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Sep 27 2013, 2:47pm Anchor

Hi guys! 
I need guidance for a new project I started with an LD friend. 
I REALLY can't explain much about it because it's a bit secret, as we have never came across a concept like this. 
So please bear with me here. 
I'll nevertheless try to not be too cryptic about it (which I'll probably fail at, still). 

Anyway... since a lot of you guys have experience, I feel like no other place could guide us through our journey making a truly awesome and unique game. 

Let me try to break it down to you. 

*Pretty much everyone will have access to this game 
*We don't need an engine, that's taken care of 
*Maps are already been laid down, organized 
*Soundtrack (which is incredible), story, sound design and VA taken care of (although none of last 2 is actually started - but positive tests have been made) 

The idea behind it is quite simple : scare the living crap out of people. Truly. 
So yes, it's "an horror game". 

Ok... so basically we realize now it's a bit much for 2 guys alone. 
We'd like the game to come out, and not in 5 years. 

Money is not the idea here... but we see the (future) possibilities coming out of this unique project. 

The main problem seems to be the visuals right now. 

At first, the idea started out of pictures. 
We thought we'd use (free) pictures of extremely dark corridors (mostly, since it's mostly an "escape from ________" type of game), disturbing imagery... 

Then, we thought we could use drawings instead... but it seems like having to do about 200+ drawings is just too much with everything else we have to do with this project. 

So visually, we haven't found a perfect solution, and it's a bit slowing us down because pretty much everything else is rolling. 

Any suggestions for us? Ideas we might have overlooked? 

Thanks you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. 
If things aren't clear enough, ask questions and I'll try to be less cryptic... 

Thank you so much, guys! That means a LOT to us

Edited by: SUPERMASSIVEQUAzAR

Sep 27 2013, 4:55pm Anchor

1. nobody's gonna steal your ideas anyway because everyone here has already a million ideas they want to make.
2. don't say the soundtrack is incredible... especially if you did it. it sounds incredibly selfish and overconfident. 

if you would need 200+ drawings on your project, you went far too big. this sounds like your first project and honestly, it sounds huge. too huge for beginners (if you are). start simpler because something too big always fails.
is your game in a 3d environment ?
have you done all the programming already ?

Sep 27 2013, 5:59pm Anchor

So you're having problems with finding your Art-Direction or what? I'm not sure I understood you correctly.
Either way there's one thing you need to let us know. Is this more of a shocker or a psychological horror game? So is it more like Dead Space or more like Amnesia?

Also what Guiboune said. 3D?

On a side-note:
You can be more relaxed about your ideas. I'll say this over and over again: Ideas aren't worth a damn. It's all about their execution. If you don't want to post the specifics, that's alright, just don't be overly paranoid over others stealing your ideas. 90% of the projects are never finished and from the 10% that are, probably less than 1% is actually really good. (I made the numbers up, but you should get the idea)

Edited by: TheSniperFan

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SinKing
SinKing bumps me thread
Sep 27 2013, 7:11pm Anchor

I second SniperFan here, in fact I think your project could benefit from a bit of brainstorming about it. I don't think anything will get stolen, either. And if so, who says anyone else can actually finish it before you?

When you ask for help, try to be more specific. I am really confused about what the problem is, too. It seems like you have a working game with crappy art or placeholder pictures. I'd suggest looking around Deviantart or conceptart.org or similar sites. Browse for some artists you might like and ask them to join. That is, if the game is 2D and from what I read, it seems to be.

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Sep 27 2013, 8:01pm Anchor
Guiboune wrote:1. nobody's gonna steal your ideas anyway because everyone here has already a million ideas they want to make.
2. don't say the soundtrack is incredible... especially if you did it. it sounds incredibly selfish and overconfident. 

if you would need 200+ drawings on your project, you went far too big. this sounds like your first project and honestly, it sounds huge. too huge for beginners (if you are). start simpler because something too big always fails.
is your game in a 3d environment ?
have you done all the programming already ?


1. I see your point. It's mostly the concept that is fairly untapped (as far as I know - which is kind of weird considering how ridiculously easy the concept is). I guess spending all those hours working hard on it got me kind of paranoid... I'd hate to see the same concept just show up before ours. We did go for big (somewhat purposely, we wanted something really ambitious and unique). 

2. Agreed. Believe it or not, I didn't mean it that way (I'm not like that at all, but you have no way of knowing that), though. I'm just very proud of it, and we seem to think it suits and complement the game very nicely. But I agree with you and will refrain doing such thing in the future. 

So... some people might not even call this a game, actually. I still think fundamentally it is, but I guess that's debatable. 
It's more like a picture (or drawing)-based story with choices type of game, but more immersive than just a sort of play novel type of game... 

I guess the closest thing to it would be something like this : 
Youtube.com
But at the same time, not exactly... it's less reading, mostly VA and very story-oriented, choice-oriented, with sound effects and sound design. 
And we're working very hard on trying to make it interesting for the "player". We wouldn't want a cheap product. 
We want a rich experience, that people would like to try and re-try. 

So it's not in 3D, and there's no programming (yet, but we're looking into it (to expand the concept)... kinda of hard to explain, but the concept in itself has very little to do with programming). 

I think if it weren't for the visual aspect of it, we'd be much closer to completion since we tested with basics and it works. The concept works. 
So I'm trying to find a solution. 
We need the visuals, but it's either about 200 pictures or drawings. 
(I say 200, but I'd be ok with re-using a lot of the drawings at different places, so I guess 200 is the "worst-case" scenario to envision - 100 should be sufficient IMO) 
Something kind of like this : 
2.bp.blogspot.com
A lot of extremely (extremely) dark corridors, a bunch of inserts (doors, keys, pieces of paper, etc). 
The sound design, soundtrack, sound effects and VA should carry most the thing, but those visuals are essential. 

We did a bunch of drawings ourselves (we did them in "post-it size", so it would be quicker - since most of the time players would be drenched in darkness and we don't see much... at all), but even with that (doing them quite small works), it's still a lot for 2 guys who don't specialize in that (plus I'd like to concentrate only on music and sfx/sound design, and my partner on his things). 

I also went and look for "royalty free" pictures, but we found them... unsatisfactory, basically. 
We want to make a truly scary experience... nothing cheap. 

So the real problem always comes back to the visuals... that's the key thing here but I'm not sure where to look... 
Where to start??

TheSniperFan wrote:So you're having problems with finding your Art-Direction or what? I'm not sure I understood you correctly.
Either way there's one thing you need to let us know. Is this more of a shocker or a psychological horror game? So is it more like Dead Space or more like Amnesia?

Also what Guiboune said. 3D?

On a side-note:
You can be more relaxed about your ideas. I'll say this over and over again: Ideas aren't worth a damn. It's all about their execution. If you don't want to post the specifics, that's alright, just don't be overly paranoid over others stealing your ideas. 90% of the projects are never finished and from the 10% that are, probably less than 1% is actually really good. (I made the numbers up, but you should get the idea)


I think you're not that far off, really. 
It's not the art direction, it's mostly the art itself. 

I guess basically we'd need somebody to be able to make a lot of drawings...

As for the horror aspect of it, we're trying to bridge the 2, actually. 
Both jumpscares (I guess there's limitations of the platforms we're working on, but we're ok with that), but we don't want just a cheap jumpscare-fest... we're heavily influenced by psychological horror (Lynch, the old Silent Hill, Jacob's Ladder)and extremely into storytelling.
So I guess I could say the story would be psychological, but most of the rest would be jumpscares. 

Since it's closer to a play novel type of game, we know we can't do much more than jumpscares, but we're trying to be original and smart about it, immersing it in an interesting story people would like to follow. 

It seems clearer to me that basically, what we would need is an art director? 

Thank you (and Guiboune, and every one helping with our problem)... your help really means a lot. 
We're trying to make this thing move forward, and we've been stuck for more than a week now on that specific problem... 
We'd really like to be in those 10%, you know?

SinKing wrote:I second SniperFan here, in fact I think your project could benefit from a bit of brainstorming about it. I don't think anything will get stolen, either. And if so, who says anyone else can actually finish it before you?

When you ask for help, try to be more specific. I am really confused about what the problem is, too. It seems like you have a working game with crappy art or placeholder pictures. I'd suggest looking around Deviantart or conceptart.org or similar sites. Browse for some artists you might like and ask them to join. That is, if the game is 2D and from what I read, it seems to be.


I agree. 
I get a bit paranoid because I got stuck in a horrible situation before where someone tried to steal one of my songs... it was a truly crappy experience... 
I'm also afraid someone "could" outrun us because we're going somewhat big... we'd love to make an impressive game... something with panache, you know? 

Because as soon as we fix the art problem, the rest is already rolling and working... 

Thanks for all the tips. 
We'll definitely look into that. 
One thing that bugs me, though, it the non-existant budget we have. 
It's kind of hard to say to someone "you want to be a part of a cool concept, do 100+ drawings and not get paid?"... I mean I'm sure we could come up with a small amount of money... but 100+ drawings? Even in "post-it size", it's still a big chunck of work. 

When you said : "It seems like you have a working game with crappy art or placeholder pictures", that's exactly it, really 
We fix the drawing problem, we have a cool concept on our hands I believe... 

I appreciate all the help you guys... really

Sep 27 2013, 9:09pm Anchor

The thing is, either you can search for someone who can draw you hundreds of pictures for free.. or you pay him to do it. If royalty-free pictures are not good enough for you, you don't really have a choice.
Money is the biggest part of the game developping business, you can never overlook it.

Also never overlook the programming part of things. Programming is what makes a game a game and is crucial in development. Even if you think your project won't require much of it, it will probably require 20 times much more than you would think. And if you plan on doing it yourself without any kind of experience, it will take you a few months just to get the basics. And no game works with just the basics

Then again, if it's your first game, it will NOT be successful, it will NOT be very good. Do not expect to start a big project and finish it with a great final result because it won't happen. Sorry to burst bubbles here but this is how it works. You can't make a great first game just like you can't make a great first song or a great first drawing.
->Start simple<-
Start with something you know you can do, not something you think you can do. 

(oh and for the song thing, you do know that when you make a song, you automatically have the copyrights ? and as long as you can prove it, the song is yours and you could sue anyone who claims it their own)

Sep 28 2013, 1:25pm Anchor
Guiboune wrote:The thing is, either you can search for someone who can draw you hundreds of pictures for free.. or you pay him to do it. If royalty-free pictures are not good enough for you, you don't really have a choice.
Money is the biggest part of the game developping business, you can never overlook it.

Also never overlook the programming part of things. Programming is what makes a game a game and is crucial in development. Even if you think your project won't require much of it, it will probably require 20 times much more than you would think. And if you plan on doing it yourself without any kind of experience, it will take you a few months just to get the basics. And no game works with just the basics

Then again, if it's your first game, it will NOT be successful, it will NOT be very good. Do not expect to start a big project and finish it with a great final result because it won't happen. Sorry to burst bubbles here but this is how it works. You can't make a great first game just like you can't make a great first song or a great first drawing.
->Start simple<-
Start with something you know you can do, not something you think you can do. 

(oh and for the song thing, you do know that when you make a song, you automatically have the copyrights ? and as long as you can prove it, the song is yours and you could sue anyone who claims it their own)


Yeah, you're right. 
I'd rather try to find a solution that'd be best for the project. There's no way pictures is gonna work. No chance at all. 
I just wonder how much it would cost to get a talented artist able to create great, stylish dark ambient art... No point in being cheap or cutting corners if we want to make it an awesome experience for players. 

We even checked around the idea of something like Kickstarter, but I don't think that's gonna cut it either. 

I definitely get what you mean for the programming. I really, really do.
But I swear it's not gonna be the issue here. It might be eventually when/if we will try to bring it to another platform, but as it is now, I swear it's not the issue. Any other project/concept I'd say you're 110% right, and I don't mean that because I want to look hardheaded... honestly. 
It really just isn't the problem with this particular concept. 

The only real problem is finding an artist, and being able to cough up the $ to pay him/her. 

I want to thank you for all the tips. 
I'm taking everything seriously into consideration. 
I'm currently looking into cutting out the scale of it, without diminishing the experience for the player. 
Since the game is basically a 3-part escape game (the "Castle", the Sewers/Catacombs and Mountain Path), I'm trying to find a way to start with only part 1, without having the player pissed off at the end... so I'm looking to at least finish it with ether a cliffhanger, or with some sort of satisfying ending. 
The longest part of the game is the castle, though. But still... 

I believe after we fix our visuals problem (and cutting down the scale of the experience), the rest falls into the category "something you know you can do". 
So all my efforts are going into that now... 
By cutting down the scale, and re-using drawings at different places (under different lighting and/or effects), I believe something along the lines of 60-100 drawings could probably work. 

As for the song, when you are 20 and you realize one of your "close friend" is trying to double-cross you on a song he has absolutely no link with... it can be quite hurtful and devastating without having to go all the way through court... 
Mix that with my first manager who tried to screw me over around the same time with my first music contract (this resulting me being "benched" musically for almost 2 years waiting for the contract to expire, and costing me 3K+ in lawyers)... it really doesn't help with trust issues... 
But hey, I can't live my whole life thinking this will happen again and again... not if I want to achieve something... 

Thanks again for all the help... it really means a lot

Sep 28 2013, 1:34pm Anchor

could you tell us what is the unique part? because i already seen a lot "escape the room" horror games.

Sep 28 2013, 2:34pm Anchor
Guiboune wrote:Then again, if it's your first game, it will NOT be successful, it will NOT be very good. Do not expect to start a big project and finish it with a great final result because it won't happen. Sorry to burst bubbles here but this is how it works. You can't make a great first game just like you can't make a great first song or a great first drawing.

Have to disagree there. Well, at least kind of.
It's not set in stone that your first game can't be a success. The thing is that it most probably just won't. Lack of experience, only few mistakes made in the past you learned from and, most importantly, it's easy to look past the shortcommings of your own project.
The first game you release might be a milestone. The first drawing you release might be a masterpice. They're the first ones being released though, not the first you ones you made. Keep that in mind.

I have my own project right now. It will be the first one to be released and I think it will be good. How can I be so sure about that? It's rather simple really.
It's the first one I'm going to release, but it's not the first one I made.
All the stuff that goes into that project is being tested in others I create solely for the purpose of finding the flaws in the ideas I find so awesome. And there are tons of them. The final pieces of the puzzle have little to do with the initial idea.

Don't be afraid of thworing away work of yours that has taken hours of your time, if it's not good.

Guiboune wrote: ->Start simple<-
Start with something you know you can do, not something you think you can do.

This, however, I wholeheartedly agree with.
Biting off larger chunks that you can possible chew, just sets everything up for failure right from the start.

Edited by: TheSniperFan

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Sep 28 2013, 2:40pm Anchor
Zanza1000 wrote:could you tell us what is the unique part? because i already seen a lot "escape the room" horror games.

Yes, the "escape" concept has been done. A lot. 

Ok... 
But I'm sure I'll lose absolutely all of the very little credibility I have here once I tell the basic concept of it. 
Especially since it requires no real gameplay at all (and no real programming either), and this place is filled with talented game designer and artists... 
So for that, I am sorry 
But on an extremely basic point of view, it is a "game". Just like play novels are, in their own way. 

If people think games like "Heavy Rain" and "Play Novels" aren't "actual games", better off not checking it at all: this is not for you 
Because it's even further down that hole. And yes, we are very aware of this. 

That is the concept. 
That is the purpose of this "game". 

I guess the BEST way to describe it is probably through this link(s) here : 
Youtube.com
It's a (EXTREMELY) quickly made test I first did to explain the idea to my partner. Done in less than 30 minutes. 
Although very basic, all the principles of the concept apply right there. 

The video pretty much self-explains the whole (simple) concept. 

It won't be just a bunch of "choose between 2 doors"... we're trying to make it an interesting and clever experience for gamers/viewers. 
It will be story-oriented, and we aim at making it a scary and emotional journey for the player/viewer. 
We already see and are aware of the limitations of this "platform", and even though we are also working on "actual gaming concepts", we also want to make this project an interesting (scary) "game" everybody could enjoy at practically any time. 

Seeing how popular those "scary surprise videos" (you know, those where you think all is fine then you get a crazy jumpscare out of nowhere) are on youtube, we went ahead and tried to mix this with a cinematic, gaming type of experience people would want to follow... where you choose to go... 

I sure hope I'm not gonna mauled to death because of this unusual "gaming" concept...
Know that we're also, at the same time, trying to develop that same concept idea into a "real" game at the same time... 

Thank you guys... 
Please don't crucify me

Sep 28 2013, 6:50pm Anchor

Thank you for this long post!Now I can really imagine what you guys are wanting to do and I have to admit it´s sound like a great idea. You sir got a Watcher now.

Sep 30 2013, 11:49am Anchor
Zanza1000 wrote:Thank you for this long post!Now I can really imagine what you guys are wanting to do and I have to admit it´s sound like a great idea. You sir got a Watcher now.

Thanks a LOT, Zanza! 
:)
I was afraid I'd be universally hated and mauled because the whole structure is barely rooted in gaming. 
We are aware of that, we're doing it on purpose for this project (only), but we like the idea of bringing a type of gaming into a structure not made for that... 

Thank you for your words, they mean a lot to me 
:)

Oct 6 2013, 10:35pm Anchor

Quote:Thanks a LOT, Zanza! 
:)
I was afraid I'd be universally hated and mauled because the whole structure is barely rooted in gaming. 
We are aware of that, we're doing it on purpose for this project (only), but we like the idea of bringing a type of gaming into a structure not made for that... 

Thank you for your words, they mean a lot to me 
:)


Just a piece of advice: Don't hold yourself back for fear of being made fun of.  I like to think that the gaming community is open to different experiences, whether it be a non-tradition video game, tabletop RPG, or the concept that you discussed.

If someone gives you hell for expressing your ideas and creations, shrug it off.  Just because they don't get it doesn't mean that you won't inspire someone who loves the experience that you created.

Best of luck with your project!

Kellen

Edited by: killakel

Oct 7 2013, 8:48am Anchor
killakel wrote:If someone gives you hell for expressing your ideas and creations, shrug it off.  Just because they don't get it doesn't mean that you won't inspire someone who loves the experience that you created.

I'd be very careful with such thinking.
Sometimes people bahaving in such a manner are so full of themselves they dismiss critisism as flaming or "they just didn't get it". Thinking your idea is great doesn't make it great, and no matter how much you love it, just because someone else does think it's a stupid idea, that someone doesn't have to be a troll.
Accept critisism, even if you disagree. That's a sure way to improve your project.

Edited by: TheSniperFan

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Oct 7 2013, 1:12pm Anchor
killakel wrote:

Quote:Thanks a LOT, Zanza! 
:)
I was afraid I'd be universally hated and mauled because the whole structure is barely rooted in gaming. 
We are aware of that, we're doing it on purpose for this project (only), but we like the idea of bringing a type of gaming into a structure not made for that... 

Thank you for your words, they mean a lot to me 
:)


Just a piece of advice: Don't hold yourself back for fear of being made fun of.  I like to think that the gaming community is open to different experiences, whether it be a non-tradition video game, tabletop RPG, or the concept that you discussed.

If someone gives you hell for expressing your ideas and creations, shrug it off.  Just because they don't get it doesn't mean that you won't inspire someone who loves the experience that you created.

Best of luck with your project!

Kellen


Thanks for the words. I really appreciate it. 
I have to admit, I was the one wrong with that statement.
So far, pretty much everywhere I went and talked about the project, I got people trying to help me rather than trying to maul me. 

Gotta be honest, it's a bit refreshing. 

Thanks again! 
:)

TheSniperFan wrote:
killakel wrote:If someone gives you hell for expressing your ideas and creations, shrug it off.  Just because they don't get it doesn't mean that you won't inspire someone who loves the experience that you created.

I'd be very careful with such thinking.
Sometimes people bahaving in such a manner are so full of themselves they dismiss critisism as flaming or "they just didn't get it". Thinking your idea is great doesn't make it great, and no matter how much you love it, just because someone else does think it's a stupid idea, that someone doesn't have to be a troll.
Accept critisism, even if you disagree. That's a sure way to improve your project.


I also agree with this. 
There is a fine line between dismissing critics blindly and believing in your concept. 

I remember hearing Kojima was laughed at with his concept for the original Metal Gear in he 80's. 
Yet, today still, an enormous percentage of game use the "stealth" concept still. 

The good thing is that I do not believe my concept is "great". 
:) 
Actually, this concept has been used in books often. And probably elsewhere as well. 

I'm just taking that cool concept, mix it with a (hopefully engaging) cinematic experience and a sound design/music, and bring it in a medium that is not meant for that, normally. 
In no way I'm thinking my concept is an original idea that was never ever done. 
:) 
I just want people to have a good time, and (hopefully) scare the heck out of them. 

All this happened because I was supposed to make music for 3 different horror projects in the last few months, and one by one, they all fell from the face of the earth. 

So I was like "you know what... time to DIY"... 

I also like the idea to have a "gaming" experience at the tip of your fingers at all time (provided that you can have access to Youtube). 

Thanks for weighting in, TheSniperFan. All of this is definitely taken in consideration. 
The idea is to try to produce the best product out of this, so listening to people's opinion is quite important in my view.

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