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Author Topic: Spelunky plus Scary  (Read 6586 times)
Drammor
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« on: August 31, 2014, 07:07:16 PM »

A friend of mine and I are working on concepts for remodeling Spelunky into a horror game. I really like a lot of the mods I've seen so far. We're going to try to have fun with this, but also do our best to scare the pants/skirt right off you.

Rather than exploring a cave of his own volition, the spelunker has entered the cave in flight of the thing that's been following him. As he goes further down, he'll find increasingly disturbing sights and sounds. Alternate flavor texts are just the beginning. If we can, we're going to make a journal. You can press J to access your journal. Whenever you encounter something new, it will update the journal with words about that thing. Levels will be dark in general, with lit line of sight out to a certain distance. Having a light on you will be important. Not strictly necessary, but it will decrease the amount of scary stuff that occurs and extend the time before the ghost spawns.

Ideas, feedback, warnings, suggestions? References to similar mods?
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 07:28:16 PM by Drammor » Logged
Urza
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2014, 01:04:45 AM »

Sounds promising. On the warning side, my one piece of advice is be careful how you handle the darkness. Limited visibility is an effective way to up the spookiness, but it's also easy to make something that's just unfair or not fun because you have no idea what you're doing.

A related suggestion would be to bring back flares that work like bombs and ropes, which was apparently an idea dropped from the game early on. If darkness is going to be a bigger deal, that might make alot of sense.
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Drammor
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2014, 03:36:20 AM »

Yeah, visibility issues can make a lot of the things in the game needlessly difficult... I've seen that with a couple of existing lighting mods. Long drops to now-invisible spikes, for instance.

On lights, I'd like flares to be a game element, for certain. I would also like the spelunker's helmet to be/have a light, and to have a lantern item. Each would have a different level or shape of lighting, and therefore a different effect on the Horror Thing and its activities.
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halibabica
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2014, 05:35:50 AM »

You may find this mod interesting and helpful: Line of Sight
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Sometimes I wonder if I like Spelunky too much.
ManTrap mod - Tastes Like Spelunky
Hand-drawn comic - Spelunkying
Shrek
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2014, 11:09:12 AM »

I love horror, so I will definitely play this when/if it's finished. The journal idea seems interesting, although it seems a little strange to use the J key to access it.
Be very careful implementing a limited sight range. The most universally hated thing in Spelunky is the sight range in dark levels. This is because it negates player skill(in some cases), and forces the player to juggle items just to get through the level safely. This mechanic will be very frustrating if you don't mitigate it somehow. The level design and enemy design will have to accommodate this change if you want to maintain immersion.
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Drammor
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2014, 07:06:48 PM »

You may find this mod interesting and helpful: Line of Sight

Yeah, I'm pretty fond of that one. Although there are some weird bugs in the ice levels. Like how sometimes I have to use a bomb to descend, and how falling rock shelves pass through ice.

I love horror, so I will definitely play this when/if it's finished. The journal idea seems interesting, although it seems a little strange to use the J key to access it.
Be very careful implementing a limited sight range. The most universally hated thing in Spelunky is the sight range in dark levels. This is because it negates player skill(in some cases), and forces the player to juggle items just to get through the level safely. This mechanic will be very frustrating if you don't mitigate it somehow. The level design and enemy design will have to accommodate this change if you want to maintain immersion.

There are at least a couple inventory mods. I really like the one from yasm, and I'd rather go that way with the juggling issue. The parts about player skill, though... what do you mean? I may be either too casual or too practiced to notice.
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Shrek
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 11:29:51 AM »

There are at least a couple inventory mods. I really like the one from yasm, and I'd rather go that way with the juggling issue. The parts about player skill, though... what do you mean? I may be either too casual or too practiced to notice.
An inventory will greatly reduce the tedium of juggling. Smiley
About negating player skill, enemies can sneak up on you while they are outside your sight range. If you don't have enough reaction speed, they can get a "free hit" on you. This is worsened by the fact that you can't whip while carrying an item. When something's jumping at me, I'd much rather use the back of my whip than try to hit it with a thrown flare.
Also, there are cases where you can lose your flare(in offscreen water, down a deep pit, etc.) that can force you to bomb/rope, take damage, or go without a flare(ultimately forcing you to take damage). These problems aren't common, but they do happen.
I took another look at darkness after your response, and it isn't as horrible as I remembered. You should be fine, unless the sight range is a lot smaller.
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Moloch
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 07:23:30 PM »

Ideas

  • Unlit torches or lamps on the background walls that can't be carried, but you can light when passing with a torch (as in Spelunky HD). The thing chasing the player will extinguish these as it approaches, keeping itself from being seen, but adding a lot of tension when it is close enough that you see lights going out behind you. If the 'thing' is ghost-like and can pass through walls, it will seek out to extinguish wall torches before resuming chasing the player, so it also acts as a mechanic to distract the thing and slow it down.
  • Replace flare with an actual torch flame that flickers and fades and releases rising ember particles.
  • Finding damsels prevents the player from feeling alone. Replace damsels with the chance of finding a few pieces of kindling material in the levels. If the player has kindling in the level transition, they are stopped and asked if they want to make a bonfire, and how many pieces of kindling they want to use. (Copy the code used to pay the tunnel man.) The bonfire, as a substitute for the kiss, both restores player health or sanity or whatever stat and delays the thing that is following from starting to chase the player at the start of the next level for (# of kindling used) * seconds. Player is uncertain if they should use kindling save it for later levels.
  • Light as defense. A certain radius based on brightness of player's torch, causes enemy random movement direction (where they choose to walk/jump right or left) to increase the odds of moving *away* from the player. I'm thinking minor enemies like snake/spider.
  • The 'thing' movement AI. If it remains unseen most of the time.. instead of simply re-using the ghost or worrying about making an enemy that can find a path through the level obstacles, just have the player drop a 'scent-trail' object every x number of steps/seconds (or distance traveled) which the thing follows. If the trail is dropped at a constant time interval, you can alter the speed that the thing follows the trail so it always remains minimum number of trail markers behind the player - 'cheating' so that it doesn't fall too far behind and make things easy.
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Urza
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 11:06:11 PM »

A bunch of good ideas from Moloch. The only one I personally don't like is the kindling. Replacing the damsel would be quite reasonable, but the kindling thing just seems... pedestrian. IMHO it should be something a little spooky, probably supernatural. Like say a glowing egg containing... ???
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Drammor
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2014, 11:52:45 PM »

Wow, Moloch. Personally, I like all of those ideas.

I'm fiddling with "twist" ideas, right now. Each play will feature a different twist, which is revealed some time after level 7. You know, things like "The Monster was Me," "Where is this Ink coming From?," "And then John was a Zombie" and something like the "Truman Show Plot."

I'm also thinking about hiding the player's health indicator, so that their only way of figuring out how much health they have left is by reading descriptive phrases and events in the journal. Things like, "I had a run-in with a local... don't know what you would call it, but my left arm's bleeding. Gotta get something for that." or "I took a long fall today, landed badly. My leg is twisted." or "I found some bandages in a burnt-out shop and patched up my injuries. I feel a little better, but I could use some brandy."
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