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Anddos

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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