I can only write boo! so many times before it stops making you convulse in terror. I’ve probably exhausted that. But what if I were to say wooOoOOo! or ｔｈｅ ｓｏｕｎｄ ｏｆ ａ ｄｒａｃｕｌａ ｌａｕｇｈｉｎｇ? Why, look at you: you’re shivering and shrieking all over again! Unpredictability can help sell scares, see, which is why frightful FPS Phantasmal‘s spooky mansion is made of procedurally-generated levels, different every life. It’s aiming at Lovecraft-tinged survival horror with few guns, breakable melee weapons, limited supplies, a need to sneak in shadows, and plenty of growing dread. And Kickstarter money. It’s after Kickstarter money.
Procedural generation + horror sounds like a fine fit for livestreaming and YouTubing too.
Developers Eyemobi are looking for $15,000 in New Zealand money (£7,600) to finish Phantasmal, which includes making more level modules to bang into the generator as well as creating more-bespoke bits like set pieces, bosses, and an actual ending. That’s nice. A few carefully crafted bits can really tie procedural levels together. Pledging enough to get a copy of the finished game, expected in March 2015, will cost you $15 (£7.60) or $25 ($12.75) depending on how fast you are.
Semi-related rambling: I’m fascinated by game design reacting to, and in parts embracing, people watching other people play video games. I like to think of games with procedural generation or randomised bits (I couldn’t draw a line between the two) as panel shows: comfortingly familiar even with different hosts and guests doing different things each time. Horror games, meanwhile, are the Beadle’s About: viewers enjoy watching someone scream.
I’m not saying Phantasmal is knowingly courting or responding to all this, but it’s the sort of thing that could be gamewatching’s Ghosthunting With… Oh, I do wish Girls Aloud would play it.