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ChronicGames

Player Rewards/Gameplay Mechanics In Survival Horror

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I am new to this forum and I am wondering about your guys' take on this topic.

Both Amnesia and Outlast have had this problem.
Survival Horror Is more about getting scared and a lot of game designers go as far as saying that scaring the player is the goal and it even justifies bad Gameplay to frustrate the player in intense situation. 

I am not sure if I completely agree with this. I thought the running and hiding aspect In outlast underlined the game greatly. It is obvious that the biggest game play mechanics in a survival horror (without combat) are stealth and puzzles. 
What other mechanics do you think would work and why?

Also on the same subject, if there is no leveling system or tools being used, such as in games mentioned above, what kind of players rewards could the player find besides the obvious scenery and story?


 

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Being rewarded with plot side-stories is a potential reward. They can be funny or interesting.

Something I'd like to see in horror games is more RPG elements. Check out Pandora's Tower (Wii).

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Both Amnesia and Outlast have had this problem.
Survival Horror Is more about getting scared and a lot of game designers go as far as saying that scaring the player is the goal and it even justifies bad Gameplay to frustrate the player in intense situation. 

I am not sure if I completely agree with this.

 

Can you give us an example where you've experience bad gameplay in those games please?

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Both Amnesia and Outlast have had this problem.
Survival Horror Is more about getting scared and a lot of game designers go as far as saying that scaring the player is the goal and it even justifies bad Gameplay to frustrate the player in intense situation. 

I am not sure if I completely agree with this.

 

Can you give us an example where you've experience bad gameplay in those games please?

 

Generally the game play becomes repetitive very fast Its not bad in its nature (should have been more clear on that). Critics pointed this out in both games. Outlast turns into a get-this-item-then-go-here-and-don't-get-killed-game and even with the scenery changes and getting scared it becomes dull faster than other games.

To give a example of "bad" gameplay Id go with a other game resident evil for example. It was very frustrating that sometimes you'd die simply because the camera angle changes or you can get the character to aim the way you want to.

Edited by ChronicGames

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So in other words the horror gets boring once you know what's behind the curtain and how the scenario plays out. Sadly, that's nothing new. Hollywood horror films have the same problem that's why Nightmare on Elm Street and other horror films tend end up as adult comedies in later sequels as opposed to darker, grittier versions of the original.

 

For me, fear comes from the unknown in my surroundings. What you can't see is scarier than what you can see. Subtly is key for me. I enjoy the build up of fear like sound bites, changing fog, shadow movements and the little details that play on "my imagination." Having something thrown in my face at the start with the idea of, "Look what we made! Scary isn't it? Look at all the blood and guts we added."

 

Although saying that, I actually found Dead Space 1 to be a pleasing horror experience. The theme was my cup of tea and the creatures were diverse enough to keep me on my toes and fear for what was around the corner. I could have done without the over the top boss fights though.

 

Alien is still a great horror film in my eyes. Why? Because you can't see the monster clearly throughout the film. And it has multiple forms! You know the silhouette but does it change again and become something new? You don't know this the first time you see the film and that's what makes it great.

 

Maybe creating a game with this in mind from the start is how you make a great overall experience for a horror game.

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I agree that a horror game becomes less scary that is just the way it will always be there is no game even if everything is unknown that stays scary forever scary. 'm basically just wondering about general motivation outside of the actual horror. 
 

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While we are on the subject, I'd like to say, my type of horror game is anything with ghosts. Ghosts can't be proven as not being real, so far at least, so I stay awake at night after playing FEAR, being worried that something is watching me. A lot of people love zombie games but I think "zombies are highly unlikely of existing" and "eh, the blood on them is sure a shock value" when I see them. This can be changed if the plot is good, I guess... the flood in Halo scares me a little, although they are not something in real life, when I have all the lights out. Simply because the plot behind the game is just ever so slightly believable, when upside down and your blood rushing to your head. But I play too many games where the plot is "There are zombies. Kill them." Does nothing for me.

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I play too many games where the plot is "There are zombies. Kill them." Does nothing for me.


I agree really any game that makes it possible to fight against the thing you are supposed to be afraid of has not much scare value to me. 
Personally I always believed the patients in outlast to be scary mainly because they look very realistic and real even. Not like weird creatures

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I'm developing an Action Survival Terror, following many of the guidelines presented here. The game is designed to cycle between intense Action sequences in which Survivors must destroy hordes of monstronsities; and moments of downtime to explore and scavenge ruins for supplies. In the moments of downtime, there is an opportunity to introduce some creepy overtones and jump scares (silence/ambience, distraction, sudden burst of load noise and shocking imagery).

 

The game's primary survivor mechanic is Permadeth in which the player must maintain their Character's Lift/Health Score above 0 or restart from the beginning. Although Characters have additional Attribute Statistics, any action or event that can reduce the character life/health score is a threat. This includes both combat and non-combat situations.

 

In a Survivor Horror game, I would agree that the primary goal is to invoke fear, followed by satisfaction of surviving threats.  What you can't see can be scarier than what you can. However, many Real-world Phobias based on what one can see: Fear Tight places, Spiders, Snakes, Clowns. We take advantage of the unknown by using the  First Person Perspective to limit the field of view to whats in front of the player. Monsters take many form in several iterations of the creatures found in the top 10 phobias. I personally dont like Spiders, and find great satisfactions in blasting Giant Spiders to bits.

 

In my opinion, a decent Horror game will have some level of Psychological Horror. I refer to this as the Creepiness Factor and this can be done within the Level and Character design (appearence) without any mechanics at work. I personally find someone starring or grinning endlessly for no reasion to be creepy.

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