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 Udemy Course Section 3

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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: Udemy Course Section 3   Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:53 am

Just noting some thoughts. I'm working on my Udemy course for learning C++ in the context of making games using the Unreal engine, and at section 3 things start to get more moresome. But right away at the start of the section, as the instructor starts to lay out our plan for the whole section, I start asking myself questions. The plan is to learn how to combine C++ and the Unreal Engine (UE) starting with a classic "escape the room" game. The Concept as described by Instructor Ben:
1. The core concept is simple: escape the room.
2. You awaken in a locked room, unable to escape.
3. Use environmental clues such as light and sound to determine what to do next.
4. Trigger pressure plates and solve puzzles to progress towards the exit.

The rules:
1. No lose condition, apart from the feeling you're going to die in this room if you don't get out!
2. Anything that you can do, you're allowed to do.
3. You win by finally exiting the room.

Sounds awesome, and I'm looking forward to continuing on, but we're at the design stage, hence covering the concept, rules, requirements, and conditions. As I make my plan in my head, and make the rough sketches Ben recommends, I keep coming back to the #1 rule. Specifically, the feeling you're going to die in this room...

I've played a few of these escape games. Flash-based, 2D, 3D, 2.5D, point-n-click, first-person, those silly ones on phones that are just 100 floors of single room puzzles (actually fun, but silly from a grander game design standpoint). I'm trying to think of any of them that gave me any sense of urgency to escape, much less a feeling of dying in the room. I know, a short video game with one purpose, you're not going to get any emotional attachment to a character, but... I don't know. There has to be some way to convey a NEED to escape. I remember I played a flash one that was tagged as horror, and it started with the crazy doctor guy coming in to tell you you're time is coming soon, and the caged room has bodies and skeletons and parts hanging on meathooks and such. That's cool, but it's overdone in the full-blown first person horror games these days. I remember I very much wanted to escape, and finding screwdrivers to open ducts and valves in a boiler room and such, but I don't remember what the plot progression was, so I can't remember how they brought that escape urge on.

The only other one I can think of where I really wanted to escape was Verde Station, and that didn't give any forced reason why. The guy that made it, I believe, borders on genius. There was nothing specific in the game that made you feel like it was dangerous to keep doing your thing, but overall there was an atmosphere of something being seriously wrong. You kept waiting for something to happen, someone to pop out, some anything. You weren't even sure if escape was the right idea, or if you could, or why you should, but there was a compelling FEELING leading you to escape. Verde Station could be completed on a speed run in as little as 15 minutes, I've still managed to rack up several hours just because each time I play I get "that feeling."

So how the hell do I create "that feeling" without copying Verde, and without telling the player in same way "escape or you die?" How do I create a sense of urgency? Filling the room with water? OOH... that just came to me, and that could be used to great effect! Big ship, sinking on one end, you're stuck in the sinking end and have to complete puzzles to unlock bulkheads to get up on deck to get in a lifeboat... Don't think I've played that before! I suppose the same could be used with fire in a building. Or reverse the concept... being chased and having to do some puzzling tasks to lock doors. Hmmm, food for thought. Thanks, forum diary thing! Very Happy (of course discussion is welcome)

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PostSubject: Re: Udemy Course Section 3   Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:42 pm

I forget the name of the game, but it's an escape the room series on Kongregate (an entire series, as a matter of fact). You look in a mirror or window; shadows flash, a ghostly sillouette appears staring at you, and then gone. A telephone rings, answer, and either static or old hand-crank phonograph music cracks. Pictures on the wall change every time you look at them. That kind of stuff definitely sets the atmosphere.

Try having the sound of approaching footsteps, or something trying to claw it's way in. Have it so you awaken in a pool of blood, but "there isn't a mark on me". Or, for something less sinister, there's smoke coming in from the bottom of the door... the door is hot to the touch, must be a fire, can't escape that way.

Or hell, go all Twilight Zone. Open the window curtains and you see an operating room. "Oh look," a technician says, "number 32 is awake. Don't worry, we'll get to you as soon as we're done with 31 here." Of course, the patient is still awake... or the doctors aren't human... or they are, but the patient isnt.

Simplest way? You wake up and find a clock, and it's counting down.
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PostSubject: Re: Udemy Course Section 3   Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:49 pm

I remember playing a series on Kong, not so much escape the room, just a single room point-n-click adventure with horror elements. KINDOF reminds me of the series you're talking about, but there's more time involved. You would click the edges of the screen to turn around the room, look up at the light, hit it to scare a moth, the moth flies into the window, you open the curtains and there's a tree on a hill outside with this scary mofo staring at you, and after a jump scare your breath on the window shows a code you use in a different part of the room, and ZWOOF you're in the same room in 1965-ish with more puzzles to solve, all something about a murder I believe. There was a sense of urgency, but they never really make you NEED to escape.

All your other ideas are awesome! I definitely like the clock, and I'm seeing that as an easy way out of my water idea, since I'm trying to concentrate on the course, I'm trying to avoid sidestepping to learn other distractions, and the little I've played with water in UE, it's a MAJOR distraction at this point. (not like the good old days). The number 32 is awake thing is awesome, but again, we're not at the stage of having people doing anything...but you know what that reminds me of? If a dude WERE at a stage to have several people with predefined AI... imagine a game where a bunch of people wake up in a completely nothing room, with only an upside down table stuck to the middle of the floor as any sense of anything being out of place... Smile

Anyway, this is good! Awesome ideas!!! This leads me to another chunk of thought soon to be placed in a separate thread so I don't bog down this section 3 thing.

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PostSubject: Re: Udemy Course Section 3   Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:54 am

Thought of this last night as I drifted off to sleep. A clock, while an easy way out, is just that: an easy way out. I've something similar in mind, but would definitely ramp up the need to escape.

Screen starts off black, or dark gray. The screen begins to slowly lighten, but as it is doing so, a klaxon can be heard getting louder as the screen brightens. Then, naturally, you hear a woman's voice, mumbled at first, getting clearer... "warning, self destruct has been initiated. please follow evacuation procedures." Of course, there really is no time limit, but the ambiance is there.

On a different note, you and are are thinking of the same game series on Kongregate. There were two that really stuck out for me: the birthday one (that to me was the creepiest) and the one in the cabin by the lake was timed. Those are some great games, by gawd.
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PostSubject: Re: Udemy Course Section 3   Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:58 am

I just reread your last post again, and realized I keep forgetting to try the birthday one you spoke of. I'm sure I never tried that one, and if it was creepy for you I need to try that.

Anyway, just had a thought from a different thread for an escape the room. A Train! You have to escape each car to get to the front and hit the brakes before the train reaches a broken track or busted bridge or some other train-stopping calamity. Now you have claustrophobic environs, multiple rooms strung together, AND the sense of impending doom!

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