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  Making 2D games creepy?  (Read 32671 times)
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Offline Orko

Junior Newbie

« Reply #30 - Posted 2012-12-12 14:27:03 »

You might get some ideas from looking at the old classic Space Hulk. With a combination of "fog of war", scan blips for unknown enemies and high difficulty where something dangerous can surprise you at any time it does really well on creepiness.

Maybe you can use something similar to the scan blips for noises heard in the darkness outside the range of your torch.
Offline Murlocks

Innocent Bystander

« Reply #31 - Posted 2013-01-12 02:30:12 »

Take a look at "Corpse Party." It's a horror themed, visual novel for the PSP which uses 2d orthographical game play.

Some thoughts on how it succeeded with being creepy/scary:   
   - Had an inspection system (as mentioned before) that gave either a description or picture (many possibilities with this, one of the pictures would have a popup after a couple of secs)
   - Pixel art of gore/blood (simple, but effective)
   - Had animated scenes outside of game play to enforce plot (you can use this to make up for the pixel art)
   - Sounds, Corpse Party had the luxury of having the scenes voice acted, but simple sounds like a door creak or a scream should be effective
   - Setting, a dark abandoned elementary school with dead children/people is much more creepy than the standard dungeon that looks like crypts from diablo
   - PLOT, I think this is the most important point. Read horror books if you have to. A good plot will make ANYTHING creepy.

Just some ideas to help you out. As for general creepy things/monsters try: ghosts of children, beheaded/mutilated people, people being "smashed" into walls/floor, and you get the idea: blood/gore
Offline Oskuro

JGO Ninja

Medals: 77
Exp: 10 years

Coding in Style

« Reply #32 - Posted 2013-01-18 17:44:44 »

Taking a look at I'm Scared from the Free Bundle, I found out there's a nifty trick to play with player emotions: Anticipation.

In this particular game (3D, but still), the cover has this ghostly face screaming, and I thought "Ok, this is going to be a screamer-type thing where a jump scare will pop up when you least expect it", resulting in incredible tension as I kept expecting the jump to happen after every move... And I was just watching a video, not playing it!

Dropping hints about what bad thing might happen, and then not having that happen, can cause a lot of tension. Or having the bad thing happen in random unexpected moments.

Of course, once the bad thing has happened enough, players become immune to the trick, but it's and idea.

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Offline loker

Senior Newbie

Medals: 2

« Reply #33 - Posted 2013-01-18 17:51:18 »

Haah!  Smiley
Offline Jimmt
« League of Dukes »

JGO Kernel

Medals: 167
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« Reply #34 - Posted 2013-01-18 17:54:55 »

Uh, loker, this is a java gaming forum, looking at your 4 posts so far...
Haah!  Smiley
lol  Smiley
Nice game!  Smiley
Wow! Great!  Smiley
I'll just leave it at that...
Offline Varkas
« Reply #35 - Posted 2013-01-19 17:32:43 »

Sounds. Sounds can make any game creepy.

Another thing that scares or tenses many people is to narrow the area which they can see clearly.

if (error) throw new Brick(); // Blog (german):
Offline myrealityde

Senior Newbie

Medals: 1
Exp: 3 years

Blogger, GameMaker, Creator.

« Reply #36 - Posted 2013-01-22 15:36:07 »

To make a game creepy, I'd like to use simple lighting effects (in 2D with alpha mapping, you could create torches with flickering lighting effects). Additionally, you could play with camera zooming and blurring effects. Scan lines are effective as well (vintage look & sometimes creepy).

In fact, music and sounds can create a scary atmosphere. The game "SCP-087" uses several noises in order to create a creepy feeling.

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Offline GabrielBailey74
« Reply #37 - Posted 2013-01-22 23:34:58 »

Alpha shades with a flashlight Pointing

Offline Mads

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One for all!

« Reply #38 - Posted 2013-01-23 08:39:05 »

Of course, once the bad thing has happened enough, players become immune to the trick, but it's and idea.

Slender is an excellent example of this. It does work quite a long way though. Far enough for anyone to not want to play the game anymore.

Offline philfrei
« Reply #39 - Posted 2013-01-23 23:47:07 »

I just bought Torchlight (never played it before) for $3.99 at Half Price Books and finding it very fun (am now experiencing a "hang-over" from playing too long without eating/sleeping).

I don't know that it's a particularly creepy game (yes there are ghouls and ghosts and skeletons and blood), but there are some nice moments of anxiety. One type is the obvious: you never know when a horde of spiders is going to come crawling out of a bunch of surrounding grates, that sort of thing.

But another I just noticed, for me anyway, occurred on a level which takes place on what is sort of like a castle top. For the most part, all the terraces are bounded by fences or railings. But every now and then you get to cross a bridge that has no hand rails. I find this rather unsettling, even though it is impossible to jump off and hurt yourself, even if you try.

Maybe it is the contrast that makes this visceral: usually there ARE railings, so you pick your moments and take away the safety features here and there. If there were never any hand rails, then their lack would be ho-hum.

Okay! Here is a general principle to run by folks: If you want to make something really creepy, make the majority of it comforting and reassuring. Create lots of safety nets. Then, at key moments in the plot, remove them.

Using half-light or shadows for effect? Contrast this with bright lights. Using creepy sound effects? Contrast this with normal s/fx. Scary music? contrast with at least episodes of more neutral or positive energies.

music and music apps:
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Offline novasharp

Junior Devvie

Medals: 1
Projects: 1


« Reply #40 - Posted 2013-02-04 23:17:17 »

One thing you could try would be to have a frosted window and see the silhouettes of zombies/decapitated people shambling around. Maybe showing someone decapitating another person, then moving toward the window. Coupled w/ sound effects (like screams and moans, etc...), this could be pretty creepy/scary.

Offline nerb
« Reply #41 - Posted 2013-03-06 05:16:46 »

Many people have previously posted on the visual and aural aspects of creating creepiness, but don't forget about the storyline. You can gradually weave it into the player's journey. For example, perhaps the player discovers diary entries as they go, chronicling the writer's descent into madness or evidence of horrible things that they have done. Maybe the player encounters NPC's who relay their experiences with the 'big bad things' in the environment, or who themselves are deranged and present the player with cryptic and 'freaky' dialogue.

As has already been mentioned, creepiness is often created through the inferred and unseen. A good supporting story & storytelling method can aid this, particularly in a 2d environment where it may be harder to immerse the player into the creepy atmosphere by visuals alone.

(Just realised this thread is a bit old... oh well!).
Offline Oskuro

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Coding in Style

« Reply #42 - Posted 2013-03-08 10:01:10 »

One example of something I find strangely creepy is the Man with a Box on His Head you meet early on Lone Survivor.

Unexpected (and unexplained) things that feel wrong somehow have a massive creep factor. And achieving them is as simple as taking a mundane object or situation, and slightly altering it to be wrong.

This concept can be realized in many ways: Storytelling, Graphics, Audio, or even game mechanics.

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