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Survival horror game blog [name pending]


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#1 OmegaBolt

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 07:15 PM

Gonna start posting stuff here about this... not sure how often as updates are quite slow (particularly nice visual updates, and I don't want to spoil the story either).
 
The basic concept is that of the traditional survival horror (a marketing phrase created by Capcom for the original Resident Evil), meaning an adventure game with survival mechanics. Now this one will be lighter on survival, and mostly about exploration after you wake up in a house not knowing how you go there. You'll freely explore, with multiple options of things to do most of the time, solving puzzles, finding out what's going on and gradually opening up more areas as you progress. The reason why it's lighter on survival stuff is because I'm thinking there will be no weapons, so you will have to simply avoid the single enemy in the game that hunts you down randomly (kinda like the concept of Nemesis in RE3 or the alien in Alien Isolation).
 
Because this is being presented in 2D, I am looking at Lone Survivor for some inspiration on how to lose 1 dimension elegantly, though I'm not really planning any hiding spots like in that game. Home was also a game that made me feel like I could do this, although I think this game is gonna be a lot bigger and more involving gameplay wise.
 
I'm building it in the Gamemaker engine using it's language, while working out how the fuck it works, so progress is slower because I don't know what I'm doing. I have basic stuff in the game though like:
 
- Item system.
- Doors / keys / locked doors etc
- Fade or animated transitions between rooms, allowing door animations like Resident Evil.
- Adequate text/dialogue/story telling system in place. Just worked out how I plan to add cutscenes.
- Music / room ambience system.
- Basic lighting effects. Doesn't cast shadows but brightens areas using shapes or sprites.
- Globally timed lightning that effects window animations and so on, since the game takes place during a thunderstorm, obivously.
 
I have built early versions of most of the house, after planning it first with the basic idea that different sequences in the game take place in different themed areas of the building. Now it's about thinking of more detailed story progression and particularly puzzles.
 
Some recent screenshots:
 

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Edited by OmegaBolt, 10 May 2016 - 07:19 PM.

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#2 Pasidon

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 11:22 PM

And hopefully some sick synth tracks will be included.  


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#3 duke_Qa

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 04:06 PM

Looks like a potential project.

 

I should probably have been more focused on smaller projects in more easily available IDE's like Gamemaker instead of worrying about pathfinding, trigonometry, line of sight and all the basic stuff that's not really relevant unless you want to work on a game for 20 years.

 

This also goes a bit into a thought of mine that we've should have had a specific subforum for games development, engine agnostic.


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#4 OmegaBolt

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 07:02 PM

Yeah I thought about the forum thing, but games are also art and design. :p


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#5 OmegaBolt

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 10:17 PM

Well, just to show this is still a thing, here's a small update. Been away for a few months doing other stuff, but I got back on it and basically did some improvements to internal workings and added a small gameplay feature.
 

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  • I wanted to add more of an adventure game feel as I think this will end up more in that direction, so I added a mode I'm calling Query, where if you press Q you end up losing player control and instead can use the mouse to examine things in the world. Not only will this give some greater atmosphere and depth with descriptions of things around you, it also does so in a way that adds an extra interaction layer but saves on ingame space. One thing about working in a 2D game is obviously the lack of Z depth, so I can't have two interactable objects overlapping that would in a 3D world simply be on other sides of the room. With this Query mode, I can allow the player to examine an object in the background without interfering with another object like a door or pickup. Not only that but Query mode will allow the player to interact with their inventory, for now simply meaning a detailed description of the item, but in future could mean combining things etc.

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  • Started using a more advanced lighting system (though it is still sprites, not true lighting) that has fixed a few issues I had and allows for greater manipulation of the lights. It's gonna take a lot of work to really make it beautiful, but already it's an improvement with flickering and glowing lights.

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  • Cleaned up / added functionality to the way story telling mechanics work so I can better do little things like the above. This is a map of the ground floor that can be examined to show a full screen, close up view. The graphic itself is somewhat temporary, I can already see incorrect things in door placements. :p
  • Changed the way a number of things are rendered so that I can better manipulate the camera, allowing in particular zooms that could be used to make the player feel smaller in a big space by zooming out or feeling more claustrophobic in a pitch black corridor by zooming in.
  • Changed the inventory so that you no longer press a button to view it, like in the classic Resident Evil/Silent Hill type menu, but so that it is simply always visible at the top of the screen with small icons, more like an adventure game. The idea is that it's a bit cleaner and feels better for PC play, but also is perhaps more immersive in that it removes a menu layer and simply reminds you of what you have in your pockets.

Edited by OmegaBolt, 18 September 2016 - 10:44 PM.

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#6 Pasidon

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 10:40 PM

I do like the Q idea to turn it into a pure point-and-click adventure, but how does it function as a survival game that way?  Don't spoil what the danger is, but how does it work in the game?  I'm assuming it's like Lone Survivor.


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#7 OmegaBolt

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 10:49 PM

I never said pure point and click, that's not what I want at all. The player is still controlled with the movement keys, Q is just a toggle that enables the mouse to examine the world in detail, kinda like hearing what the character is thinking about any particular aspect. This will also play up in the story a little as the character will be keeping a diary of sorts.


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#8 Pasidon

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 11:54 PM

No, I'm asking how the "survival" aspect works since you're implying that the objective is to gather an inventory based on things you discover in the environment.  Are you gathering things solely to progress, or because they help you survive?


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#9 OmegaBolt

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 01:06 PM

It's just the way the inventory is being presented has changed. The objective is still the same as any survival horror, which is to collect things to progress AND survive. Survival horror is essentially an adventure game with added mechanics to manage like health or ammunition vs whatever the enemy is. I'm definitely not adding random food items and things as health packs because I personally don't really like that and it feels messy, nor is it fitting to the story, but there'll be a few health items more like Resident Evil had the different herbs and first aid sprays.


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#10 OmegaBolt

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 06:23 PM

Some more messing around with new lighting. Also made first use of the particle system, with that bit of smoke coming out of the vent. The actual smoke sprite was a few seconds scribbling in white, so it will look a lot better in future, but even now it adds some life to the room.
 

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I made some more basic improvements like different footstep sounds depending on the floor type. It simply the player object changing sounds when colliding with an invisible object on the ground. There has also been some big story/plot/game event development which should be pretty cool but I don't intend to reveal any story spoilers in this topic if avoidable.

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#11 Pasidon

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 09:08 PM

Those gritty particles really make it look like Lone Survivor.  You'll be hearing from my lawyers... ... Because they want to buy your game as well.


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#12 Mathijs

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 10:02 PM

Any chance of seeing this in motion?

 

Also applying for artist position provided I can learn pixel art. :p


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#13 OmegaBolt

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 06:33 PM

I'd welcome you as an artist if you learn, particular I need help doing anything that moves, like character art. So, you know, the hard stuff. :p

 

Maybe i'll post up a video/gif soonish but I think it would just reveal the holes in it at the moment.


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#14 Mathijs

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 07:16 PM

I'll look into it and let you know if the processes appeal.

 

Edit: Got any dimensions locked down for different types of art? How many pixels is a character, how big can a table be, etc.


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#15 OmegaBolt

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 08:06 PM

Got stuck trying to get my enemy behaviour to work properly because I can't code. So I stopped for a while and got busy, but have been doing some things in the meantime.

 

Including making this horrific gif. If you like watching paint dry then try the imgur video to gif converter. It's showing my now decently working light flickering logic for added creepyness.

 

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(I actually weirdly like the terrible palette effect. Kinda makes my shitty graphics look good)

 

Also working on some new tilesets for new rooms.

 

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#16 Pasidon

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 12:19 AM

I like the new tile-sets over the oyster grey rooms you've showed off so far - especially the white, waving effects.  It would be interesting if you did some research on scintillating scotoma and create room designs that play visual tricks on the player.


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#17 OmegaBolt

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 03:31 AM

So I hear they're starting to make cartridges with batteries in that can save your progress. Gonna jump on that wagon too.

 

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Still messing around with what info/how it displays the info, but presently it's Slot/Difficulty/Time/Number of saves (because those things will probably account for a "score" similar to Resident Evil). Still have to make it remember everything, but I have the trickiest stuff down like unlocking previously unlocked doors after loading, the rest is just remembering booleans to trigger events basically, and the enemy location, player stats and inventory.


Edited by OmegaBolt, 13 March 2017 - 03:34 AM.

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#18 Pasidon

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:40 PM

Are you really making different difficulty settings?  How is that going to work?


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#19 OmegaBolt

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:09 PM

Like difficulty in most games. Make you more vulnerable, less health items around, they have a lesser effect etc, I'll have to see what the gameplay really turns out like with that sort of stuff. I quite like the thing from Lone Survivor expert mode that removed UI interaction icons so maybe something like that too. I could also make an Ironman type mode where you get locked to saving in the same slot, and maybe even your save gets deleted if you die so it's a one attempt thing.


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#20 Pasidon

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:39 PM

Yea, Ironman modes are very appealing at the moment.  You shouldn't have much difficultly implementing one of those.


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