《太空战舰》中的平衡是不对称的，双方是完全不同的，玩家反应和战斗的方式也与敌人不同。再说《Fatal Frame 3》，玩家与敌人战斗时不断处于劣势，因为敌人可以消失、重现，可以穿过墙壁、地板和天花板攻击玩家。
当然，给玩家一段安全时期也可能起到反效果。《Fatal Frame 3》中最恐怖的时刻之一是，游戏进行时，安全时间就像沙漏一样慢慢流逝，我不想在多说，怕坏了感觉。
The Interplay of Fear and Power In Horror Games- Or, How To Make Manly Men Cry.
by Josh Bycer
We’re one month away from October, which can only mean one thing: discussing horror elements in games. In the past I’ve talked about horror design in games, such as examining why “Fight or Flight” needs to be around. With the recent release of Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, it reminded me of another game in the Warhammer universe. Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels, which came out for the 3d0 in the 90s and as I thought about it, the game is an excellent example of how to do fear while giving the player power, which led me to thinking about the guidelines for how to do this.
1. Player Has To Fight Back At All Times:
While I enjoyed Amnesia: The Dark Decent as an adventure game, I don’t consider it scary for one reason: the player cannot defend themselves.
Going to back to an article I wrote awhile ago, the fight or flight response is part of human nature, as our brains have to make a split second decision in a dangerous situation to either stay and fight or run away and release the corresponding neurotransmitters. When you remove half the equation, it restricts the options the player has. In Amnesia, I didn’t even bother running away when I was caught by a monster because I could just let it kill me and try again. There was more work involved with running away then just retrying.
By having both fight and flight as available options, it forces the player to make that decision. This was one area where Alan Wake succeeded, as the player is constantly outnumbered by the enemies in the game, forcing the player to decide if they can take them on, or try to run to the next safe area.
Another side of this is games that allow the player to fight back, but only at specific times. In Haunting Ground, the player for the most part, is chased by an enemy who wants to kill them with no means to hurt them. At the end of each area there is an actual boss fight where the player has to find a way to put them down.
The problem with this is that the game is still exemplifying one response at a time. Flight during the adventure segments, and then fight at the boss fights. In order for the responses to work, the player must have both options available at all times, if you lock the player in a room with a boss, then it’s no longer a horror game but an action game as the player knows that their only option is to fight.
In Space Hulk, the general plot is that you part of the Blood Angels, a group of space marines whose task it is to keep aliens from taking over planets. In the game, your main foes are the genestealers, aliens who infect races with their DNA to cause their species to grow. From reading the basic plot that was in the manual, the space marines are the kind of people who take on any challenge no matter how suicidal and fight to the last man.
The player is always outnumbered by the stealers and with squad members persistent across maps, they have to decide when to keep moving, or when to stay and fight. While it is easy for the player to survive with a full squad as backup, getting everyone back alive is a completely different story.
2. Enemies Have To Fight At A Different Level Then the Player:
One of the basic rules of horror is that you should be experiencing something that you are not accustomed to. While horror games get this right to a degree with weird monster designs, many miss the point that enemies should not fight from the same rulebook as the player.
Tell me, why is it that Gears of War is considered an action title and Dead Space is a horror title, when both games have the protagonist fighting otherworldly enemies with advanced weaponry? The difference is that in Gears of War, the majority of the enemies fight the same way as the player, using guns and grenades. While in Dead Space, the enemies are completely different from the player, both in how they attack and how to kill them. With Dead Space, the monsters or necromorphs can only be killed by severing their limbs, as they will just regenerate from body or head shots.
In Space Hulk, the player’s squad is heavily armored and uses powerful weapons to stop their enemies. The marines’ standard load-out includes a ranged gun and a power glove for close quarters. As a marine, they have the advantage of ranged attacks, and in a one to one fight against the genestealers they will win.
The stealers on the other hand, are quicker and better at close quarters due to their powerful claws. If they attack a marine from behind, that marine is dead before he turns around. The stealers also move through vents and can appear behind the marine group, even with a motion detector the player has to be on the lookout. The last, and most dangerous advantage, is that the stealers will always outnumber the marines and in many levels, they will infinitely spawn.
As you can see, Space Marine is about asymmetrical balance, both sides are completely different and how the player reacts and fights, is not the same as the enemy. Going to Fatal Frame 3 for a second, the player is at a constant disadvantage when fighting ghosts, as they can disappear and reappear while going through walls, floors and ceilings to attack the player.
One problem I had with the Silent Hill series is that while the monster designs were unique, the majority of the enemies followed the same attack pattern: get in close to do damage. Since the player’s main weapons are close range, both interactions are similar (with the pyramid head fights of Silent Hill 2 the exception).
3. Linearity Should Be Avoided:
One of the biggest ways to remove horror in your games is to have linear attacks, as once the player knows that the game is setup this way, it removes the tension.
With F.E.A.R, the game is split between action and horror segments. During action, the player is attack by the enemies, while in horror; they wander around while creepy stuff happens. The problem is that nothing scary happens during the action segments, and there is no danger while the horror segments play out (until the very end of the game.) Instead of being scared, I was more relaxed while the game was trying to scare me as I knew I was in no immediate danger.
When you can make the players guess, as to when the next attack is, it increases the tension and horror. The reason is that constant feeling of “when am I going to be attack?”. That buildup is an excellent source of fear, but it has to have a breaking point when the player is finally attacked. If they go through an entire area and not be attacked at all, then the buildup was for nothing.
In Space Hulk, the player’s only way to tell that there is danger is their motion sensor. Similar to the movie Aliens, it beeps louder as something dangerous gets closer. With Space Hulk, there are times that the sensor will go off, and there won’t be an attack, other times the player will have to defend themselves. This keeps the tension high, as the player doesn’t know when the next attack is coming, only that there is one on the way.
In order for the horror genre to get out of its current rut in my opinion, it has to take a cue from rogue-likes and implement randomized enemy positions and attacks. The faster they move on from “monster closets”, the better for the genre. I would also like to play a horror game, where the enemies won’t always attack the player, like in Space Hulk, making the player question if this situation will turn dangerous.
4. If The Player Evolves, So Must the Enemies:
Becoming more powerful gives the player a feeling of security and can lower the tension of the game and can be used to provide the player with an area that is toned down as they can now fight back effectively. The problem with horror games is that they forget to ratchet the tension back up, and the best way to do that is to have the enemies evolve.
Alan Wake suffers from this, as the game goes on the player is introduced to more weapons and grenade types, however the enemies never change. Some enemies may require more light to weaken, but the process remains the same from beginning to end.
In Dead Space, the player will get new weapons and armor as the game progresses and the designers did implement new enemies to challenge the player, including two fights with an enemy who could only be wounded by their weapons, not killed.
The moments in Silent Hill 2, where the player encounters the pyramid head monsters are scary, as this is something different from the normal enemies the player fights. Getting up close to one is suicide when they start swinging their over-sized swords, forcing the player to either fight from afar, or run away.
As the player progresses in Space Hulk, they will be promoted with new weapons, including ones that grant the player an advantage in melee combat. As the game goes on, the player will fight new types of genestealers, along with chaos marines, which are the evil version of the player. Later enemy types include stealers who have psychic attacks, such as pyrokinesis, or making your weapons act up. The point is that while the player becomes more powerful, the enemy is growing in their own way to challenge the player.
It’s important to note for this category, that if the player doesn’t evolve then the enemy doesn’t have to. In the Fatal Frame series, the player will be using their camera as the only means to defend themselves from beginning to end. The camera can be upgraded to do more damage, but that coincides with fighting stronger ghosts that have more health. Later ghosts do have different attack patterns, but the way to defeat them remains the same.
5. Give the player downtime:
Going back to randomizing attacks to keep the player tense, there should always be a period of rest or safety to wind things down. The reason is that if the player is constantly being bombarded with horror, they’ll become desensitized to the situation. Even though I didn’t find Amnesia scary, I do appreciate the fact that the designers did give the player periods of safety, where they can focus on the puzzle solving and nothing else.
Of course giving the player a safe zone can be used against them at some point. One of the best moments of fear in Fatal Frame 3, was how the period of safety slowly trickled away as the game went on, I don’t want to say anymore as it would ruin the event.
If you want to challenge the player to figure out what is going on or make important decisions, they need time to process the events of the game, where they aren’t running for their lives or fighting against strange creatures.
Space Hulk has an interesting way of doing this. Once the player reaches the point where they can give squad members orders, they can use the pause screen to view a map of the area to accomplish this. A meter at the bottom of the screen slowly drains, representing that time is currently frozen, allowing the player to think and command in safety. Once the meter runs out, time starts again and the player will now have to command while enemies are attacking. As the player is controlling their character, the meter fills back up again allowing them more time to think.
We all have different degrees of fear, that’s just human nature. However, I think that the points in this entry can serve as a focal point, which will scare any player. One of my design goals is to create a game that gives the player all kinds of weapons: shotguns, rocket launchers, flamethrowers etc, and yet is still completely terrified of the dark and unknown. With that said if I do make that game at one point, I have one bit of advice for you: be afraid, be very afraid.(source:chronicgamedesigner)