Brainstorming

Let's chat about what you want from our next game. :)
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matt
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Brainstorming

Postby matt » Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:02 pm

I think it'd be really cool to brainstorm ideas for the next game. Here are a few thoughts to get you started.
1) We already have a plan for the basics of the next game. We are pretty attached to the setting and characters in our new game treatment. We're not ready to talk about them just yet because I think it's something that doesn't sound as cool on paper as it will when we are able to show you.

2) We are planning on building off the design of Neverending Nightmares. We're not creating a first person VR horror game. There are a ton of those. We'll be creating an atmospheric horror game with stylized 2D art. There are many things we did right on Neverending Nightmares, so we are using that as a starting point for the design but planning to make something even scarier. We aren't going to add combat. I am considering adding puzzles, but if we do, I want them to be immersive.

3) If we use your idea, we will credit you in the game for it! This is going to be a challenge organizationally since it's possible that we may think of the same idea later and forget where we heard it from, but we will do our best. :)

4) Unlike the rest of the forum, I'm going to stay pretty hands off, so you guys can springboard off each other's ideas without me directing the conversation.

I think this is going to be awesome!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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miumiaou
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby miumiaou » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:52 am

I think if the character would be paralyze during a few second while a monster or something is passing by would be lovely

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SuchDogeMuchWow
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby SuchDogeMuchWow » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:01 am

Less enemies, more puzzles. I feel like it's a matter of capitalizing on your strengths as a developer. You are very talented at creating unnerving and tense environments. Giving your environments more pull in actual gameplay by integrating it into puzzles would be a great move forward for your next game. That's not to say that enemies can't be used at all, but you have to change the way that they are implemented. Predictability is the antithesis of horror. In my case, when I understood the sound/visual queues for monsters, and how to respond to them, I began seeing monsters less as monsters and more as obstacles (EG: I hear scraping in front of me, better run the other way until I don't hear scraping anymore).

za7az
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby za7az » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:49 pm

I liked the monsters, however, I think there could have been more variety to them. For example, instead of just running away in various fashions, you could have a way to use the enviornment around you to deal with the monster. Maybe there could also be a way to defend yourself or slow them down?

Lotus Prince
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby Lotus Prince » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:51 pm

It depends on what you're going for in terms of gameplay, but puzzles can be a welcome addition. If they're too tricky, then they can bog down the gameplay, like in Resident Evil 1, where you just sit there for minutes on end, thinking of what to do, but puzzles are able to break the "walk to the right until I can leave" aspect of gameplay.

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miumiaou
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby miumiaou » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:09 pm

It is not a good idea to have something to defend yourself, but if we should have one I'd recommend something that make you feel really powerless (like a little knife or something)

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LobsterSundew
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby LobsterSundew » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:27 pm

Here is some brainstorming.

Body horror was a strength of Neverending Nightmares. Gore and unsettling transformations are good in horror games.

Giving players too much combat power just creates a scary action game. Survival horror works because ammunition is often so precious.

I watched a Let's Play of the Call of Cthulu game for the first XBOX. Players could bolt the doors behind them to try to buy more time to flee from the pursuing villagers. Dressers could be pushed to block doors or rope bridges cut to remove a path. Environmental interactions like that were lacking in Neverending Nightmares.

Running could have realistic stamina where the character can last a few minutes before being winded.

Allow combat against enemy humans, but have combat ineffective against monsters such as the monsters only being incapacitated for a short time before regenerating.

Instead of physically fighting monsters, the environment could be used such as locking doors or raising drawbridges to create obstacles for the monster.

Instead of players controlling one protagonist, there could be a group that the player rotates control of. Killed characters could become enemies making the game harder near the end. The victory condition would be at least one ally character escaping. Completionist would be able to play the game for an ending where no ally characters died. This could be similar to a rogue-like with permadeath, almost like how people try to do FTL: Faster Than Light runs with no redshirts.

Monsters could be instant death on contact, unless a player has the equivalent of Last of Us's shivs. Those shivs would be a very limited resource and it might only temporarily blind the enemy.

Have an enemy monster that is invisible, but casts solid shadows. The player would need to use a flashlight or activate static light sources like kerosene lamps on a wall to be able to monitor the monster's location.

The 3D sound library would be good to use again for headphone users. 3D audio can be very effective.

The game could track completion time to facilitate speedrunners. The timer could be visible on the save file or displayed after the end credits.

It would be nice to have a gameplay goal other than survival. The game could be set in the gold rush era with the player character also having to pan for gold along streams while avoiding being eaten and scavenging supplies from dead miners. The ounces of gold could be used for people that like to achieve high scores. There could be Donner Party trek scenario where the people before resorted to cannibalism to survive.

Cartography could be used as a gameplay element.

Longer games can be difficult to maintain tension. Perhaps the game could have partitioning, like how Five Nights at Freddy's has nights. At the end of each partition the player could be asked with a survey what they thought was real and what were hallucinations. The survey would impact gameplay based on how much the player mistook for not being real.

There could be ethical dilemmas with gameplay consequences, such as restraining a man to a chair before he transforms into a werewolf (Risking his escape later if another decision is made) or to make the decision to shoot him before he transforms. Instead of being pursued by one werewolf, the difficulty may be increased by the man becoming the second pursuing werewolf if he escapes.

There could be leveling down for character stats as described in What if We Leveled Backwards?. Players would be forced to spend points to level down stats they choose. This can increase the feelings of helplessness over time.

The enemies could be towering overhead with their huge size. This would be like the tripods attacking in War of the Worlds or the titans in Attack on Titan. The player would be concerned about moving stealthily between one safe hiding spot to another.

There could a scenario where a flood of smaller enemies has to be outrun. It would be possible to kill individual enemies, but there would be so many that killing them all would be impossible. This would be like the replicator battles in Stargate. Insect swarms make good enemies for such scenarios.

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby RightClickSaveAs » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:06 pm

I feel like I may have posted some of these before, so sorry for any repeats.

General gameplay and a couple puzzle ideas:
  • try to open a door to escape but the handle falls off
  • try to turn on lights but none of them work (depending on time period)
  • subvert the idea of combat in a game by having the player find a gun or any other weapon which you can carry around, but it falls apart in your hands the second you try to use it
  • (invisible) sanity meter that steadily increases as the game progresses, and needs to be lessened periodically by exploring to find objects to calm the main character and keep him from slipping too deep into the nightmare. It could manifest in slower movement speed and heavy breathing, maybe a distorted screen effect (I'm totally ripping it off from Amnesia). The items you search for could be comforting reminders of happier times, such as childhood (stuffed animal, blanket) or later on in life (pictures, postcard or letter from a loved one)
  • Pocket watch that goes backwards (another element of a nightmare or dream maybe?) and you have to find the winding mechanism (either the knob's fallen off, or a key like was used in the really old pocket watches to wind it up and make it work normally again. I think this could be a sort of dream logic puzzle in a way, since your watch is going backwards, naturally you have to wind it up to fix it!
  • Quicksand! Quicksand used to be huge in movies and TV shows but has basically disappeared. You could be the one to bring it back Matt! The character gets stuck in quicksand and trying to get out too fast just pulls him down more, so you have to slowly and methodically make your way out of it. Maybe this would be a good place for a unique QTE where you have to push the buttons in a certain rhythm.

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AironNeil
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby AironNeil » Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:38 pm

So some personal thoughts:
- A lot of Neverending Nightmare's environments felt a little cliched to be blunt, what made them interesting was the art style, but it would have been so much better if they were different from what the most common horror environments are. In the next game the environments should be something not commonly seen in horror (but still effective obviously).
- Environment based puzzles can enforce the idea of paying attention of one's environment.
- Enemies that kill you in one hit seem to actually be less scary then ones that need to hit you a few more times (Amnesia had these kinds of enemies and running away after being hit once is so much more terrifying then not getting hit even once).
- If the branching narrative is used again the main path should be the path that doesn't require any extra actions from the player and should probably be discussed a little earlier than in Neverending Nightmares so that the actions don't end up being harder to figure out then originally thought.
- Maybe have a weirdly blurry art style like in computer constructed images of people's dreams.
Ex: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/09/ ... 06x306.jpg
Not sure how that could work in a game, maybe it could be used in the background, but it's just something that I've come across that seemed very creepy.

a game I've been really obsessed with lately is Demon's Souls. Even though it's not a horror game I feel like it has a lot of horror elements and if it were designed differently it could be a very effective one. For example, healing in the game has to be done in real time so if the situation is dire and you need to heal, it makes the situation all that more tense. The game also pulls a very effective atmosphere especially in a prison level where you'll hear the screams of the prisoners to let them out and whatnot (even though the voice acting is a little derpy). You also find keys and open cells to see what's inside, but only half of the prisoners are friendly while the other half want to go all knife crazy on you, so that makes the whole exploration both desired and dreaded.

Maybe implement some type of healing item that can be found in the game that's used through the use of a different button rather than by pressing start and selecting it (which is pretty immersion breaking).

Or if there was going to be combat in the game, I felt like Silent Hill 3 did that pretty good since almost all of the enemies in the game took several hits to kill and made it really not worth trying to kill them, not only because they would hurt me more than I could hurt them, but because it took so damn long. Not to mention, from Silent Hill 2 there was a moment around the end that took all of the player's weapons and items, including the flashlight which made the game much more frightening because of the feeling of a massive shift of danger--even though there were much fewer enemies after that point it was still very powerful in its dis-empowerment of the main character.

RightClickSaveAs wrote:Quicksand! Quicksand used to be huge in movies and TV shows but has basically disappeared. You could be the one to bring it back Matt! The character gets stuck in quicksand and trying to get out too fast just pulls him down more, so you have to slowly and methodically make your way out of it. Maybe this would be a good place for a unique QTE where you have to push the buttons in a certain rhythm.


Yes! Quicksand! I feel like QTE might break immersion a little, but if getting out relied on moving in a curtain way it could be pretty intense.

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LobsterSundew
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Re: Brainstorming

Postby LobsterSundew » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:37 pm

There could be a story maguffin like something out of the SCP Wiki like SCP-902.

AironNeil wrote:- Maybe have a weirdly blurry art style like in computer constructed images of people's dreams.
Ex: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/09/ ... 06x306.jpg
Not sure how that could work in a game, maybe it could be used in the background, but it's just something that I've come across that seemed very creepy.

A Fractalius inspired art style for an enemy could be cool. It can produces spooky images. The plug-in is not free. The sidebar of /r/glitch_art links to various effects.

AironNeil wrote:
RightClickSaveAs wrote:Quicksand! Quicksand used to be huge in movies and TV shows but has basically disappeared. You could be the one to bring it back Matt! The character gets stuck in quicksand and trying to get out too fast just pulls him down more, so you have to slowly and methodically make your way out of it. Maybe this would be a good place for a unique QTE where you have to push the buttons in a certain rhythm.


Yes! Quicksand! I feel like QTE might break immersion a little, but if getting out relied on moving in a curtain way it could be pretty intense.

Some sort of bog, vortex of souls or an industrial vat of goo could work as a way to get the equivalent of quicksand into a level. A puzzle could be to find a way to safely cross the quicksand and if the player fails the character has to QTE back to the shore the player started from.


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