TheouAegis

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I'm thinking, I'm going to make a horror game. I've looked through many gameplay videos of other horror rpg games on youtube, but still haven't found my inspiration. I want to come up with a gameplay that makes players think, feel creative. I am also thinking about a plot with many twists and turns, so the more player think about it, the more scared he will feel.
But I couldn't think of anything so far. It's all vague and fuzzy.
I think coming up here to talk to people, listening to people's ideas can help with creative thinking.
 
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Eyyy I love horror! I've been working on some horror RPG stuff myself actually.

Here's a thought that I've always had, but don't ever really plan to implement myself, so feel free to do whatever you want with it.
Do you know what Doki Doki Literature Club is? The psychological horror Visual Novel? I was inspired by this for a sorta "twist" VN.

Imagine a VN where it's pretty "standard". All the cutesy characters are there, there's a few routes, love romance cheese, and you're a faceless Main Character...etc.

But throughout the entire VN, there's a button on the dialogue box that says "Kill". When you click that button, your MC suddenly kills the character(s) on the screen during whichever portion of the VN you're on. Or, at least try to.
There could be portions of the VN where, if you took certain routes, you could lure characters into more remote locations like their house where they open up to you about their problems...etc. You could choose to murder them then and there with less witnesses around.
You could try to attempt killing certain characters in order when there's multiple of them in one room (like a group discussion). Like, if you click "Kill" when there's 3 characters in the room with MC, an option could appear asking "Who should I kill first?" (A, B, C).

As you can imagine, it would involve a LOT of permutations based on things like where you are, the routes you've been taking could lead to different dialogue and reactions. (It's more surprising to be killed by someone you were growing closer to versus someone you didn't get close with). It would definitely need to be implemented to where you create the entire cast of characters first, and do all the normal routes. Theeen you can create the conditional branches for all the meat/potatoes of the routes when you attempt to kill characters.


I'm not really sure how the VN would end, or what exactly the MC's goal is...but it could be a really thrilling idea. I mean, imagine characters poking fun at MC for how quiet he is as he silently thinks about the idea of murdering a random character in cold blood. Maybe there could be some different endings like if you decided to do the pacifist route and not kill anyone. Or maybe just everyone dies. Etc.

Maybe the goal of the VN could be something horrible... like, try to kill everyone. Or see how many characters you can kill before people become suspicious of you. Try to beat achievements, etc...

It's very much horrific, but...it's something no one's done before though, that's for sure!
 

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Well, trying to find inspiration by talking to others is good, since you listen to their opinions and how good it would be, but ideas are ideas, so you cannot limit yourself with just ideas, you have to make that idea that you had from Games horror with a good plot and with twists that the player feels in the environment and that he loves the game for what it is, but first you need to base yourself on what you want and be able to make that idea in a game, implement it, why? is it a game without a plot? or No history? It is not a game, they are vague thoughts because you have nothing, and you want to make it look super cool since in your head You see it super cool because of the plot or the unexpected twists and the touch of terror that you want to give the player, but As I have said before, they are only thoughts because you do not have a beginning and nor an end, it may not be relevant but you should be clear about your objectives and above all to play the game, since if you are left with the illusion that the game will be great but you don't have where to start, or How to bring it to life, Graphics, Music, History, Characters, Etc., I think you should start there.
 

gstv87

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hint, don't jumpscare.
ABOVE ALL THINGS: *HINT* of the danger, more than showing it.

that's what makes good horror.

on top of that, the twists.
all the better if you have a true psychopath of a character that toys with the protagonist, like, hinting one thing and then doing something completely opposite, like *that* have been *the* understood and agreed way of proceeding at that particular moment since the beginning.

in most stories, you usually start by establishing the main character (I mean, from the writing setup) or the universe.
in this case, you should probably start with the antagonist first, and then the protagonist.
if the antagonist is an ethereal force, have a solid reason for it existing.
if possible, grounded in reality, like a disease, or a phobia.

I recently watched "The Woman In The Window", and even tho there is a "villain" (kinda), the real danger is the protagonist's own fear, which comes to play a part in the final confrontation, and she has to overcome it in order to then face the villain.
so, it's technically a classic hero story (she fights her own fear), but the whole "universe" is blurry, because the characters are distorted by this fear.

another good one is "The Astronaut's Wife", which always dangles the question "Just what the frak happened out there?", and you just get bits and pieces through the experiences of other people.
Johnny Depp plays the main psycho, and he's just made for jumpscare material.
 

WaywardMartian

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So usually I'd say something like 'you watched a bunch of horror Let's Plays, which ones stood out to you for gameplay you thought looked good or a story you found clever or scary' but none of them were inspiring? Maybe come at it from the direction of what was missing or what didn't work for you.

Examples I just made up:
'I was into this story until it turned out the villain had no motive, he was just ~crazy~, what a cop-out' - You could do it better, give the villain a motive you find compelling.
'I liked the RPG-style exploration part of this game but the story was told in these really long notes that weren't interesting to read' - Maybe you'd rather focus in environmental storytelling or at least shorter notes.
'The monster turned out to be a ghost? Ghosts aren't scary' - Maybe horror for you is more 'it could happen to you' rather than supernatural and you'd rather the monster be a stalker or other human threat.
'It wasn't scary because the characters were all annoying and I was cheering for the monster to eat them' - Maybe you want emotional impact from the character deaths instead of just a body count.

Also for the stories at least, don't just look at games. Have you read a book or watched a movie that gave you that feeling of it gets scarier the more you think of it? What have you read or watched that made you say 'these twists and turns were done well'? What works for you in horror? Are monsters or humans scarier to you? A haunted house or a stalker living in your attic? Is it scarier to feel like there's a chance to escape the monster because then it's your fault if you fail or is it scarier if the monster is unstoppable? Do you find villains who monologue about how superior they are to be scary or do you just want to punch them in the teeth for being pretentious bullies? Do you prefer to know details of The Horror or do you prefer it if things remain ambiguous at the end? Do you like when the horror is personalised or would you rather it could happen to anyone and just happened to happen to the protagonist? I can tell you what works for me in a horror story but it's not going to be what works for you.

For gameplay, what do you like to play in a horror game? Do you like chase scenes? Hiding from monsters? Do you like the tension of trying to keep your character alive or do you just want to explore a spooky house and find creepy secrets? Do you like puzzles and what kind? Maybe you'll want to focus entirely on the story and do it more visual novel style where you have to talk to NPCs to learn their secrets.
 

gstv87

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I was cheering for the monster to eat them
*cough*TheWalkingDead*cough!*

seriously.
I spent the best part of Negan's arc thinking "Do these people even HAVE a brain?"
it's not scary when people simply throw common sense out the window!
"Oh no, I'm in a situation where I'm surrounded by beings I don't understand, who appear to have no intelligence whatsoever! What could I do? Oh, I know! I'm gonna try and REASON with them!"
 

TheouAegis

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Eyyy I love horror! I've been working on some horror RPG stuff myself actually.

Here's a thought that I've always had, but don't ever really plan to implement myself, so feel free to do whatever you want with it.
Do you know what Doki Doki Literature Club is? The psychological horror Visual Novel? I was inspired by this for a sorta "twist" VN.

Imagine a VN where it's pretty "standard". All the cutesy characters are there, there's a few routes, love romance cheese, and you're a faceless Main Character...etc.

But throughout the entire VN, there's a button on the dialogue box that says "Kill". When you click that button, your MC suddenly kills the character(s) on the screen during whichever portion of the VN you're on. Or, at least try to.
There could be portions of the VN where, if you took certain routes, you could lure characters into more remote locations like their house where they open up to you about their problems...etc. You could choose to murder them then and there with less witnesses around.
You could try to attempt killing certain characters in order when there's multiple of them in one room (like a group discussion). Like, if you click "Kill" when there's 3 characters in the room with MC, an option could appear asking "Who should I kill first?" (A, B, C).

As you can imagine, it would involve a LOT of permutations based on things like where you are, the routes you've been taking could lead to different dialogue and reactions. (It's more surprising to be killed by someone you were growing closer to versus someone you didn't get close with). It would definitely need to be implemented to where you create the entire cast of characters first, and do all the normal routes. Theeen you can create the conditional branches for all the meat/potatoes of the routes when you attempt to kill characters.


I'm not really sure how the VN would end, or what exactly the MC's goal is...but it could be a really thrilling idea. I mean, imagine characters poking fun at MC for how quiet he is as he silently thinks about the idea of murdering a random character in cold blood. Maybe there could be some different endings like if you decided to do the pacifist route and not kill anyone. Or maybe just everyone dies. Etc.

Maybe the goal of the VN could be something horrible... like, try to kill everyone. Or see how many characters you can kill before people become suspicious of you. Try to beat achievements, etc...

It's very much horrific, but...it's something no one's done before though, that's for sure!
A story about a character with psychological problems who can suddenly go mad and kill anyone, at any time is a really cool and scary idea. I have imagined that it would be even better, if normally the killer acted very gentle and likable, like a cute little girl, for example. Then suddenly, she stabs you from behind with a knife, while showing a savage smile. That's can be a horrible thing.
 

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I love horror movies, but I hate horror games. I don't know why. That extra step of being more immersed because I'm playing the character really does the icing on the cake for me. Scares me to death and I can't do it. Personally, I usually end up watching a Let's Play of them rather than buying or playing any of them.

The things that really scare me are the things rooted in real life that extend to the supernatural. Not so much a gore-y murder-fest.

Gameplay elements that scare me are little things, I don't like jump scares all the time, but a few well timed ones are okay. But I like when games do something simple like the lights flicker due to lightning and when the lighting strikes and lights up the room you see a shadow of something scary, or you walk out a room and come back in and something changed, like a portrait is different or light is on, etc.

I love puzzle games, but I hate when they are not implemented properly. By that I mean something like the player needs to get past a spiderweb and says they need something to light it on fire with. But the game doesn't let you use the lighter you already have, you have to find a specific item like a torch in a specific room. Or you need to get down to a lower level, and they don't give you an option to jump or use a rope you have to find a ladder. Things like that take me right out of the game.

I think what turns me away from RPGM horror games is when they use RTP graphics. They are just too "cute" in my opinion to be scary. The RMXP graphics perhaps. Or those really old but limited tilesets that were created for MV. Idk what they were but the ones with that really funny "strutting" walking animation. If that animation were fixed I could see those being "scary".

One idea I had in my notebook a while ago was something kind of inspired by typical horror movies. The Netflix synopsis would read like "A damaged girl who was forced to live in her bedroom by her psychotic mother who nailed the door shut and just kept her alive through a hole in the door. "

Somehow the player ends up in this house, and now through the game you hear nails drop and all of a sudden her ghost appears and chases you.

Meanwhile, you have to use the "key items" feature and find different items around and do progress through the house while avoiding the ghost.

Then further along the story you find out that the girl had some horrible uncurable disease and in that time period in which the game was set, the mother wasn't psychotic at all, she was trying to help the daughter the only way she could, no matter how cruel.

But meanwhile, the daughter has been killing everyone in this house out of revenge and needs to be exorcised, and you learn maybe the daughter was a bit twisted herself, like killing animals in the room with her and torturing them or something.

Again IDK if any of this is possible or could be done well in RPG Maker, surely not with the RTP in my opinion, but if it gives you any ideas, feel free to run with it!
 

TheouAegis

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I love horror movies, but I hate horror games. I don't know why. That extra step of being more immersed because I'm playing the character really does the icing on the cake for me. Scares me to death and I can't do it. Personally, I usually end up watching a Let's Play of them rather than buying or playing any of them.

The things that really scare me are the things rooted in real life that extend to the supernatural. Not so much a gore-y murder-fest.

Gameplay elements that scare me are little things, I don't like jump scares all the time, but a few well timed ones are okay. But I like when games do something simple like the lights flicker due to lightning and when the lighting strikes and lights up the room you see a shadow of something scary, or you walk out a room and come back in and something changed, like a portrait is different or light is on, etc.

I love puzzle games, but I hate when they are not implemented properly. By that I mean something like the player needs to get past a spiderweb and says they need something to light it on fire with. But the game doesn't let you use the lighter you already have, you have to find a specific item like a torch in a specific room. Or you need to get down to a lower level, and they don't give you an option to jump or use a rope you have to find a ladder. Things like that take me right out of the game.

I think what turns me away from RPGM horror games is when they use RTP graphics. They are just too "cute" in my opinion to be scary. The RMXP graphics perhaps. Or those really old but limited tilesets that were created for MV. Idk what they were but the ones with that really funny "strutting" walking animation. If that animation were fixed I could see those being "scary".

One idea I had in my notebook a while ago was something kind of inspired by typical horror movies. The Netflix synopsis would read like "A damaged girl who was forced to live in her bedroom by her psychotic mother who nailed the door shut and just kept her alive through a hole in the door. "

Somehow the player ends up in this house, and now through the game you hear nails drop and all of a sudden her ghost appears and chases you.

Meanwhile, you have to use the "key items" feature and find different items around and do progress through the house while avoiding the ghost.

Then further along the story you find out that the girl had some horrible uncurable disease and in that time period in which the game was set, the mother wasn't psychotic at all, she was trying to help the daughter the only way she could, no matter how cruel.

But meanwhile, the daughter has been killing everyone in this house out of revenge and needs to be exorcised, and you learn maybe the daughter was a bit twisted herself, like killing animals in the room with her and torturing them or something.

Again IDK if any of this is possible or could be done well in RPG Maker, surely not with the RTP in my opinion, but if it gives you any ideas, feel free to run with it!
The idea indeed is very nice. It has that feeling similar to famous horror manga I used to read. Very cool!
 

Finnuval

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Give the player hope... Then crush it. Always works well in these type of games...

Example : you need to escape the mansion, you actually make it outside, you are at ease... Only to be clobbered over the head and drag back inside to wake up in an even worse scenario then before.

Use tension to slowly escalate, dont go all out to soon. The best horror games leave the player afraid for basically nothing.... And everything xD

A good jumpscare is Nice but dont overdo it and make sure to catch players ofguard. Preferably by distracting Them or fooling Them jnto thinking they know when to expect it and Then not doing it...

Have the story grounded in at least some reality. Sure demons are scary but a crazy human convinced of their own beliefs is way more terrifying... Dont fear the devil, fear his cultists xD

The best horror games in my opinion use the less-is-more approach by using tension and the players own expectation as a fuel for fear and only sparsely deliver on that fear with cruel, insane and often explicit moments. Leaving the player wandering and guessing and steering Them to doubt everything they see and do.

That's my two cents anwyay xD
 

TheouAegis

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Give the player hope... Then crush it. Always works well in these type of games...

Example : you need to escape the mansion, you actually make it outside, you are at ease... Only to be clobbered over the head and drag back inside to wake up in an even worse scenario then before.

Use tension to slowly escalate, dont go all out to soon. The best horror games leave the player afraid for basically nothing.... And everything xD

A good jumpscare is Nice but dont overdo it and make sure to catch players ofguard. Preferably by distracting Them or fooling Them jnto thinking they know when to expect it and Then not doing it...

Have the story grounded in at least some reality. Sure demons are scary but a crazy human convinced of their own beliefs is way more terrifying... Dont fear the devil, fear his cultists xD

The best horror games in my opinion use the less-is-more approach by using tension and the players own expectation as a fuel for fear and only sparsely deliver on that fear with cruel, insane and often explicit moments. Leaving the player wandering and guessing and steering Them to doubt everything they see and do.

That's my two cents anwyay xD
This is what i usually remind myself everytime and then it's also me who forgot it everytime :\
 

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Kind of funny talking about this stuff, since I am an absolute coward who dreads jumpscares and other spooky, but love watching gameplays of the stuff.

Personally, I prefer horror that's more atmospheric rather than one that's upfront about the gore and blood, if you get my drift. For me, it's going into an area, observing what's around me, and thinking "this is the perfect place for something scary to pop out", regardless if the scary thing happens for not. "Subtle" things also make get me tense. Stuff like the chair slightly moving or the blur of a shadow in my peripheral view gets me to jump. Basically, setting up the atmosphere (graphics, sound effects, music) properly is important for me. I'm just a sucker for environmental storytelling :kaoblush:.

In terms of story, my favorite thing to see are characters that, in a totally normal situation, would be a nice person that you could be friends with, but because of the situation, they are driven to do certain things. While I do enjoy the "monster chases you around the forest/dungeon/mansion/etc." formula, I prefer knowing what's going on in the character's head.
 

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Love love love horror! though I’m really not a big “gamer” I do love ARGs (alternate reality games) which are *sort of* where games meet movies meet modern digital media. But the reason I mention them, and the reason I’m commenting, is that it all comes down to feeling with horror. I can’t remember the last time a movie really freaked me out, because so many are reliant on jump scares and creepy soundscapes, but ARGs really make me squirm in my guts and brain and skin because they create these uncomfortable and unknowable circumstances that leave you with many questions that are terrifying to ponder and that will never be resolved. So when you give the audience a little bit of terror, it goes a LONG way.

(Read up on the YouTube series “Ash Vlogs” if you want an interesting entry point to these horror game/movies)

fun fact - the human brain cannot discern between fact and fiction on some levels. When we watch horror movies, for example, we feel scared because our brain is taking in images and sounds that cause red flags and our bodies start pumping out all the hormones that make us want to run or freeze or fight. So while we know it’s a movie, part of our brains still thinks it’s real. Which is why “less is more” works with horror. The mind is the most panicked when it isn’t able to fully process what’s happening. When there’s a lot of tension but nothing to provide even a little release.

and to reiterate what others say: don’t do jump scares.
 

WaywardMartian

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Give the player hope... Then crush it. Always works well in these type of games...

Finnuval, you are a cool guy and I respect you but the game had better have the most amazing, stellar writing or the most fun gameplay for me not to be annoyed at this ending. Maybe it's just me being a perfectionist but if the game's sole payoff is 'twist ending: you lose because I say so', I want my money back. :p If I want to feel like life is meaningless and my actions mean nothing I'll watch the news for five minutes, not waste three hours running from pixel cultists. :p

On the other hand, another player might love the whole 'twist ending: nothing you did mattered' because they're into bleakness and doom horror. ;)
 

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Finnuval, you are a cool guy and I respect you but the game had better have the most amazing, stellar writing or the most fun gameplay for me not to be annoyed at this ending. Maybe it's just me being a perfectionist but if the game's sole payoff is 'twist ending: you lose because I say so', I want my money back. :p If I want to feel like life is meaningless and my actions mean nothing I'll watch the news for five minutes, not waste three hours running from pixel cultists. :p

On the other hand, another player might love the whole 'twist ending: nothing you did mattered' because they're into bleakness and doom horror. ;)
I wasnt talking about a twist ending... But about taking away hope to instill desperation in the player. Perhaps a better example would be this :

Imagine a pitch black mansion you need to traverse. Halfway you find a Lantern that at Times might fail you... It gives the player a feeling of empowerment, like the cam fight back... However one Tiny little change and thay feeling of empowerment becomes despair...
Instead of finding said Lantern the player start with it only to have it start failing at a crucial point. Suddenly instead of feeling empowerment the player feels despair because they start with hope and you crush it.

At no point was my previous example ment as An ending lol

And you're a cool Guy to, even if you misinterpeted what I ment :p
 

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Pitch black mansion... that sounds oddly familiar... Hmm... I can't quite put my finger on it.
Well its not totally unique... tho your implementation of It is something else xD
 

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I'm thinking, I'm going to make a horror game. I've looked through many gameplay videos of other horror rpg games on youtube, but still haven't found my inspiration. I want to come up with a gameplay that makes players think, feel creative. I am also thinking about a plot with many twists and turns, so the more player think about it, the more scared he will feel.
But I couldn't think of anything so far. It's all vague and fuzzy.
I think coming up here to talk to people, listening to people's ideas can help with creative thinking.
My wife and I love to watch horror movies so I'll tell you why we like it. I've only briefly glanced at some of the responses and I apologize if there is any repetition.

The number one reason we enjoy watching horror movies is because of the "mystery" behind the "ghost." This is what made The Ring so good, who was Samara? Why is she doing this? etc. Twists are good but they are not always necessary like The Conjuring Pt I and II.

I saw someone posted the "jump scare" tactic and I definitely agree that this plays into it. The best one I recall is from "Haunting of Hill House" and if you've seen all the episodes it you know exactly what I'm talking about. The Ring masterfully brought jump scares and good storytelling together, still I prefer a good story.

Lastly good characters and their motivations help bring together a good horror plot. This again was done nicely with The Ring - again more for motivation, but Haunting of Bly Manor had some very deep character development which is a reason I enjoyed it more than "Hill House."

If you force the viewer use their imagination as well that's pretty good, but I also think that might be the most difficult part.

Those are my thoughts. Hopefully that helps.
 

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