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Four friends from the same university go out camping together. But while gathering firewood, strange sounds can be heard from the forest.
After that, things get gradually worse.
This is the classic camping-trip-gone-wrong movie from the eighties made into a RPG Maker game.

It features a minimalistic soundtrack, with mainly the ambiance of the forest and all the creatures in it accompanying you in the increasingly dark forest.

I recommend turning off all lights, pulling down the blinds and putting on headphones for maximum enjoyment.
Playtime is roughly 20 minutes.
Story is based upon the Skinwalker creature and the stories surrounding it.

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  • Completed
  • SnowOwl
  • RPG Maker VX Ace
  • Adventure
  • 03/06/2013 05:08 AM
  • 10/02/2021 07:23 PM
  • 03/13/2013
  • 311677
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So the general consensus so far seems to be:
More visual elements.
More choices/variation in plot.
More fleshed out characters/interaction with characters.
Better pacing.

I'll work on these.
Was Built From Pixels Up
One thing that hasn't been acknowledged yet is the SFX.

Closest thing I have to a complaint with that is the quarter-second breaek when it loops, but that's easily let go. The SFX all sounds fantastic and adds a great atmosphere.
Was Built From Pixels Up
One thing that hasn't been acknowledged yet is the SFX.

Closest thing I have to a complaint with that is the quarter-second breaek when it loops, but that's easily let go. The SFX all sounds fantastic and adds a great atmosphere.
SnowOwl I think you have something pretty special here. It isn't like other horror games/VNs that rely on jump scares and blood and guts strewn about. You're attempting to scare through mood, mounting dread, and weirdness. Are you a fan of weird fiction by chance?
Thank you, as I said I put alot of thought into sound, so I am pleased that it adds to the atmosphere.
Dunno if I would call it weird fiction, but my favourite authors are Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft. Especially Lovecraft have been influental in my storytelling and I can only hope to emulate his mastery over making you fear the unknown.

It was actually me reading "Pet Sematary" by King that made me want to make a game that takes place in a forest. The chapters that take place in the forest leading to the Indian graves have some of the best atmospheres that I know of.
I've also always been scared of making realistic outdoor locations and I took this as a challenge.
Well, besides what it has been said about pacing and character development, I think the map design also took away from the experience. Both areas are very enclosed and there are some annoying pasability issues in them... Perhaps this is more noticeable in the forest area, because well, there's no other form of gameplay in the 'game' except "Use the arrow keys to move" and when you can finally move, you're forced to stumble your way trough the same stretchy, mazey path back and forth a number of times.

If this was intended to make me feel some sort of uneasiness, it didn't do it; it was just annoying. I think it would have been more effective to leave the player wander about in a large, open area, to add a sense of lack of direction. This would have also worked wonders in the part when they're looking for the cabin. To have the players traverse a looping map in which they can recognize repeating patterns as they move forward, instead of just reading about it... Seriously! What is this? The second disc of Xenogears? xD

Also, I'm not too sold on the idea of a branched out story and stuff. But as long as it's all well fleshed out, I could 'play' this again.
Lovecraft is pure weird fiction. I know King is one of many who has been influenced by him. Speaking of Lovecraft, have you read The Colour Out of Space? Talk about a creepy story set in the countryside. If you haven't heard of Thomas Ligotti, track his stuff down. He's most likely the best weird horror writer currently alive. His stuff is very Lovecraftian without relying on Lovecraft's mythos. Just be sure to read Ligotti's stories in short bursts. His horror tends to be very, very bleak.
Too bad you didn't like it. I don't really plan on adding too much gameplay, since I mainly wanted to try and tell a story through RPGMaker.
I'll see what I can do about passability issues though.
Oh and about the looping areas... they are there for a reason, something new does happen in each one of them. I could have made them all unique, I guess, but it would mean more work. Sorry for being lazy.
The reason I made the forest the way I did was because I wanted to give the impression that you are deep into a thick, cramped forest.

I've read most of Lovecrafts works. The Colour out of space included. It was a couple of years though so I don't remember exact details. I remember it being about a meteorite that poisons the land around it.
It's probably a good thing I read the books before it got ruined by all the games and other visual mediums ruining the main draw in the books: The fact that you never get to see most of the horrors and have to use your imagination.
I'll check out Ligotti when I have the time. Sadly I don't read very often nowadays. Thanks for the tip though. Any specific books you recommend?
As long as we're talking cosmic horror and weird fiction, I have a few titles to suggest shamelessly plug:

David Nickle's "Eutopia" takes a little while to get going, but it's amazingly well researched and the concept behind it is terrifying. It takes place in the early 1900's and deals heavily with the Eugenics movement. It isn't an action-packed page-turned, but it works up a very fierce feeling of lingering dread that'll take a few days to go away after you've finished it.

China Mieville's "Looking for Jake" is an anthology of short stories--not all of which are scary. Melville self-identifies as writing 'weird' fiction, but he also has a Stoker prize under his belt and can do some seriously good conceptual horror. If you're wondering whether you could ever be made afraid of pattern recognition, your own skin, or mirrors, the answer is yes and this man can do it.

David Wong's "John Dies At the End" is a raunchy, punchy, surprisingly humanist romp through the lower-income parts of the south USA. I've never before known a book that could scare me and make me laugh at the same time, but the author is a senior editor over at Cracked, so I suppose that makes sense.
For Ligotti try out the short story collection Teatro Grottesco. You can snag it from places like Amazon for 10 bucks. It has a good selection of his stories. If you ever hit used book shops, ebay, and the like, see if you can track down a copy of The Nightmare Factory. That one has over 39 of his short stories, but it is long out of print and can cost quite a bit. But if you dig around maybe you'll luck out and find a cheap copy. I highly recommend him if you're after dark, quiet horror.

There's also some really great horror anthologies out there too. These are less focused on just weird fiction, and branch out to a much wider range in the genre: The Dark Descent, early volumes of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and the first volume of Borderlands . A personal favorite of mine that leans in the baroque is Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Literature. Many of these are long out of print, but are so worth finding.
Pretty interesting game... It felt like I was reading a short story. Kind of like when Creepy Pastas are narrated by people Youtube, minus the vocal narration and more visuals. I think I would of liked if it was just a story, no gameplay or more gameplay to make the gameplay worth it. If feel that with the minimal gameplay, it drew away from the game; it was superfluous.
Was Built From Pixels Up
^ Is a better way to describe what I tried to say earlier in the blog post.

Just felt like pointing that out, as it more clearly states the issue without sounding like it detracts any support for the game itself.
I'll try out Teatro Grottesco if I can find it somewhere. Thanks for the suggestions kumada, I'll check them out afterwards (in a year or so when I finally finished the first one, heh). Thanks.

You are right about the gameplay part. I don't really feel like adding gameplay though, but I'm kinda afraid that if I make it without any gameplay I'm afraid nobody will want to play it. Maybe I'm wrong though. I hope so.
Was Built From Pixels Up
You'll always have folk who are just interested in reading visual novels, so don't worry about that.

Problem is that trying to please both people is what creates the issue; those who just want to read a scary visual novel will be put off by having to run back and forward to collect wood, while the people who want to interact will be put off by the lengthy ending cutscene.

Not that I'm saying no one will be happy with the game, just that it's generally better to select your demographic and focus on catering to that genre and what you specifically want to include in the game. Adding in or taking away features to suit others outside your primary target audience won't likely do much good in the long run.

Personally, I'd prefer it with more gameplay elements, but if that's not the kind of game you want to create, then fuck me; it's your game, at the end of the day, you're the only person that needs to be happy with it, so do what feels right to you :)
^ The thing is that if all you want to do is tell a story, then maybe you're better off in a writing community, or a comics community, or whatever-- But this is a game making community and videogames are an interactive medium. So not to be out of place here you have the responsibility, if not the obligation, to reconcile gameplay with story telling. (Geez! Even text adventures try to be more thoughtful than just "Press Enter to close the message box.") And to make the experience as 'broad' as as possible instead of just focusing on a niche audience.

...This is specially true in a community like this that takes pride from open game design discussion. And feedback focused on improvement. Because if you think that you're the only person that needs to be "happy" with your game, then maybe your game should stay in your hard-drive, for only you to play. Well, maybe your dog too-- Don't worry, he'll remain your best friend even if the game sucks. ;D
If the site is open to open game design discussion, as you say it is, I would think that they would welcome all types of games. Just because you dislike visual novel type games and similar games gives you no right to tell me to keep my game to myself. Nowhere have I said i dislike feedback. On the contrary I've been welcoming it, and even said I'll make changes to make the game better based on feedback. Just because I didn't react as you wished on your specific "feedback" (which was more like whining because you obviously dislike this type of game) I'm not only caring about me being happy with my game.
Sorry for being harsh but I'm pretty tired of passive-aggressive people.
If the site is open to open game design discussion, as you say it is, I would think that they would welcome all types of games.

This. 100% this thing right here.

Sometimes it's worth making a game a certain way as an experiment.

Also, while I agree that interactivity is what separates games from, say, movies or books as mediums, I don't think more interactivity always = better game.
I never said you should keep your game to yourself. I just made a reply to the post above mine. That's what this: "^" usually means.

And seriously, guy? My post was "whining"? I told you what I didn't like. Why I didn't like it. And how could you have improved it. This was in fact still called FEEDBACK last time I checked. xD ...And this has nothing to do with my "dislike" of visual novels. Sure, they're not my cup of tea. But that doesn't mean I couldn't enjoy one that is well done. And yours could be better, that's all.

It's Ok, we're still BBs forever. :B
I see absolutely nothing wrong with making a game that caters to a niche audience. It's not like I'm forcing anyone to download the game. I've also said several times in comments and elsewhere what type of game it is so it's not like I'm tricking people into thinking something it's not.

Sure the game could be better. And I do appreciate feedback. When it's not told to me derogatorily.
...maybe your game should stay in your hard-drive, for only you to play. Well, maybe your dog too-- Don't worry, he'll remain your best friend even if the game sucks. ;D

Hard to take the rest seriously when you end it with something like that.
Kisses and hugs.