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Ansome last won the day on March 23

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  1. Query: when was the last time a zombie in a video game was unnerving or scary to you? I'm chipping away at my anniversary submission and I've been trying to gather opinions on the subject. I'm perfectly capable of lighting them well, changing their sfx, and creating effective ambience, but I'm worried that zombies at their core are just too overdone to be an effective payoff to the tension I'm creating.

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    2. ChronA


      Bonehoard is my favorite from Thief Gold too. It's such a cool, alien environment to explore: a world built not for the living but for the dead! That said, I do not find the zombies in Bonehoard especially scary, which is not how I feel about most of their other appearances in Thief 1. It comes back to the approach Bonehoard's level design and equipment incentivize against the undead threat.

      The generous amount of darkness, mostly clear sight lines, open space, and verticality in Bonehoard all encourage ghosting and evasion. Meanwhile the scarcity of good weapons against the undead and the seemingly endless nature of the threat-filled catacombs encourages hoarding the ammo you do get. That paradoxically means you always have the security blanket of your arsenal to fall back on, and never have to face the true dread of your resources running out. (At least that's been how I've always felt.) TDM's perennial favorite, Requiem, also works out that way, IMO (unlike its sequel).

      That said, I do find Bonehoard a very scary level, but it's not because of the undead. Rather it's because the labyrinth is so confusing to navigate and the exits are so far away, making it very claustrophobic to me. It feels like a place one could get trapped in forever--maliciously so even, and that's chilling. In contrast its undead encounters actually feel to me like power fantasies, and that might be intentional, if you consider that Bonehoard is like a rehearsal for the more taxing survival horror of the cathedral missions.

      Hope this is helpful to you Ansome. I was delighted by your adaptation of The Terrible Old Man and I'm excited to see what you do next.

    3. chakkman


      Bonehoard is definitely a "survival" type of mission. My point is that it gives you enough option do deal with the undead. The zombies I couldn't kill with holy water arrows (I definitely try to save those as well, as you can never know what awaits you), I lured into the fireball traps. Or, I destroyed several of them with a fire arrow.

      The unkillable guys like the fire shadow are a different matter, of course. You're best to do your job, and then get the hell out of the area they patrol. But, for the rest of the enemies, the game gave you enough options, which is all I'm asking for as a player, because I like to clear areas I want to explore. It's a lot of fun to explore levels like the Bonehoard, that's why I like to explore them fully, and, that's just not possible with unkillable or hard to kill A.I. everywhere, and no options to defeat them.

      The "supreme" ghosters, and other "supreme" people can play the way they want anyway. ;) 

    4. Ansome


      Goodness, I just realized how many replies this status update got. I thought I'd get only only or two responses so I didn't make this a proper post, but I ought to next time as I severely underestimated how helpful the TDM community can be!


      I'd like to add that, this is fine, in my opinion, IF we do not know the threat itself.

      Like my first FM, the undead element is indeed a surprise curve ball in my current project, so factoring that into the resources given to the player has always been a consideration. Although "Hazard Pay" was set in a rather specific scenario, it did make it clearer to me how I could give the player resources while still keeping them from being too powerful under such circumstances. The trick will just be implementing that into the smaller scale I usually operate on, but I'm feeling more confident on the matter.


      Hope this is helpful to you Ansome. I was delighted by your adaptation of The Terrible Old Man and I'm excited to see what you do next.

      Thank you so much, ChronA, I appreciate it! It's the positive feedback and kind words I received regarding The Terrible Old Man that make burning the midnight oil for this project feel worth it.

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