Feel like making a horror game now. Ideas?

watermark

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So after playing a bunch of horror games over at RMN, I feel like making a horror game now! Yay! (And also because 99 is suffering writer's block...and our programmer is still writing base code for our platformer but anyways) So I am thinking of making a short adventure style horror game in MV.


I've never made a horror game before. And I don't watch a lot of horror movies. So can you guys help me with ideas or advice? You'll get supreme gratitude! And will be put in the Credits IF the game gets made. I have to be honest this game has no schedule yet. So here are some ideas I thought of, any advice?


1. The Haunted Mansion: You girlfriend gets kidnapped and you have to rescue her from a haunted house.


2. The Basement: The apartment elevator suddenly takes you to floor B5, a floor that's not supposed to exist.


3. Horror School USA: Something like Corpse Party, with American students...but this might be a huge job so not sure about this.
 

kovak

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Use Groups as Battle Actors and Characters as equipment to them to get stats and skills. Upgrade a character and you get new skills when they are equiped in the Squad.


Ex: Squad 1

  • Medic
  • Engineer
  • Police Officer

I've seen this before and was pretty badass, i wanted to do something like this for high fantasy stories but i never had the motivation to do so.

For plot i'd try something like "Monsters appears in a city because of government experiements and your objective is to get out of the city. Reaching the limits you see that the place was isolated in advance by the military and now has to find another way to survive there."


PS: aways go with map interaction :v
 
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Tanarex

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Horror game idea. "Stuck at the DMV." Which you are constantly at risk of dying..from boredom. Just when you think you are at the end of the game comes the M. Night Shyamalan twist. You were in the wrong line all along.
 

Kes

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I think the unexplained floor idea has most potential because you have total freedom to create whatever 'world' you like. 


It can be one where you seem to be slipping in and out of different dimensions, (use of identical maps with subtle but important differences, for example, achieved through hidden transfers that the player cannot notice) so that it is not always (perhaps never) clear whether you are in the world you have always known (just a different part of it) or whether you are in something that is quite alien.  This introduces uncertainty and ambiguity, which I think are essential components of true horror. 


Clever use of unexpected transfers can introduce the equivalent of the well known dream sensation that you are always falling into something deeper and cannot get back up.


Not all NPCs need to be hostile.  Resolute indifference to, or maybe amusement at, your situation can be just as scary as someone being aggressive, perhaps more so if handled right.  The impression of being utterly alone in your predicament can be a powerfully destabilizing one. 


I personally think that the monsters/zombies/rogue robots/whatever suddenly appearing has become a little threadbare as a framework.
 

LuLingqi1

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1. The Haunted Mansion: You girlfriend gets kidnapped and you have to rescue her from a haunted house.


2. The Basement: The apartment elevator suddenly takes you to floor B5, a floor that's not supposed to exist.


3. Horror School USA: Something like Corpse Party, with American students...but this might be a huge job so not sure about this.
1. If you think this wouldn't be as big of a job as 3, you're silly. A cool twist to this would instead actually playing as an evil kidnapper who hides out at the mansion with the kidnapped girl. You could alternate playable characters and make a cool story.


2. Eh. This one bores me. It can literally turn into anything, as can any of the other two. It's supernatural. You can walk into the floor and be in the high school suddenly. Or the mansion. Lol.


3. I like this idea a lot. You'll just need a good cast, and maybe have it be like Until Dawn where everyone can live or everyone can die.


Making a horror game isn't just about your setting though. If you aren't a horror buff, movies, games, books, etc, and really care for the art, it's not going to be easy. You also have to decide what the medium is. Psych horror? Imagery? Jump scares? A mixture? Or perhaps the new psychological horror where you really don't get any insight into what's going on or happening, so you're stuck with your own imagination?
 

watermark

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@kovak You mean Grist of Flies? Yeah that was a pretty good game. Although zombie survival is a good genre too, I was thinking more of supernatural horror. Like ghosts and such.


@Tanarex It doesn't work for me as a horror game cause somehow I always think the DMV is hilarious.  :guffaw:  It's just too funny to be scary. But your twist is quite creative.


@ksjp17 Hey I really like the dimension slipping hidden transfer idea! Don't know what to do with it yet but it's good inspiration. Thanks so much!


@LuLingqi1 Yeah you're right a horror game is gonna be hard for me cause I'm not really a horror movie or book buff. I think the most difficult part of Horror School is coming up with the characters. It's hard, for me anyway, to write so many characters with distinct personalities. So it will take a long time from that perspective. I do like the idea too though, but I think I want to start with something simpler first.


Thanks for the comments so far!
 

kovak

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Yes, exactly, i couldn't remember its name but the way the game manages parties is something lovely for the genre since you don't need to make really large encounters and it kinda gives me what The Last Remnant needed to be when using Squads.
 

bustedradio

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What a coincidence! I'm also making a Corpse Party inspired game, haha.


When it comes to characters, I usually start out with archetypes. There are five main characters.


1) The sweet class president who has a passion of the occult (the quirky girl).


2) The laid back, but hot headed captain of the soccer team (the tough girl).


3) The shy, meek, and gentle outsider (the virgin).


4) The aloof lone wolf (the delinquent).


5) The nice, but overly cautious photographer (the coward/scaredy-cat).


From then on, flesh them out even further.


When it comes to settings, I'm a big fan of impossible space and non euclidean architecture. It's kind of the in fashion right now with some indie horror games, but I still really like this idea. Impossible space is basically when you look at a room and it seems pretty small, but once you go through, it's actually way huge, or vise versa. It can also be something like going through the same room/area over and over again (think PT). Non euclidean architecture is similar to impossible space (a small room that's actually bigger on the inside), but what's inside the room is bizarre or alien. For example, you go through a room and you're suddenly falling down and hit a floor to another area (The Evil Within). Or you're grabbed by some strange creature and it transports you to a nightmare world (Bloodborne). Or you're walking down a hallway and slowly you realize you're going down a creature's mouth.


Either way, you don't need to make a game with a giant cast. Games like Witch's House, Mad Father, and IB do just fine with one playable character and a few supporting characters.
 

CallMeKerrigan

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Actually just saw this on another thread, but maybe a game where it starts out as the player being the hero and you do criminal acts where it seems like they are done out of necessity or saving yourself, then there's a twist at the end of the game proving you were the villain all along.
 

LaFlibuste

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Really, "horror" is rather large, you'd have to decide what exactly you mean by it. There's jumpscare horror, horrifying gore horror, psychological horror, possibly more I can't think of off the top of my head.

If you haven't ever read him, I recommending finding a few HP Lovecraft novels to read. I'm not a big horror fan usually but I loved his writing, to me it's been great inspiration not only for horror but also for general fantasy. As for stories to start with, I personally remember liking "Rats in the Walls" a lot. "Call of Cthulhu" is a classic but is maybe a bit longer so you might prefer to start with some other titles. I don't remember all of them by heart since it's been a little while I read his works but I've seen someone on another board suggest starting out with "Shadows over Innsmouth", "Whisperer in the Darkness", "Colour out of Space" or "Shadow out of Time". So maybe go with these?
 

watermark

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So for now I've decided to go with a regular ol' haunted house idea. Just guy goes and explores haunted house. Not because this is the best idea, but rather what I think would be the easiest and shortest. It will allow me to dip my toes into the horror genre without spending too much time...yet. I'm thinking of maybe a hour long game. Just to see how it goes. Maybe with an Alone in the Dark Cthulu mythos bent. Dunno. Will post officially in game dev section when ready.


Thanks for all the comments so far! It's quite helpful!


Although I must say all this holiday season cheer and happiness has made it rather hard to write a dark and scary game. :D  


Oh I am sure it'll get easier as the winter gets darker and colder.
 
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HexMozart88

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There is a chance of making something good out of that, just don't overdo any gore. That makes it funny rather than scary, I find, when they have unrealistic amounts of blood flying everywhere. Keep it suspenseful. If there's a death, cut out the screen or something to that extent. 
 

RetroBoy

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If you want real horror you need to ground it.


Additionally, given the resources available I would highly recommend not setting it up as a horror game. I know that might sound counter intuitive, but trust me. Have everything start pretty typically for an RPG Maker game and then start to have progressively more and more deranged things happen.
 

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