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what would make a scary fps coop game?

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Ive been thinking of the ultimate scary coop fps game , where you play over the internet with people , i dont mean like left4dead which is just to arcadey imo,i am talking about a truely epic horror game , what would be the enemy?, i was thinking some kind of poltiguest in a hotel thats abandoned and you're job is to go investigate it with other players. I would have things like creaking floor boards and things moving , shadows apearing and eiry music and stuff pulling you away from you're team , like some kind of entity that pulls you back fast in to a dark room and the door slams shut , leaving you're team to brake down the door and rescue you , would having enemys to kill spoil it?, or should it be just about hunting for demonic forces?
I would like you're suggestions to what would make a scary coop experience...

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I think FEAR is a good example of the kind of scary you seem to be talking about. Your enemy is barely defined and you know you stand no chance against it if it ever saw you.

What a lot of games end up messing up in a lot of cases is revealing too much about the enemy or making the player think they can kill the enemy. When this starts happening, you may as well set the player in God Mode because that's the feeling they approach.

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Original post by PrintFDebugger
Play Dead Space. You'll never look at a ventilation shaft the same way again.


But Dead Space isn't actually scary or creepy. It is startling, and nothing more. If you were to run it without sound and at 1/4 speed, you wouldn't feel anything remotely relating to fear.

Honestly the scariest thing about Dead Space was that someone thought the control interface on PC was anything relating to a good idea.



There should be at least one enemy, and it should be able to kill the entire party with ease, but its goal should be to torture the party rather than just killing it out right. (You could make it like a Tetris game. You are going to lose eventually, the question is how close can you get to the 'exit' before that happens?)

There could be friendly NPCs scattered around the levels, different AI parties you can interact with, but refuse to join yours, and state goals that are different to the ones the game sets you. Your goal to win the game might be to simply get out of town, but you'll run into another group who wants to get to the bell tower to try and signal for help from another town. This group will eventually meet an untimely end, and notable bits of them might end up in places on the way to your goal. Such as one of their heads nailed to the door of the control room for some gate/drawbridge/whatever that the group will need to pass through to reach their goal. This shows that the 'enemy' is out there, and aware of what you're doing, and is laying traps for you.


However the biggest thing that a coop horror game needs is level generation. Each time you play the game you should be faced with different challenges. The big creepy house of horror you start in shouldn't have the exact same lay out each time. The other groups you meet shouldn't be the same, nor should your goals. Even your opponent you face should change. One game you could see a child's head poking out from behind a corner and then instantly have it run off on bare feet leaving bloody footprints. The next game you might find thin trails of slime, or maybe wisps of smoke that slowly draw towards each other and begin whispering things about killing and murder.

If your game plays the same way, with the same challenges and 'scary bits' each time, then you will have an even shorter lived game than what L4D2 co-op had.

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Original post by Anddos
Ive been thinking of the ultimate scary coop fps game , what would be the enemy?
Something that can possess one of the players. If the 'regular' enemies are tough enough that you have to rely on your team-mates, then being betrayed by a team-mate becomes quite a large fear.
What if one of your team-mates is contains the life-force of the 'evil'... but at the same time, you have to trust in your team-mates in order to survive?

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When ever you watch a horror movie, the main character is at one end of the hallway or corridor or room or what have ya and suddenly the spirit or a person walks in front of the screen? I have not experienced that in any video game yet. That would be interesting to see in this genre of a horror game.

Unless I am wrong about this suggestion in a video game let me know. Cause I haven't experienced that before.

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it is very hard to do a coop horror game well, the problem is it's hard to build up suspense or tension in this kind of game. Jump scares can be done fairly easilly but tension is nigh on impossible.

The reason is thus, if it's co-op you need to communicate, if you need to communicate well you need to talk, if you need to talk you will be taken out of the immersion. I know alot of people who couldn't focus of Gears of wars 2s story because they were chatting in co op, it's hard to take something seriously. If people can't focus in cutscenes, how are they supposed to feel tense and scared?

They can't because they've just been chatting with their friends in a conversation that began about tactics and ended up becoming a conversation that, say, ended up talking about whether or not to watch the social network.

you also have to take into account connection issues and people having to go to dinner or whatever and the immersion really falls apart.

I don't think a co-op horror game can work at this stage in the industies life. Sorry :(

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Original post by Bladerz666
it is very hard to do a coop horror game well, the problem is it's hard to build up suspense or tension in this kind of game. Jump scares can be done fairly easilly but tension is nigh on impossible.


I have to disagree with this point. If I was to read a horror novel or watch horror shows that are episodic, as long as I leave wondering what will happen next, I will be in the "zone" the next day.

I also don't agree that communication/strategy in any way distracts the player from tension. As long as the focus is on the game and the events that are happening in the game are interesting, all players would probably keep talking about the game.

The key I think is to:
a) focus on a good and tension filled story line to get players talking.
b) design purpose built breaks at key tension points in order to leave the player wanting more.
c) there should be an ultimate horror/evil being or creature that the players can't and won't kill throughout the game - call this being a dungeon master but it manifests itself in all sorts of frightening ways.

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Co-Op is great, because two players are more than twice as powerful as one player. Twice the gun, twice the eyes, twice the thinking, and since video games are not as visceral as real life, you can avoid panic and have three players surrounded by dozens of aliens and their chief concern is maintaining headshot streaks and getting combos, rather than the pure pants-shitting terror that would likely accomodate such a situation in real life. The biggest power players have in the game is communication and consensus. In a scary movie, a guy says, "Did you hear that?" and his buddy says, "Shhh, I'm trying to peep into the girls' locker room." In a game, the guy says, "Sounds like a licker, check the windows," and his buddy says, "Right. I've got the shotgun, so stay in the corner of the room and hit me with the flashlight while I kick in all these doors."

So mess with their communication and consensus. In general, mess with what they can see. Is there a little waypoint marker on your screen when your mate is around a corner? Have it move around or vanish or turn red for no good reason if they've been gone a while. Is their status shown on the bottom of your screen? Switch it to "dead" or put a monster face there now and again. Not a lot, just sometimes. Make it so that players wonder whether or not they should disregard a piece of information they're given.

Hallucinations, unique to one or another character, are great for this. Have sounds that only one guy hears, or make lighting different for each player, so they'll hug certain walls and avoid certain corners for reasons their buddies can't see. Have an enemy that looks to every player like a different member of the team, right down to the little floating name above his head, and have it travel around with you, collecting items and getting healed by your medic, until someone notices that you've got a six-man team instead of the five you left with, or that there are two Jerry Browns restocking at that ammo crate. And then, which one do you shoot?

How about an enemy that latches onto a player, undetectable to that player, and psychically makes the other team members look like monsters? You turn away from your team for a second, and when you look back, the three riflemen have suddenly become two riflemen and a zombie. You open up on the zombie, and then what? Do they assume you're one of the dopplegangers and fire back, do they realize what's up and yell at you to stop? Once the situation's resolved, everyone has to take a moment to scan each other and find the parasite, then remove it before moving forward. And then the next time a zombie shows up in a room, you might think twice before dropping the hammer on them. Maybe they'll get you.

It doesn't even have to be that specific. Open a door or airlock and toxic fog sweeps out. Everyone dives for their gas masks and you go in, but your health is still draining slowly. You look for another way out, but there isn't one. You find one tiny alien lifeform in there, clinging to the ceiling, and when you kill it, the fog vanishes, your health is restored, the lights come back on and the doors are all plainly visible. That's annoying, but when there are eight zombies in that room with you, and you're fighting them in the dark, with your vision occluded by the gas mask and feeling trapped, that's a serious tractical consideration. Ten minutes later, you open a door and gas comes out and you think, "Is it real? Do I put on the mask? Is my health really going down?"

That kind of stuff, that uses the players' fast reflexes and love of headshots against them, can turn the sort of skills and tendencies that make a player so good at games and use them against the team. It's cool to have a hyper-elite Halo nut holding the sniper rifle, but if he gets mind-controlled at the same time that a demon wave hits the team, he'll be looking at ten targets and not be able to tell which three are his guys. Does he take his time, watch behavior patterns and pick his targets? Does he open up and hope it goes well? Does he take a few precious moments to sling his rifle and get out his medkit and take the antidote?

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One thing to keep in mind when considering what restrictions are placed on information sharing between players: VoIP.

Anything that relies on changing what information two players knows is doomed to failure if one can ask the other "Hey, are you dead?" and have the other reply "No, why?"


Games like L4D aren't at all scary. You get too much information, and know too much of what is coming. The closest it got to scary for me was when a tank DIDN'T appear, as then it became "Well, where is the tank? We haven't seen one in awhile, when is it coming?".


The biggest thing humans are scared of is the unknown. What is in the dark? What will that strange thing we've never seen before do? etc, etc.

If your game does not change and provide elements of the unknown each and every time you play, then the game will quickly lose any sense of fear.

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Give coop players hidden agendas to create paranoya!

Example:
Player 1 has hidden agenda to kill player 4.
Player 4 has hidden agenda to sabotage own teams weapon factory.
Player 2 has hidden agenda to help enemy players enter through back door of fort.
etc..

Fear and paranoya grow when you don know how is friend and how is enemy.

/Tyrian

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I think the possession aspect is an interesting one for a co-op game. Imagine your character starts to aim towards you partner and you have to fight it off while hearing voices whispering in your ears.

Games like Eternal Darkness are also interesting with their sanity meter where your character starts to go insane and more strange things start to happen (you start seeing and hearing things that aren't really there).

I think by creating environments with good atmosphere and use the interesting aspects of Left 4 Dead's AI director (use an atmospheric director???) you can actually get something interesting going.

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Fear is all about unpredictable pacing.

If you have music build to a crescendo in the walk up to a dark hallway, then complete silence as they walk down it, for nothing to happen, the player will think.

Wait, what was the music for?

Then that's when you hit them.

Same goes for co-op games. Separate them, take away their ammo and armour away with monsters that eat metal, when they're at their weakest, let them meet up right at the big boss battle.

Narrow walkways, flickering lights, all that business.
The monsters don't matter so much as the moments they're introduced.

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If I were to make a "scary" CoOp game I would probably go for something where you are working with everyone but not always. For instance each player starts with 3 or 4 "gambles" where they can trigger the opposing side to do something "bad" for all the players. If their gamble works against all the players they get an individual bonus of somesort(screwing everyone but them), if their gambles fails they just plain screw everyone and themselves.

Basically if you want to finish the game everyone needs to work together. If you want to finish the game as the "best" you need to use human intelligence to know when the best time to mess with everyone is. Basically the plan is to have the pacing to be unpredictable and intelligent because you have human drivers working for their own interest.

Basically you could set up really really simple event AI that comes in random increasing waves, then have player opposition events modify how the AI behaves/does. The game doesn't end till all "gambles" have been played. You can get some very interesting stuff as random waves and players playing gambles together/against/unknowingly with each other.

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Quote:
Original post by Talroth
One thing to keep in mind when considering what restrictions are placed on information sharing between players: VoIP.

Anything that relies on changing what information two players knows is doomed to failure if one can ask the other "Hey, are you dead?" and have the other reply "No, why?"


Thats great - until the voip cuts out, starts repeating something someone said hours ago, replays the last moments of other soldiers, random screams, little girl asks for mummy etc.

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i would not have event driving waves, enemys would not act in an arcade way , its more about giving the ai inteligence to kill you , knowing about you're positon and his position and figuring out a way to kill you silently or as creepy as possible, i just think ai that just run at you constantly is boring and if there just hiding in the shadows planning there next move thats what makes an intense game as you dont know what there going todo as you cant see them yet etc, plus i would have the enviroment be able to kill you / hurt you with things like nails in floors, the floor falls through leaving you with a nasty fall to the level underneath (which means you're split from the team and have to go route 1 alone till you meet up again),glass breaking causing bleeding, light bulbs smashing for no reason and that glass shatters on you hurting you..this is the kind of enviroment i want to play in :), i would also have something like , say a 1 player out of the team is moving forward to fast without the others.

I would have a door slam behind him so he is trapped inside and has to go another route alone and meet up with the rest later, this would be his punishment for acting big headed thinking he can do it alone when infact my game knows he isnt a team player and will be split from them.I do like the idea that the spirits could posess the player and make him turn on the rest at some point , as demons and spirit can posses people and take over them with the thought of just to kill anything in sight (then maybe the rest of the players have to find a pray book to heal cure is possession etc), but how would you keep stop him in the mean time while you're looking for the book to cast out the spirits (and if 3 players pray for the 1 possessed player he would be healed quickly)but what if there is 3 possessed players?,1 person left to pray for the others etc, thats going to take alot longer right?, i am not sure you would have guns and you dont normally ghost hunt with weapons :), also the player controling the possesed character , what would he see on his screen , just a simple message to kill the others or something?,also how would he kill the others?(no guns), another thing i just had in mind is , lets say each player has to carry a cross and if you drop or loose that cross then thats when you can become possessed etc ,because you have no protection from the demons..,and i think the players would be preist's and vicar classes, which a job to get rid of the evil thats been happening from suicides to fires and alot of other evil stuff thats been going on ...this would totally be my perfect coop game...

[Edited by - Anddos on October 4, 2010 5:49:36 AM]

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There's one game I know of that was very scary, multiplayer and steam based. Aliens vs Predator. It succesfully captured the tension and fear of the classic movies. If you were marine you were contantly bricking it because an invisible enemy might pop up to skewer you or chop your head off in a grisly cut scene. Couple that with the beeps that unreliably signal an approching enemy, and tension hits the roof throughout the game. If you were the Alien you were constantly afraid of being seen and the thrill of the hunt added to the sense of fear. The predator was a mixture between the two and bit less scary to play than the other two classes tbh.

One key element in that game was the darkness. We are all innately afraid of the dark. Another key element was lethal and gruesome danger, very close at hand yet not clearly visible. Yet another key element was that the enemies were other players... Its much more scary to face up to an unpredictable/smart real person than a predictable/dumb AI.

There was no chance of VoIP ruining the atmosphere, because there was no time to get distracted or unninmersed. Even with enemies and friends all being able to talk to each other the most you got was "oh man I think there's an alien nearby, shit he's up..." or "I'm gonna f**k you up..." :)

Mind you, this was a quite nice kind of afraid, which made you want to play, not an omg I don't want to play kind of afraid. Which is perhaps not what you are looking for. There are a couple of games I've played that made me feel omg I don't want to play afraid, but both were single player games...

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Nice Thread...

First. The following Games come in mind if i think about scaryness.

Alien vs. Predator 1. (Playing as an Alien to get an sight on sneaking and killing silent, playing as an marine and get this feeling in your neck when your motion tracker starts to beep faster and faster...they coming...oh my god, so many of them.. ;))

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Special Enemies scare the fuck out of my pants ^^ the first time u have to kill a vampire, or this thing wich can throw stuff at you with his telekinetics, or if you are very alone in the wild and get the warning that an eruption is approaching and you have to find shelter very fast)

Doom 3. (coz the environment was sometimes very cool. Suddenly a gascan was floating midair in front of you for no reason, or bloody screens and bloodstains on the ground, light flickers)

Painkiller. (the sanctuary level was of nice scary design, with this iron-masked freaks running around)



Gameplayside...what dos u scare in a game? things u cant explain...
what if the door you just came through and have to go back leads now into a total different room, or the repeating corridor trick...
sometimes things should move around, sound that u cant locate from where it comes...
your radar starts to get useless, automap shows only noise...

leveldesign... its a good idea to design the levels for coop that you need to separate from your teammate. one has to trigger a switch, while the other has to run through a door

and you definetively need the feeling that a single enemy can kill you right at your next step. or you hear that a lot of enemies are coming, but u cant say from where...starting to nervous turn around yourselve in that damn labyrinth...


mh...just some ideas i had so far ;)

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This thread would be an amazing game!

In a team of 2-4 players, only one starts whit a weapon. Maby a pistol with vere limited ammo. When a enemy/spririt/zombie/what ever appears you will shit your pants because there is a vere litle chanse of actually beating him and that would leave you vere low on ammo if not all out. The smartest thing would be to run for your life. And thats a perfect time for the game to try to separate the players.

I love the idea of messing with the players communication.
One thing happening alot in co-op games is just what Anddos pointed out, one player is moving forward to fast and "triggering" som scripted events and looting and just ruining it for the others. Lets say the door slams behind him and all of a sudden the other players cant hear him, maby only some random static disturbance (in the headset).
The player who got ahead of him self will be in a very dark and disturbing place.
He cant hear the other players at all. but his headset is full of activity. maby a crying woman, a child plying, laughing, singing, a disturbed voice telling you all sorts of terrible things. No weapon, flickering lights, shadows semes to move. It will be a very close to panic feeling and the natural respons would be to back into a corner and sit down and wait until the rest of your team finds you because this place is evil and it will try to hurt you. The teame is racing against time to finde you.

You guys have an incredible imagination and your ideas would be the moust frighting game ever, and the fact that ´co-op eaven makes it worse! Love it

p.s sorry for spelling and grammar

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Personally I don't play scary games, and from what I can tell, the games that people say are scary are pretty lame. Doom3 scares consisted of giving physics objects a thrust or letting a monster attack you from behind. Fear slowed down time and showed/hid a girl. Both was made unsettling with lots of gore, and made me jump with the help of stingers.

I don't believe you can make a scary game, and a coop game is even harder, however you can include elements that people under the right circumstances consider scary.

First, make the main enemy unknown. Like the smoke monster from lost or the pov of evil from evil dead. Anything that gets to close to it, is devoured and possible left as a bloody corpse. Make them scream as they die painfully. In these chase sequences players have to help each other through and over various obstacles to escape from the monster.

The player has to control some weak character, someone that cant fight back. The player cant possible be expected to be afraid of something, if (s)he can kill it without endangering him/herself :) So I'm thinking teenage cheerleaders with pom poms, after some party going home and the subway crash through the ground killing several passengers, and awakening the monster.

Then they have to split up, to move forward, perhaps some activation of some sort. Here are some creepy aliens like monsters that are part of the environment. The monsters in the beginning of solomon kane are a good reference, as is the cave monsters in The Descent, and (I'm guessing) pretty much any other vampire movie where the vampires lives in darkness. They players can work together and play it as army of two as one character draws the attention of the monsters and then flees; or sneak around and flip those switches that need to be flipped.

Then you could have some breather gameplay, where the player could catch their breath and the girls could mourn their lost ones, chat with each other, cry and generally be afraid.

Repetitive, yes, but I believe it has potential :)

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Quote:
Original post by NPSF3000
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
One thing to keep in mind when considering what restrictions are placed on information sharing between players: VoIP.

Anything that relies on changing what information two players knows is doomed to failure if one can ask the other "Hey, are you dead?" and have the other reply "No, why?"


Thats great - until the voip cuts out, starts repeating something someone said hours ago, replays the last moments of other soldiers, random screams, little girl asks for mummy etc.


I've yet to have Teamspeak or Ventrillo do that to me.

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Quote:

Lets say the door slams behind him and all of a sudden the other players cant hear him, maby only some random static disturbance (in the headset).


well they wouldnt hear anything as he will be in a closed off area, they will just be confused where he has gone..

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A scary FPS concept? How about:

You enter your regular bar, walking from room to room, alcove to alcove, greeting the familiar faces when suddenly another wide-eyed 14 year old stumbles your way and says "I have t3h greeeetest id3a 4 an MMORPGRTSFPSWEB2.0 it will t3h 4w3s0me! I just need progrAmers, artists and designers, oh and sounds guys. Can U halpz?"...

I bet if you called "GD.net" they'd feature it on the main page ;)

Andy

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scary FPS, I don't really see the appeal. Somehow things just aren't that scary when you have a big gun in your hand.

Scary survival horror game with coop, now that has potential in my opinion. Give the players the ability to signal each other and to cause distractions, but no weapons or any kind of killing allowed. Just try to gtf out of there through waves of enemies, each with a different focus and behavior.

Somehow getting someone killed must give a penalty to the other players to really get the need for teamwork in there - for example, you have to leave an area with everyone alive, and everyone needs to be in a certain spot to have dead players be revived.

Just an idea, I'm not sure yet if it is a good, bad or terrible one ;)

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