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Places in a horror game

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Many horror games in the past as well as today have used everything from hospitals to motels to seedy amusement parks and so on. But if you were given the chance to have your say in what areas were to be used in a horror game, what places would you choose? Would it be a police station which has been done to death, or would you choose a casino or some where else? Basically I am asking what places do you think would be cool to have in a horror game. Yes I know I actually posted the same question twice, but I wanted to give an example of what I meant. In my opinion large places like Hotels, and other high buildings makes it more interesting to me. But that's just my opinion. Then again I also like buildings thats not so high such as Grocery stores, and or gyms. I am wanting to hear your opinions on this topic. And see what places would be used if you had the say. Because the places I will avoid in my game project is the Police Station, Hospital, Schools, mansions, and so on. If you really think about the above things, you know as well as I do, that they have been done to death. And I would like to break that cycle. As members here your view points are respected and needed.. So please let me know what you think about the above topic.Thanks for your time and patience with this post...

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Childrens Nursery :). Bit close to school though. Children are damn scary in a horror setting (Children of the Damned) :p.

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Anything familiar. A home, apartment, school, office, park.
The more natural the feel to the place, the more at home with the setting the player will be, and thusly the more scared when you scare them.
Too many horror games go with the standard "junkyards are scary" "graveyards are scary", but when you see that in a game you EXPECT scary things. Run down places with lots of shadows and lurking figures are creepy, and hide your scary monsters well, but people tend to find that to be like doom 3, "oh look an alcove, i bet when i walk past it somethings going to slide away and a imp jump out!". What you really need is good setting to get the player first thinking "this isn't scary, how can this be scary" before there really is a monster in the children's closet.

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When I think of discomfort in frightening situations, I think of areas with multiple ways in and out, and cramped areas with lots of corners. I think of many doors that can't be locked, and countless windows that monsters are not afraid to break to navigate through.

A thick, dark forest would be pretty intimidating. Trees overlap each other to the point where you might not see something even as it's a few feet away, running directly at you. The player would have to use sound to detect approaching danger. On top of that, the player's movement would create its own unwanted sounds, attracting attention, and overpowering the player's own ability to detect. I would probably find myself taking a few steps at a time, then waiting and listening for trouble.

For some inspiration of this type of area, check out The Evil Dead series. With that, it's basically a cabin, deep in the woods, cut off from civilization. Someone there conducts experiments to toy with the dead, leading to the essential chaos. If you notice in the films, there are actually few instances of actual danger and enemy confrontation. Most of the time is spent trying to figure out what's going on, and trying to escape, all while anticipation builds in the background.

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It's a little harder to make a bright open place scary though.

Bright isn't too bad, because there's still plenty of places for creatures to hide.


Though I guess if you had a big open space, with thousands of zombies coming towards you.. well I guess I'd be a little scared.

Especially if you had fast movie enemies. Zombie's are often quite slow, which means it's a little harder for them to scare you from far off. But if the enemies were quick, it means they could 'jump out' at you from pretty far off.

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I think horror works best if the enemy is poorly understood (especially where the enemy is), and if the player feels vulnerable. Cramped spaces where there are multiple approaches to any location work well as the player cannot feel safe and has very limited time to see their enemy coming.

That gives you a lot of range of what you can use. Factories, caves, warehouses, standard surburban house, Russian submarine, hedge maze, they can all work.

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Getting more popular in films recently but not seen quite so much in (horror) games - train/tube stations.

Or maybe caves and tunnels - done well in films like The Descent... Any moment where you are physically unable to turn around and see behind you can be pretty goddamn scary, especially with the right soundtrack.

Underwater? The murkiness acts like fog, allowing a looming monster to spring into view. Maybe just a tiny bit harder to pull off though..

Old, isolated (non-mansion) houses, cornfields.. that sort of stuff. I imagine a setting similar to the film "Behind The Mask" (well worth a watch). Very cliché in cinema but not so much in games.. Hard to prolong the story and length of the game in this kind of environment?

The streets - imagine the famous alleyway from Nightmare on Elm Street. Not having any real idea where you are running to and being suddenly headed-off can be pretty scary. While familiarity can create more empathy and fear (and of course building some kind of empathy with a character makes for a much more scary film/game), unfamiliarity with the setting, I would argue, can also make for a scary game - old-timey/medieval style towns could be scary places at night. Also the feeling that whatever is after you has much more control over the environment than you do can make for a good scare.

Going further in a similar vein: Impossible or inconsistent locations (possibly suggesting the horror is inside the character's own twisted nightmares? Or maybe a demonic force is in control?)- Room 1408 in cinema, Silent Hill: The Room and the "Nowhere" level in other Silent Hill games. Maybe even a completely alien environment - possibly the lair or sphere of influence of an evil force.

A military ship/cruise ship. Seen a lot in action films and games, but the feeling of being confined and ultimately trapped in the middle of the sea can be terrifying. Plenty of scary games go the labyrinthian spaceship route, but this has many of the same fear-inducing factors and seems slightly less overdone.

I also thought offices and apartments (or hotels - makes me think of Silent Hill 2) were good ideas. Rooftops, sewers.. the list goes on. In the end, it's all in the execution... Learn from cinema greats - a lot of it is about what you choose show or hide from the player

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Horror games settings don't matter. You need to create an atmosphere.
You need to make people feel like something could happen at ANY time. No matter where they are.
Survival Horror like Resident Evil sometimes isn't true horror. Like some of the previous posters said, you can predict where monsters are going to be.

The best thing to do is to use camera angles and lighting to your advantage.

Good Horror movies are all about making it feel cinematic, good flow, good plot twists and gruesome ends.
But a good Horror game is unpredictable, edgy. You've got to have just enough ammo, just enough health, just enough monsters.

You've got to mix those elements.

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Quote:
Original post by Zenix
It's a little harder to make a bright open place scary though.

Bright isn't too bad, because there's still plenty of places for creatures to hide.


Though I guess if you had a big open space, with thousands of zombies coming towards you.. well I guess I'd be a little scared.

Especially if you had fast movie enemies. Zombie's are often quite slow, which means it's a little harder for them to scare you from far off. But if the enemies were quick, it means they could 'jump out' at you from pretty far off.


Well, just think of some kind of faint, misty looking monster that could slip out of a crack in the pavement with only a faint whisper. The goal of the game is to make it through solving the mysteries of the game world while not getting killed. Your only warning of an attack could be the sound of your character's teeth chattering from the odd chill in the air that comes with one of the demons forming up.

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