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Design Your Own Mission: The Survival-Horror Guide


zeko

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WELCOME

 

Welcome DYOM'ers! Zeko (aka Venom) here, today I'll give you basics and an advice how to create an horror/survival-horror mission in Design Your Own Mission.

 

 

THE GUIDE

 

First off, let's start with the basics of creating a horror mission.

 

  • If you don't know the basics of DYOM, I suggest you to click the highlighted link and check out the tutorial.
  • First things first, you should know the definition of horror. If you don't, you should check out some articles about the genre first.
  • When you are starting your mission, make sure everything is okay and you're ready to design a horror mission.
  • Pick an exterior or interior at your wish. It could be the Palomino Creek shore, or any kind of forest with limited amount of structures.
  • Both exteriors and interiors are important in the horror genre. I'll explain this later. 
  • When you picked the exterior/interior of your wish, start it with a cutscene (recommended!)
  • Make sure to place the player at a location that he cannot be seen in a cutscene, or make him in the cutscene with selected ID model (of your wish) and select the Objectives Menu, then Add Objective, then Player objectives - select Player Animation objective. 
  • He could start off wounded/injured at first, as to add a good start (or you can do that he/she's running away from something; a monster, zombie; etc.) but if you start with an way the player drives to a location, he gets ambushed by something standing in the way and falls into the pit could result in a cliche movement. You'd better avoid cliches in case if you want to be original.
  • If you want to start off with the player injured, it would be better to select an convenient animation. (ID 78; 79; 80). Pick one of those three for the start.
  • If you want to start off the player running away, you need to use the (Run) animation twice; it's for the attacker and the one who's running away from the attacker. Make sure you set the routepoints in a good way so the actor/player won't run into random directions. Select the Run animation by either setting up a Actor or Player objective. (For the actor, select the actor ID and then select the "Run" animation and set the routepoints. Make sure to start with the runner first. Do the same process with the attacker, but let him be the actor and NOT THE PLAYER. 
  • You need to select the routepoints in an convenient way. Failing this would let the player and actor run into random directions and not the one you want.
  • Second, soundtrack  is very recommended for your horror mission/mission-pack as to expand the atmosphere and fear. Make sure you use the .noa files when you want your music to stop. This only works for the ambient music (am). Make sure it's mp3 or the sound won't play. To do this, go to the menu by pressing Y then Mission Menu and click Show Missionaudio Code. It will send you a code in your left, with an code (exp. FSSAD) and you gotta create the folder in the SD folder in your GTA SA User Files. It won't appear automatically.
  • Exteriors/interiors are also very important - they appear in every mission/mission-pack so far. Setting it up ain't hard, but it will waste you objects if you want to decorate it. For more objects to add, check the DYOM Add-on and click on the first "spoiler" and you will see a highlighted link which explains that you can add new objects.
  • To add an object, simply open the menu and select the option "Objects & Effects" and then click Add Object. Select an object that you wish to add for your horror mission. Remember, creativity matters so get some spicy object ideas and construction. Check my mission-pack Silence Scream 3 to see how the objects work and what you can do with them.
  • To select the new objects press the Tab button on your keyboard and type the Object ID that you are about to place. Make sure you place some "gore" objects and make an use out of them.
  • Guidelines for the player can be split into two - either instructed by objects/actors or instructed by the player (writing where to go). It's recommended to use the "instructed by objects/actors" option, as the one who's playing your mission should understand it and check where's he going. It's easier for the writer to explain, but it's more harder when objects/actors instruct you where to go.
  • Make sure your writing is decent and understandable. Spelling mistakes count as well - avoid doing them and do not rush. Work slow, unless you're a fast typer and can read and write at the same time then you won't worry about it. (that's me)
  • Puzzles should be also involved in your horror MP. If you don't know how to construct puzzles or make them in DYOM i'd suggest you to check out the DYOM Puzzle made by xghostx. 
  • It's struggling to do original puzzles - that happens to me as well, as I just stare at the screen for minutes thinking what kind of puzzle I can make. Remember, puzzles matter if you wish to construct one.
  • The last part - Inspiration can be very necessary for some people. Take inspiration from horror video games/movies, since they can help you. Monsters should be also made by actors, I prefer the ID 162 actor because it looks like a monster. They will be the attackers towards the player, and the player should defend against them whether using fists or firearms.

 

ADVICE FOR YOUR MISSION

 

  • Avoid using jumpscares or at least use an limited amount of them. (2 is enough). However, to add true fear you could add sounds like growling, little bit of screaming or heavy breathing.
  • Make sure you involve great use of symbolism - it could be monster symbolism, character symbolism; etc. 
  • Soundtracks would be a great improvement for the atmosphere. Make sure you use them in at least every your horror mission/mission-pack.
  • Boss Fights would also come handy as to add an challenge to the player. Make sure it's fair, or unless he would be unbeatable except using cheats. 
  • Puzzle Solutions are a bit of a challenge for the player and they could be done in different ways. Make sure they're at least understandable and explainable by the writer.
  • Avoid cliches. Implement original ideas - take some inspiration but don't make it an exact rip-off. Build an story that could add interest to the player (explaining that someone is lost, but little so the player would want to know "Who's the lost guy? I want to find him" and you'll see what I mean)
  • Stories are easy to write for horror missions. Make sure they're not cliche enough - it could be that your story could be referring to someone is lost, you need to find him; or it could be an wide infection spread by something spiritual (not someone human made it, like mistakenly failed his/her project and a infection appears - it's a cliche way).

 

Hope this helped to give you a little bit of help or a good amount. Contact me if you don't understand something, or respond in the comments section. (make sure you quote me)

 

Edited by it's poundcake time
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SYMBOLISM IN THE HORROR GENRE

 

 

Symbolism in the horror genre should be important, as it means to intensify mood; identify character traits; emphasize themes and concepts of your mission. They're used to 

represent them. For example - let's look at character names. If you name the character "Louis", you could match the name with the personality; the name Louis means "warrior", someone strong and capable - it mostly comes from France, or the French kings (Louis XIV, Louis XVI) and even the French coin from 1640 to 1793. As if warrior, this means a "brave or experienced soldier, human" and you could elaborate this in your mission/mission-pack. There's many kinds of symbolism you can use (such as door, which represents a transition; passageway to success or the opposite), symbolism can be utilized using the story's meaning, preferably onto a soul; mythical place; discovery and myths. Colors play a great role too; black represents death or evil; red could also refer to death, but is more implied onto romance. Objects also play the more important role; in DYOM however, they can still be used as an pathway or to symbolize something (character traits most preferably, as it adds personality to the protagonist/antagonist); an example could be an ladder, which stands connection between heaven and earth; mirrors are often used as an figure to appear, which is common to new horror movies/games; a broken one would represent separation for the character. You may not notice it, but symbolism is common during your life - the blue sky symbolizes hope and happiness; which can you all utilize/include in your mission-pack/mission, as it's pretty common for authors to include events in books/novels that they already witnessed in real life or "met" them. The most relatable could be to the Stephen King's "The Mist" novel, as he told once that when a massive thunderstorm hit his town, the next day he went to the supermarket with his son; while looking for hot dog buns, the author imagined a big "prehistoric flying reptile" flapping around the store. By this way, you can incorporate the events you witnessed during your life into your mission while it represents something, with mostly fulfilling fear and suspense.

 

Edited by it's poundcake time
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21 hours ago, Djordje_Vito said:

I must support this guy*

fixed it, i guess?

 

anyways i'll keep this topic updated. more stuff will come sooner or later.

 

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DREAMS AND HALLUCINATIONS IN THE HORROR GENRE

 

 

Hallucinations and dreams are often found in the psychological horror genre, depending on the character; a hallucination is something that doesn't exist outside their mind. They are common with people that carry schizophrenia, where the person that hallucinates he sees; hears; smells; tastes or feels things that are 

outside his mind.  A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur during sleep (or when you're unconscious, probably). They mainly occur during the REM (rapid-eye movement); this means when the brain activity is high and resembles "that" of being awake. Variations of dreams exist, usually they last a few seconds. Dreams can also last 20-30 minutes. An average person during REM has three to five dreams per night; however, most of the dreams are quickly forgotten - by "forgotten" meaning the dreamer doesn't remember his dreams  In the horror genre, specifically psychological, dreams and hallucinations are often used to photograph something or someone to the protagonist that only exist in his mind,  while other common types are to disturb the player. Sleep paralysis is also used in the horror genre (this means you are unable to move during waking up or sleep, while one may hallucinate fear; feel or supernatural things). All those three (hallucinations, dreams and sleep paralysis) are used widely in the psychological horror genre, with mostly used to characters; along with to disturb the player, as for me I don't recommend this. In your mission/mission-pack, I recommend you to utilize all three and use them to explain the protagonist or the character, as it adds more to your story. All those could be referred in one "nightmares", which are associated with negative feelings. Characters play the major role here, especially in stories. Silent Hill could be a good example for you how hallucinations and dreams work in the psychological horror genre, as there are games that focus on it (specifically hallucinations). Subconsciousness is somewhat common, but also recommended to use in your mission/mission-pack. It means that the character is unaware that he's conscious or not (specifically, feelings) and it can direct the course of what do you do in your life.
Edited by it's poundcake time
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SOUNDTRACKS AND SOUND EFFECTS IN THE HORROR GENRE

 

 

Soundtracks are used greatly in the horror genre to give the player sense of feeling; it mostly relies on to disturb him/her, or give emotion to the player. They're there to "accompany" the player character. A soundtrack can have lyrics or be without one, as mostly in the horror genre it's kept without lyrics - with lyrics, they're mostly used onto cutscenes. It's pretty understandable in a horror game/movie the soundtrack's meaning is to disturb the player/watching the movie or scare them. Soundtracks aren't only made of instruments, they're made from all sorts of variants (even chains, doors) and can be used. In your mission-pack, it's logical to use a soundtrack composed by someone else; however, it's more creative if you can compose one by yourself. Symbolism is also included in them, giving a more deeper meaning (mostly characters). It's the best to keep soundtracks at your own will - whether to use them to scare the player or use to give a meaning to something. For me, I focus on both. Recommendations include that you use a more unnerving and unsettling; focus on the 

atmosphere. It's the best way to combine it with a soundtrack that fits it. Moving onto sound effects, they last short. In the horror genre, they're used to scare the player. (haven't seen any game/movie yet that uses it for something different). They consist different variations (screaming, groaning, jumpscares). You could use all those if you want to make an "unsettling experience" but I prefer using them at expected locations, since it may be considered "random" for an horror screaming sound effect to be heard at an normal day outside. Again, focus on the atmosphere. You can use them both on cutscenes and gameplay, but you can also use them to guide the player. They may be used to symbolize a place, or something (example: a abandoned house, with its materials falling apart and an small background that an disturbing event happened) and you can use a scream to give the player a "meaning". The victim that has fallen to the disturbing event would also use to haunt him, or even tell him to leave using sound effects.

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HORROR STORIES

 

We all know that common horror stories are based around abandoned places, right? Well, that's the case. Horror stories are associated with an abandoned place, such an example could be an wooden cabin in the forest. Unique horror stories share psychological feelings, plot twists and other kinds of similarities; take the popular horror franchises as an example. They're "popular" because they've received praise from the players, with minimum criticism. An unique story associated with the horror genre can be a tough task, with trying to avoid cliches and already existing ideas. In your mission-pack, you'd opt for a basic horror story (exp: the protagonist is set to explore an abandoned cabin in the forest, with an dark atmosphere) but that's not really the case. An unique story makes an project unique. The best way to write an unique and a good horror story is to 

take inspiration. Inspiration is something you wanna focus on, implementing in your mission-pack. Reading novels would also help, such as the novel Crime and Punishment which is regarded as an "supreme achievement" in world literature. Another thing you would want to focus is how to execute your story. Executing a story might be an rough task, but if you got everything set; you're ready to go. Another word would be "storytelling" which you use to tell the story through a game, novel, movie, etc. Setting up an memorable protagonist goes through different ways - develop the character's backstory, personality. Create an motivation for them. Humor would also apply well, giving the player some memorable moments. The story could be told in first person and third person. Most writers use the third person, with someone "narrating" the story. In DYOM however, you might consider using first person to tell your story. Dialogue also matters - a good one would give the player more understanding; also try to create sentences where the player might end up in dozens of questions, "confusing" them. A plot twist to a horror story would also be a good idea, with giving the player a turning point into the mission-pack.
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SERIAL KILLERS

 

Serial killers in a horror story are famous for their murder sprees to cause an effect on the story or expand it (in terms of background or current time the story is set). Motives of a serial killer varies; such as anger (or anger issues), financial gain and attention-seeking at most. Different "types" of serial killers exist. The major ones are necrophiles or brutal ones - to the point where they'd put your skin in a freezer for months (exp. 

Jeffrey Dahmer, who lured a 27-year-old acquaintance) or sleep with it.

Now serial killers in games or movies are either to target the protagonist or the relative of the protagonist. Sometimes the serial killer is the protagonist himself. Disorders such as psychotic disorder could cause serious issues to the serial killer which "force him" to do the killing. Supernatural elements are also included (such as in The Shining) and can affect a person's life by the influence of the dead to the soul (the dead should have a dark-related past) and if you're planning to make one serial killer mission/mission-pack, the steps are this:

Read biographies of real life serial killers which you can find various sources on the internet. Ranging from mild murders to brutal to necrophiles, rapists, etc. It is important to do this as you need the background of the serial killer you're going to make. A background of an serial killer can be told by utilizing disorders (STPD, Psychotic disorder) which would be the cause of the murder spree in the first place. Or as mentioned above supernatural elements can be used by making another background of an dead serial killer who will later influence the soul and the mind of the character affected. For it to make sense, the character affected by the supernatural course should relate to the serial killer or live in the place he had been gone missing or died. 

 

For the actions of the serial killer you'd want to make them smart and manipulative. No serial killer goes to the public and just kills somebody blowing his cover. Mentioning Jeffrey Dahmer again, he used to lure his victims into his apartment which turned into a slaughterhouse eventually. If the serial killer is suspicious then he'd manage his way out by manipulating by portraying the victim card. You can also make the protagonist a serial killer (which makes it more interesting) as it could range from an early adult to late adult stages (even 60s to 70s of age) by focusing on his backstory and how HE became the serial killer. The reasons could vary - unstable relationships, revenge, financial gain - etc.

 

Symbolism also plays an important role. Giving a deeper meaning to the serial killer attracts the interest of the player. It could be by utilizing symbols who represent a dark manner or by name, by researching the name and its meaning this could be achieved quite easily.

It's optional for the color of the character - you need to imagine it. Look around you. Look what colors represent. Red also represents blood. Black represents emptiness and negative feeling. 

 

 

 

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