Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Found Free to use (Commercial too) Horror Music

While looking through YouTube videos for horror sounds/sfx, I stumbled across a website that would take me to the mother-of-all commercially free music I could use. Kevin MacLeod will of course be credited if his music ever is used in the end product.
Most of the sound effects will be created by myself, but unfortunately I am not a musician, so creating a music score is a lot more difficult. One other alternative besides looking for free to use music, would be to ask a Music Tech. friend of mine for help, or commission.

Royally Free Music- Horror

Here is my Pitch gameplay video. I hope the lecturers like it.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Locked Door & Follow AI WIP!

<_> Not much to show, but this took a very long time for a script illiterate like myself. I am in the middle of looking at how to replace the bot with a different mesh... also perhaps when the bot touches the player, the player should die instantly.
I have made the bot slow on purpose for demonstration, usually it is almost as quick as the player.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Block out monster

I have finished modelling a basic low poly version of the monster (the design still hasn't been finalised) I will be using this for my pitch. In the end, any monster I pick will serve the same purpose: to make sound while it travels around, and to constantly keep a look out for the player (audio and visual), they all have poor hearing and definitely poor seeing (especially the designs showing a lack of eyes).

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Monster Concepts- A Variety

I finished my monster concepts. These are all different kinds I would originally use if the game were bigger and I had more time to complete it. However for this project it will just be possible designs of the one monster I hope to have running around, noisy enough for the player to come.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

More Sound Effects

Today I grabbed myself a portable sound recorder. I needed to record a door squeaking, but failed to find anything that could replicate an actual door squeak. So I decided I'd bring the recorder to my home- the land of squeaky old doors.

  DoorSqueak03 by Jin Suen

  AirVentLoop02 by Jin Suen

  FloorboardSqueak01 by Jin Suen

  HeavyDoorUnlockOpen00 by Jin Suen

  TriggerSound02 by Jin Suen

Besides just Squeaky doors, I have air vent noises that can act as atmospheric sound. Locked doors, trying door hands, and anything that makes a place seem old.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Monster Itterations- WIP

I have been looking into creating other types of monsters, and have created a second mood board. My game should only have one. But I believe I reached the design of a monster too quickly (skipping a step which is iterating designs). These however a slightly more human.

I am still in the process of creating more monsters. With some finished designs I will then create variations of the chosen monster. Chances are I will stick to the four-legged monstrosity as it gives a bit of difference in anatomy. The creature with the wheel to the left is one of my favourites from this bunch.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cecila- Victorian Anatomy study

I have looked into various books with illustrations and photographs of women from the 19th Century. As most people know, Victorian women wore almost ridiculously tight corsets from a young age (to the point that their rib cages had trouble developing). I wanted to take the forms from the photos and especially the illustrations, as they seem to express what Victorians considered beautiful/perfect/pleasant to look at.
The round and sunken shoulders for example is very obvious in many victorian illustrations/paintings of women.

Eye colour is very important to me, I feel because survival horror tends to lean towards the more monochrome tones, colours that exist anywhere in design will stand out a lot more than usual. However I do plan to give my level colour. Cecilia is a very important figure in the level.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Importing a Custom Character

I finally managed to import a custom character, and replace the default Liam Cathode robot. I've brought back the gun in hopes of using the physics gun to grab hold of objects.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Blockout- starting from scratch

I took the time to create some placeholder textures just to see how the area looks with proper surfaces. This is a blockout from scratch since the last one I had to scrap due to scripting complications.
Sadly I think everything is a little too big- too wide and spacey, this might be due to the lack of objects, but I can still imagine it being too friendly and open. I will alter this after getting feedback.

I would like to create a very bare HUD, here you can see I previewed the level without one. I imagine every time the player gets caught by the monster she will only have one or two chances before she dies, so instead of using a life bar I would need something else to indicate injuries like the reddening of the screen or shaking camera.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sound Effects Recording No.1

Today I went to my first recording in the Sound Room at the university. These are some of my unedited sound samples. I recorded a lot of potentially useful sounds, including moving objects, picking up books, page sfx, footsteps, scrap noise. I decided to first record these less important sounds to get a grip on the recording equipment today.
Next week I will be recording the Cecilia's voice, the monster's noises and hopefully get a squeaky door hinge in.

  Footsteps_Sneak01 by Jin Suen

  Footsteps_FastWalk by Jin Suen 

  Doorknock by Jin Suen

  OpenBook01 by Jin Suen

Monday, 14 November 2011

Victorian Decor Concept

Victorian Decor

As I have been on a trip to look at plants at the Welsh Botanical Gardens- it reminded me that I needed to consider the decor inside each room of the maze. I decided that each room would resemble a rich but abandoned and worn Victorian home. Most will have a generic look, others that contain puzzles will have it's own theme.

I looked into flora in the Victorian era. Flowers given to people always had meaning- hence you had to pick your bouquet carefully to convey the right message (otherwise to not offend the receiver).

Source: Victorian Bazaar-The Language of Flowers

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Gathering textures

I went to the Welsh Botanical Gardens with Joel Taylor & Geraint James. I managed to collect some useful textures that I may use. Mostly floor boards, walls, and potted plants.

Decor textures
Potted plants, rock for debris.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Project Folder Setup

As most classmates will know I've had a real hard time trying to get a proper working Project folder- with set up that would allow me to edit and change script files. The solution I found was from a former student who created a Tutorial just to meet my level of beginner.
Henrik Claudelin's Tutorials

I have only just begun, so my Source folder is still quite empty:

Unfortunately after setting up folders, I found an error, that would prevent my 'CustomGame' gameplay to show up in the 'World Properties' of UDK editor. So my previous block out will have to be scrapped.

Camera so far...
I am still in the middle of trying to set up the camera, so that the default will be third person. Instead of working from scratch, I will just 'extend' my scripts from the existing UTGame script files, since most properties needed in the 'Pawn' and 'PlayerController' are already there.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Maze01- Blockout 01

First version of Maze01 plan

Starting to block out in UDK a portion of the first Maze. I found out a week ago there is no subtraction level mode- I find this only somewhat bothersome as I can find an easy alternative in the workflow of creating my level. I started with a very large cube brush first of all.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Blocking out Character

I have finished modelling and rigging a basic female body form that will act as a make-shift model in the presentation of my Pitch.

I still have not full decided how she will look, hopefully I will get some feedback on which design is most desirable.

I am well on my way to blocking out a basic monster character for my pitch too. This is not the final design, but for now will do.

I added more hairstyles for the character I'm creating, there are so many variations, that I will leave it to feedback to help me decide which character is more suitable.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sound Effects creation

After receiving feedback on my project, it is apparent that my game is heavily based on Audio. I will start looking into Sound mechanics, and what will need considering:
  • Running- creates loud footstep sounds.
  • Walking- moderately quiet, but can still create a lot of noise if standing on broken glass/ creaking floor boards
  • Sneaking- very quiet if not hardly audible, character will be able to move past the monster if sneaking, however if sneaking on broken glass/ creaking floor boards, it is as loud as walking.
  • Items (thrown)- most items in the maze will create loud noises when being thrown at the wall/floor.
  • Items (dropped)- if it is not glass, it should not create as loud a noise.
  • Door slam- some doors will creak, and if closed too quickly will create a lot of noise, the character has a choice to open/close a door quickly or slowly. When being chased closing/opening doors quickly would not matter as much.
  • Traps- The worst sound that can resonate in the maze, when triggered, the character will be notified by the sound of something creaking/breaking above them (if this was a chandelier) to get out of the way. When the trap activates it will create the loudest noise in the game, that will cause the Monster to look in said area. Before the trap is activated however, the player will be given a chance if he/she listens carefully to small clues such as: floor boards creaking heavily/ door shaking slightly as you pull it slowly ('slow open' action can be cancelled if button is let go) etc.
  • Monster- will create a constant sharp metal 'plnk', 'plnk', 'plnk' (metal against clay tiles) in the radius that surrounds the monster. That same radius also stands for the detection. So if the player hears the sounds of the monster's movement, he/she had best run/hide.
  • Ambient sounds- this may be left out depending on what I will find most effective in my game, total silence has proved very effective with building tension.

Creating Sound with Foley Technique
Through some quick research I found some items that I can use to record sound with. I can get all these items from the outdoors or simply pop into a pound shop or hardware store to find the items I need, I can also use home items. This will be recorded in the sound room.

Floorboard creak -various wood panels and metal sheets, rust also helps.
Rusty Door hinge- hinge soaked in water for a day/ old chair /
Swooshing blade- thin stick / arrow
Foot steps- shoes on wooden panel or hard concrete
Metallic noise- metal Ruler (or anything else long and metal) on metal / wood/ ceramic (tin on tin?)
Bone crunching- Frozen Romain Lettuce/ Celery Stick
Debris falling (for traps) - rocks on wood/rocks
Chandelier shake (trap)- a mobile or spoon on glass jars.
Chandelier crash (trap)- metal + glass crashing into floor (although this I may just find a source online, since it is dangerous and a lot of work).
Walking on glass- Tray of glass, heavily gloved hand.

Foley Artist via Wiki
Sound Effect via Wiki
The Sound Effects Bible by Ric Viers
'The Foley Grail' by Vanessa Theme Ament

Research into Mechanics

Detection: Sound of Running and Ray Tracing for Line of Sight
Thankfully, I have really helpful classmates. Here Ed shown me a video that could be particularly helpful in figuring out my mechanic. It is a game called Overgrowth and it is in it's Alpha stage- Overgrowth Alpha 123
It explains how they have developed enemy line of sight using ray tracing, and using growing spheres to imitate sound echo.

Tutorial of Adding Sounds to UDK and the Different Types of Sound
I've thankfully found some great video tutorials of how to add sound to a level. This has taught me how to attach a sound file to a moving object.
And more...

3D Buzz UDK Sounds Tutorial Part 4 Ambient Sound Actors 

3D Buzz UDK Sounds Tutorial Part 5 Ambient Sound Actors

3D Buzz UDK Sounds Tutorial Part 6 Ambient Zones

Door open/close Sequence

Friday, 28 October 2011

Monster Concept

Title of enemy: The Terror
A more human version, this was not chosen.

Rough chosen concept

I sketched a few monsters out, but ultimately decided I wanted something that was similar to a spider, but made of metal. The monster must make a bit of noise when walking- almost like blades hitting the floor the above image is almost a perfect representation of what I want in a monster.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Main Character concept roughs

Main Character's names: Cadence, Maddie, Lilly, Elise, Rosa, Ingrid, Cecillia.

This will be taken down after I elaborate on these sketches. Let me know what you think?
I am after a Victorian 'lost-girl' look. Currently I'm deciding on the style of art. To either go for a caricatured look (first picture) or a more realistic face (second picture) which is actually based on a real person's face.

Victorian clothes:
I collected images to help me conceptualise the clothes of the main character.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Enemy function & Traps

How the Enemy Detects the Main Character
In the below diagrams, shows the monster's rings of detection. At different points of the ring (indicated by the colour and white line marks) the monster has different levels of sense. The further away, the less it can detect. The blue area on the circle, is the monster's angle of sight. 
This of course does not include walls or obstacles that would be otherwise effecting the monster's line of sight in the Maze.

In the maze, there will be traps placed in seemingly random areas. By this I mean they will be at the same spots each time the game restarts. 

Wherever the main character is in the maze, if she happens to trigger a trap, the trap will make such a loud bang that the monster will know roughly what area she is at. At this point (below scenario) the player would have to run quickly around either corner to prevent herself from being seen.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Atmosphere for Horror

What to Acknowledge when Designing a Horror game
A very useful website that gives tutorials and tips on game design workflows- I was lucky enough to find a large article on designing Horror games and what to avoid/acknowledge when designing- Horror/Survival Level Design.

Sound for Atmosphere
I've come across some videos that show how discomforting music can create high tension, especially when you cannot see the monster. This is the music played when a Regenerator is about in Resident Evil 4.

And here is the art of discord from Silent Hill

Ignoring the images of Demented children, I really like this music to influence the regular theme of the game. When nothing is happening, there should at least be a constant eerie sound.

Wondering how I will make my own music, I'm thinking of downloading a music making program to at least try to mimic a horror theme. Fruity Loops is one I've heard of, but you must pay for this.

Camera Angles
I looked into Camera angles to try and give myself better insight of what I could achieve when I manipulate the angles correctly. Since I am now using 3rd person for the sake of the puzzles and traps, I would need to look into techniques that would help bring more scare factor into game with a potentially free roaming Camera.

  • Alfred Hitchcock, famous film director for his effective camera work in psychological thriller & suspense masterpieces between 1920-80's often made human like motions with the camera movement, and introduced the up high angle shots. These high angle shots that induce suspense and makes the character that much smaller (and more vulnerable), would seem to work very well in the setting of a maze, especially a maze with a monster roaming about.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

First Simple Concept Sketches

Quick Concept sketches
 Here were a few sketches I made early on before I had figured out the game play mechanics. The first sketch you see was based on a nightmare I had one night. However I don't think that the characters suite my game idea so well now....

Here is an example concept- quickly made with the help of pasted textures. It really lacks material and whatever horror theme there should be on the interior, but I wanted to try my hand at creating a monster.

Brainstorming & Mood Boards


I have trouble organising my ideas, so I made a Brainstorm chart to help me with my thoughts.

Mood Boards

I've collected images ready to help me visualise the game. I know at least that I want to make the monster as scary as possible. And the main character should look like a fairly ordinary girl, who isn't particularly pretty/ugly/special in any kind of way. Her looks have not been decided yet, but I have collected a few faces I would use as reference in the future. These images came from a modelling site and will purely be used as reference.
If you see a face you like, let me know in the comments?

Theme of Environment

I have actually come across many useful blogs and websites that can help me figure out the theme to the game. There is an abandoned hospital/Asylum and a kind of grimy Gothic Victorian look I would love to combine. To keep it colourful yet still hold that feeling of abandonment and rust that old buildings have.

I want to combine dingy, dark, abandonment and at the same time still keep colour.

Here is a mood board showing the closest resembling level plans. They are all too simple and small, my idea was to have a fairly big and complicated building like structure. Some images are taken from gozzys dungeon maps, others are game screenshots and taken from library resources.

I couldn't find mazes that were exactly what I had in mind, but this is a combination of what I'm after
The type of monster I am after, is one that terrifies psychologically. I looked at games like Amnesia, The Void, Silent Hill (series), Resident Evil and obscure art I happened to come across on deviantART.

The pale white skin combined with deep red blood has always been appealing to me in monsters.

Monster movement

For the monster, I was very inspired by a movie called Jacob's ladder- this was also a movie that inspired the creation of Silent Hill the game. What I love most about the monsters are their twitchy movements. This man illustrates the kind of movements I would like to include in my monster animations.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Introduction and Ideas

This blog was created to record the process of producing a part of an interactive game and to help keep track of my Dissertation.

Project Plan
Here is a basic project plan listing that I have created for the sake of keeping my progress consistent. Every week there will be a major goal to complete, I have made it so I can change my plans on a weekly basis. It is an easy and simple to-do tick list. (right)

My properly structured project plan will be put into a Gantt chart that will lead to two simultaneous routes, so here is the basic flow of my project:

Design game mechanic > Demo Mechanics in chosen game engine > Finalise game mechanics >

Create Mood boards > Concept visual themes and characters > Finalise character designs > finalise level design

Major Project Introduction

I aim to create a single player Horror themed Maze game- most of the game play involves collecting items, solving puzzles/unlocking doors, and avoiding trouble whilst a monster lurks in the maze. The idea was inspired by Amnesia's eerie dungeon atmosphere and PacMan's maze chasing.

There is one main character, who wakes up in an unfamiliar place (the maze), and she must find her way out. She will come across maze after maze in the hopes of finding an exit. While she is trapped in a maze she encounters obstacles in her path (e.g. fallen debris, hole in the path, or even a monster obstructing the way) that will force the player to choose a different root or find a way across. Sometimes there will be locked doors that need items, and sometimes to get those items you must solve open plane puzzles. The puzzles involve pushing blocks, combining items that fit together to form a key (for the door) or imputing the correct sequence to a special lock.

The whole story will be set in a supernatural-horror scene, where not much makes sense- environments will look half organic (bloody/rusty) and half industrial/medical. The whole concept is undecided for now as more research and mood boards are required.

Basic Game Mechanics

The first maze is made of rooms and corridors. In this example there are 3 different starting points for the main character, and 5 spawn/outpost areas for the monster. In the below example both character and monster have spawned at one of their designated locations.

When the character wakes up/spawns in the maze, she is set at a random starting point. As soon as the game starts, the monster also spawns at a random spot of the maze. Their spots are set up so that no matter where either monster/character spawn they will always be at least two rooms away from each other. This will give the player a chance in the beginning.

Monster: Roams to a random outpost until it spots the main character, in which it will start to chase her until it looses sight or eats her.