Horror - what makes a game scary?

Any aspects of level design for the Source engine.

Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby FoxerTheMan on Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:57 pm

For me. A Good ol house, make it dark as in no lights. and outside its a complete Thunderstorm. Add thunder and lightning in some point. Now wen the player picks up a key. a shadow or a girl to appear or run across and disappear. Now Some Dark Scary Sound FX goes if you are near something. Like in Silent Hill Shattered Memories. Now make boxes bump and props fall down. like something is seeing you and following you. Add, some tension raisers so wen the player goes to a certain point an npc spawns behind him. wen he turns around add a frightening sound. Something that will raise their adrenaline and make them piss their pants.

To me, it's the unexpected surprise that counts. Don t be predictable. If the player things that he/she knows there would be something at a corner. Add a tension raiser, but it stops and nothing is there. Somewhat anti-climactic, now like i said. Unexpected Surprise is one. second is not to be predictable.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Groxkiller585 on Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:41 pm

I have an idea:

Why not set up an enviorment where the player feels like he could be attacked at any moment?

I know this was suggested before, I have a way to do it:

First, dark house, mansion,corridor,etc. Make sure there are lots of nook and crannies that an NPC could spawn at.

Then add a few ambient_generics and a logic_timer, and have the logic_timer shoot off the sounds randomly. In the ambeint_generics put, say, Fast Zombie howls. (scared the crap out of me the first time in ravenholm)

The result is the player will hear howling, but won't know where it's coming from. The nooks and crannies will make him uneasy, thinking it could be around that corner or in that dark hole. The truth is it isn't, but the tension rises. Do this for most of the game,(with different sounds, one gets predictable) and near the end when they ACTUALLY fight, they'll be scared stiff.

This is how a great movie called Jaws worked; They did not show the actual shark until the very end, but the music and sounds made you expect him to tear the ship apart at any moment. It worked so well people did not swim for DAYS after watching that movie.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Gary on Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:51 am

I would make it so you hear a zombie behind you, you turn around to find nothing, but then you turn back around to see a zombie right in your face. Also, if the player doesn't look back, spawn the zombie behind him. This could be done easily with a little i/o work.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby staberas on Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:13 am

A good example of horror stuff in Source
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Guessmyname on Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:18 am

Regarding the face perception thing: One idea that could be fun to try is to set up a room that, whilst apparently ordinary, has subliminal faces everywhere. Ie abuse facial recognition to make it look like eyes were everywhere, even when it's something ordinary, like a bathroom. Be a bit of a trick to set it up though. Also playing with angles and geometry, to make it subtly feel like the whole world is off. Putting everything at a slant is a good way to achieve that; though again, pulling that off in the Source engine involves a lot of fiddly texture aligning...
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby TicTac on Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:02 pm

Guessmyname wrote:Regarding the face perception thing: One idea that could be fun to try is to set up a room that, whilst apparently ordinary, has subliminal faces everywhere. Ie abuse facial recognition to make it look like eyes were everywhere, even when it's something ordinary, like a bathroom. Be a bit of a trick to set it up though. Also playing with angles and geometry, to make it subtly feel like the whole world is off. Putting everything at a slant is a good way to achieve that; though again, pulling that off in the Source engine involves a lot of fiddly texture aligning...

slant would be easier to do by tilting the camera, unless you mean yawing hallways slightly etc.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Plague on Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:13 pm

staberas wrote:A good example of horror stuff in Source


Gordon Freeman's nightmare at 6:25..... He never was the same after that.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Groxkiller585 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:19 am

You know what's really freaky?

Your walking through a hallway when suddenly it seems to go on forever. The door's right there but you can't reach it.

It can be pulled off with a vphysics_motion and triggers, telling it to increase air density. The result is you can stil hear the footsteps normally but your going nowhere fast. To add to the effect you can make the walls move to "expand" the hallway.

EDIT:

Like that video...that eye in the wall is really creepy, That whole room is just taunting your mind. Your like "WTF?!"
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby coder0xff on Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:58 pm

regarding the video... I can see how the accumulation buffer effect makes it a little more creepy, but it's also kinda annoying.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Plague on Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:53 pm

Figured since i have been watching this thread I'll throw in my opinion.

I don'd get too scared in games much anymore, but i still get that adrenaline rush.
So while I know that the CPs will chase me around in HL2's famous apartment escape scene.
I always get that rush, that "must survive" instinct that I've learned to keep away.

Scenes like that, where you're thrown into a fast time dependent situation, Those "scare" me.
I cant name many games that have done the same thing that HL2 did.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby AllOK on Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:50 pm

I think scary sounds make map scary .
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Habboi on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:29 pm

Hah I haven't seen that video in years. I still remember the coffee bit. Sounds like something out of Toast Boy.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby keldorn on Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:16 pm

There probably is other aspects of horror that you need to do to make someone actually scared. Suspense, excitment, forboding.. Without those you can put all the horror you want but it won't be scaring anybody. Maby distrubing them in the way they want to hit the x button, but not scaring them. Horror in movies and games has to be enjoyable and exciting for someone to endure it. Yeah a bit of misnomer, horror normally isn't supposed to be something you would enjoy.

Think of Resident Evil 3, where they had the Nemsis appear at certain parts and scare the give you alot of suspense of danger. But it was only teasing you, becuase you could easily escape him, but the foreboding was you knew that sooner or later you would have to confront him once and for all. Coupled in the all the other scary elements, this game made for truly enjoyable horror game. I only wish they hadn't lost their touch in the seqels after that.. RE4 and up sucked balls and weren't scary.
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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby Flippy-HTF on Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:37 am

i don't know if in this 36 pages there is this vid, but this makes a game scary

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Re: Horror - what makes a game scary?

Postby WhiteDevil on Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:23 pm

Whoa, whoa this thread is starting to gather some dust

but yes! Amnesia expertly pulled off every aspect off horror there is. Also comes with developer commentary so anyone interested should learn from the best and get it
or if you just want to be scared shitless.. literally
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