Scotch and Coffee founder, level designer, texture artist, model editor and voice actor. I'm always up for a voice acting job and will gladly do any lines you want to send to me. Also, I enjoy making video reviews for mods for Half-Life and Half-Life 2, so let me know if you want me to review one and I'll fit it in when I can.

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Posted by Urby on Apr 25th, 2011

You know what ModDB needs less of? Horror mods.

Every other mod nowadays seems to be based on the idea of horror and so far I am yet to see a single one that is any good.

True horror gets under your skin and makes you feel genuinely uneasy. Fear is a very difficult thing to put onto a player and has to be applied carefully. Go to over the top with darkness, loud noises and ridiculously warped models then your attempt at fear suddenly becomes laughable and loses all impact.

Why not challenge yourself and make a horror mod in a brightly lit setting? Rather than go for overly loud noises, why not go for softer, less noticable sounds. Also, rather then getting up in a players face with things like "OH MY GOD LOOK AT THIS THIS IS SO SCARY HE HAS NO SKIN BLUARGH!!!" try and get passing glances instead. Something the player sees out of the corner of their eyes which makes them think: "Did I just see that? What the Hell was it?"

Fear of the unknown is a good one to play with. As soon as you see a monster, in full and up close, it loses it's mystery and quickly becomes another enemy to shoot or run away from.

Examples:

Doom 3 is not a scary game because each enemy has an introductory sequence which shows the demons in full, in a well lit room.

F.E.A.R was good to an extent, with passing glance events and occasional eery moments but lost it's scary factor pretty early in and resorted to the cheap "dark-room-and-loud-noises" tactic.

Half-Life Episode 2 is in no way a scary game, but the introduction of the Hunters is a masterpiece of design. First you hear them and Alyx reacts to the noise (note, this is outside in broad daylight, alongside an NPC character. Not your average scary setting right?). Then you have several chances to catch a glimpse of them. Finally, it attacks in a shock moment. This is perfect and exactly what playing with a players emotion are all about.

Oh, and stop, STOP! with the fucking zombie mods... ¬_¬

Post comment Comments
Joebama
Joebama Apr 25 2011, 4:22pm says:

Haha, so true.

Please don't kill me. :(

+4 votes     reply to comment
bXmMusic
bXmMusic May 27 2011, 12:47am says:

Yeah. I agree with you. The **** I've been working on is basically whatever you want to believe happened. For example:

Cold dark hallway, silent, but eerie. Looking straight down in the hall, something peers it's head at you at the very far door.

Your first reaction is "OH ****"
Second reaction is "**** that, not going down there."

Video that explains exactly this: Youtube.com

So I agree with what you're saying. NH2 was a pretty lame mod in my opinion. Extremely linear, extremely pop up in your face, one-time game.
So I'm going to have to agree with everything you said. Zombie mods are ******* lame. Just survival games. I see no true horror in it :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
Negan
Negan Mar 14 2013, 6:53am replied:

That was a GREAT example!

+1 vote     reply to comment
PrivateSnowball
PrivateSnowball Jun 11 2011, 12:01pm says:

I like zombie mods, though :(

But you're right, alot of these "horror" mods are really just action mods with a really dark setting (literally). Why not scare the **** out of the player? Horror is about conveying fear and emotion, not mindless Counter Strike-esque run-and-gun action.

Another tip for making a horror mod: spontaneity. If you can make thing unpredictable and random for every play-through, it really amps up the horror aspect because you'll never know what you'll get every time. For example: make random monsters appear in random spots in the map, or do the same with sounds/explosions/effects/etc.

+3 votes     reply to comment
TheGreatGonzo
TheGreatGonzo Jul 30 2011, 4:52am says:

Well, if your looking for a good scary horror mod, try Afraid of Monsters.

+1 vote     reply to comment
digital_ice
digital_ice Apr 10 2012, 7:32am says:

...and nearly a year to the date of this blog post... Urby starts work on Mutagen - a survival horror mod.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Negan
Negan Mar 14 2013, 6:51am says:

I know true horror and fear.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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