Haunted Dreams – Indie Horror Game

Horror, yet realistic..

Enlightening, but terrifying..

Will you experience the entity floating around your house at night?

A mix between a horror game and a real life experience brings us Haunted Dreams, an indie horror game with a twist.

Plot:

Theres a lone 23 year old who shares an apartment with no one, or so he thought.. Eventually he gets sick of hearing things and waking up questioning everything, so he chooses to record his apartment during the night for the length of a week.

The twist is this, instead of trying to figure what is causing the disturbances as the role of the 23 year old, you are instead the disturbance itself, trying to figure out what you are and how you got there.

Gameplay:

Firstly I’ll note that this game will be a downloadable game on any PC, laptop, computer, phone and tablet from the app store/website. The aimed audience will be about 14-20 year olds accessing these popular gaming sites. I wouldn’t want any lower than 14 simply because it will be a bit of a confusing thriller game, however I don’t mind if the age limit exceeds 20.

It will be an indie flash style game. Mainly point and clicks but with arrow use for moving around the house.

You will start each night waking up viewing the player sleeping and from there you will be free to wonder the house. You will be able to interact with different objects, obtaining clues as to who you might be and why you’re a spirit in this home. Once each night finishes, you’ll have a cutscene of your homeowner flicking through the security footage of that night, looking at what you got up to.. (the footage depending on what you actually did that night).

Depending on what you do each night, the home owner will have different reactions to the footage, such as making his security tighter, setting traps or if you manage to be as un disturbing as possible, even letting his guard down and allowing access to new areas.

The Goal:

There isn’t exactly a win or lose however there are different endings, some much more satisfying than others.

You can either

  • Manage to figure out who you are by the end of the 7 nights, and figure out a way to inform your home owner, causing communication/peace.
  • Find out who you are and end up scaring your home owner, resulting in no communication and the fleeing of your homeowner.
  • Not ending up finding out who you are but managing to keep the house undisturbed, relaxing your homeowner and allowing for your stay.
  • Not finding out who you are but eventually causing too many disturbances, resulting in your termination through exorcism.

All these endings will be determined by the actions you make, how disturbing you are, and how many clues you unlock regarding who you are.

The goal is basically to try and be un disturbing, managing to go through the nights without waking your owner/getting exorcised  and being able to figure out who you are. The most satisfying ending would be the first ending, figuring out who are and alerting your home owner in a safe way.

House Layout

First floor – 

  • Kitchen
  • Living/Dining Room
  • Toilet
  • Study Room
  • Garage
  • Hallway

 

  • FLOOR 1.jpg

 

Second Floor – 

  • Main Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Spare Room
  • Attic

floor 2.jpg

PRODUCTION:

(All in theory, as I won’t actually be producing this game, only pitching it.)

Production can be very cheap or very expensive when it comes to small indie games. In reality, I could probably produce this game with almost no cost at all, however i’d imagine it to be very poor quality that way. Game developing tools can vary from $0-$2000 dollars (such as Unity). Other creation tools can also vary from $0-$2000 (such as Blender.org).

Of course this production process will rely heavily on the people I know and the skills I can obtain. Fortunately I know quite tech savvy people who can probably be a huge help in the production of this game, minimising my cost of hiring people to have those skills for me. Of course these people will still need to get paid, and that depends on the skill they have, how they use it, while also keeping in mind where they live, how expensive their tools are and travel (if necessary). In this case I would want to keep costs low when it comes to what programs I use to create my game, and just spend my money on having great skills to best utilise those programs.

I would also need a website which would cost money as well.

Im looking at minimum a few hundred dollars, which is a little under my price range. So I’m willing to spend about $1000-$1500 in order to produce the best quality indie game I can. This includes the website, obtaining licenses for software and paying my employees.

 

Keep tuned kiddies, its only the start of this haunting journey! – Jessicca.

12 thoughts on “Haunted Dreams – Indie Horror Game

  1. Hey Jess, a pretty cool game concept you’ve got going there. Some small points I noticed:

    Regarding the plot I’m a little confused. You state that we’ll be playing the role of the 23 year old owner, but you follow up that in reality we’ll actually be playing the ghost? From what I see, this game’s appeal works through narrative, story building and hidden information. If so, for this to work effectively, the plot (and also the way you present it) must be clear and without confusion.

    Your proposed gameplay is good; you can’t go wrong with the classic point-and-clicks, but (as stated above), point-and-clicks rely on a strong narrative. I feel some sort of additional “challenge” aspect needs to be added to keep the game fresh and playable. Perhaps some sort of timer per night to limit how much you can actually discover in a night? Or the 23 year old human wakes up in the night at random intervals to grab a glass of milk or go to the bathroom, and if you’re spotted, s/he calls the exorcist early, ending the game? I believe you need some sort of risk/reward mechanic, if only a little, to keep the game compelling.

    The only thing I’m concerned about is the lack of activity. From this initial proposition (which was really quite good) I see you’ve set a time-frame (7 nights) which is a good start. But you need more limitations/challenges for it to be a more “fun game” and not just a story (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Perhaps consider the idea of “mini-game”/”puzzle” mechanics in conjunction with the above mentioned ideas?

    This idea of yours reminds me of an amazing DS game I played once called Ghost Trick. You play as a spirit who is stuck in the human world, and you have to go through a wonderful narrative of kooky and colourful characters and plots, with, more importantly, engaging puzzles and mechanics to find out WHO exactly you are. If you play, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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    1. Most of your points of aspects of the game I’m currently sorting out actually, glad you also picked up on them! Proved they will be interesting for the player. I will be sure to make clear you are playing the ghost, not the human, sorry for the confusion!
      There will be time frames on each night also, I’m thinking about a minute each hour, going from 11pm-5am or 12am-6am.
      I have actually decided that the human will be waking up during the night, sometimes at random (maybe never at all if youre lucky) and sometimes activated by your ghost causing too much disturbance. Like you said, all these actions can lead to the game ending early and you not recieving the desired ending.
      I have thought about these game mechanics quite a bit and was going to do another blog post for them, however I maybe could have quickly included them in this post to ensure there was some more gameplay going on!
      There are much more ideas swimming in my head, regarding what activates what, the challenges ill set up and how you can gain more access to new areas/be restricted by the humans tight security etc etc.
      Glad you like it so far, and I’ll definitely check that game out!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The twist of how you are trying to find out who you are is very interesting. I’ve always been a fan of horror so having to play the role as the ghost sounds like a lot of fun. Reading about your game it sounds like Until Down. Where the actions you take in the game affects the overall story. If you want to create this game I suggest you use https://twinery.org/. This platform allows you to choose where you want to go in the story. Although this may not be the style of gameplay you are looking for. It can give you a nice layout where you can test and see how different actions takes you through different scenarios. It sounds confusing but this is a link of how it can be like http://stories.amcorbin.com/inheritance.html. I hope this helps!

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  3. This is really cool! It kind of reminds me of the game Going Home in that there’s really simple mechanics but it still tells a really engaging story through the found objects in the house. I don’t think the time frame of the seven nights should be a problem at all, especially with the minute-per-hour- Five Nights at Freddy’s does this and it goes quite quickly, but not so quickly that you run out of time to do things. It could also be a fun challenge to balance the spirits investigating throughout the night, and not do so much as to scare the other resident and be exorcised. The different endings are all interesting and adds to the replay value which is important.
    I like the plot, it is a little confusing at times but I totally understand, you must have so many ideas in your head! Is the video recording going to come into play at all? Or is this how the resident is going to become aware of the disturbances in the house? Perhaps there could be puzzles that the player could do to block cameras in certain rooms- raising the awareness of the resident to your presence but the risk could be rewarded with a big clue to the spirit’s identity. There’s so many possibilities!

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  4. This sounds like a really deep game in which you are playing a point and click game where instead of being the main human character you are actually the ghost inhabiting the house which i find extremely interesting as you are taking the concept of a horror, ghost game and turning it on it’s head my playing the ‘antagonist’? In a game where both the player and the AI are trying to figure out different things. The player is figuring out how it got to who it is, and the game figuring out what it is. I am intrigued! Point and click games can be extremely good at being able to tell a narrative as having text pop up and being able to read easily fits the way that point and click games play. Games like Monkey Island do some of the best work in terms of point and click as they blend narrative, gameplay and puzzles together to create a fun, engaging, interesting game and I can see this game working towards this. Unlike some games, I can imagine this game being fitted into a wide variety of different genres and that speaks volumes of the idea that you have crafted as it fits so well into so many different formulas.

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  5. I love how this game is coming together! I’m really going to enjoy watching this progress. The twist of the player actually being the spirit is really cool – it’s certainly a viewpoint that people wouldn’t get to experience in real life, which is the whole point of a game, isn’t it?

    I’m a big horror film fan, so I really enjoyed the “checking of the footage the next day” you mentioned – it reminded me of Paranormal Activity. Maybe you could put little easter eggs throughout the game that throwback to classic horror films, as an additional reward to your player? A bit of a ‘collect them all’ which is a bit more obscure. I definitely think you need to have a lot of little challenges throughout the game, especially if there’s no ultimate ‘win or loss’ option at the end.

    I also really appreciate that you’re being realistic in the product development and costing process. If you still want to keep the game as accessible to everybody as possible, perhaps crowdfunding could be considered? Those who pledge more could unlock bonus rooms or game related content (such as a short film or a soundtrack).

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  6. I love the fact that you are the ghost causing the disturbance, it certainly brings a unique element to your game and the different possible endings to the game will make consumers want to play over and over again to see what happens when they make different actions. To increase the fun in games and the potential for replaying, it would be interesting to create a long list of how you can scare the homeowner – even though it may not necessarily help them advance in the game, different scares can provide a lot of amusement for the player.
    On top of the price of actually designing the game, I think you need to consider the marketing of the game as well. Starting out can be difficult for an unknown publisher, so it’s important to create advertising for your target audience – joining groups on Facebook can spread the word, even just creating Let’s Play videos for YouTube can be a good way to let people know about your game. Otherwise, attending conventions is good way to get a lot of people to try your game if it’s almost complete, but this costs more money.
    All in all, I like the ideas you have and I’m interested to see how you expand on them!

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  7. I really like this game concept it’s very original and intriguing! Like someone else mentioned, capping the game at 7 nights is also a good way to keep the game at a reasonable time length while still being able to tell the story. I think the choose your own adventure style will work really well because it will allow people to play the game multiple times with different outcomes keeping it interesting. On the other hand, as there are only 4 endings for the game have you thought of a way to get people to keep playing the game after a few times when they know all the answers to the secrets? Just an idea but you could possibly have a multi-player version of the game where one player is the ghost and another is the human? I think what you’ve done so far though is really detailed and interesting though, and I look forward to hearing about the next stages of this game.

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    1. I think having multi-player can get a bit confusing and maybe even just too annoying, however to keep them interesting I could even add in some “hidden features” that they can explore with once they have finished the game? If you get all 4 endings maybe you unlock the “secret ending” or something like that? I think that is always interesting in games!

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  8. Hey a good game Idea hey, I like the way there is no win or loose so the game or story will keep on goin. in another hand i would like to add some Ideas, maybe you can adds mystery box that provide a communication tools for the spirit to it human house owner, It can be a marker or spoon. and by using this tools is less likely scaring it human house owner instead making the communication progress way effective, I would say 2 mysterious box and 1 trap box.

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  9. I’m a big fan of horror films and horror games, and the twist has me intrigued. I’ve never seen it done before and the idea of controlling the force rather than running from it sounds like a brilliant game mechanic. Also the fact that you get the opportunity to watch the footage of your actions is a great idea in my opinion. I can just imagine my incompetence playing the game, doing an awful job of being an ominous ghost, would be equal parts scary and hilarious. I love this for its originality. Well done!

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    1. I had that thought as well that it would be sort of fun to watch what you got up to through out the night the way the humans see it (not actually seeing you, so if you pick up a cup, all the footage sees is a floating cup haha!)
      I think it brings in entertainment value for sure. Glad you enjoy the concept!

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