What makes horror games scary in general comes in many different factors such as ambience, lighting, sound and gameplay.
Good Horror games usually have an ambience to suit the setting of the game. Usually most horror games have the classics such as a dark ambient inside a creepy or withered building, but that’s not always the case in some horror games. Some horror games have you wander around in daylight, such as a forest or a town. Sometimes the game’s setting can even be in a modern building, similar to Five Nights at Freddy’s, where the player is put in a restaurant as the nightguard.
Good Horror games also have different lighting styles unlike other games. Usually most horror games have little to no lighting, making the player fear what’s in the dark. Most games also usually arm the player with a method of being able to see what’s in the dark, such as a flashlight or a lantern.
Good Horror games uses sounds to indicate things. Sounds the player never heard before will make the player scared and curious of what is that sound, and what could’ve made it. However, sounds that are played to indicate something to the player, making the player know that they’re in danger or something is going to happen. A few examples of this is the Left 4 Dead 2 horde scream, RVVZ’s The Rake Scream (Ain’t sure if the source of the sounds is truly from that game), and the Five Nights at Freddy’s Power Outage sound.
Good horror games mostly have a threat to the player. Whenever there’s a threat that tries to stop the player via chase sequences or forcing the player to hide from them, it forces a player into panic, as the encounter is usually sudden. Just like in Outlast, once you encounter an enemy, the chase sequence activates. The player is then forced to run away from the enemy until either the chase sequence ends. However, if a horror game has any weapons, you can put the player into a fight-or-flight situation. An example of this is in Spooky’s Jumpscare Mansion, when the player is on Room 554, they find an axe which they can use to break barricades. They’ll also notice that they can either attack the monsters or run away from the monsters, but soon learn that they cannot depend on the axe for most encounters.
Here is some advice for your horror game.
- Don’t completely engulf the player in darkness. Always having the player in a completely dark area is never fun.
- Have some threats to the player. A good horror game always has a threat to keep a player more aware of their surroundings.
- If you’re going to have a jumpscare, make sure you have a buildup for it.
- Choose the right sounds for the ambience and the monster.
- Take advantage of roblox’s new lighting engine to make shadows or prevent the player’s light source from bleeding through walls.
- Have resting points where the player feels safe, but not truly safe to be considered as a safe spot.
- Have a threat that’s trying to stop the player from progressing through the game.
- Use sounds to que things, such as notifying the player the monster’s presence.