Author Topic: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)  (Read 22994 times)

Offline Zylos

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[VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« on: April 28, 2012, 07:22:40 AM »

















Now that I have your attention~


Recently on RMRK, we held our ninth "Game in a Week" contest. This here is the full, completed version of my GIAW 9 entry: Nightmare. It is the spiritual successor to one of my earliest game projects called Shadows, combining elements of a puzzle solver and a psychological horror game and making this perhaps my first successfully completed experimentation with the idea of a surreal "dream versus reality" setting. My aim with this game is twofold: to strike a sense of unease into the player, unnerving them if not outright causing them to jump, and to allow the player to try to unravel the strange story behind the game for themselves.

Nightmare was fortunate enough to snag the first place spot in the contest, and I've been busy adding to it and improving on it since then so that even the judges of the GIAW will enjoy going through the game once more. The puzzles range from being simple "find this item, use this item here", to being gruesome challenges that really make you stop and think. It's only about 40 minutes to an hour long, but every minute is jam packed with heart-pounding excitement and scares around every corner. Considering this was my first time using VXA, I'm really happy with how it came out. I put a lot of heart and spirit into making this, so I hope you enjoy it!







Notes and Tips:
  • Choose wisely! There are three difficulties to the game: Timid (Easy Mode), Normal, and Brave (Hard Mode). Timid Mode gives the simplest forms of all of the puzzles while providing many hints, and slows the shadow down and making her appear less often. The best ending is easiest to acquire in this mode. The Normal Mode is the average playthrough, neither too difficult or too simple. It has the shadow at normal speeds and appearance rates, the original contest versions of the puzzles with little to no hints, and a slightly more difficult path to find the best ending. Brave Mode, however, ups the stakes considerably by providing more complicated versions of some of the puzzles, increasing the shadow's appearance rate, having the requirements for the best ending better hidden, and giving you a limited number of continues while disabling save files. Be sure to take on the difficulty best suited for you!
  • Explore! As you may have guessed, there are two endings to the story based upon your actions in the game, one good ending and one bad ending. Getting one ending over the other can dramatically change the entire interpretation of the game, so pay close attention! It's not difficult to find the good one if you take your time a bit, examine the environment around you and follow every lead you're given. Even if you get the bad ending though, don't worry; there'll be hints provided in game for what may help you on the right path.
  • Run! Holding down the shift key while moving will allow you to sprint and give you a decent speed boost. It's useful for making a quick getaway or dashing past dangers. But keep in mind that you are only human; running for too long will cause you to get winded and need to slow down again to catch your breath, and the last thing you need is to slow down right when there's something behind you...
  • Listen! Can you hear the sound of your own beating heart? It means that the shadow is nearby, slowly closing in on you! You may not always be able to see her, but you can always listen carefully to determine if she's close by or not. So when you hear the sound of a heart, stop and look around to see where she's coming from before making a run for it!
  • Think fast! The shadow will pursue you relentlessly and often block your path forward, but if you're smart there are ways to get around her. Try luring her to one side of the hall or to where you have more space before sprinting around her, or if the hall is too narrow you can try to duck into a nearby room until she's gone. Be careful though, she might be waiting for you when you re-emerge from the room and can be faster than she looks at times!
  • Check your inventory! Every time you pick up an item or a key, pause for a moment to examine it in your inventory so that you can have a better idea of where to go next or how to use the item. Oftentimes the item's name alone will be enough for you to figure out what to do with the item.
  • Use your map! After acquiring a map of the hotel, pull it up now and then to get an idea of the hotel's layout and where you're going. There won't be any direct "YOU ARE HERE" indicators, but it's usually not too difficult to discern where you on the map based on your surroundings. Just pay close attention and bring the map up when you need to know where a certain room is or what puzzle is where and what doors you've already tried.


If you get hopelessly stuck, you are more than welcome to ask for hints or help in this thread as long as you use spoilers for anything story related. And if you really enjoy playing this game, you can always check out some of my other projects too, such as the original Shadows or the new remake of Midnight. ^^
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 05:54:23 AM by Zylos »




Offline ShadowPierce

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 12:31:21 PM »
The atmosphere is awesome and really well done... Very simplistic...
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Offline Zylos

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 01:14:01 PM »
Simplistic yet fitting, I hope. It's made a number of people jump and has been described as one of the scariest RM games. :3


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Offline Dweller

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2012, 02:26:09 PM »
I´m agree with SP, The atmosphere is awesome, also the intro is fantastic. Great work here congrats.
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Offline Ryex

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2012, 03:38:41 PM »
ffffffffff I chose the hard mode with out thinking and now I have 1 continue left and I'm hopelessly stuck.

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Offline Zylos

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2012, 03:43:37 PM »
Hard mode is hard. :P

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Offline Ryex

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2012, 04:09:16 PM »
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« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 04:12:01 PM by Ryex »
I no longer keep up with posts in the forum very well. If you have a question or comment, about my work, or in general I welcome PM's. if you make a post in one of my threads and I don't reply with in a day or two feel free to PM me and point it out to me.

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Offline Vexus

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2012, 04:57:44 PM »
Trying the project and it's not bad. 

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Offline Zylos

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 05:03:04 PM »
Ryex: Well that's annoying, I've not had that one happen before. x.x *adds to his fix list to be updated soon*

Vexus: Do you remember the Sphinx's famous riddle? "Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?"




Offline Vexus

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2012, 05:22:04 PM »
Well yea
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Offline Zylos

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2012, 05:24:33 PM »
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Also, I think I've fixed the issue now, Ryex. Updated it to 1.03 and forced the shadow to wait when exiting.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/cxgjpziokmurw7p/Nightmare%20%28Updated%20Version%20v1.03%29.exe
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 05:27:01 PM by Zylos »




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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2012, 05:26:06 PM »
@Ryex:
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@Vexus:
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I'm trying hard mode as soon as I have the time to finish normal... :haha:

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Offline Vexus

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2012, 06:02:54 PM »
Ok finished dunno if it's the good or bad ending.
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Anyway I got some things to say maybe you could fix them or not up to you.

1 - When you get to unlock the elevator roof/basement you get a message but then nothing happens and you have to press again to go to the unlocked floor. (I know this is a minor thing but wanted to mention it.)
2 - I don't really like the idea of the semi transparent doors, why not leave them full opacity?
3 - I'm not sure if it's only on normal mode but the shadow frequency makes it very easy to dodge it, on the other hand the corridors are not that wide so not sure if you would want to change it. (How come the top part of the wall is not passable? I'm pretty sure you could make priority, no?)
4 - The beeping riddle while pretty straight forward the sound goes way too fast! I don't know if it's all in 1 but you should make some small pause after every beep AND a bigger pause when it finishes before repeating again. (It was very annoying to follow up the pattern when it was speeded up so fast.)
5 - This is a personal opinion but the sound the shadow does when it hits you, when the scene on the tv happens and some earlier cutscenes is far too loud! Lowering the sound made me barely hear the beating heart when the shadow appears on the map.... You might want to test that out.

That's it I guess.

Props for the music, the tilesets where pretty good and matching, I love your choice in blood which you probably did yourself (Would you mind telling me with what font the blood was made?) and last but not least the attention to detail the "scares" from breaking mirrors to doors closing loudly.

Was not bad but pretty linear with little to none exploration for hidden stuff, I give it a 3/5.
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Offline Zylos

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2012, 06:31:26 PM »
Ok finished dunno if it's the good or bad ending.
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Anyway I got some things to say maybe you could fix them or not up to you.

1 - When you get to unlock the elevator roof/basement you get a message but then nothing happens and you have to press again to go to the unlocked floor. (I know this is a minor thing but wanted to mention it.)
2 - I don't really like the idea of the semi transparent doors, why not leave them full opacity?
3 - I'm not sure if it's only on normal mode but the shadow frequency makes it very easy to dodge it, on the other hand the corridors are not that wide so not sure if you would want to change it. (How come the top part of the wall is not passable? I'm pretty sure you could make priority, no?)
4 - The beeping riddle while pretty straight forward the sound goes way too fast! I don't know if it's all in 1 but you should make some small pause after every beep AND a bigger pause when it finishes before repeating again. (It was very annoying to follow up the pattern when it was speeded up so fast.)
5 - This is a personal opinion but the sound the shadow does when it hits you, when the scene on the tv happens and some earlier cutscenes is far too loud! Lowering the sound made me barely hear the beating heart when the shadow appears on the map.... You might want to test that out.

That's it I guess.

Props for the music, the tilesets where pretty good and matching, I love your choice in blood which you probably did yourself (Would you mind telling me with what font the blood was made?) and last but not least the attention to detail the "scares" from breaking mirrors to doors closing loudly.

Was not bad but pretty linear with little to none exploration for hidden stuff, I give it a 3/5.


Uh, okay. Got rated higher by others, but I guess I'm just being prideful here. And yes, that was the good ending you found.


Now then:

1) Yes, having to examine it a second time is intentional. It's the "Are you sure you really want to?" chance to save before proceeding, especially for the latter of the two floors as you won't have a chance to come back afterward for certain items.

2) Trust me, I experimented with full opaque doors. It didn't look right, and I liked it much better semi-transparent. Especially the elevator doors, as those would obscure the entirety of the elevator otherwise.

3) Her appearance rate is set at random, with decreasing no-shows, increasing number of times she waits for you outside of doors, and appearing in places she didn't before as difficulty goes up. So part of avoiding her spawn points relies a bit on how lucky you are. Also, the corridors are kept small both to be a realistic size and to give a feeling of the shadow closing in on you. Four tiles are just too wide. VXA doesn't allow the top parts of the wall to be a different priority like it is in XP, but even if it did, it would feel off in size because of how the walls are. I personally prefer it as it is, requiring either for you to find alternate paths to avoid the shadow or some thoughtful strategy to lure her to where you can get around her.

4) No offense, but I had several people test the morse code riddle and all of them got it fine, much to my initial surprise. I'm told it's one of the better liked puzzles in the game, so I'd rather not slow it down for them when it's already set at a good pace for the average player.

5) Sounds fine to me and I've not had anyone have problems before, but I can look into it to see if it can't be tweaked.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 06:33:08 PM by Zylos »




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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2012, 07:57:37 PM »
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Offline Zylos

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2012, 07:59:16 PM »
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Futendra

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2012, 08:54:37 PM »
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« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 08:58:08 PM by Futendra »

Offline Zylos

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2012, 08:56:55 PM »
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Futendra

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2012, 09:21:19 PM »
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Nice ending, I almost fell for the first ending
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 09:23:37 PM by Futendra »

Offline Calintz

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Re: [VXA] Nightmare (Completed Horror Game)
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2012, 05:24:15 AM »
well i've only experimented with this project, but so far i've seen great things! you've done well with this game. +1.