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Need Opinions, Guidance... - SUPERMASSIVE QUAzAR - Sep 27, 2013 12:38 PM

Hi guys!
I need guidance for a new project I started with an LD friend.
I REALLY can't explain much about it because it's a bit secret, as we have never came across a concept like this.
So please bear with me here.
I'll nevertheless try to not be too cryptic about it (which I'll probably fail at, still).

Anyway... since a lot of you guys have experience, I feel like this place could help guide us through our journey making a truly awesome and unique game.

Let me try to break it down to you.

*Pretty much everyone will have access to this game
*We don't need an engine, that's taken care of
*Maps are already been laid down, organized
*Soundtrack (which is incredible), story, sound design and VA taken care of (although none of last 2 is actually started - but positive tests have been made)

The idea behind it is quite simple : scare the living crap out of people. Truly.
So yes, it's "an horror game".

Ok... so basically we realize now it's a bit much for 2 guys alone.
We'd like the game to come out, and not in 5 years.

Money is not the idea here... but we see the (future) possibilities coming out of this unique project.

The main problem seems to be the visuals right now.

At first, the idea started out of pictures.
We thought we'd use (free) pictures of extremely dark corridors (mostly, since it's mostly an "escape from ________" type of game), disturbing imagery...

Then, we thought we could use drawings instead... but it seems like having to do about 200+ drawings is just too much with everything else we have to do with this project.

So visually, we haven't found a perfect solution, and it's a bit slowing us down because pretty much everything else is rolling.

Any suggestions for us? Ideas we might have overlooked?

Thanks you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us.
If things aren't clear enough, ask questions and I'll try to be less cryptic...

Thank you so much, guys! That means a LOT to us

(If I'm in the wrong forum, please forgive me, not sure elsewhere to post this)

RE: Need Opinions, Guidance... - MattDiamond - Sep 27, 2013 02:27 PM

It's not clear what the 200+ drawings represent?

As an example of why this might matter: if you need 200 visually distinct backgrounds, you might be able to generate variations quickly by applying overlays and visual effects. So maybe the corridor is tinted in one scene, warped crazily in another, has fog, sometimes has doorways, and so on. Mix in different decorations, music and/or sounds, lightning flashes, etc. to accentuate the differences.

And/Or: Since the scope of what you want appears to be well-defined, you might be able to get an artist involved.

RE: Need Opinions, Guidance... - SUPERMASSIVE QUAzAR - Sep 28, 2013 08:51 AM

Ah yes, I realize now that I was too cryptic. Sorry about that.

And yet, what you say seems right to me. I should start hunting for an artist I think.
Although money is scarce... we're mostly motivated because we see potential for future things coming out of this concept...

We need 200+ drawings (more on the realistic side, nothing cartoonish or cheap), but you are absolutely right... since it's a lot in the idea of a "play novel type of game" (although not quite), I could definitely re-use some of the drawings under different effects, yes.
I'm pretty sure we could do with about 60-100, and re-use a lot of them under different effects and lighting...

It's mostly just drawings of (extremely) dark corridors, and a bunch of inserts (doors, keys, various papers).
Something like these :

The whole game is totally drenched in (extreme) darkness, with very, very few lit parts...

The drawings don't need to be incredibly detailed (although artistic), because a lot of it will be supported mostly by the soundtrack, sound design, sfx and VA.

We also need at least 1 drawing of our "bad guy"... that we would probably re-use over and over (creating dread of coming across him and making you think twice about the decisions you make)... this one has to be very scary and disturbing.
(Couldn't find a truly horrifying monster picture or drawing)

I also have been told that even though we want to make a solid and impressive body of work, maybe we should cut down the scale a bit.
Since it's basically a 3-part escape story (the "Castle", the Sewers/Catacombs and the Mountain Path), maybe we should just do part 1.
I guess we'd have to work some sort of ending or finish it with some sort of cliffhanger so that "players" wouldn't be pissed the "game" isn't done when they reach the end...
I guess our concept would allow us to further the story down the line... I'd have to think on that, though...

So that's pretty much it...
I truly believe as soon as we fix the visuals problem, we'll be well underway... as everything already has been tested and the concept works in itself...

I can't thank you enough for your help, Matt... it really means a lot to me.
If you have any other pointers, ideas, things we might have overlooked, please don't hesitate to let me know. It's all greatly appreciated.

RE: Need Opinions, Guidance... - SethWillits - Sep 30, 2013 09:44 AM

It's hard to know what to say since you didn't really ask anything specific. Making something scary has to do with pacing and expectations more than imagery. Use the free photos (and take some yourself) and put together a real working prototype and refine it. Also, you can fairly easily darken photos of lit corridors if you have some Photoshop/image editing skills.

RE: Need Opinions, Guidance... - SUPERMASSIVE QUAzAR - Sep 30, 2013 08:06 PM

(Sep 30, 2013 09:44 AM)SethWillits Wrote:  It's hard to know what to say since you didn't really ask anything specific. Making something scary has to do with pacing and expectations more than imagery. Use the free photos (and take some yourself) and put together a real working prototype and refine it. Also, you can fairly easily darken photos of lit corridors if you have some Photoshop/image editing skills.

Well, I think in my last post that I got pretty specific, at least in terms of what I'm looking for.

Yes, I agree. And I'm aware of everything involving making something scary. And psychological horror is definitely my favorite. I wish I could say I'm only an horror enthusiast, but I know it's quite a bit a little more than that. Grin
And the project is extremely sound-oriented, slow-paced.
But we still need interesting visuals. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense.

We actually tested the concept with pictures, originally.
And it worked.
I even made my own self jump a few times, which is weird.

But the story just gets too weird and we couldn't find some important "visuals" for key moments in the game.
Plus to find all these photos and to make them blend coherently and within an "art style", a "visual direction" is a complete impossibility.
I've spent countless hours in the last 5 months trying to find the pictures needed, and it didn't work in the end, quite unfortunately.

So we turned to drawing.
We even tried it ourselves. Painstakingly.
We clearly need a pro... a natural.

If sound, story and VA are going to be nice and smooth, I wouldn't want cheap visuals to wrap the package, you know?

It's so bugging me that all that stands between us moving way forward with this project is the visuals.

RE: Need Opinions, Guidance... - devster3 - Nov 17, 2013 11:58 PM

If you could literally scare the crap out of someone, that would be free marketing! just saying