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Oxymoron28

Psychological Horror Concept

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I’ve been milling over an idea for a horror game for a while now, my concept would revolve around a mansion of which you must escape fromand a monster hunting the player down.

The horror aspect of the game will centre around the unknown, the lighting will be dark making the mansion featureless and making it difficult for the player to recall direction, the mansion’s rooms may also be randomly generated meaning no two game saves will be the same. The monster will be entity-less it will patrol around the mansion and will only interrupt this patrol when the player does something to effect the game world, then the monster will be alerted to the players last location and will patrol around that area.

The player will have equipment to assist in their escape; however each piece of equipment will also act to assist the monsters hunt. The player will be equipped with a wind up torch which will eventually run out of power meaning the player will have to wind it up; this will create sound which will in turn attract the monster to your location. The player will also have an item for saving progress in the game, this item will permanently mark the game world, and will act as a point of origin for the monsters patrol path.

During the players escape from the mansion they will come across puzzles blocking their way, while the player attempts to solve these puzzles the monster will be alerted to the players location and slowly make its way to the player thus adding an unknown time limit to solving the puzzle.

This concept is still being worked on by me but I wanted some opinions on how people felt about it. Feel free to comment and criticise the shit out of it.

Also I have no team nor programming ability to make this game so if you’re interested feel free to PM me? :D

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[quote name='Oxymoron28' timestamp='1318286823' post='4871243']
I’ve been milling over an idea for a horror game for a while now, my concept would revolve around a mansion of which you must escape fromand a monster hunting the player down.

The horror aspect of the game will centre around the unknown, the lighting will be dark making the mansion featureless and making it difficult for the player to recall direction, the mansion’s rooms may also be randomly generated meaning no two game saves will be the same. The monster will be entity-less it will patrol around the mansion and will only interrupt this patrol when the player does something to effect the game world, then the monster will be alerted to the players last location and will patrol around that area.

The player will have equipment to assist in their escape; however each piece of equipment will also act to assist the monsters hunt. The player will be equipped with a wind up torch which will eventually run out of power meaning the player will have to wind it up; this will create sound which will in turn attract the monster to your location. The player will also have an item for saving progress in the game, this item will permanently mark the game world, and will act as a point of origin for the monsters patrol path.

During the players escape from the mansion they will come across puzzles blocking their way, while the player attempts to solve these puzzles the monster will be alerted to the players location and slowly make its way to the player thus adding an unknown time limit to solving the puzzle.

This concept is still being worked on by me but I wanted some opinions on how people felt about it. Feel free to comment and criticise the shit out of it.

Also I have no team nor programming ability to make this game so if you’re interested feel free to PM me? :D
[/quote]

This looks like a really good idea. I have a few questions purely out of interest and/or help to develop the idea:

How did the player get here? Did he/she just wake up from this? A nightmare in itself maybe with an epic twist no one would expect at the end (maybe he/she was a test subject?)? Or maybe its a mistery left for the player to dream up (be careful here with that, its difficult for players to get into the plot through this method).

When you say "entity-less" what exactly do you mean?

What kind of puzzles are we looking at? Physics puzzles, fix-the-machine puzzles, or cross the pit of lava?

I really like the pro-con idea of the tools the player can use! The idea of "oh i can use this, or that. but which one will help my situation least? (attract the monster)" It allows for more off-the-rails gameplay. I like the procedural generation idea for the rooms-- is the game 2D, 3D or 2.5D(top down shooter)?

Once you get a better Idea of what you want, consider creating a game design doc, or a draft of one, so that you can set your goal and focus on it. Also helps to write it down so you can communicate it to your fellow devs.

Template for this can be found through google search or [url="http://www.runawaystudios.com/articles/chris_taylor_gdd.asp"]here[/url]

-Morley

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[quote name='Oxymoron28' timestamp='1318286823' post='4871243']
The player will also have an item for [b]saving progress in the game[/b], this item will permanently mark the game world, and [b]will act as a point of origin[/b] for the monsters patrol path.
[/quote]
Nice idea. Takes the whole getPlayer() thing up a notch. Although, you may want an escape routine of some kind, as by the sound of it, the monster's gonna be biting your butt the moment you log back into the game. <Smile>
How do you figure out where the monster is? Does he leave traces behind him where he's been? Atmospheric effects?

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The basic idea reminds me a bit of the mansion level from Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines which to me at least is a good thing. Loved that level.

The one element I'm not sure about is the randomly generated rooms. To make a truly effective horror game you need a strong control over the player (where they are, what they see etc.) adding a random element to it will make your life a lot harder. As far as I know horror games of any kind are some of the hardest to design and make well so you may wish to limit the amount of work you have to do.

Apart from that all the other ideas seem solid. Maybe put some thought into how long you want the game to be and as Morley said make a concept design document which you can then turn into a GDD when the idea becomes more solid.

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[quote name='Morley' timestamp='1318293460' post='4871273']

This looks like a really good idea. I have a few questions purely out of interest and/or help to develop the idea:

How did the player get here? Did he/she just wake up from this? A nightmare in itself maybe with an epic twist no one would expect at the end (maybe he/she was a test subject?)? Or maybe its a mistery left for the player to dream up (be careful here with that, its difficult for players to get into the plot through this method).
[/quote]
Thank you :D And I was thinking more on developing the horror aspect of the game by treating everything as unknown, it'd just be a case of the player just waking up in the mansion.


[quote]
When you say "entity-less" what exactly do you mean?
[/quote]
Basically there will be nothing representing the monster, as much as it'll exist in the game there will be no actual physical form.

[quote]
What kind of puzzles are we looking at? Physics puzzles, fix-the-machine puzzles, or cross the pit of lava?
[/quote]
I'm not particularly good when it comes to planning puzzles, I like the idea of block puzzles but I feel they could get tedious. Fix-the-machine could be interesting to implement.

[quote]
I really like the pro-con idea of the tools the player can use! The idea of "oh i can use this, or that. but which one will help my situation least? (attract the monster)" It allows for more off-the-rails gameplay. I like the procedural generation idea for the rooms-- is the game 2D, 3D or 2.5D(top down shooter)?
[/quote]
Yeah I think it'll create a strategy element to the game, as in you find a puzzle you need to solve but the monster is near by, so you set up a check point on the opposite side of the mansion to the puzzle then go back to solve the puzzle, that way you've distracted the monster leaving you free for a short time.
I was thinking 3D.

[quote]
Once you get a better Idea of what you want, consider creating a game design doc, or a draft of one, so that you can set your goal and focus on it. Also helps to write it down so you can communicate it to your fellow devs.

Template for this can be found through google search or [url="http://www.runawaystudios.com/articles/chris_taylor_gdd.asp"]here[/url]

-Morley
[/quote]
Yeah, I've gotta flesh the idea out some more then I can work on a design document :).

[quote name='websmythe' timestamp='1318315193' post='4871356']
[quote name='Oxymoron28' timestamp='1318286823' post='4871243']
The player will also have an item for [b]saving progress in the game[/b], this item will permanently mark the game world, and [b]will act as a point of origin[/b] for the monsters patrol path.
[/quote]
Nice idea. Takes the whole getPlayer() thing up a notch. Although, you may want an escape routine of some kind, as by the sound of it, the monster's gonna be biting your butt the moment you log back into the game. <Smile>
How do you figure out where the monster is? Does he leave traces behind him where he's been? Atmospheric effects?
[/quote]
Yeah, I was planning to give the monster some disadvantages as well, such as making it noisy so the player will know it is near by, but also making it slow when it turns around corners, but giving it the advantage of speed in a straight line when the monster has located the player. Maybe having some rooms that the monster can't enter so that the player has a safe room, but the player won't be able to check point in the safe room or something. Basically giving the player something with one hand but taking away something else with the other.

I was thinking progression of noise, so you'll hear chains when it's in the distant, the closer it gets the louder they get, then eventually you'll hear grunts or something, when you're in the line of sight of the monster, it'll roar and the player will hear pounding foot steps as it sprints towards the enemy. You'll also hear it break through doors as it hunts for you or something. I'm still planning that bit out but I like the sound of it being unforgiving :3

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[quote name='Bigdeadbug' timestamp='1318327640' post='4871395']
The basic idea reminds me a bit of the mansion level from Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines which to me at least is a good thing. Loved that level.

The one element I'm not sure about is the randomly generated rooms. To make a truly effective horror game you need a strong control over the player (where they are, what they see etc.) adding a random element to it will make your life a lot harder. As far as I know horror games of any kind are some of the hardest to design and make well so you may wish to limit the amount of work you have to do.
[/quote]
Yeah, I was sticking to keeping that as a maybe because although it'll make and keep the world unknown to the player, it could also back fire. Though it'd help play on the natural fear of the unknown, I just don't know how that will translate into a game world.



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[quote]
I was thinking progression of noise, so you'll hear chains when it's in the distant, the closer it gets the louder they get, then eventually you'll hear grunts or something, when you're in the line of sight of the monster, it'll roar and the player will hear pounding foot steps as it sprints towards the enemy. You'll also hear it break through doors as it hunts for you or something. I'm still planning that bit out but I like the sound of it being unforgiving :3
[/quote]

Line of sight coupled with not showing the monster at any time? So the player will get to see the monster or not?

As [b]Bigdeadbug[/b] said, it is hard to make a good horror with too much random. 90% is the mood, and a generator will not do that for you, unless it will be ridiculously complex and have human think patterns hard-wired to it. Better to create a static, but large map, or several small ones and release periodically in DLC packs.

Making the game fair and ballanced will be a feat in itself. After all, it is the bane of AI programmers to dumb down the NPCs to be on the sweet spot of difficulty. On one hand, the player cannot exploit one trick over and over agian. On the other, the NPC cannot use his CPU powered brain to win every time.

I tried to play Penumbra, said to be one of the scariest games ever. The problem was, the box told me I'd shit my pants wild. Being the defiant prick I am, I did all the stuff a normal sane person wouldn't, including zealously bringing down a monster with a hammer (I'm quite sure I wasn't supposed to do that... Or even capable of doing so).

At the same time, Bioshock had me really scared, although it was plain shock tactics.

The difference between those two, I think, was that in the latter, I was given all means of defending myself -- the fear of death or injury stemmed from my skills and reflexes, from myself. In Penumbra, where weapons were just a formality (very unwieldy, and described as "don't fight, just run!"), fear was induced by the designers, not from my feelings.

EDIT: Thinking about it harder, Time Splitters 2's Mansion level also scared the shit out of me on the first run. And it was coop mind you -- one of the very few games we advanced cautiously. So in the end, I prefer to be afraid with a boomstick in hand, rather than having to cover for an absurd amount of time under a rock.

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[quote name='Oxymoron28' timestamp='1318286823' post='4871243']I’ve been milling over an idea for a horror game for a while now, my concept would revolve around a mansion of which you must escape fromand a monster hunting the player down. The horror aspect of the game will centre around the unknown, the lighting will be dark making the mansion featureless and making it difficult for the player to recall direction[/quote]

[b][url="http://www.amnesiagame.com/"]Amnesia: The Dark Descent[/url]?[/b]

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Make the monster not have a physical body, make it some sort of energy or gas or slimy thing that looks like all of it is in spot A and before you notice its behind you :P

So that you cant tell where the center of it is. That ish scary.

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[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1318332383' post='4871414']
Line of sight coupled with not showing the monster at any time? So the player will get to see the monster or not?
[/quote]
Won't. What I mean't was the monster will have a direction of travel, if you pass that direction of travel it'll act as eye's on for the monster. Think Metal Gear Solid with the guard patrols and if you get too close to them they spot you.

[quote]
As [b]Bigdeadbug[/b] said, it is hard to make a good horror with too much random. 90% is the mood, and a generator will not do that for you, unless it will be ridiculously complex and have human think patterns hard-wired to it. Better to create a static, but large map, or several small ones and release periodically in DLC packs.
[/quote]
Yeah I see where you're coming from, though I feel you could set the mood up for a good horror game with sound.

[quote]
Making the game fair and ballanced will be a feat in itself. After all, it is the bane of AI programmers to dumb down the NPCs to be on the sweet spot of difficulty. On one hand, the player cannot exploit one trick over and over agian. On the other, the NPC cannot use his CPU powered brain to win every time.
[/quote]
Well I think giving the player items that both have pros and cons will allow to the player to decide how difficult he wants the game to be, as in use of items attracting the monster will make his play through more difficult, but of course with the monsters limitations he could also use them to his advantage.

[quote]
I tried to play Penumbra, said to be one of the scariest games ever. The problem was, the box told me I'd shit my pants wild. Being the defiant prick I am, I did all the stuff a normal sane person wouldn't, including zealously bringing down a monster with a hammer (I'm quite sure I wasn't supposed to do that... Or even capable of doing so).

At the same time, Bioshock had me really scared, although it was plain shock tactics.

The difference between those two, I think, was that in the latter, I was given all means of defending myself -- the fear of death or injury stemmed from my skills and reflexes, from myself. In Penumbra, where weapons were just a formality (very unwieldy, and described as "don't fight, just run!"), fear was induced by the designers, not from my feelings.

EDIT: Thinking about it harder, Time Splitters 2's Mansion level also scared the shit out of me on the first run. And it was coop mind you -- one of the very few games we advanced cautiously. So in the end, I prefer to be afraid with a boomstick in hand, rather than having to cover for an absurd amount of time under a rock.
[/quote]
I've always felt scared in a game where I have no ability to fight back, but also when everything is unknown to me, take for instant Minecraft. When I started playing that game, I found myself getting scared when I was wandering through cave systems ill equipped not know what I could come across and what not. Unfortunately I feel Minecraft has lost that, but I'm not sure how or why.
Aliens Vs Predator is another example, when wandering through corridors as a human with that life detector bleeping...thing. Every so often it'd start bleeping, and something will be getting closer and closer then...nothing. That's what used to get the hairs on the back of my neck going. Was never scared of the encounters though, always the climax.

[quote name='samoth' timestamp='1318340867' post='4871441']
[quote name='Oxymoron28' timestamp='1318286823' post='4871243']I’ve been milling over an idea for a horror game for a while now, my concept would revolve around a mansion of which you must escape fromand a monster hunting the player down. The horror aspect of the game will centre around the unknown, the lighting will be dark making the mansion featureless and making it difficult for the player to recall direction[/quote]

[b][url="http://www.amnesiagame.com/"]Amnesia: The Dark Descent[/url]?[/b]
[/quote]

Yeah the idea for a mansion came from that, but the problem with Amnesia I found, was that once you see the monster, the game looses it's fear factor. I never really got scared of that game, if the player doesn't know what the monster is or looks like, then ANYTHING could be the monster, the silhouette of a piano or a clock, or a bench blocking the corridor or something. At least, that's what I am hoping.

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The idea of a sandbox world where you just have one goal- escape- is pretty cool. The main thing I would suggest is add a few close calls where the monster is coming and [i]oh god it's right there[/i] but the player solves a puzzle and escapes at the last minute. Randomised timers with inexact clocks can help- I'm low on time but [i]how low?![/i]

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