[VXA] Nightmare - GIAW 9

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Now that I have your attention~


This here is the full, completed version of my GIAW 9 entry: Nightmare. It is the spiritual successor to one of my earliest game projects called Shadows, combining elements of a puzzle solver and a psychological horror game and making this perhaps my first successfully completed experimentation with the idea of a surreal "dream versus reality" setting. My aim with this game is twofold: to strike a sense of unease into the player, unnerving them if not outright causing them to jump, and to allow the player to try to unravel the strange story behind the game for themselves.

Nightmare was fortunate enough to snag the first place spot in the contest, and I've been busy adding to it and improving on it since then so that even the GIAW judges will enjoy going through the game once more. The puzzles range from being simple "find this item, use this item here", to being gruesome challenges that really make you stop and think. It's only about 40 minutes to an hour long, but every minute is jam packed with heart-pounding excitement and scares around every corner. Considering this was my first time using VXA, I'm really happy with how it came out. I put a lot of heart and spirit into making this, so I hope you enjoy it!





Notes and Tips:
  • Choose wisely! There are three difficulties to the game: Timid (Easy Mode), Normal, and Brave (Hard Mode). Timid Mode gives the simplest forms of all of the puzzles while providing many hints, and slows the shadow down and making her appear less often. The best ending is easiest to acquire in this mode. The Normal Mode is the average playthrough, neither too difficult or too simple. It has the shadow at normal speeds and appearance rates, the original contest versions of the puzzles with little to no hints, and a slightly more difficult path to find the best ending. Brave Mode, however, ups the stakes considerably by providing more complicated versions of some of the puzzles, increasing the shadow's appearance rate, having the requirements for the best ending better hidden, and giving you a limited number of continues while disabling save files. Be sure to take on the difficulty best suited for you!
  • Explore! As you may have guessed, there are two endings to the story based upon your actions in the game, one good ending and one bad ending. Getting one ending over the other can dramatically change the entire interpretation of the game, so pay close attention! It's not difficult to find the good one if you take your time a bit, examine the environment around you and follow every lead you're given. Even if you get the bad ending though, don't worry; there'll be hints provided in game for what may help you on the right path.
  • Run! Holding down the shift key while moving will allow you to sprint and give you a decent speed boost. It's useful for making a quick getaway or dashing past dangers. But keep in mind that you are only human; running for too long will cause you to get winded and need to slow down again to catch your breath, and the last thing you need is to slow down right when there's something behind you...
  • Listen! Can you hear the sound of your own beating heart? It means that the shadow is nearby, slowly closing in on you! You may not always be able to see her, but you can always listen carefully to determine if she's close by or not. So when you hear the sound of a heart, stop and look around to see where she's coming from before making a run for it!
  • Think fast! The shadow will pursue you relentlessly and often block your path forward, but if you're smart there are ways to get around her. Try luring her to one side of the hall or to where you have more space before sprinting around her, or if the hall is too narrow you can try to duck into a nearby room until she's gone. Be careful though, she might be waiting for you when you re-emerge from the room and can be faster than she looks at times!
  • Check your inventory! Every time you pick up an item or a key, pause for a moment to examine it in your inventory so that you can have a better idea of where to go next or how to use the item. Oftentimes the item's name alone will be enough for you to figure out what to do with the item.
  • Use your map! After acquiring a map of the hotel, pull it up now and then to get an idea of the hotel's layout and where you're going. There won't be any direct "YOU ARE HERE" indicators, but it's usually not too difficult to discern where you on the map based on your surroundings. Just pay close attention and bring the map up when you need to know where a certain room is or what puzzle is where and what doors you've already tried.



If you get hopelessly stuck, you are more than welcome to ask for hints or help in this thread as long as you use spoilers for anything story related. And if you really enjoy playing this game, you can always check out some of my other projects too, such as the original Shadows or the new remake of Midnight. ^^
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 07:52:30 PM by Simba »




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Scary ahhhhh ;o;

Also, no wonder this won 1st place :) looks downright awesome
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This is scaring the shit out of me ;8

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Just playing through this. Taking my time with it though whilst making notes on it.

I did find a small issues/bugs, and as I find more I'll let you know about them. I'll give you actual feedback when I finish it.

#1: Entering the Gift Shop from the North Door puts you in the position between the mirror and the door you entered. I did this three times to make sure I wasn't just seeing things - what with this game flashing faces at me occasionally.
(Why do I always feel like it's the end of the world and I'm the last man standing?)

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Also in the box puzzle if you try pushing the small box against the lower-left-hand corner (which I shouldn't be doing anyway :V), the game freezes ;9

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Also in the box puzzle if you try pushing the small box against the lower-left-hand corner (which I shouldn't be doing anyway :V), the game freezes ;9

I even read this before I did it, but yeh, it freezes here. Good thing I save often.
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Gift shop is mercifully an easy fix, I'm not sure how that one got missed after shifting the map. Even the judges and my playtester never commented on it. x.x

Looking into the box puzzle freezing, it sounds like a move route isn't being completed when it's set to check first if the space you're moving to is passable or not. Did it freeze for you moving it anywhere else, like against the pillars?




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I only had it happen when trying to push it from it's start position, into the outer wall. I also tried this against other walls and couldn't get it to crash there.

I haven't come across any other things outside of these two issues, but I wasn't particularly trying to bug test it.
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I think I'm gonna put off working a bit on my game this morning and give this a shot but the first time that it actually makes me jump, I may have to quit for a bit lol.  I'm extra jumpy today for some reason...I woke up this morning and was walking to the restroom and jumped when I saw my boxes out of the corner of my eye thinking I saw a face lol. 
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It definitely has a good number of cases where jump moments are pushed onto you. It usually in places where you should expect them, but for some reason you don't.

Sounds like you scare/jump as easily as I do at times, especially for things that are in the corner of your eye.
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It definitely has a good number of cases where jump moments are pushed onto you. It usually in places where you should expect them, but for some reason you don't.

Sounds like you scare/jump as easily as I do at times, especially for things that are in the corner of your eye.

Typically it is only during times of very little sleep.  I stayed up late last night re-working my GIAW entry so I could release it and then submitted a profile of it on RMN and changed the CSS on that page so I was up doing a lot of work...and then my sister woke me up this morning crying about wanting pancakes and not getting what she wanted lol.  I'm extremely tired right now lol.

Typically, I can play through survival horror games without getting too freaked out (except Kuon...That game is fucking scary no matter how you look at it) but with my current state of mind, even a 2-dimensional game will freak me out lol
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It certainly did for the judges. :V


Anyways, found what I think was the problem. My event asks the game to check if the space where you're pushing to is passable or not, and for some reason it was returning positive because of the annoying fact that you can walk on the ceiling tiles if you happen to be on top of them. Luckily, it's easy enough to put something over top of them to make them TRUE impassible tiles, solving the annoying issue.

Reuploading in a sec. with V. 1.01, fixing the box puzzle glitch, the giftshop door glitch, and some minor tileset stuff where you could walk on a wall in certain spots.


Edit: There, updated. New link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/9xwovg
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 03:55:48 PM by Chris »




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Quote from: Zylos
I've been busy adding to it and improving on it since then so that even the GIAW judges will enjoy going through the game once more.
If by 'enjoying' you mean that I'll piss myself instead of holding my bladder like last time, then I'm afraid I'm gonna have to give this a miss ;_;


But good job on winning the contest :)

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Well...I gotta say that I'm happy that face wasn't one of the faces I originally expected to pop out at me.
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If by 'enjoying' you mean that I'll piss myself instead of holding my bladder like last time, then I'm afraid I'm gonna have to give this a miss ;_;

I feel your pain, D&P3. I'm assuming you are like me and don't like horror games? :-[

Either way I don't like being afraid, otherwise I would play this. ;9 (Sometimes its hard enough for me to get to sleep as it is).
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Downloading, busy weekend ahead, but I am definitely going to give this some play time =o And then you can come and cuddle me to settle my nerves Zylos :mad:

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1:15. The house is dark and quiet, and I decide this is a good time to try this game.


haha no

I'm going to bed before I have a heart attack >_<

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1:15. The house is dark and quiet, and I decide this is a good time to try this game.


haha no

I'm going to bed before I have a heart attack >_<

I was playing it during the day and got freaked out a little.  The thing I notice about this game, though is that it's not the scares that scare me...it's the fact that there is a potentially harmful spirit walking toward me at times and I'm trying to do my best to avoid it...not to mention the atmosphere.  I mean, the scares are there, don't get me wrong, but what keeps me on edge is totally the atmosphere. 

That song playing on the radio at the beginning was a really nice touch.  I'm actually quite interested in finding out how you did some of the stuff that you did because it is all very cool.
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Which stuff? Some was simple, others were a little more complicated.




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Which stuff? Some was simple, others were a little more complicated.

I'll get you a list once I finish playing.   If any of it is picture/audio trickery I will be amazed because a lot of that was too smooth XD
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Version 1.02 is almost done. Number of small stuff that add to a larger picture, like an improved player map to keep track of where you are and what you've done.

Edit: Tis almost ready. Sent to a tester to give one last go through.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 04:44:45 AM by Simba »




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And self-bump for version 1.03, adding in some bigger new features and a few fixes. Still waiting on one tester, but my other testers have gone through and given me the thumbs up for it.


The new stuff is as follows:
  • Multiple Difficulties - Timid, Normal, and Brave. The Timid mode slows the shadow down and makes her appear less often, while offering the simplest forms of the puzzles and providing plenty of hints for each one. It provides the easiest path for the good ending, requiring only one missable item. The Normal mode has the shadow at normal speed and mostly the same puzzles as was in the original version, but it lacks the outright hints that the easy mode offers. It also offers a slightly more challenging path for acquiring the good ending, requiring three separate items found throughout the hotel, but it's still relatively simple if you take your time and explore since only one of the items is missable. The Brave mode has the shadow appear more frequently, has slightly more complicated versions of some of the puzzles with zero hints or forgiveness, and worst of all, completely disables saving while allowing you only a limited number of continues to get through the game with. The good ending is a bit more challenging to acquire than normal mode, requiring you to look just a little harder for the three necessary items and making two of them missable. The general story and flow of the game is the same no matter which difficulty setting you choose, so be sure to pick one that you feel is best suited for your level.

  • Upgraded Map System - Instead of being just static, the map will now provide some useful information for you as you progress through the game. It'll highlight which room you're in to help you figure out where you are, note where you've found various keys with checkmarks, show you where some of the core puzzles are, and mark down each locked door that you've tried. Imagine a cross between the map system of Resident Evil and Silent Hill and you've got what this new map system looks like.

  • New Spawn Locations - There's now a percent chance for where the shadow will appear on the map, depending on which difficulty you're on. It'll either randomly spawn in one of several select locations, spawn right outside the last door you entered if you were close enough to it when you ducked into the room, or else not show up at all. This means you'll have to be more careful when moving about; you might be very lucky and not come across her at all, or you might be very unlucky and find that she's waiting for you right outside of the door...

  • Various Fixes and Overhauls - Several puzzles have been changed to reflect their new difficulties, the box puzzle has been redone to be less frustrating while still challenging enough, some tileset pieces have been fixed up a bit so that you're not walking on walls in the wrong places (oops), a few new rooms have been added depending on your difficulty level, and minor tweaks to fix a few things that felt out of place. Some are big things, others are tiny.


I think that's about it. Have fun, if you're brave enough to play it. :3




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I would really love to know how you did the updated map system.  Would you mind if I picked your brain on that?  I'm still trying to learn different ways for doing it and my current map system is nice and all but it could use some added functionality and it still slightly suffers from the static image syndrome. 

I'm gonna give this a shot tonight probably after I've officially creeped myself out enough with watching MTV's Fear and was considering doing a let's play of it if that's okay with you?
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