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MMOWTF: Horror

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMOWTF: Horror

This week, Dan Fortier waxes poetic about bringing a truly scary MMORPG to the market and what that might entail from developers and players alike.

I'm a bit late for Halloween, but that won't stop me from donning my 'provocative journalist' costume for one more circuit around the block in search of more goodies. In the spirt of the season I wanted to explore the concepts behind making a true Horror MMO, if such a thing is even possible. Last week I briefly mentioned a few things that could be done to improve immersion and it got me thinking about ways to turn even a multiplayer environment into a playhouse of terror. Tuck in the kids, turn out the lights and ignore the occasional suspicious sounds coming from outside as you read along.

One of the most important elements in any horror game is atmosphere. It's hard to be scared by a movie if the lights are on and some guy is munching on popcorn in your ear. The reason this is hard to achieve in a MMO is simple: Information overload. A typical MMO has hotbars, HP, Mana gauges and floating maps which are generally essential for standard gameplay, but would be completely out of place and ruin the all-important feeling of 'being there' that is a requisite for a Horror game. Well made games in the genre like Silent Hill and Fatal Frame achieve a lot of atmosphere with a minimalist interface that allows you to focus on what your character is seeing.

Read more here.


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