Horror Games?

Hey guys, I’m pretty new to coding in general. Is there any way you could make horror aspects in code? Like make jump scares, screamers, etc. Examples would be appreciated!

Interesting question! I guess it would help if you had access to some good horror assets, spooky sound effects, artwork etc (or perhaps you’re a digital artist yourself, or you know one willing to lend a hand)?

I guess the contemporary horror gaming genre is associated with first-person 3D work, with lots of shadows, which I would definitely not recommend as a starter project if you’re new to coding. But atmospherically lit 3D is certainly possible in Codea.

I would start by investigating 2D.

@West has created some great procedurally generated artwork, silhouettes with gradients, see the example he wrote here:


His is more atmospheric spookiness, whereas it sounds like you’re after something more, shall we say, full-blooded, bwa ha ha ha 8-X

Thinking about @West 's scenes, it reminded me of the game Limbo. It depends on how you define horror of course, but Limbo certainly has horror elements, moments that are creepy or that make you jump.

(video is violent, not safe for school):


A lot of the jolts depend on the silhouette art style, because the foreground is entirely blacked-in, you sometimes can’t see the trap that’s about to impale your character. So that’s one example I can think of, of a 2D horror game. I think the minimalism of that kind of art style is deceptive though, in that it looks really simple (all of the foreground sprites are just black), but clearly it’s just as painstakingly designed (and animated) as conventional full-colour assets.

I guess horror is quite a “high concept” thing for a game. As in, first you have to actually think of a game, then you have to be able to code it and get the mechanics working, and then you can start to think about “how is this game going to make people feel?”

But maybe low-fi horror is also possible (ie not dependent on slick visuals)? Like those games like Papa Sangre that are just sound, with almost no graphics at all, or text-based adventures. Often the most creative ideas are born from limitations (including your own limitations of what you can code/ draw).

Thanks! That changed the way I look at coding games!

I would echo what @youjimbo said - it depends on what you mean by horror. Most game genre’s could be made into horror by theming the sprites/graphics. Eg A side scroller - Mario - turns into a horror - ghosts and goblins by changing the theme. The underlying gameplay (side scrolling platform) remains largely the same.