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“Many horror movies made use of ghosts, monsters, and mutations. The visual impact of these was very powerful, but there existed another kind of horror movies that contained only ordinary people. The horrific effects are normally more outstanding.
“To put it plainly, horror is an emotion. There’s no need to obsess over ghosts, monsters, or mutated living beings to make a strong visual impact.
“Take our company as an example. We just had to close the curtains and immerse everyone in the atmosphere of horror. A single scream was enough to make us all feel terrified.
“That’s why the atmosphere is the most important. The human heart can be scarier than ghosts and monsters at times. That’s the most important point.
“If we can recreate the same feeling that we felt in the office in the game, wouldn’t the game be just as scary?”.
Wang Xiaobin strongly agreed with this observation. “That’s right, that’s right. I wanted to say the same thing.
“How about this? We’ll set a scary scene in the game and then throw all the players in, so that the fear can ‘infect others’ and ‘spread’. It’ll be just like what happened in our office.”
Ye Zhizhou continued, “In other words, our game will not induce fear by creating images of ghosts and monsters. Instead, it will induce fear using the malice of other gamers, the continually-expanding atmosphere of horror, and the surroundings. “Once the fear spreads, players might start fighting
“We cannot expect them to fully cooperate with one another. Otherwise, it would feel like a walk in the park for them because there’s strength in numbers. It’ll not be sufficiently challenging, and we would achieve the opposite of what we hope to.
“We have to cause infighting and conflict amongst players, so that they can scare one another. It would be precisely these unexpected threats and dangers that would generate fear, right?
“As for how the gamers would fight… Boss Pei had already revealed it to us: the weapon system!”
Ye Zhizhou looked at the third point that Boss Pei had emphasized. “The strongest weapon would be a pistol. Since everyone in the game is an ordinary person, and there would not be any ghosts or monsters, there would be no need for particularly powerful weapons. Those would only cause an imbalance in the players’ battles with one another.
“Other weapons could include daggers, stones, and anything that could hurt-but not kill-an ordinary person.” As both of them discussed the game, they took down notes.
Lin Wan found an appropriate time to interject. “There’s a hidden design in these instructions. Boss Pei did not reveal it to us explicitly, but the design seemed obvious as you were discussing the game. “The fact that fear is to spread among players means that most players should be ‘innocents’ in the beginning. Yet, the fact that they have to fight later on means that a portion of the players would become ‘assailants’.
“What would cause the change?”
Ye Zhizhou frowned as he thought deeply. “I remember Boss Pei saying that… the game should contain insane people at most?”
Lin Wan nodded. “That’s right, insane people! The assailants should be people who are mentally ill—in other words, lunatics.
“I think we can include the concept of a ‘mental health meter’, which already exists in many other games. That’s also known as a sanity meter. The elements in the surroundings will pile on the mental stress on players. Once they hit a certain value, the players would become insane. Then, they would become assailants, whose primary aim would be to kill the ordinary players.”
As Wang Xiaobin noted these details down, he nodded. “Indeed. Now that we’ve talked it out, everything looks much clearer. “We’re just lacking the finer details.
“For example… many people will be playing this web-based game. Should we add a voice chat function to allow players to communicate while playing the game?
“If we allow players to communicate while playing the game, they might engage in a string of lame behaviors and reduce the game’s horror effect. They could also use the voice chat function to discuss how to play tricks on others, find loopholes in the game, and make it less fun overall.
“Yet, if we don’t allow players to communicate… it might feel less interesting. Players wouldn’t have other ways to communicate, and they might fight everyone instead of trying to work together.”
Ye Zhizhou pondered for a moment. “This is easy to resolve. Since ‘in-game chatting’ is so important, we can think of a way to restrict their chatter.
“Players can communicate, but not at will. Every single sentence they speak would be precious. If they speak too much, they would be punished.
“Maybe… they could become lunatics.
“A good horror game should have an atmosphere similar to the one in our office. Everyone should be trying to advance while groping about in the dark. If someone suddenly speaks, everyone will start screaming. “Speaking of which, I suddenly thought of a good name for the game.
“Be Quiet! In Mandarin, it’ll just say ‘Shh!’!”
As the three of them brainstormed, they developed more and more ideas for the game.
Basically, Be Quiet would be a multiplayer horror game. Every round would contain eight players and a random number of NPCs. There could be anywhere from four to eight NPCs, which would be controlled by artificial intelligence. Their purpose would be to confuse players. All players and NPCs would first enter a randomly generated map in the game. There, they would have to look for items and the way out. They would also have to interact with other players and NPCs.
There would be different maps in the game. For now, they had come up with a mental institution, a village of lunatics, a hotel in the countryside, an ancient castle, and a school.
These maps would all be highly randomized. At the start of each game, a set algorithm would randomize every room’s purpose and the items to be found inside.
In each room, players could find items that they could pick up, as well as stage props. Stage props could not be picked up, but players could interact with them to generate a special effect. For example, a radio could play a designated audio recording and increase the player’s mental stress.
Players and NPCs would also spawn on random areas of the map. Once the game began, they would be allowed to roam around to look for clues and items.
Players would find special items around the area as well, such as daggers, bandages, psychotropic drugs, mysterious statues, and the like. These props could be used to attack others or heal oneself. Some could reduce mental stress while others would increase mental stress.
How these props should be used would depend on individual players’ game strategies.
At the same time, the eight players would take on different roles at the start of the game. The method of winning the game would in turn depend on their roles.
Among the eight players, one would be a police officer, three would be good guys, three would be mentally-ill, and one would be an ambitious schemer.
The police officer and good guys would have a common goal—to escape. The mentally-ill people’s goal would be to either drive everyone crazy or kill them. The ambitious schemer’s goal would be to end up as the last one standing.
Half of the NPCs present would also be good guys while the other half would be mentally-ill people.
Anytime a player died, his role would be exposed. There would be weapons and items around the map. Once the police officer spawned, he would have a pistol, which could deal great damage to both good guys and bad guys alike. Other players could collect items from around the map or drop them on the ground for other players to pick up. Daggers and glare flashlights would be common items. Daggers would deal damage to ordinary people while glare flashlights would deal greater damage to lunatics.
Players could also look for rarer items like axes and stun grenades. Of course, these would be more powerful.
The mentally-ill would be different from lunatics. ‘Lunatics’ was a concept for ordinary people.
At the start of each round, the police officer, the good guys, the mentally ill, and the ambitious schemer would all be considered ordinary people. All of them would have the same stats.
As time passed and under the influence of the surrounding props, players’ sanity meter would keep decreasing. When they hit a certain point and fail to consume special pills, they would turn from ordinary people into lunatics.
Lunatics would have higher speed, more health points, and greater power than ordinary people. However, once they became lunatics, the player would lose all ability to communicate. What’s more, their muscles would expand and they would look different, so as to allow other players to identify their status.
Voice chat would be allowed in the game, but it would be strictly limited.
Each time they wanted to speak, players would only be given ten seconds to say one sentence. Once they were done, the recording would be edited by the system before being broadcast to other players.
Every time they spoke, the players’ sanity meter would decrease.
If they did not speak at all, others could mistake them as enemies or bots. Yet, if they spoke too much, they would be at higher risk of becoming lunatics; and other players could suspect their true motives.
On top of this, in order to prevent trolls from trying to inject humor into the game, Shang Yang Games would get rid of the most meaningless actions.
For example, players would only be allowed to jump when they reach a particular terrain. Otherwise, they would not be allowed to.
The fact that players—especially those playing mentally-ill people or the ambitious schemer-could use different strategies and methods in the game was inspired by board games.
The police officer and good guys had to roam around the map looking for machinery or exits, warn other good guys, and deal with any signs of infection quickly and decisively.
The mentally-ill would have much lower sanity meters than the good guys. Thus, they could use the props around the map to become a lunatic and attack the good guys, or they could act as good guys and mislead the actual good guys and trap them.
The ambitious schemer could also act as a good guy or become a lunatic to achieve his own goal.
Every player in the game would keep guessing other parties’ roles while trying to keep to their strategy.
An overall score would be calculated at the end of the round, taking into account every player’s difference in stats, game time, and role.
For example, it would be extremely difficult for ambitious schemers to achieve their goal. Thus, even if they did not, only some points would be deducted. On the other hand, if they did, a lot of points would be added. The system would also add points for attacks, kills, solved riddles, and collected items. That would ensure even ambitious schemers would be motivated to play well despite their difficult missions.
In just one short afternoon, the general framework of the game was complete.
They raised problems and resolved them, forming a continuous, virtuous cycle. Soon, they had some details for the game’s design set.
As they looked at the nearly-completed first draft of their design manuscript, Ye Zhizhou and Wang Xiaobin could not help but feel moved.
Everything went much smoother than they had imagined!
Before this, they had tried to think of the game’s design while playing as many horror games as possible. Even after two weeks, they did not achieve much.
Yet, now, after just one afternoon, they could picture what the game would look like!
What caused the difference between these two attempts?
It was Boss Pei’s directions and Director Lin’s analysis of Boss Pei’s intentions. They only had to follow the directions to solve all the problems easily!
Although nobody knew if the game would succeed, the gameplay was at least set. There was nothing like it in the market, and that meant there would be no competitors. Players would have a novel experience with this game. Moreover, the fact that Boss Pei had pointed them in this direction made them feel more confident.
Ye Zhizhou read the design manuscript, feeling emotional.
“Could it be that this was what Boss Pei imagined the horror game would look like? How exciting!”
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