Creating a horror atmosphere.

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Nekohime1989, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. DerVVulfman

    DerVVulfman Resident Werewolf Veteran

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    Consider limits. You may be limited in what you can see because you have a flashlight or torch. But can the player defend himself/herself against the dreaded.... whatever it is? Or is that a mechanic?

    In the old Sierra game: Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, you had basically no weapons and had to solve a werewolf murder mystery. The original 'Alone in the Dark' was some weird Lovecraftian game with limited resources and really odd puzzles while avoiding..... something. And 'D' is more of a survival horror interactive movie than a game. Yes, it's called 'D'. And no, you can't fight.

    I think what sets these apart from the earlier Resident Evil or House of the Dead games is that.... you have no way to protect yourself! There is real tension in the air as you don;t know if you're going to last the night. You're more desperate and defenseless. If the player can defend himself, make it severely limited like he found a revolver but only has four bullets. And obviously, you can't shoot a ghost. Unless you're reaaaaal good.

    Something where preternatural monsters can be fought with weapons isn't so much survival horror as it would be the next episode of Ash Vs Evil Dead or Supernatural Season ... what are they up to now?

    Of course, weapons being limited or non-existent isn't the only thing that can be limited. How long will those batteries in the flashlight last? Do you have enough food to last while stuck on that island? Your game may have a time limit for the player, whether he falls prey to things that are afraid of the light, starves to death, or something that could be either equally ghastly or perhaps... something revealing and shocking...:

    When the flashlight finally gave up, a vision appeared before me. No, it wasn't a vision. It was real. Slumped against the wall was my lifeless body. What? Why? How?
    (A skeletal hand reaches out.)
    No! I don't want to go! I don't want to ----*
  2. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    I'm not sure what everyone has said, but music and sound can be a huge help when it comes to a horror game. Think of creeping or disturbing scenes as well, not too much but a balanced amount of it at times.

    I.e. For both scene and sound example. A typical example that some horror games use, has a thing/character walk very fast behind the character suddenly while playing a really creepy sound, it can suddenly shock the player and create that horror type feel, because it's a sudden feeling of insecurity and that's the right atmosphere and mood in some horror games. I'm not saying to necessarily use this example, although I think this alone can be a good one that works sometimes, however thinking like this might help a bit.

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