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Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:33 am
ranger_lennier wrote:Some "empty" rooms did serve as respawn points, but I did occasionally feel like there were just too many similar areas without anything going on. I liked the asylum level, but it took awhile to really get going.
hm, that is true. I am mixed on that concept. Adding areas to the game that are simply there for death/respawn makes sense, but also having them explorable during general gameplay doesn't seem worth it if they're just a succession of rooms to spawn in. Now if they did a lot of what I mentioned above, where it is a spawn room with a unique bit of lore or story or something to make it significant, that'd be pretty kool. especially if every one had some bit of trivia or nuance as it'd almost be fun to do a game playthrough just to see all of them properly. Granted that idea goes against the tension and atmosphere Matt is likely looking for, but it's an oddball idea I personally would be ok with. Especially if those rooms were only accessable via death and locked/one way doors otherwise.
Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:45 pm
Well, we did the locked/one way doors in the asylum level, but I dunno... I think the asylum level is a little linear. I think going into cells might have helped a little bit. I think I would probably mix up the level a little if I were doing it over again.
If the checkpoint rooms weren't all very similar would that make it more interesting? I am all for environmental storytelling, but I think it is going to be hard to get a high density in the setting we have since it's going to be a little more "real world".
Also, what did you guys think of "Destroyed Dreams" with the maze and dead ends?
Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:50 am
matt wrote:Also, what did you guys think of "Destroyed Dreams" with the maze and dead ends?
I had to toss on a let's play to refresh my memory.
I think in those levels they generally worked overall. Having the sections where you are being chased or there is this looming fear of stumbling upon certain death running at you helps to break up any monotony in terms fo dead ends and searching, and there is a fair variety of details in the dead ends, but not much to interact with. A lot of the asylum dead ends had curtains veiled across stuff. Adding the option to pull them back (or having them do it themselves) would have added chances for scares, gross imagery, or telling details that would make the room feel significant.
Ultimately the sequence works, but mostly due to the quickened pace of the chase. If the chase wasn't on (and during the parts before you first get chased) the dead ends and maze like structure feel tedious and frustrating (which I know you were shooting for so no worries there).
I guess the biggest problem I had by this time in the game was general fatigue. After hours of creepy audio, I was numb to it. Hours of walking and brief jogging, I was annoyed at it. Hours of roaming aimlessly just to get through the nightmare I was impatient with it. So at this point, having everything amp up to a maze didn't do me any favors. If not for the "chase" I would have likely walked away and just left it for a few days (or more like, forever). WIth having those chases I get the feeling something is changed up and possibly I am closer to the final resolution. I guess also after going through the childhood sequence and then ending back in the asylum I was crushed. At the end of the childhood nightmare I expected the game to end and when that didn't happen, walking on felt like punishment.
Actually in a lot of ways.. this game, the longer you play it, the more it feels like slow cruel punishment.
Posted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 6:08 pm
Alright, mostly done with finals and things have calmed down. I hope you all haven't made too much of this game without me. Anyways, some suggestions:
I seem to recall you responding to a suggestion during development of NN that something or other made it really hard to do silhouettes. If you can iron this out with the second one, I think having some entirely backlit areas would add a lot of visual dynamism, and if you've ever played Limbo, you know that there's a lot of really creepy stuff you can do by obscuring the details of something and just showing players the outline.
Fatal Frame did a really good job of establishing atmosphere and 3D space by having objects in the foreground. You said you were thinking of adding some 3D elements, so perhaps you could overlay another layer of stuff to some areas to make it look like there are things in the dark really close to the "camera", although this really only works if you have areas that are wider than a hallway.
Although some people criticized the limited running in NN, I really liked it, and I think it turned a minor detail about the main character into a central game mechanic, and being unable to run away from something is a really common element of nightmares. So, I think it should return. If you don't want the character to be asthmatic, you could give them some kind of injury or disability that makes it painful to run, or you could get even weirder and make it look like the ground is sticking to their feet like goo the longer the run, and have to unstick themselves if they run for too long.
I'm sure you've considered it, but you could do something like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories did, where the entire game was linear, but some minor choices you made over the course of the game affected the dialogue, environmental details, and ending. If you did this, you could still incorporate some elements of branching paths while still making the game linear and narrative-focused.
Something really minor, but if you featured the character's body in the close-up images more often, I think it might help a bit with immersion. For example, in the first game with the doll's veils that you could look behind, I think if you included Thomas' hand holding the veil up it would be a bit less jarring. Or if it was something they were looking through, like the windows on the cell doors, their hands could be pressed on either side as they perch against it to look. It's a minor little detail you could mess with.
Then there's the matchbook thing, which I posted in the brainstorming thread.
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:06 pm
The matching thing is interesting. I came up with an idea, which I think will be cool that sort of solves that i a different way, but maybe we can use matches as well. My worry is that if we use matches for puzzles, it'll end up very Zelda-y (light all the torches to unlock the door), but those are just the obvious uses. I'll give it some more thought.
I was actually planning a backlit level for Neverending Nightmares, but it got cut because we ran out of time. It was going to be even less game-y and more experimental than the rest of Neverending Nightmaes, so it's probably better it didn't see the light of day. I'm not sure what the technical difficulty with backlighting was, but I think we've solved it since.
I definitely want to have a limited stamina, but I'm thinking that perhaps the character won't have asthma and instead be able to walk after the stamina runs out. I think that'll alleviate some criticisms but also keep the worry that you might not be able to outrun the enemies.
Joe really wants to add parallax ala' Super Nintendo, which might make some things feel a little more 3D, but it is challenging to frame things such that we could use the parallax given our game camera. Everything would have to be on a hill or something, so the ground would fall away...
Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:52 pm
matt wrote:The matching thing is interesting. I came up with an idea, which I think will be cool that sort of solves that i a different way, but maybe we can use matches as well. My worry is that if we use matches for puzzles, it'll end up very Zelda-y (light all the torches to unlock the door), but those are just the obvious uses. I'll give it some more thought.
Hey, if it fits, it fits, if it doesn't, it doesn't.
matt wrote:I was actually planning a backlit level for Neverending Nightmares, but it got cut because we ran out of time. It was going to be even less game-y and more experimental than the rest of Neverending Nightmaes, so it's probably better it didn't see the light of day. I'm not sure what the technical difficulty with backlighting was, but I think we've solved it since.
Ah, cool. I seem to recall this was like waaaaaaaaay back in development, like right after the kickstarter, I think.
matt wrote:I definitely want to have a limited stamina, but I'm thinking that perhaps the character won't have asthma and instead be able to walk after the stamina runs out. I think that'll alleviate some criticisms but also keep the worry that you might not be able to outrun the enemies.
That's actually a really good idea. Why didn't I think of that?
matt wrote:Joe really wants to add parallax ala' Super Nintendo, which might make some things feel a little more 3D, but it is challenging to frame things such that we could use the parallax given our game camera. Everything would have to be on a hill or something, so the ground would fall away...
Well, you could fully embrace the illogical nature of it and go for a pop-up book kind of look. I'd say go with whatever you think works the most effectively and takes the least amount of time and effort.
Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:45 pm
So now that you've mentioned outdoor settings are going to be involved, I really want to see quicksand make an appearance! It's something that's fallen out of vogue in movies and TV shows, and it needs to come back!
Any other hints about the setting and/or time period you're shooting for with NextNightmare? (I went ahead and code named it for you, you're welcome, I'm right over here if you need any more awesome gems like that) I'm trying to come up with some more ideas to bounce off you, but I'm not sure what would be thematically appropriate in some cases.
Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:59 pm
Hmmm.... Quicksand might just work! I'll have to add that to my brainstorming list.
I'm not sure how much I want to reveal about the setting. It's going to be fairly unique, which I think will be one of the big draws of the game. If I let too many details slip, then it'll steal the thunder of my big announcement!
I suppose it wouldn't hurt too much to say that it takes place in a more modern time than Neverending Nightmares. I can also safely say it's a realistic setting and not sci-fi. Is that helpful?
Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:58 pm
Hmm, more modern than the late 1800s, but not sci-fi...
Aha! It's going to be a World War II cover shooter! Got it!
Seriously, that does help, but if I could dig more; more modern enough that cars would be a common thing?
Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:44 am
nah he is making it take place in the 1980's ! SWEET! Cause then the nightmares can consist of being chased and attacked by giant blocky atari monsters.
wait he said not sci fi.. ok giant blocky SHOULD PADS...