WHAT DO YOU LIKE OR DISLIKE ABOUT RM HORROR GAMES?

Posts

But how will i win, if i can't fight back ;( It also doesn't make it scary for me, it just makes it boring cos, i like fighting back and gunz and knives are fun.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
8611
Re: fighting in horror games.

In my opinion you need the ability to fight back. Not to give the player a feeling of empowerment, not because fighting is fun, but because it adds a layer of questions the player needs to be constantly running through their heads:

"Do I have enough healing supplies for a fight? Do I have enough ammo to kill them? Do I have the ammo type that this enemy is weak against? If I kill it, is it gonna come back even stronger later? Am I going to go though this hallway multiple times? If so, should I put down the enemies in this hallway now?"

These are questions that players would struggle with if multiple weapon types were available to them. If you don't have any method of fighting back and your only option is to run, then that's exactly the issue: you have a solution to the problem. When players have solutions to problems, they're not as scared.

When there are multiple solutions to a problem, players might get paralyzed trying to figure out which one to act upon. And while they're figuring out a solution, enemies are inching closer.

So yeah. Weapons. Not just weapons, but varied weapons. And varied enemies weak to different weapons. Play your cards right, and players will have a fun game to come back to after the scares wear off. Otherwise, players will go through your game once, have a fun time, and forget about it two hours later.
^^^ Exactly what Red_Nova said
author=Red_Nova
Re: fighting in horror games.

In my opinion you need the ability to fight back. Not to give the player a feeling of empowerment, not because fighting is fun, but because it adds a layer of questions the player needs to be constantly running through their heads:

"Do I have enough healing supplies for a fight? Do I have enough ammo to kill them? Do I have the ammo type that this enemy is weak against? If I kill it, is it gonna come back even stronger later? Am I going to go though this hallway multiple times? If so, should I put down the enemies in this hallway now?"

These are questions that players would struggle with if multiple weapon types were available to them. If you don't have any method of fighting back and your only option is to run, then that's exactly the issue: you have a solution to the problem. When players have solutions to problems, they're not as scared.

When there are multiple solutions to a problem, players might get paralyzed trying to figure out which one to act upon. And while they're figuring out a solution, enemies are inching closer.

So yeah. Weapons. Not just weapons, but varied weapons. And varied enemies weak to different weapons. Play your cards right, and players will have a fun game to come back to after the scares wear off. Otherwise, players will go through your game once, have a fun time, and forget about it two hours later.
Exactly, this is the type of game i would play :)
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
29202
@Red_Nova, not even that is the biggest reason to give players the option to fight: one of the points of horror is to trigger the fight or flight reaction, and horror fails when it removes that component. A big thing I liked about Silent Hill because your character was so obviously not a fighter. His attacks were clumsy. Resident Evil started out with trained fighters, and while flight portion of the psychology was present (because you were overwhelmed by enemy numbers and sometimes running was the best option), it was significantly diminished because you were playing characters that knew how to kick ass. It set the standard of fight instead of avoid. In Silent Hill, it took time to figure out how to effectively kill enemies, and your best method of usually dealing with them was to run your ass off. And resource dearth is an element of that sense of "fight or flight".

So, I completely agree that horror games where you can't fight just don't work as well as those where you can.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Yeah, if running away feels like a working solution, then the game stops being particularly scary. The point of removing the ability to fight back is to make it feel like there are no solutions to the problem. But if you do that, you have to make the player feel like you've also removed their ability to get away.

And yet not give the player a game over. If getting to that situation where you can't win and you can't escape is a failure point, and only lasts a moment, then your game is only a horror game for a few seconds, and the rest of the time it's an adventure game. But you still are trying to make a video game, not just a death simulator; video games can be beaten. So the paradox you have to solve is to make the player feel completely helpless and yet engaged; make them feel utterly doomed and yet give them a way to win; make them feel unable to continue while they're progressing; and keep this up for hours instead of just moments.

P.T. is a fantastic example of a horror game that removes your ability to both fight and flee, and yet solves this paradox. But obviously every horror game can't take place in a looping hallway.

Ultimately, I don't know why topics about horror games are so popular on RMN, because they're neither RPGs nor doable in RPG Maker. If you're making a horror game, the absolute last possible thing you want to do is have an impersonal, zoomed-out, overhead, static camera view. It removes the player from the action and prevents them from being immersed in the world far, far more effectively than any quicktime event. I'm not saying it's impossible to make a horror game in RPG Maker, I'm just saying it's a completely terrible idea because it's the worst engine you could possibly use. It's only got downsides and no upsides.
If I recall right, Condemned: Criminal Origins was good at making players think as you usually did not have much ammo in your gun.

author=LockeZ
Ultimately, I don't know why topics about horror games are so popular on RMN, because they're neither RPGs nor doable in RPG Maker. If you're making a horror game, the absolute last possible thing you want to do is have an impersonal, zoomed-out, overhead, static camera view. It removes the player from the action and prevents them from being immersed in the world far, far more effectively than any quicktime event. I'm not saying it's impossible to make a horror game in RPG Maker, I'm just saying it's a completely terrible idea because it's the worst engine you could possibly use. It's only got downsides and no upsides.


Yeah, I have never really understood it either.
Its because they don't know how to, or can't make an rpg game, so go with whats easy, make a chase horror game that requires so levelling, no equipment's and just explore and trying to survive.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
author=LockeZ
Ultimately, I don't know why topics about horror games are so popular on RMN, because they're neither RPGs nor doable in RPG Maker. If you're making a horror game, the absolute last possible thing you want to do is have an impersonal, zoomed-out, overhead, static camera view. It removes the player from the action and prevents them from being immersed in the world far, far more effectively than any quicktime event. I'm not saying it's impossible to make a horror game in RPG Maker, I'm just saying it's a completely terrible idea because it's the worst engine you could possibly use. It's only got downsides and no upsides.


I mean, there are several very popular* games that show that horror is "doable."

There are several possible uses for the view type to enhance horror; people are REALLY fixated on first-person as the only possible immersive horror style, but there have been plenty of effective games in third-person and fixed views.

*for RPGmaker

author=chibievil
But how will i win, if i can't fight back ;( It also doesn't make it scary for me, it just makes it boring cos, i like fighting back and gunz and knives are fun.


There are multiple types of horror gaming, and apparently you prefer survival horror to... I'm not sure there's a term for it. Puzzle horror?

I'm not personally a fan of survival horror in most cases; I really doubt that the chase scenes would be improved with fighting, since it sounds like the problem is poor gam mak and not the playstyle itself. Overall, I'm vastly more inclined toward puzzle stuff, since once things get fighty, they just seem a lot less tense.

Like, all the strategy questions Red brings up are ones I find super tedious, because I'm much more interested in the setting and narrative, and consider the strategy to be a pointless barrier. vOv

It's all about what kind of game you're going for, and I think the main lesson here is that the dev needs to plan carefully from the start, even moreso than other genres.
author=pianotm
@Red_Nova, not even that is the biggest reason to give players the option to fight: one of the points of horror is to trigger the fight or flight reaction, and horror fails when it removes that component. A big thing I liked about Silent Hill because your character was so obviously not a fighter. His attacks were clumsy. Resident Evil started out with trained fighters, and while flight portion of the psychology was present (because you were overwhelmed by enemy numbers and sometimes running was the best option), it was significantly diminished because you were playing characters that knew how to kick ass. It set the standard of fight instead of avoid. In Silent Hill, it took time to figure out how to effectively kill enemies, and your best method of usually dealing with them was to run your ass off. And resource dearth is an element of that sense of "fight or flight".

So, I completely agree that horror games where you can't fight just don't work as well as those where you can.

I think it depends on the kind of horror game too. If you're making the aim of your game to learn or discover the truth behind something, fighting back isn't necessarily something that is needed. Frankly, I prefer the whole idea of powerlessness in a horror setting, especially if you're dealing with eldritch beings or ghosts and the like because what the fuck is a gun going to do against that shit? Nothing, that's what. Of course, there does need to be a way to 'win' against the enemies, but it doesn't have to be an actual battle or fight. Escape, in this case, is definitely a win goal.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
29202
Sooz
Puzzle horror?

Term coined. Achievement acquired! Collect viral internetz exposure.

Liberty
snip

I agree but only for that very specific type of story.
author=LockeZ
Ultimately, I don't know why topics about horror games are so popular on RMN, because they're neither RPGs nor doable in RPG Maker. If you're making a horror game, the absolute last possible thing you want to do is have an impersonal, zoomed-out, overhead, static camera view. It removes the player from the action and prevents them from being immersed in the world far, far more effectively than any quicktime event. I'm not saying it's impossible to make a horror game in RPG Maker, I'm just saying it's a completely terrible idea because it's the worst engine you could possibly use. It's only got downsides and no upsides.

Horror games and RPG maker go hand in hand. Unfortunately. Generally speaking, horror is one of the easiest genres to "pull off." You put the character in a spooky building, add a few jump scares and you've got a horror thing. This is why there's so many cheap horror movies and games.

Of course real horror actually takes talent, and is a lot harder to pull off, but that's a different topic.

RPG Maker, as sexy as it is, is still probably the easiest game engine to use. So naturally beginner devs, or people with little to no talent, are going to try and make a game in the easiest engine with the easiest genre.
watermark
Got me my shiny new MZ
2968
author=QZProductions
Hey now, in my game you're stuck in a high school ;DDDD And there's like one real chase scene that lasts like 3 seconds haha


It's interesting to note I never got to the horror part of your game. Yet.

See, I think I was an hour in, and except for a strange girl showing up, it's still mostly sweet date sim mode. Which is fine, but I thought I was gonna play a horror game based on the marketing info. Then I read a review that said the game takes about 20 hours to complete, and that daunted me. I'm not sure when the horror will begin. Do I need to play 10 hours of date sim before I get to the horror?

I understand your game is a hybrid but I think it brings up the question of pacing in a horror game. How much background building is needed? How much setup to make the player care about the characters before the first scare?
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
author=Pancaek
RPG Maker, as sexy as it is, is still probably the easiest game engine to use. So naturally beginner devs, or people with little to no talent, are going to try and make a game in the easiest engine with the easiest genre.

Adventure Game Studio is both easier to use and better suited to a horror game, IMO. It's also free, whereas RPG Maker costs money.

I mean, it's still far from ideal. In most horror games, you'd either want a first-person perspective to build maximum immersion, or a side-scrolling perspective to set up maximum anticipation/dread for what's ahead. But anything is better than RPG Maker's perspective, and I think you could do some types of horror games fairly well with Adventure Game Studio.

RPG Maker is so ill-suited to horror games that even Super Mario Bros. X might work better.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
29202
You can actually do a first person perspective in RPG Maker.

Untitled
Vandriette
"The purpose of life is to end." -Agent Smith
1778
Just to clarify, it is NOT easy to make a horror game in the RPG Maker engine. A good horror game in my opinion should be both enjoyable and terrifying. It gives tension, has a great story etc..

I can name a few people who might not enjoy a game with the inability to fight back, but I've seen plenty of horror games both on, and off RMN, which has used the RPG Maker engine and made a great horror title, without being able to fight back.
Ao Oni is the scariest RPG maker game I've played and you have no ability to fight back *shrug*

I don't see why you would REQUIRE one or the other to make it work. The question is how your game is built up around it, and how those scenes appear.
Are they predictable? Bad. Can you solve them? Ok. Can you solve them effectively or easily every time? No? Good.

I definitely agree it is trickier in the engine, I mean, look at those weird staircase games (I forgot the name) that are a random builtup to one jumpscare. It's simple and works.
But I'd find it still interesting to discuss how to achieve it in rpg maker, rather than saying "it's bad, go do something else", we can all agree it's not directly intuitive or best suited to the deal. It's still possible and because it's so different they feel very different from other approaches. I like them for that.

What you do have is more of a world to explore, so more environmental and description details and bigger focus on general pace and timing rather than visuals alone. Dialogue, too.
Spacing is important in both cases (the thin corridors as a breaking up point) tho they are to be used far inbetween. Whereas in other engines you could work with cramped environments a lot more as well as with perspective and visuals.

As for the immersion background bit. You need little background. What you need is to empathize with the situation they are in, ideally, and slowly get to know them.
The more concise the dialogue is the better imho.
The "interact with environment" can also help define things indirectly - books about trauma or specific things that just set the tone of "well if the protagonist cares to have that around.." "or if who lives here has that around that means.." Small stuff.

I strongly feel a hybrid (I played one where it's so much silly love comedy stuff) really destroys the atmosphere. You want the atmosphere to be just right. And for both ends it needs to be completely different, so it just feels like needing to shift and start all over again.
You can have elements, but they need to be subtle and suit the situation n atmosphere they are already in to make them work in favor of it.
I don't like any RPG Maker Horror games to be honest. But I think that's because my first foray to the horror genre is the Grudge and The Ring as a kid and they were pretty terrifying.

I feel like RM horror games don't deliver enough atmosphere or sense of threat that isn't considered 'cheap'. One hit death kills with little (no set rules) to no warning is definitely not scary, just irritating af. And the huge deal breaker for me is the random deaths that made little to no sense. Oh I looked into this tiny puddle and got drowned. Okay.

Silent Hill 2 (and to some extent 3), Resident Evil and Alien Isolation are probably the only games that scared me. Amnesia and Outlast weren't really scary. For Amnesia I spent 95% of my time just lights off and finding a bug that despawns monsters. While Outlast was just lol, crazy people aren't scary.

I think what primarily gets to me is the looming doom that is just around the corner. Or just how to survive in a cat and mouse game. The closest RM game that I experienced this was Sayako and Neoku's Wraith. Also everything about Alien Isolation.

And some additionals:
- Save points put the threat of losing progression.
- RE's glorious level design and how they made backtracking 'safe' areas still remain scary. And how the fixed camera angle works by forcing you to not see what's in front of you that increases tension. (Which is used by modern horror games to some extent by making rules not so clear until you figure it out).
- Silent Hill's fog limiting your vision and conditioning people to fear the 'Siren.' Subtle foreshadowing and the like in their 'cinematogprahy'.(For example, the first scene with James on the bathroom and mirror)

I do think being able to fight back to some extent is very important. You don't want your players to consistently feel scared. Out of Jail cards once in a while is not bad to release all the pressure built up and 'restart' the cycle of emotions. Just don't make it often that it becomes boring.

You can also read about this article on how to scare Teenagers if you are interested.

I do think it's possible to make a horror top down. It's just you really need to sell them on the atmosphere, mechanics and music.
author=watermark
author=QZProductions
Hey now, in my game you're stuck in a high school ;DDDD And there's like one real chase scene that lasts like 3 seconds haha
It's interesting to note I never got to the horror part of your game. Yet.

See, I think I was an hour in, and except for a strange girl showing up, it's still mostly sweet date sim mode. Which is fine, but I thought I was gonna play a horror game based on the marketing info. Then I read a review that said the game takes about 20 hours to complete, and that daunted me. I'm not sure when the horror will begin. Do I need to play 10 hours of date sim before I get to the horror?

I understand your game is a hybrid but I think it brings up the question of pacing in a horror game. How much background building is needed? How much setup to make the player care about the characters before the first scare?


The horror comes at the end of the first 3-day cycle, about 1-2 hours in depending on how fast you choose to do it. After that you unlock a bunch of the optional scares that can be accessed by revisiting and re-checking things.

And 20 hours? Really? That's a gross exaggeration lol. 9-13 hours is the range I've gotten from players. I added that time estimate to the description after some people complained that it was taking longer than they expected (which I would have thought would be a good thing, but, hey...). I did plan on it being structured this way from the very beginning; make the game "safe" for long enough to get to know everyone and to lull players into a false sense of security before dropping the scary bomb. So I guess if you're not a very patient person and want your scares from the get go you're just not going to enjoy Prom Dreams. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
If y'all haven't checked Nessy's links there, do it. They're good.

OK so here's some stuff you can do with RPGMaker's setup to foster an atmosphere of horror:

-Take advantage of the top-down view. This is an angle used in visual storytelling to create a feeling of a small, helpless protag (probably part of the reason so many horror games on the engine aren't action-based survival horror.) Enhance the sense of things looming around the protag, use the vertical axis of things to emphasize heights, and have things fade into upward shadows.

-Limit visual information- there's a lot of screen space, which means a lot of stuff you can leave unclear, forcing the player to fill in details with their imagination. This can be the usual small circle of light, but putting visual obstacles (catwalks and arches, foliage, etc.) between the map/protag and the player can also achieve this.

-Take advantage of the fact that things can come from all four edges of the screen: the player needs to watch out in multiple directions at once.

-Mess with the player's ability to rely on their memory: change maps around while they're not looking, block paths back, remove safe zones.

-Foster a sense of empathy with the protag. You can't rely on a player feeling like they, personally, are in the game, but you CAN get them to adopt the protag as either an avatar or a person to protect. This can be especially effective if you then force them to harm the protag to progress. (Nearly all the most successful RPGMaker horror games do this.)

Making a horror game in any engine is just working around one's limitations. Using RPGMaker is a bigger challenge than a 3D first person engine, but it's not impossible.
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
Crap. I wrote this big long post and then lost it:(

I like indie RM horror games because I tend to enjoy their stories more than those found in non-indie non-RM horror games. I also tend to shy away from first-person when I can because it often suffers a problem where something creepy happens when I'm not looking. Easily remedied but devs hardly ever do it.

As for pixel art, I'm old so I have no problem with it. Play Jetset Willy sometime. That game was creepy because you had no clue what anything is. Like, why is a giant green swiss army knife chasing me? It's like a freaky dream.

The stuff that gets me good in horror is usually dread, uncertainty and tight resource management. Things that kill specifically horror games for me are an over-reliance on jump scares, QTE's, button mashing, and poor puzzles.

I don't like chases (My current project has one. One chase scene in the entire game) because I find them "arbitrarily tense". It's hard to describe but it's kind of like the jump scare to me. It's once in a blue moon that a chase is worked in with some sort of other mechanic (this is the only way that I can accept my chase scene. It's really just a vehicle for a larger puzzle)

I also tend to like games that just have a dark setting, but aren't really horror. Take Goatchild: Nightmare for example. Loads of atmosphere there but not quite a "horror". If the presentation is good then RM can do this better than a major developer with all cutting-edge tech.