Well This Looks Damned Spooky

By Craig Pearson on May 10th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

A subtle hint at getting Greenlit, perhaps?
The Hidden is one of my favourite games: it’s a mod for Half-Life 2 Deathmatch in which one side is a SWAT team, and the other side is a slippery, invisible, singular monster (now I’ve mentioned it, I am doomed to play it all weekend). The reason it’s in my head is because of Damned, another asymmetrical multiplayer game that popped up in my inbox (thanks, Daniel). But where The Hidden was focussed on action, Damned looks like a multiplayer Amnesia.

Five players are locked in an abandoned hotel. Four play as the survivors, hunting for the way out. Doors are locked, drawers are filled with helpful keys, and you have no weapons and no way of fighting off the monster if it decides it wants to eat you. All you have is a flashlight. The fifth player is the monster.

The monster has two states: as a ghost, and as a monster. As a ghost, you’ll be unable to see the players, though you’ll be able to haunt the place. The physical state will allow you track footsteps and attack the survivors.

I don’t find horror games particularly scary: when something is programmed to leap out at me, I’ve always felt it was cheap contrivance. And so many games telegraph their scares (I’m looking at you, Dead Space), that even the element of surprise is lost. It’s mostly just a thing that I guessed was coming. But in Damned if things are happening then it’s because whomever is in control of the monster is right there in the room, fucking with you. That’s a really smart idea that works well in The Hidden.

I hope the players have some way of escaping a monster when he’s on their trail, because being marked for death doesn’t sound like too much fun, and I’m not sure how being blind to the player movements will enable you to effectively haunt them. Maybe you can see their flashlights? But there’s a core of an idea here that I really like. Five friends together on a server could have a lot of fun with this, as long as there’s some semblance of balance.

It has an IndieGoGo page, and there’s a Greenlight page as well.

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36 Comments »

  1. Bodge says:

    Aww, had so many good times on the old PC Gamer Hidden server several years ago. One of the tensest games ever. Used to rather handy with the F2000. Should probably organise some games of it thinking about it.

  2. Premium User Badge

    felisc says:

    This looks quite intriguing. Though as you mentioned let’s hope there are several ways of escaping when spotted…
    By the way, if you want a different take on the Hidden, the Faded mod for NaturalSelection2 is quite glorious. We had several go at it with the rps ns2 group.

  3. FurryLippedSquid says:

    If I have HL2 on Steam, do I have Deathmatch, or is that further monies?

    • bitbot says:

      Half-Life 2: Deathmatch should be a separate title in your Steam library.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        £3 for a multiplayer mode?

        Calling Mr Turpin, Mr D Turpin!

        • Premium User Badge

          Vandelay says:

          I think it depends how you bought HL2. I bought the game back at release and received the multiplayer a few months after the game came out for free, if I remember correctly (might have got CS:Source with it too, as I doubt I would have got that by itself.) There might be some bundles where you don’t get HL2:DM – the Orange Box doesn’t, I believe.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ging says:

      You don’t actually need HL2DM to play the Hidden – just access to Source SDK Base 2006 / 2007 and owning any Source based game will give you that.

      • HadToLogin says:

        And everyone have Source game, thanks to Team Fortress 2.

  4. Red_Avatar says:

    Yay you get a Fleshlight in the game! *runs*

    • Lazarus_Soma says:

      I don’t even….. I just….. Whatttttt?
      Although thinking about it, it probably would be creepy just walking into a room already tense and hearing meaty slapping sounds coming out of nowhere…

    • McCool says:

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only person who heard that…

  5. bitbot says:

    Funny how so many indie horror games have drag to open drawers and doors now. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I wonder how things would look if Amnesia never existed. There’s no denying that game single-handedly revived an entire genre.

    • Dowr says:

      I’d argue Penumbra (an earlier series by Amnesia developers, Frictional) revived the genre. Amnesia just got a lot more attention.

      • Mr. Mister says:

        Yeah. Plus Penumbra a had a key to toggle a free cursor (think RTS cursor-camera relationship) which made it much more convinient to open stacked drawers on the same desk.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      Having more that kind of control with opening doors works wonders with stealth gameplay, there is also that indie tactical shooter which allows the player to open doors manually with the mousewheel.

  6. Darzu says:

    This is reminiscent of the old WC3 mod “Murder in the Mansion”… Excellent concept, can’t wait!

    • stryker619 says:

      so much nostalgia just happened in my head

    • Phasma Felis says:

      I read “WC3″ as “Wing Commander 3″ and imagined piloting a Rapier fighter through a sinister mansion, blasting cabinets and wardrobes open to reveal clues.

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    darkChozo says:

    Interesting concept, but my god does it sound like it’ll be hard to implement. The Greenlight/Kickstarter description lays down a good base but leaves out a lot of vital details, mainly regarding the monster mechanics. How do you know where people are while ethereal? How powerful are you? Does haunting things have any practical purpose or is just it for atmosphere/something to do while you can’t be a monster? Is the challenge in finding the players, or is it just hard to catch them? etc. etc.

    I’m curious to see where this goes.

  8. ResonanceCascade says:

    This looks Neat Neat Neat.

  9. Cerzi says:

    The Hidden: Source, and Dystopia. These 2 mods were absolutely fantastic back in the day, and desperately need to be revived the way Natural Selection was.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ging says:

      I sort of keeping expecting to see a Kickstarter campaign pop up for a commercial Dystopia release some time, but I suspect it’ll have to wait for Puny Human to finish off Blade Symphony first.

      • dE says:

        Can’t imagine it happening for Dystopia. That one just went kaputt one day. Players bitching at Devs, Devs bitching back, Bonus League and Clanplay Drama, almost all the top clans found cheating and openly saying “hell yeah we cheat public”.
        There must have been a lot of stored rage for it to randomly explode into a pool of bile and vitriol. In essence: Most of the previous Devs of Dystopia aren’t around anymore anyways – they left over the years. The few that are around or have seen parts of Dystopias History, generally don’t want to go near that game. Not even with nukes from Orbit.

  10. The Random One says:

    As a Brazilian, I’m glad to listen to a fellow Brazilian speaking English without making me cringe.

    But, I still don’t get how this will work. I can’t fathom any way in which the DAMNED player is either overpowered or underpowered.

  11. Terraval says:

    With biometric information Valve style you could make the ghost/monster mechanic work really well. The hunter can only assume the ethereal form at the start of the game, and can see the players and haunt them with the intention of scaring them, for example making spooky noises or making doors swing open. All the survivors have their pulses monitored, and if the hunter manages to freak out the survivors enough then the hunter earns time as the monster, where they can actively pursue them and attack them.

    I would love to see something like that if/when biometric technology becomes widespread.

  12. hangphyr says:

    Kind of sounds like there isn’t much point in being in “ghostly” form.. Whats the point if you cant see or harm the players? People will become desensitized to whatever scares a ghost can give them.

    • Jekhar says:

      The blurb on the indiegogo page said beeing in phyical form drains your powers, so i assume you will spend most of your time in ghost form and only manifest briefly. Though i’m still not sure wether you can see the players flashlights in ghost form or not.

      • Faxanadu says:

        I’m just guessing here, but maybe as a ghost you can still see things like open drawers and stuff that helps you track the players – while the players can actually see you (or the haunting effects you make) and make a run for it before you manifest in your physical form.

  13. Muzman says:

    Looks cool (although I hate watching videos like this when people Don’t Check Corners!)

    There’s a great concept out there somewhere for a Ship like game with Vampires or even Zombies, or something based on The Thing.

  14. magos says:

    Craig, you are my favourite of the RPSers, simply for knowing how to spell ‘focussed’.

  15. JoeX111 says:

    I really loved The Hidden back in the day, until they introduced gibbing. Prior to that, whenever the Hidden himself got a kill, the body would ragdoll and SLAM into the nearest wall. It was such a sudden, violent, horrifying moment that embodied everything I loved about the game. Then they changed it so the body gibbed into cartoony looking chunks and the whole experience felt somehow cheapened.

  16. Shooop says:

    Developer video mentioned while you’re a ghost you can’t see or hear any of the other players so you’re basically making hauntings completely blind to other players.

    I can’t see this working for much longer than a few plays. There’s only so many times you can make door slam shut and random objects in a room fall over before it doesn’t even make you blink.

  17. Siamese Almeida says:

    Similar ideas have been explored before and confirmed to work. AvP and Chaos Theory multiplayer modes both had that element of hide and seek that set them apart from the competition. AvP 2 in particular was a very popular multiplayer game proving that gamers do want this sort of thing. They want to creep on each other and want to be creeped on. Proper stealth is really missing in the multiplayer landscape right now and I wish there was one big title that really does it right to the point that you don’t have to sit for 20 minutes to find a laggy server.