT is a perfect example of psychological fear. Fear can also come in the form of stress; like the elements in the Alien movies and the Alien versus Predator game where the motion detector detects hundreds of movements outside a room or just above your head, inside the ceiling.

Another stage of fear is the (sub)conscious fear; like the fear of spiders, tight places or even large groups of people. Perhaps taking it for granted that all people fears the dark (Hail, Maiden) is a step towards a failed horror game? I do not know that for sure but you might want to keep that in mind

Edit:
I just noticed that the second (psychological fear) and the third stage ( (sub)conscious fear ) is virtually the same, but still they differ

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Deleter    169
Quote:
Im working on an idea at the moment, its that all you can see is what your torch is lighting up. this would make for good gameplay, as you would get scared S***less when a mutant jumps out of no where, or a creature that hisses from the bright light of your torch.

This was doom3, it sucked. This does not create fear, it creates surprise. And even that is quickly lost. I jumped at the first 10 monsters in doom who came out of nowhere, then I got numb/used to them, until it was simply taxing on my patience. True scariness is not a physical element, if you ask me.

So if you really want to make a horror game, put the actual scary stuff deeper in the game. In the plot if you can. Sometimes the idea behind something can make it one thousand times more frightening.

I also saw some mention of gui's. Personally, I see a gui as a standard of games. Therefore the player can hold onto this when the rest of the game goes haywire. For a game intent on being scary, the absence of this anchor could help to further this mood. Even if you leave the gui in, I would suggest removing the health bar. Instead have health indicated by a red hue on the screen or a pounding heart. These more primitive informers reach deeper into the human psyche than a very abstract 0-100 health bar.

Use darkness and blood, and all the standards of horror sparingly and intelligently. A game where every level is bathed is blood numbs, not scares the player. A game shrouded in darkness *cough*doom 3*cough* taxes, not frightens, them. Make the plot be whats scary, and these game elements simply the tools used to convey the fear to the player. Also, don't forget about pacing, too much "scary" in one consecutive run will numb the player no matter how high quality it is. This is the warm conversation between the survivors before the next onslaught of zombies that you've seen in movies a hundred times. With careful enough execution, these elements can combine to create a truly horrifying experience.

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Qitsune    186
When in animation school, some of my collegues were working on a Quake 2 mod (I'm old) and for fun they added a background sound of crying babies to the second to last room of their demo. So you'd come all the way down these catacombs, fight sewer lizards and stuff and you'd get in a place were you can hear dozens of babies crying. Then they had all their friends test their demo.

I can tell you that the version with the babies crying made people freak out WAY more than the version without. And the only difference was the soundtrack.

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Hushed    132
People get scared by seeing twisted things. Even though its not a game, look at the Saw series.

A good horror game is one that relies on both psychological horror, and surprises.

As for lighting, I can say right now that ive played more games where the lighting HAS scared me, then games where the lighting hasnt. Condemned: Criminal Origins, for example, does this so perfectly.

Condemned had a certain design concept I liked. The maniacs would hide from you in various places. You would actually see the maniac running away, and see exactly what corner he is hiding behind. Does this make it less scary / less nerve wrecking, for me it only makes it more so.

This may be some pseudo philosophical BS, but humans are humans. When you think of a human, you think of someone much like yourself. Which means your antagonist needs to be as sick and twisted as you can possibly make him. Example: We usually view doves as these angel-like birds (or at least most people I know). Which means in your game, the killer might kill them, or maybe they are some spawn of Satan (Dont worry about that.)

As for surprises, I dont see whats wrong with them. Of course, things that arent surprises can be just as scary as surprises. Example, your turning a corner into a long hallway, all of the sudden the music rushes as someone comes rushing at you! Now, same scenario, this time though you turn the corner, and the music tones it down to a heart-beat like sound, you look ahead, and the demented killer is slowly walking toward you, confident in his ability to kill. Both are pretty scary scenarios, in my opinion.

Lets take a very scary movie. The Shining. It had its pop-out moments, when he swings the axe at the door and he pops his head in, and says his famous line. Then we have the psychological parts, the boy being chased through the maze, Jack following closly behind, but this time, Jack is walking. Walking, with his head up high, thats pretty creepy. Another example of this are the two twins, they were pretty creepy as well.

I think a combination of these 'scare-tactics' forms something good.

Lets say your right, every time the player opens the door, something pops out. The window, nothing pops out. Whenever you get close to the door, your going to be expecting something. The music starts up. . .You walk closer to the door, open it, and nothing! You turn around and close the door, turn around, and blam! There another monster/person/zombie/etc. is! Yikes! You start walking to the window, and something breaks the window, yikes yet again!

Music is an important part of anything. Lets say your walking, if the music starts slowly pulsing like a heart, its likely your heart will start beating faster because your expecting something, thus making you more scared.

*end of long, unorganized 2 cents.

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wodinoneeye    1689
Quote:
Original post by Flare_Project
Im developing a game at the moment (FLARE - Age of Destruction) you may have seen it in the Help Wanted forum. Anyway its a horror game, set in the near future, but its not as unique as i had hoped, the story is new, its set in the UK, not a popular setting for games today. It has those 4 armed mutants and zombies that creap up on you from all angles, it even has an evil faction trying to take over the planet, but what else do people look for in horror games?

Im working on an idea at the moment, its that all you can see is what your torch is lighting up. this would make for good gameplay, as you would get scared S***less when a mutant jumps out of no where, or a creature that hisses from the bright light of your torch.

The game is set mostly outside, and so there are levels in the day, which can ruin it slightly but it makes sense.

Looking for any comments, what do YOU want in a horror game? providing its unique.

Thanks
FLARE_Project




The effect in Return to Castle Wolfenstein where there was a distinctive sound for one of the tough nasties that you would hear but not be sure where it was coming from (Far Cry had something simillar) but that it was likely to be around a corner imminently (and they often would stop so you were not sure where). Its not 'unique' but had that suspense and desire for possible running away very 'feet do your stuff' fast (these nasties would kill you pretty fast if you were in reach and were hard to kill).


As for effects, its hard to beat the 'river of blood'.....

A nasty like a poltergeist that knocked your weapon from your hand at inopportune moments might be rather startling.

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The shadows and scampering, unseen, otherworldly things worked twice in video games that I can think of. They're both change-ups, based on giving a clear impression, then switching the reality to something else.

F.E.A.R.'s demo did okay with the spooky little girl thing, but as you got into the full length game, it became clear that she wasn't a threat, and since the bad guys never sprang out of the darkness, you actually felt safer hanging out with the phantom girl than you did walking around in the light. At the end, though, the rules change, and you freak out on a regular basis as the game becomes retardedly difficult.

In Resident Evil 4, there's a scene where you're introduced to these horrible bug monsters (Novistadores, I believe). They're scary for solid, video game reasons. They're tough to spot (invisible, even), they do decent damage at close quarters, and they waste a lot of ammo if you get freaked out and start shooting wildly, which you do the first few times you see them. They attack in ankle-deep water, so the real clue to their presence is the rapid splashing as they approach.

So you get into this narrow, long dead-end tunnel, with a freaking treasure chest at one end. You played Quake 3, you know what to expect, so you reload your shotgun and slosh over to the chest. It's loot, not ammor or anything useful, and then you here "Splash! Splash, splash, splashsplashsplashsplash..." and silence. You spin around about eight times during that little sound effect, then take a deep breath, walk out and get jumped by a novistador. You should really have seen it coming, but I didn't the first time.

So basically, for spooking players, it's like a game of rock, paper scissors. If every dark corner has a zombie in it and every hallway you "clear" has monsters spawn in it (I'm looking at you, Quake 3) then people will just assume that the darkness is monsters and demons are right behind them. That's not scary, it's just clumsy level design. But if one in ten zombies get back up and come after you again, that's something that'll distract you every time.

Lull us into a false sense of complacency, like F.E.A.R. does with the ghost of Alma, or make a self-deprecating mockery of the known formula, like RE4 did with the novistadores. Don't let it get stale and predictable, unless you're using that predictability to set us up for a curve ball.

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Xeile    256
I would like to add some examples here too, which come down on the predictablity and the re-use of certain situations.

When I played Halo on the X-box with my little sister (coop-mode), my sister always got frightened when we reach the part the flood was introduced into the game. She got so frightened during the parts where those little face-sucking monsters swarm in, she drops her controller on the floor and covers here head...
To me this wasn't even close to scary, I was a bit thrilled for the unknown but not frightened.
This a mere example of how individual can intepret situations differently.

Now an example, which made me poo my pants (I am not joking :( ) when I experienced it.

A friend of mine builds horror-scenes. Small mini-games focussed on AI.
There was this scene, in first-person perspective. You stand in a garage watching a other person named Jack. You were having a nice conversion about a girl. Jack was repairing a car and you were standing near him.
Somewhere during the conversation Jack asked you to handover a wrench (he pointed somewhere behind yourself to the workingbench). As I turned around he continued the conversion.
Meanwhile I was looking for the wrench, after finding it I picked it up and looked up again. At that moment I saw the shadow of Jack hitting me from behind with some tool. I quickly turned around and saw Jack sitting down on his skateboard again.
This scared the shit out of me, my real-life friend now asked me to restart the scene. As I did it again, I approached the workingbench with all the tools from a different angle, in order to watch Jacks movements. This time Jack just looked up at me, with a very evil grin on his face. I was like: "Whaaaaa".

This was the top of unpredictability for me and it was so frightening. My friend made an entire scene, without the Boo-surprice element. I was most impressed about his work. I find Boo-surprice element soo cheap and overused.

Even in horror movies they overuse this Boo-surprice element. Movies like IT were frightening for a good reason, it was unpredictable.

My conclusion here is:
Unpredictability > Boo-surprice

Regards,
Xeile

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Being scared and pushing horror is best done through knowing what people find comfort in. For instance, a very basic element of horror is in Dawn of the Dead(not the original as I haven't seen it). Comfort is coming home from work, shutting off the tv and climbing into bed. Comfort is daylight. Comfort is children, because it is innocent. Shock and horror is during a morning a zombie girl invades your home, bites your husband, and then he, in turn(as your best friend in both life and love), now attacks you. The best parts of the movie were during daylight, when you feel the most comfortable.

In darkness, most people find frightening moments by fearing what they don't know. What's down the hallway....what's down the tunnel....what is around the bend....what's that sound....who is calling this late....where are they?

Someone mentioned sound...this is probably the best element as it's the icing on the cake. Imagine a primal feeling...sexual, nervous, anger...what happens? your heart beats, your eyes widen, your breathe increases and gets hotter(cool effects during nighttime conditions), you shake, your voice is higher and quicker, you hear things louder, etc. Your character can have a more horrific change for the user just based on a few sounds.



Setup of a scene for horror in a very, very cliche scene.

Nighttime, zombies can be heared moaning, creeping closer to you.


Or, this one...

Daytime, you are alone on a street in broad daylight. You hear, six cars in the distance, a car alarm start to go off. When you turn, there is nothing there, and now, barely in your field of vision on your left, you see a car's light and alarm go off. Enter heavy breathing, and the field of view for the user sees the scene go slowly up and down to simulate breathe.


In the first example, you know what is coming and can feel the amount of time you have. Because of it, you can find some comfort in determining the time you have and can calc off how long you can get away.

In the second one, there is not one bit of comfort. It's daylight, when you are supposed to feel safe. And whatever is 'after' you, is not seen, smelled, heard, etc. Plus, with no dark, you cannot have hope there is someone to help. At least in the dark, because you cannot see something to help, that means you could have something to help.


That is simply me though. I write and game, so I have a non-programmer idea(I program too, but not games:)).

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c-Row    530
Quote:
Original post by wodinoneeyeThe effect in Return to Castle Wolfenstein where there was a distinctive sound for one of the tough nasties that you would hear but not be sure where it was coming from (Far Cry had something simillar) but that it was likely to be around a corner imminently (and they often would stop so you were not sure where). Its not 'unique' but had that suspense and desire for possible running away very 'feet do your stuff' fast (these nasties would kill you pretty fast if you were in reach and were hard to kill).


Not exactly scary, but it sure paniced me in RtCW when those strange things attacked me and I lost my vision for some seconds while the room was full of skeletons closing in to me.

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tstrimp    1798
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Original post by Deleter
Use darkness and blood, and all the standards of horror sparingly and intelligently. A game where every level is bathed is blood numbs, not scares the player.


This was probably one of the reasons Silent Hill had such a strong effect. It alternated between normal and freaky mode and you started to dread those sirens.

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