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wj97wolfe@aim.com

St. Abraham---First Person Survival Horror

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Im working on a survival horror game called St Abraham, set in the St Abraham Mental Institution. Your character, Jay Donovan, is a man who killed his family because ghostly voices told him to do it in his sleep. The hospital becomes overrun with demons and monsters after he is admitted, due to the architect who designed the hospital being a cult leader who used a pentagram-like symbol used for rituals as the hospital's logo.

The main gameplay mechanic is hallucinations. You will sometimes see monsters that aren't actually there. They will attempt to attack you, but they can't deal damage. You will also see ghosts and very other things to mess with your mind. You will also hear voices telling you to do certain things. Sometimes the thing the voices are telling you to do is something you must do to continue, but sometimes it's a trap that can lead you into a monster. So its a game about never knowing what the consequences of your actions are going to be.

There is also sort of a lack of combat. You can defend yourself, but you only wield a small handgun with limited ammo and a wooden board as a melee weapon that breaks after taking enough damage. Ammo and health are scarce, making players ration supplies.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas, mostly for scares? Any things that could be changed?

 

 

EDIT-----------------------------12-27-12

There are five "hubs", each seperated by a boss. Now, I know most of you are thinking that boss battles diminish the horror, but these don't. Even during the bosses, you feel helpless. For example, the first boss is a large lizard-shaped thing with a line of anglerfish-like lights running down its side. The lights of the arena occasionally turn off, meaning you can only see the boss from its own body lights until the lights turn on again. Other bosses include an angry invisible monster in the sewers and a giant blob of human flesh.

Edited by TheAgent41
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I think this might be interesting. Does the player always have a way to determine which advice he should follow? The game could go one way and be about interpreting subtle cues to separate good advice from bad, and hallucination from reality. Or it could go the other way, and there could be no way to distinguish at all..

If you're aiming for the latter then I imagine it will be quite a challenge to avoid causing frustration, as in a way playing a game can be seen taking control of a system by learning to exploit action/reaction in the system. Just like the real world, we build up a mental model of how the world works and apply this to achieving our goals by predicting the consequences of possible actions.

Having said that, I think that subverting this expectation is a totally valid mechanic to play around with in order to get an idea across. It may be a way to help the player understand how unsettling the world can be for those who do not experience it in a totally coherent way (e.g. people who experience hallucinations, or are confused in old age due to Alzheimers). If this is something you want to explore then I would be interested to hear of any scenarios you have in mind already.
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There is a subtle way to tell if monsters are the real deal or not; their movements are somewhat different. For example, one hallucinated monster walks with a sort-of limp while its real counterpart doesn't. As for the voices, there really is no way. It's more of a "follow your gut feeling" decision. Of course, being led into a monster doesn't automatically mean death. It usually leads you into the path of one of the game's weaker monsters, not some huge hulking beast that can kill you in one hit. So even if you choose wrong, you can still get out unscathed.

 

I have started a wiki for St. Abraham:

http://st-abraham.wikia.com/wiki/St._Abraham_Wiki

 

It should tell you all about the game's mechanic (on the main page for the game itself).

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The hallucinations seem interesting. For example, they may tell you to kill your friend at a specific moment (or multiple times throughout the game), but if you don't, then later the friend turns on you and makes a boss-battle/whatever all the more difficult. Of course, if you did kill your friend, he wouldn't be able to help you and you might never learn of his true nature.

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The hallucinations seem interesting. For example, they may tell you to kill your friend at a specific moment (or multiple times throughout the game), but if you don't, then later the friend turns on you and makes a boss-battle/whatever all the more difficult. Of course, if you did kill your friend, he wouldn't be able to help you and you might never learn of his true nature.

Well, there are no "friends". There are some NPCs, but they are rare and invincible. It's a single-player game.

 

Although, that idea could be cool..........mind if I use it?

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