Research and Learn From Other Games

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Tandem
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Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby Tandem » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:56 pm

Another kickstarter funded pc exclusive game called "Knock-Knock" recently launched to less than stellar reviews. While this may sound like trivial unrelated news, i couldn't help but notice that the game was strikingly similar to "Neverending Nightmares" (hereby referred to as NN). "Knock-Knock"(hereby referred to as KK) stars a rather deranged looking protagonist who somewhat shuffles through each level at a very slow pace. While playing the game you carry around a candle to light your way, and avoid combat with ghosts and other creatures at all costs. Don't get me wrong, KK has a great art style and the core concept of the game doesn't sound too bad, but from what I've read in the recent launch reviews (as i haven't played the game myself), it seems that KK is rather boring to experience firsthand. That being said, it seems that kk looks almost identical to NN in concept, plot, and gameplay. Now once again don't get me wrong, I think NN looks wonderfully deranged and I was even a backer on Kickstarter. Yet with the similarities and terrible reviews of KK, it seems to me that Matt and Infinitap Games should be learning from the mistakes of Ice Pick Lounge's first game.

Here is a link to the Gameinformer review for "Knock-Knock" if hou wish to read up: http://www.gameinformer.com/games/knock ... ew-pc.aspx

Do any of you agree? What do you think of "Knock-Knock"? Am I an idiot? I am not trying to criticize "Neverending Nightmares", but only trying to make sure that they do not make the same kind of mistakes.

All opinions welcome :)
"For The Greater Good"

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miumiaou
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby miumiaou » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:11 am

I don't like the idea that the end depends on how quickly you finish the game and that the level has a timer

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matt
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby matt » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:33 am

I appreciate the feedback! We'll definitely make a better game. :)

In reading the review, several things jump out to me as differences.
1) We will have an overarching narrative that will see resolution.
2) There will be no random generation of rooms for Neverending Nightmares. When done right, that can be a big win, but I think it is very difficult to do just right, and only works for certain genres. I feel like getting a computer program to craft a horror environment is not a good use of procedural content. "Daylight" is another game that is trying to do procedural horror, and I'm not sure how well that is going to work. It has high production values, but I wish they'd just hand design it for maximum tension.
3) Our game is about exploring the mansion and learning its secrets and not "waiting" for daylight. I think that is a poor design decision.

I often play other games for reference (both good and bad), so maybe I'll check it out. Right now, my game queue is a bit long though. I just finished Silent Hill: Homecoming and Amnesia: Machine for Pigs. Next up is Outlast! :)

Thank you for your feedback!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

Tandem
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby Tandem » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:35 am

I know that "Knock-Knock" had about half the budget as our Neverending Nightmares, and maybe that could be half of the problem. I also think that you're right about the random generator in Knock-Knock, but i feel like it is a bad idea to avoid combat altogether. Depending on what audience is being catered to, certain people like to fight, and some like to flee. I feel that being able to provide for both audiences in Neverending Nightmares would make it reach out to other gamers. It did seem as if "Knock-Knock" was rushed, and we all know how badly that turns out when you do it. But Matt I am just trying to help out where i can, so i appreciate you reading and commenting. I'm sure that with your talented and dedicated team a the helm, Neverending Nightmares will be delightfully twisted and fun!

Also, i have a few friends who were cult fans of SH: Homecoming, and are now playing Outlast and they say it's quite good. A machine for pigs looks great too, i just hope it's at least half as good as the first one!
"For The Greater Good"

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matt
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby matt » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:02 pm

With Ouya's fund matching, we have over 4 times the budget! That really helps, but I don't think budget is the only important thing. I have 10 years experience making games and Dan has almost 20 years of experience. I think we have a very talented team, which is really important.

I appreciate your feedback!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

mick46
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby mick46 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:01 pm

I actually enjoyed Knock Knock. Pretty good game but this one looks better already

Tandem
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby Tandem » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:57 pm

I'd honestly forgotten about the Ouya's "Free the Games" Project. But that's great! I know budget isn't everythig, experience is! So it's good to hear that you've got a lot of it haha.I will post further games hear that remind me of Neverending Nightmares to try to build a better breadth of references. Thanks again!
"For The Greater Good"

Grabthehoopka
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby Grabthehoopka » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:57 pm

matt wrote:I often play other games for reference (both good and bad), so maybe I'll check it out. Right now, my game queue is a bit long though. I just finished Silent Hill: Homecoming and Amnesia: Machine for Pigs. Next up is Outlast! :)


Just...completely out of curiosity, what did you think of A Machine For Pigs? I'm a veteran of the flame wars that burned and blazed through the steam forums in the week following its release, so I know that it's very divisive, but as a developer and fan of horror, what did you think of it?

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matt
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby matt » Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:30 pm

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what to think. I enjoyed it, but I didn't find it that scary. To me, it was more like thechineseroom's last game, Dear Esther, than Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It seemed story-focused rather than scary focused.

I found the story and the way it was presented to be a bit confusing. I'm not sure if thinking about it for a while will make things clear or if it is purposely obfuscated.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

pingu
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Re: Research and Learn From Other Games

Postby pingu » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:37 am

Tandem wrote:I know that "Knock-Knock" had about half the budget as our Neverending Nightmares, and maybe that could be half of the problem. I also think that you're right about the random generator in Knock-Knock, but i feel like it is a bad idea to avoid combat altogether. Depending on what audience is being catered to, certain people like to fight, and some like to flee. I feel that being able to provide for both audiences in Neverending Nightmares would make it reach out to other gamers.


I agree that the best horror games aren't all about avoidance (running away and hiding), but I would make a distinction between fighting back and engaging in direct combat. Fighting back is a crucial part of survival horror. Direct combat needs to be subtle.

My idea of fighting back includes setting traps, or actively keeping creatures at bay (eg with shoving or lights or other sorts of physical confrontations). This sort of interaction with monsters fosters a good horror environment because it forces the player to confront fears. The player is forced to take risks in order to survive rather than hide, which increases the anxiety in facing creatures.

On the other hand, there is direct combat, where the player overpowers creatures through force. This can fit in well in a horror game, but it's best if it is used subtly and sparingly. A good horror game should never give the player the sense that she or he is empowered. The point of a horror game is to create a sense of helpless struggle. That feeling is diminished if you have the ability to go around beating up enemies one after another. Enemies have to be a struggle. You have to feel like at any given moment, you might not survive the next confrontation.

So in order to maintain the sense of helplessness, direct combat is best serves a horror game when it is a brief moment of empowerment that then gets taken away. Direct combat should be used to defeat a creature in order to help you survive long enough to face the next horror. If you have to retrieve a bloody axe and hit a pursuing four-foot-tall monster with it a few times to fend it off and slay it, the axe handle breaks in the process, and then you realize its ten-foot-tall monster mom is behind you, that is great suspense and horror (perhaps to the point of being cliche!). On the other hand, if you can go around beating up all the monsters with the axe all game, there's not much to be afraid of, because that makes you an empowered action hero, not a struggling survivor.


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