Survival Horror on a Cruise Ship

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Actually, I do know about the game. The control system sounds just screen smashingly awful and you'd have far too much power and knowledge for jump-out-your-seat horror game. It'd be more like Deus Ex stealth action, sneaking around, leaping out of shadows and stabbing monster-people in the back. A tricky game to balance.

Zhukov:
I really like the idea of a blind, or otherwise crippled, character having to rely on external sources for basic sensory function.

I do not particularly like the idea of trying to control such a character. Awkward controls are nigh-unforgivable in a game. Like having a really great car with a broken steering shaft.

See post 35. If you're willing to go with a less horrific experience, then the game already exists.

If you take "refuse to move without a signal" as a handicap, anyways. :P

Had a vaguely similar idea to this once.. far future, you're jacked in when a neutron bomb hits the city. All organic life is extinguished. Your consciousness, however, remains intact in the web. On the plus side, now that you're fully digitized, hacking into most things is child's play -- so cameras, and various sensors to start. This leads you to be able to crack into the various robots that remain connected to the net, which can eventually get you into more secure grids such as power-plants, which then lets you control pretty much anything hooked up to the electrical grid as well through directed surges. Of course, not all robots have visual type sensors. Some might only have collision detection. Others have maps and their location. Some might view the world through sonar or x-ray.

On the downside, your consciousness is slowly losing integrity, and anytime it's in something that gets destroyed, loses a bunch more.

It was to be rather a nihilistic game in that the end goal was to be able to find out who or what set off the neutron bomb, then break into a secure military facility to send one back.

Well, that's a bloody interesting idea.
Make it and atleast some of us will buy it.

999 anyone? It's not exactly survival horror, but it goes a long way to show the creepy atmosphere you can have on an abandoned ocean liner. Although it's more being afraid of the people on your side than the monsters who aren't.

Axe endings all day every day.

Plus the neural-hijacking thing messing with your brain was pretty interestingly done in a horror/mindfuck visual novel called Chaos;Head. The secret board of shadowy figures manages to build a device that can manipulate the electrical impulses going into people's brains; thus making them see/experience whatever they wanted them to.

But then the plot shits all over itself in the final arc.

So yeah, I'd like to see Yatzhee's take on this.

Not a bad idea, although I'm unclear on one point; when Yahtzee say's "first person controls from a third person perspective," does that mean you'd be moving around while looking at yourself from security cameras, thus making the fixed camera angles in various rooms a plot point rather than just an irritating game mechanic? or would you have to stop at a terminal to hook up, look around you, then unhook yourself and go into a first person perspective where you have to feel your way blindly, using your memory of what you just saw and the sounds you hear?

Mike Fang:
Not a bad idea, although I'm unclear on one point; when Yahtzee say's "first person controls from a third person perspective," does that mean you'd be moving around while looking at yourself from security cameras, thus making the fixed camera angles in various rooms a plot point rather than just an irritating game mechanic? or would you have to stop at a terminal to hook up, look around you, then unhook yourself and go into a first person perspective where you have to feel your way blindly, using your memory of what you just saw and the sounds you hear?

The first one.

It wouldn't be that annoying if you used "tank controls", which ignore camera changes.

"SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"

I became a gamer with, resident evil, parasite eve, alone in the dark, galerians and the like so this would dreamed for me (if the ambience and other factors are right)

lacktheknack:

The first one.

It wouldn't be that annoying if you used "tank controls", which ignore camera changes.

I thought thats what he meant.

I dunno. First-person controls mixed with fixed cameras are the one thing I absolutely hated about Grim Fandango. I suspect if this weren't your idea and you were reviewing the finished product you'd be saying something like "Who the FUCK thought this could ever work?"

I agree that the world needs more survival-horror games set on "abandoned" cruise ships though. I've seen photos of old decommissioned ships before; they're both beautiful and haunting in ways buildings could never be.

This sounds like an amazing idea for a game. I got a chill down my spine when I saw that plot twist. Just....wonderful, man, wonderful.

Personally, I would edit the camera though: using the first-person controls throughout would create a sense of vulnerability and disconnection, but I fear it would become incredibly annoying. What I would do is place a "familiarity" meter in each room, which would rise as the player was in there, giving them better vision, allowing them to become more co-ordinated in their movements, better at fighting and more able to affect the ship's other systems. However, the longer they are in there, the more aware enemies will become of them: enemies will gradually smell you out and hunt you down to your position, creating a sense of fear and unease. As well as this, it will introduce a constant dilemma: do you stay in this room where you are safe and face the marauding hordes, or do you stagger, vulnerable and half-blind, into the next room, threatened with traps and weakened limbs?

As the game goes on, this could get upgrades to unlock new rooms: night vision to allow that area hit by the power cuts to be traversed, fixing water-logged cameras so that they are no longer blurry and recovering the film from broken cameras to learn passcodes and the like. This would reinforce the sense of sensory confusion and dependence on these cameras: the very ability of the player to move would depend on the system they have hijacked and don't fully understand, underlining their helplessness and fear.

Well, that's my idea anyway.

You could spice up the game even more by making combat mode switch into 1st person again. From there you would have to struggle blindly only seeing vague contours and afterimages that your extra senses would create for you.

It would probably have to go for psychological horror because there would be little room for sudden scares.

Also, the character should be commenting on the feeds he recieves through the different cameras. Things like,

"What was that!?"(as a shadow scuttles off screen.)
"It's too dark in that room, maybe I should come back later with some sort of light source."
"It looks like there might be something useful over there."
"What the hell is that!?" (looking at a mangled, rotting corpse.)
and
"Where the fuck is that camera!? Shit! Cunt!"(while you are being mauled off-screen.)

And while we're at it, there could be rooms where the camera works with nightvision or x-ray changing the mood a bit.

It's a pretty solid idea for a game anyway.

Not sure I'd buy it, even if it was a triple-a game. It sounds amazing, but I doubt I'd be able to get over the control issues that would doubtlessly be a part of it. And no matter how good the concept for a game is, bad controls don't add to the suspense or thrill of a game- they just make it frustrating. If the controls were done in such a way as to make the transition from generic over the shoulder perspective to cctv seamless however, then I'd be throwing my wallet at whatever game company developed it. Its all academic though, because my pessimist senses tell me this game will never be made.

Someone should clone Yahtzee and have Yahtzee01 review games and Yahtzee02 make games. In their spare time they could write articles such as this.

If I recall correctly, the first Onimusha had fps-like controls where up was always forward based on where the character was facing(left and right rotated the character). I worked decently well but it took some getting used to.

The game you describe came eerily close to an obscure french adventure game I played a few years back. "Experience 112" (or just "The Experiment" in America according to wikipedia.)
In that game, a young female scientist wakes up in an abandonned ship stranded on the beach of a mysterious island. The ship is completly overgrown with vines and other plants. Thing is, you don't play as that young scientist. You play as someone(you don't really know who) with access to all of the ships security cameras and remote control over all electronic equipments. Throughout the game you have to guide the scientist, by flicking lights, opening doors, going through emails to find passwords or remote controlling various robots and machinery.

Insanityblues:
The game you describe came eerily close to an obscure french adventure game I played a few years back. "Experience 112" (or just "The Experiment" in America according to wikipedia.)
In that game, a young female scientist wakes up in an abandonned ship stranded on the beach of a mysterious island. The ship is completly overgrown with vines and other plants. Thing is, you don't play as that young scientist. You play as someone(you don't really know who) with access to all of the ships security cameras and remote control over all electronic equipments. Throughout the game you have to guide the scientist, by flicking lights, opening doors, going through emails to find passwords or remote controlling various robots and machinery.

Beat you to it, man.

But yeah, a lot of "original ideas" have already happened, and were disliked. Such as "The Experiment".

ImProvGamr:
It's an interesting concept, but the idea of first person controls from a fixed camera third person sounds kind of iffy; not from a concept perspective but more from a gameplay perspective. It might work if you go from an Amnesia or Shattered Memories direction of making it more about stealth, traps, and running away as fast as possible, but working any kind of combat in there would be clunky and frustrating at best, and using firearms would be particularly nightmarish. Not saying that it couldn't work, but it would probably fall on the Silent Hill and original Resident Evil problems of the gameplay being kind of shit.

I think that the idea would be that the best idea is to avoid combat or fight others indirectly. You COULD do physical combat/gunplay, but it would be awkward and hard. Just like it would be if you couldn't see through your eyes, and had to use a third person camera to orient yourself.

Yahtzee, you complain about fixed cameras in almost every game that has them. You should know better than this. This will feel like "fake difficulty" through and through, because even if you bring the cameras into the game world, the controls are always outside of it, so any difficulty that relies on awkward controls and camera will make your players angry for little gain. And really, what sort of future has cybernetic brain uplinks but not portable cameras? Does your player not carry a cell phone or something?

Still, I like the idea of a cyberpunk hero barely holding himself together using his augments, and I think the idea of getting viruses by plugging into strange computer networks has potential (really, it's the obvious question to ask about any cyberpunk setting). What if you could jack in to hardware around the ship to gain an advantage in combat? Hack the locks to trap your opponents. Overload stuff and make it explode, or maybe even break into your opponents' augments to disable them. But of course, doing so will expose you to the virus, and here the game can screw with you. Maybe it will announce that you have no health and ammo, or just make your HUD fill with static until you reboot. If you want to be more subtle, maybe it will occasionally display an enemy right behind you on your radar. Or maybe it will add insane ramblings to your quest log. Basically, integrate the madness into gameplay in a way that will screw with the player but not get in the way of the core business of zombie-bashing.

So when you read Survival Horror on a Cruise Ship did anyone else immediately think of the Terror From The Deep terror missions?

image

So, why aren't you starting an indie studio already?

cyberpunk and survival horror .. yes please :D

beleester:
Yahtzee, you complain about fixed cameras in almost every game that has them. You should know better than this. This will feel like "fake difficulty" through and through, because even if you bring the cameras into the game world, the controls are always outside of it, so any difficulty that relies on awkward controls and camera will make your players angry for little gain. ...snip...

I think Yahtzee complains about those things if they make no sense within context. That said, I think these controls really wouldn't be that bad. It'd be like using a remote control car while you walk around as well. Push forward, car keeps going to its forward. Push left, car goes to its left. Come to think of it, GTA1 and GTA2 controls were a lot like this as well.

Additionally, the ship setting solves a fundamental problem of the horror genre: for the fear to work, you need to be locked up, isolated. If you look at horror films and games, you see a lot of different solutions to this problem: Being snowed in is a long-time favourite (The Shining). A ship at sea is a very nice way of doing this. It is simple, everyone gets that you can't jump of the ship because then you die. The more contrived the way you are locked in, the more suspension of disbelief is required from the player/viewer.

The idea deserves points for originality, but I'm not sure how well it would work without some serious modifications. Others have addressed the gameplay, but I also think it would be harder to create a sense of dread when you get at will eagle eye and can tap into any room. Much of what makes a game scary is knowing there are monsters out there but not knowing exactly where they are or when they'll strike. The eagle eye thing is far more terrifying when you *aren't* in control of whoever it is you're watching, because then the director can capitalize on your sense of powerlessness, giving you all the knowledge of what is about to happen and no power to stop it.

The twist is nice, and I think that would be really neat to incorporate into a game that retained its first person perspective. Reminds me a bit of the opening of Dead Space: Extraction where you find out you were the one going crazy and hallucinating and that you killed your whole team before they had to put you down. It was effective.

The problem with this affecting only one sense, however, is that a real person relies on all senses. Even if the monsters look terrifying, how are they going to sound? Are your ears hacked too? What will happen if the player inevitably fails to notice one of them before it gets close or refuses to attack one? Will it ignore him? Perception has to be messed with pretty significantly and more than just visually in order for the idea to be credible.

Still, significant potential.

Personally, i like the idea, though i can see (as he said) frustration with the first-person third-person controls. But i could also see myself being scared shitless if there was a monster and i was trying to find the nearest closet to hide in, only to find i was facing the wrong direction and began running TOWARDS the monster. The panic situations created by the control scheme would be quite fun and difficult to get through without dieing (hopefully in a good way)

Honestly, It's something I'd LOVE to try, it sounds like a fun idea...my only worry with it is that theres always that problem of sort of separation of self. One thing that makes Amnesia so good (in my opinion) Is that your always seeing things through the eyes of the guy running around, unable to defend himself, hiding inside a cupboard or taking shelter in that pitch-black room isn't nearly as scary if your not seeing it from your own eyes.

I love the idea, but I wish you'd stop sharing such amazing ideas that will never exist. You either need to get deeper into the game-design world or just start making these yourself with some independent studio. All these ideas are simply going to waste just sitting here.

The controls would definitely have to be changed to more classic 'move to that section of the screen,' or at least have the option of changing to that. I can see the logic of Yahtzee's method, if you're running from monsters that involves entering multiple rooms then switching cameras could cause havoc to maintaining direction, but I think it would be too awkward the rest of the time.
A possible solution to people saying that having control of the security so you can see what's coming kills the horror, here's a possible solution: All your enemies surely have the same cybernetic implants you do, so you could make it that if you spend too long watching them through cameras or play around with the power too much, they'll get suspicious and connect themselves to the system, which could lead them to finding where you currently are. You'd probably still see them coming, but should seriously up the tension.

I'm pretty impressed by the game idea.... Made me think of systemshock/bioshock thingy so you Must have shock in the title! that is all.

didn't Cold Fear take place in a cruise ship or something like that? =P

This is a far cry from the Yahtzee who made the "No More Heroes" review in which he said and I quote:

Yahtzee:
"...any game designer who sacrifices fun to make an artistic statement is obviously stuck so far up his own ass that he's in danger of choking on his own head."

At least he acknowledged that those controls that he described would be about as smooth as gravel, but that last paragraph did have a bit too much of a god complex associated with it to be to my liking.

So, the game would be like 1-part Resident Evil, 1-part System shock 2, one part Night Trap (old game on Sega CD involving controlling cameras and activating traps to kill people). Sounds a bit on the complicated to control side, but I think that if I saw it in production, I would probably look into buying it (assuming I had a PC or other system that was up to the task). If I were the one making it, I would give it multiple endings based on various factors like if you found a way to escape the ship, if you managed to solve the mystery of who was responsible for the tragedy, if you manage to find a cure for the virus, and the manner by which you avoided being killed (You get a special ending if you can resolve it without killing any of the survivors, or if you killed all of them). I would indeed buy this game if that were the case.

Having the camera automatically follow you into new rooms (thanks to a totally believable interface setting in your implants) with an option to shift your hackervision to rooms you don't happen to be in would probably cause less annoyance, but yes. This seems a very promising idea.

The prospect of using this same control system for first-person control of, say, repair droids is also appealing. Using such segments to access places where the cameras have been damaged would be a good in-game excuse.

The Crazy Legs:
Huh. Well, that's a first. I'm actually very intrigued by such an idea. I've never played survival horror on a boat, and combining that with the third/first person seems appropriate. Just one problem...

Why is the ship's network unsecured? I know that's a stupid question, but wouldn't there be, like, a few passwords to set up? Isn't that common logic?

didn't you read the "twist"? the whole thing was a hack job made with the *intention* of giving people access to these (manipulated thus murderous) views.

Quite brilliant. Of course I wouldn't play it because I don't have that many pants to crap into.

I wonder if Yahtzee's ever played 999 on the DS. That's a game on a luxury cruise ship that did the horror thing pretty well.

well go on then....get your team together!
may I suggest these guys for the engine: http://www.wolfire.com/

and then onward to kickstarter for funding! I'll expect to have this game on my
Xbox(720? :P) by the end of 2013!

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