RMMV Looking for Suspense/Horror tips

MrKiwi

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this thread, sorry if not. :kaosigh:

So, as title says I'm looking for some tips for a suspense/horror project I'm starting. I'm not the biggest fan of this genre (Because I'm a cowardy coward kiwi), and therefore I'm not pretty sure how to create a proper scary enviroment or how exactly give chills to the player... I mean, I jump at everything, the slightest weird sound makes me afraid...

The specific points I'm wondering about are:

- Graphical enviroment (Tilesets, color tones, extra doodads)
- Accustic enviroment (Like general background sounds, sound effects, volume)
- Maybe some scary villain tips (How to make a scary stalker perhaps)
- Calm-Tense-Horror rhytmn
- Visual effects

I'd like to hear some recommendations, opinions or experiences about this.
 

AdamMMS

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I've thought about making a horror game myself.

My advice would be to look at the very best of genre for inspiration.
In terms of RPG Maker games "The Witch's House MV" comes to mind.

If you want to make things really scary, you must condition yourself so that almost nothing scares you. Only then can you know that if it scares you, it will terrify a coward.

Reading books on human psychology could also help you to understand how the mind works.
 

PsycroBabble

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I wouldn't say you need to not be scared to do good horror, Stephen King has a laundry list of phobias and Lovecraft epitomised xenophobia as an actual fear. I'm working on a horror-esque game myself (though it is more a comedy game/farce).

What sort of setting are you looking at? If you're looking for something stalky then I guess you'd want to skew towards something claustrophobic and tight, that's part of how games like Amnesia work.
 

Ebanyle

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As much as I love horror genre, I am too really coward so I don't play any of this kind of game :'D
However, you can still appreciate them!
I remember the first time I got to know horror games was when me and my brother watched Markiplier playing Witch's House and Mad Father. Before that, I held little interest in this genre because in my head it was all about zombies. And boy, I hate zombies.
A horror game is actually a very easy game to make, in my opinion. One of the easiest in RM. It doesn't involve that much of interfaces, and still it can tell a really great story, which is actually something I really like! And it doesn't even needs to have supernatural things, psychological horror is as much as a powerful weapon.

Anyway, after all that babbling, let's get to the point. As I said, I think horror games are really easy to build, and this involves all aspects of it. What you want to do is to make your player feel uneasy, so naturally we would collect the natural fears of humans itself. We mostly fear the dark. So most games go for that option. Dark, suffocating places that do not allow the player to see what can be coming for them is one of the main features in creating a horror game. But that is not an required thing in any way. Psychological horror can work in many ways, so you can use a clean, pale game and that would still work. Of course, if you can build the rest of the atmosphere properly.

About sounds, other aspect that makes me like creating horror games is this one. They usually don't need music. I mean, a tension music there and there would be good, but it's not necessary like it is in other genres. That's because silence is also a powerful weapon in this genre. It connects to the "Calm/Tense rhythm" because of the contrast that can be done. Think about that way: the atmosphere is really tense already, it's constantly tense. But silence not only makes it more tense, it also leaves your player not prepared for a sudden outburst. That moment when you start to get chased, or it simply starts playing some tension music and you don't know what you can do.
This does not only involves music, but also sounds. I like to use SE's, a lot. They are tiny but fancy details in a horror game! And as much as other aspects, they can really add to the atmosphere. Sultry, distant noises are a good tool too.

As for stalkers, I don't exactly know this part. I never checked with much attention in games that contain this feature, but it can be other useful tool. You don't know what to expect of something that you don't know (as the rest of the game tbh). A shadow that sometimes pass by that dark corner of the screen, almost unnoticed. Someone that keeps messing with things around, showing that they are present. And they are behind you. boo
 

Owltears

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Please keep in mind this is what I find creepy/scary based on your questions :>I have the bravery of a chicken nugget.
The specific points I'm wondering about are:

- Graphical enviroment (Tilesets, color tones, extra doodads)
- Accustic enviroment (Like general background sounds, sound effects, volume)
- Maybe some scary villain tips (How to make a scary stalker perhaps)
- Calm-Tense-Horror rhytmn
- Visual effects

Graphics-

If you are making a modern horror game I'd think cluttered houses, filthy areas, and broken towns make a good background or a scary area. Objects you can "pick up" (show image) and when they lower the item a jumpscare of a ghost, or the villain appears to scare area plus.

For fantasy I'd go for houses or castles that have yokai/monsters in them that try to keep the player in them to be killed or flee to safety. Spooky monsters and areas can be done better due to the fantasy theme!:D

Some good graphics I'd recommend are:

*These are links to the translated terms thread
*bougainvillea Has some cool horror pieces for both fantasy and modern. For both ACE and MV. They recently made a clown with chainsaw sprite that's pretty cool but most of their horror things are tilesets. Please be warned some of the horror they have is like eyeballs, gore, and blood stained stuff. They also have non-horror assets that can be used in creepy ways.

*Kingdom Rise and Fall/Makapri Has made dozens of monsters and humanoid beings that can be used as villains. Most of their stuff is for ACE however they are slowly making stuff for MV.

YMS/Pixel Art World has some cool items for the XP engine that with a little elbow grease you can make into tilesets. Their stuff is mostly Japanese items and things so you could use them for a Japan themed horror game. Some of the items are really good horror pieces or food items that you don't often see!


In the 2018 Scarestaff
resources there is a bunch of cool horror/spooky resources. Avery comes to mind with her MV icons. and there is music that might help set a scary mood! Most of the assets are for MV though but really good!

Bokou
Has some cool MV gothic pieces and Voodoo tilesets that are really really good for broken ruins or creepy mansions.

Com_Sho has some nice MV graphics some of which are for modern or different genres. Some of the stuff can be used for crime scenes or dangerous neighborhoods.

There are loads more out there in both the forums and off site but I hope this is a good start ^^.


Sound-


I like calm low sounds that slowly get higher or start going faster that end up being scary. In the General Resources tab there are a few people there that make music and in the translated term's page that have HUGE libraries of music and sounds!

(I asked my husband and he likes horror music with drums that beat faster He joked like Jumanji.)

Make a Spoopy villain-


For say a city: I like the idea of a villain that has stalked his target, either digitally or in person, before acting and causing the game to start. When I make villains like that I watch/listen to murder mysteries or things about crimes that happened for inspiration. (EX: a serial killer stalks someone online via say their profile page and kidnaps them and forces them to survive in a house of traps or a large area filled with traps, periodically appearing himself to attack the player)

For Fantasy: I like the idea that the villain is working with an evil being for revenge against the PC for something they did but don't find it bad. (EX: you can have a prince who bullied a servant and the servant wants revenge. They sell their soul to get the prince trapped in a nightmare where he's stuck in the castle but it's demented and the servant tries to kill the prince. If he can escape the servant loses and if he cant the prince sleeps in a coma forever.)

You could also look up what scares people, like in nightmares, real life, spiders, shadow people, etc. For me it's ghosts and creepy faces that appear in the dark but you focus on them and they vanish.

I hope this helps :hswt:again I am to scared to even watch scary movies.So sorry if this isn't much.
 

megumi014

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Sometimes it also works if you go with the opposite of the traditiinal horror setting: instead of having a haunted house broken and full of blood, having a nice neighbourhood super clean and bright coloured, but with an unsettling feeling or weird neighbours that are aaalways smiling. I find that to be super creepy xD
 

gstv87

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- Accustic enviroment (Like general background sounds, sound effects, volume)
play Silent Hill 2.

I believe it sums up most, if not all, of your requirements.
 

MrKiwi

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Thanks for the replies peeps!

@AdamMMS I've been watching the game, my project is in a modern enviroment, but it still a good reference to see what can be done with RM, not sure yet if I'll try it personally :kaoswt:

@Ebanyle Thanks for the advices, I thinks its time to mess around with the sound effects pan option, also many games I've been watching have some "windy" BGS and sometimes it stops whenever something its coming. I'm realizing how much I neglect the enviroment role in an inmersive story.

@Owltears Thanks for the sources :kaojoy:Can't say many details about the project in general yet (Non spoilers area e.e) buuuuuut, it is indeed in a modern enviroment...

@megumi014 I can't promise a genre revolution here, but I'm not willing to stick to the horror games stereotipes, at least not making my game a horror cliche is enough for me.

@gstv87 I'll watch a gameplay if you don't mind me... :kaoswt:But so far you are right, the atmosphere of mystery of the first minutes Its pretty nice, I'm going to keep watching.
 

CalebW

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When writing or designing horror, you have to know what truly scares you. If it is tame enough for you to look at it probably won't fit under a horror theme. But if you get chills to the point where you are looking around every corner of your house and you add in music that just plain creeps you out. Then you might have something.
 
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Writing this before reading what other people have said to avoid getting influenced, haha -

What do you find scary?

"Jump scares," where a sudden change in visuals/audio is used to try to trigger an autonomic fear response, aren't actually that scary. Generally, horror that relies on cognitive fears is going to be more effective. This is why the game Yumi Nikki is, for example, generally considered to be a kind of horror game, even though it's mostly just about exploration and there's no big bad at all.

Consider looking at r/nosleep for examples of horror writing - some quite good, some quite bad. In terms of RPG Maker, the Hello Charlotte series provides an example of atypical horror presentation - most sections take place in an area that's mostly white and geometric, instead of being dark and organic.

In terms of visuals - heavy shadows or fog are not the only way to provoke fear of the unknown. Some effects I've seen work well are flashing a frame or two of different visuals before resolving back into what's "supposed" to be there, or objects that randomly change graphic on room reentry - it provokes ambiguity as to what's actually there; is the protagonist seeing the truth or not? VFX filters that add wobbly visuals can be interesting in small, subtle doses.

Pausing the bg audio portentously can be a good move, although adding in new sounds - something dripping, a faint unidentifiable shifting - can also work well. (In general, sudden really loud noises are a bad move; it's really annoying to have your eardrums blasted out after a section with very quiet audio.)

Basically any color set can lend itself to horror, but it's best to match your colors with your narrative. Is the horror at hand trippy and lurid? A bright and saturated color scheme might work. Is it full of existential ennui? A more grey pallet probably suits. Pulpy? Go for those strong contrasts.
 

Marquise*

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You might like these
and

I am not an horror versed person but I do like a scare occasionally. So those two are maybe the best answer I can come up with ^^
 

ProjectTrinity

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Don't make my mistake and use jump scares. I know there's a defense for using jump scares "right" with the proper build up. But I don't really find those to be something people talk about at any notable length when they talk about their fears about a game/movie they've experienced. It's almost always the oppressive atmosphere, the terrifying characters that are so human yet so not, and only sometimes, we hear something about a lawnmower.

I'm also on board with the idea that the environment need not be all grimy and uncomfortable. If the horror can have the skill (or best used) for a clean, sleek, well-lit environment to be one of the most terrifying experiences they can have, definitely use it as it instantly sets it apart from thousands of other stories.
 

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