Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nothing will save you!

In this post the the no-save method hinted at in the earlier post will be discussed by going over a variety of systems and see how they apply to horror games. I also want to point out that as in the final post, saving indicates the sort of save that determines where the player starts soon after failure (death) and not progress recording. Also note that I will, becuase of causes identified in the preceding save post, think about that weak negative failure effects (like fast save) reduce the scare factor.

Death is final
This sort of save can be located mostly in rogue games like Nethack and implies that if you die, you will loose all progress and have to commence over. Pretty a lot all games utilializing this method is primarily based on random generation of levels, so when one particular starts more than the game does not play out the very same as last time. It also has a idea of levelling oneself rather of the game character meaning that by using knowledge obtained from the earlier session one particular can make it longer in the next.

Would this sort of saving operate for horror game? To my information it has never ever been attempted and I think the main reason for this is the random aspects. Horror require elaborate setups with environments, enemies and events one thing that is not (however?) achievable with randomly generated maps (at least a single horror game use it though). The story also tends to be important in horror games and procedurally producing that at the commence of each and every session would be fairly some task.

The notion of only obtaining one particular life has lots of appeal for the horror game designer, as actions produced would genuinely matter and the prospects for instilling worry are really tempting. Even so, the requirement of having to randomly generate content material does not lend itself quite properly to horror games and this sort of system may well only be workable for some actually brief and experimental game.


In this system the player is teleported back to a specific spawn position upon death, usually combined with some other punishment (lost of currency, knowledge points, and so on). Some examples: In Bioshock the player is teleported with no any sort of punishment and in Diablo two the player drops all inventory at the place of death. As observed in the two examples, the degree of punishment can differ very a bit. The placement of spawn points also modifications the quantity punishment a lot.

The largest difficulty with this type of technique is that unless the punishment is very huge, it is either a extremely accessible technique (making death meaningless, like in Bioshock) or a single that can lead to frustrating (like Diablo). Therefore it appears like if a single does not pose some big damaging impact upon teleportation it is not ideal to retaining atmosphere and making worry. However, if the punishment is too harsh it will be very challenging to balance the game, for example if the ammunition is lowered too considerably it might be impossible for the player to progress.

Mini game
The notion of this sort of program is that the player is punished by some type of minigame ahead of getting able to return to the regular game. Prey is 1 game that makes use of this system and forces the player to shoot a specific quantity of spirits ahead of returning to play. At first glance the basics of this system seem quite strong - a player by no means has redo any gameplay section and is constantly in the game (meaning no immersion breaking).

Soon after "dying" a handful of instances the difficulties begin although. What ever mini game the player is forced to play it will always detract from the primary game and will never ever be as entertaining as the "actual point". This will lead to aggravation and immersion breaking. If on the other hand the mini game is really short and basic, death will (like the accessible teleportation) grow to be also easy and scariness be lost.

Would it be possible to make a horror game where the player never dies? As discussed in an earlier post on combat, it is very feasible to do so and there exist several examples of such games. All of these games build the scariness from atmosphere and use no game mechanics to inforce it. Would such mechanics be achievable in a game with an immortal character even though? 1 way to do it may well be in a Sim City type of way where ones selections will have consequences later on. If bad choices are created the player may be place in an unwinnable state (turning into a type of "death is final" game) or merely be denied particular plot points or items. This is hugely experimental though and I know of no games exactly where it is implemented.

A variation on the "death is final" method is to add much more playable characters to the mix. If 1 character dies the game continues with the remaining characters until all are dead. Though it may well sound very similar to the "death is final" type, there is a massive difference - a death of a character might be intentional and it might even be essential for all characters to die in order to complete the game. In such a game "finishing" requires on a new which means as it would demand the story to branch and have numerous endings (unless every death is scripted which defeats the purpose). This could in turn lead to all sorts of exciting new gameplay and it might be possible to induce emotions like sorrow to a degree not possible in other sort of games.

As with all approaches, is it not with no issues. Rebirth requires the designer to handle many outcomes out of distinct scenarios and contemplating 1 story is usually challenging adequate, this is not an straightforward task. If it should be attainable to always complete game, then the situations exactly where death can happen is also limited, especially if a death requirements to branch the storyline. Offered an proper story these problems are not impossible to overcome although and may possibly perform in some type of Cube-like setup.

Heavy Rain is supposed to have this sort of program and even though I have my doubts of the game, this aspect will be really fascinating to see how it turns out.

Physical punishment
Finally one particular could induce real physical pain to the player upon failure. Understanding that a couple of thousand volts might be place into ones body will undoubtedly make 1 further cautious when exploring. There are already games exactly where physical discomfort play a element of the game and it seems to me like it would match perfectly for a horror game. Not sure if I would like to try it though (beta testers would be tougher to discover for confident!).

On a far more serious note, this sort of program would not be not possible to implement without hooking the player up to a torture machine. Just displaying disturbing visual and auditory effects may well act as sufficient punishment, but just like with mini games it may well end of frustrating as an alternative of adding to the atmosphere. I know of no games that use this but games like The Path and Punishment may possibly be regarded close.

What are your thoughts on games with out saving? Do you think any of these could be utilized to enhance the scare issue or is saving the ideal way for horror games? I am also interesting in hearing if I forgot to mention any systems.

No comments:

Post a Comment