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View Full Version : By Myself, but Not Alone (Survival Horror)r



St_Ivor
09-15-2012, 06:35 PM
http://lbp.me/v/fjw6x5

You have done something horrible. So naturally, you fled. And it was inevitable that you would find this house, this... home. Inside you found that you were alone, or were you? The walls have eyes, you are being watched. And all of your secrets aren't secrets anymore. You'll have to run, like you always do. But you'll also find yourself facing puzzles and secrets, your sheer will to go on will be tested.

You are by yourself. But you are not alone.


This is a survival horror themed level that takes inspiration from games like Silent Hill 2. And as such, the game mechanics reflect that feeling of paranoia and fear. You have no means to protect yourself, and your health is never displayed. Each encounter is a risk. You are also facing mind bending puzzles that will make you think in the midst of panic. The creatures are disturbing and blood thirsty, but each have a mind of their own and certain behaviors. Some will chase you around, others will ignore you, and some will attack.

This level took my a good month to complete and iron out the complications. This is an experience unique to any other Little Big Planet horror themed level you've ever played.

Thanks go out to Arbiekko who wrote some amazing haunting music for this level and curtislarkin for making a logo for this project. (Someone please tell me how to post images in this forum. I'm still a noob.)

EDIT:
The numbers puzzle should be completely fixed now. Nothing can be wrong with the numbers puzzle. If you did it right, you should hear the sound of a door opening.

Another hint, the door the numbers puzzle opens is below the big door. The numbers puzzle does not open up the big door.

EDIT EDIT:
There's also a walkthrough now. Woohoo!

Use it only as a last resort, though. If you just use the walkthrough, it'll ruin the experience for you.

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?74020-By-Myself-But-Not-Alone-level-walkthrough&p=1042917#post1042917

bluesteel789
09-15-2012, 07:34 PM
Oooh this sounds spooky! To attach images:
1. In-game, take a picture in that level and upload it.
2. Find that level on lbp.me.
3. Click on that image so that it is the only thing on the screen. Not the screen where it says ' a photo taken by...' but the one after you click on that photo.
4. Copy the URL. (The web address in the bar at the top of your browser.)
5. Go to edit post, then click the small button with the tree landscape on it.
6. This should bring up a box. Select 'from URL.'
7. Paste the URL into that box.
8. Uncheck the button that says 'Retrieve remote file and reference locally.'
- This will change your photo from this:
- 41837
- To this:
http://i4.lbp.me/img/ft/fc464e0087e0f5cd209118ce5120a9d6a72e220b.jpg


Shameless level promotion FTW!

biorogue
09-16-2012, 04:16 AM
adding to the queue

arbiekko
09-16-2012, 10:43 AM
Ah, it's done! Excellent. :)

bluesteel789
09-16-2012, 02:02 PM
I played it and well, it didn't really match up to the description. It wasn't very scary at all. The lighting was a little too bright, and the monsters were too clear- they should never be seen properly, so the player will be scared, because they don't know what is following them.
There was a lack of decoration. Everything was the same material, and there were zero decorations or stickers.
I do like the plot however. Spooky. :eek:
Also, I failed to progress past the part where you have to select the numbers, I think I got the correct ones, they were:
The only prime numbers there.
The door just never opened, even after pressing the correct three buttons.

St_Ivor
09-16-2012, 03:51 PM
Thank you. I really do appreciate the detailed criticism. It's important to me to know what's scary and what isn't. I'll try to work with the lighting a little better, I'm aware that what you can't see is what scares you the most. I figured the fog would do a better job at hiding the monsters better than the lighting would. That was obviously a mistake.

You got the numbers puzzle right, but there are two doors. One south of where the big door is. The numbers door opens that door, not the big one. If that's not the issue, than the issue might be with the number of times you pushed the buttons. If you pushed the buttons correctly, you should have heard a noise, like a door was being opened.

Again, thank you very much. Criticism is very important to me.

Sackpapoi
09-16-2012, 03:59 PM
Got it queued, looking forward to playing it! :)

Tynz21
09-16-2012, 04:13 PM
I love horror levels, I'll have to give this a try and tell you what I think. Hopefully I can be of some use!

St_Ivor
09-16-2012, 04:14 PM
The level is darker now, I was afraid that it would be difficult to see the puzzles and clues left for you, but it doesn't seem to be an issue. I think it's important to note that the level works more on unnerving you instead of outright scaring you. Remember the film The Shining ?

As for the level being undecorated, I really wasn't sure what I could do. The house is supposed to look old and frail, but with the top down perspective, I didn't really know how to add scenery. I also didn't think it too important since the level was dark and it was going to be difficult to see anyways. At this point, I'm afraid decoration would simply get in the way.

St_Ivor
09-16-2012, 10:47 PM
This is a walthrough for this level: http://lbp.me/v/fjw6x5

A lot of people seem to be having issues with my level, so I'll post this walkthrough. I'd advise only using it if as a last resort, because the level is horror themed and horror tends to be scarier when you don't know what's coming. It's best when you fend for yourself. I also won't be explaining any of the symbolism, I kind of want people to figure that out on their own.

So, obviously, here's a spoiler warning.

SPOILERS!!!


You'll find yourself alone and trapped in a vacant room. There's a button in front of you where you started off. Press that to see a strange man warn you about the dangers of this mansion and hint at why you're there. This will open a door all the way to the right and you should be able to leave.

Eventually, you'll find a glowing deformed head shaped thing. Let's call this a Deformed Head. It really isn't all that scary, this first one is just loud. Run around it, it won't fit through the corridor on the bottom right. If it does catch you, try to switch direction or just keep running. If you die, you'll start back at the beginning.

You'll follow this corridor until you find two more Deformed Heads waiting for you. Just run to your right, they won't fit through the door. In this room, you'll find a furry hissing creature with an excess number of arms. We'll call this a Rodent. The Rodent is a much bigger threat than the Deformed Heads, as they tend to quicker and will chase you relentlessly. They're also constantly moving. You'll want to try and sneak around it, keeping your distance. It it starts to chase you, you'll have to run to the top right corner of the room where you'll find yet another corridor. The Rodent won't chase you back there.



You'll find a room with numbers written next to big red buttons. The Professor will tell you that three numbers in this room are different from the rest. And he's right- three of them are prime. If you didn't make it through fifth grade math, the numbers you're looking for are 5, 3, and 17. You'll know you got the right numbers because the buttons will disappear as soon as you press them. Press the wrong number and a Deformed Head will show up and attack, and in this small area that could kill you really fast.

If you pressed all the numbers, you should hear the sound of a door opening. Go back through the corridors, you'll notice the big door on the Northern side of the room is still closed. Go Southward and you'll find a hole through the wall. Go through that.

You'll soon find yourself in a larger corridor. There will be a smaller Rodent running around, but he's still dangerous. Try to avoid him.



At the end of the corridor, the Professor will show up again and tell you that one of his "children" is a liar. You'll find four Deformed Heads, but they'll be stationary and won't attack you. When you get close to one of them, they light up and spout a riddle. They also have a corresponding red button below them. You have to pick the one who's statement is false.

The second Head will say, "If I am the son of my mother, my grandchild is my mother's great great grandchild." That's wrong, so hit the button under this guy. If you pressed the wrong button, a live Deformed Head will appear and attack. You'll know you've hit the correct button because it'll make a sound.

Go back through the corridor and you'll find that the big door is now open. Go through it and you'll be at a crossroad with another big door blocking your path.

The first thing you'll notice is that there's a spinning baby doll's head that cries and vanishes as you approach it. Odd.

To your right is the Spider's Room. To your left is the Smoke room. We'll start with the big ugly Spider.



As soon as you step in, it will become pitch black and red flashing lights will distract you. A giant, moving Spider thing will attack you while you're somewhat blind. And it can be difficult to get away from. There's a big red button on the right side of the room. Your job here is to hit that button and leave. Odds are, you aren't going to make it out of this room in once piece. Just hit the button, and if the spider kills you you'll find yourself back in the room where the first big door was. Oh well.



Don't worry, the smoke won't kill you. Those mechanical baby head dolls might, though. Your job here is to press the big red button and not get killed by those Babies while the smoke blinds you. It shouldn't be a big issue. The Babies don't move very fast, so wait for the smoke to clear, see where the Babies are, and then head in and avoid them. Press the button.

The other big door should be open now. The two red lights on either side of the door should be on. If they both aren't, then you've missed either the Smoke room or the Spider room and you should go back and complete those. If not and the door is open, just walk right on through.

You'll find another little Rodent in this next small corridor, but he won't move too much. Same as the other two, just run and avoid it.



You'll find yourself in a big room. If you use your flash light and read the text on the floor, it'll inform you that you are, in fact, a murderer. I didn't know that, did you?

There'll be a huge worm thing moving around kind of fast. These things are dangerous, especially in the dark when theyr'e hard to see. They'll vomit on you, which will probably kill you if you're not fast enough. You'll want to dodge the Worm, keep behind it. There's a button on the top left of the room, press it and a door will open on the right. Go through there.



The Professor won't shut up. There's really nothing to do here but keep going right and let the Professor yell at you for being a murderer. He's kind of a jerk. At the end of the hallway, the lights will turn on and you'll find yourself surrounded by doll heads. These won't hurt you, but they'll scream and disappear when you touch them.

You'll soon find a short hallway with eyeballs paving the way and a mechanical Baby. The Baby isn't hard to avoid, so just run around it.

Here is another huge room, this time with two Worms, and they're even bigger than last time. Run run run run run. There are two rooms and another huge door. The North door has the Survivor's room and the South door has the Fire Path room. Let's go North for right now.



The Professor will ask you which person survived, and you should see three silhouettes each with a blood splatter. You want to pick the one where the blood splatter was not somewhere fatal, so press the one with the blood splatter on his leg all the way on the right. Press the wrong button and a Spider will show up and kill you.

Go South, avoid both of the Worms (remember to try and stay behind them) and you'll find yourself in the Fire Path room.



This one's actually pretty easy. There's twelve pink blocks. Some of them catch fire and will hurt you if you touch them. If you get close to a lethal one, it'll light up. Obviously, you'll want to avoid those. You'll have to move diagonally, though, because the path is not completely straight. Hit the button and go back the way you came.

Enter the enormous doorway and face your final challenge.



What we have here is a long, narrow hallway. As soon as you enter it, you'll be chased by a disembodied doll head. So run like crazy down the hall, if you let up for even one second, you're toast. And the path gets narrower and narrower as you run, so keep a straight path. Move right and no other direction. After that long hallway, the screen will go completely black and you'll find yourself watching the final cutscene.

Congratulations. You've beaten "By Myself, But Not Alone"

Lady_Luck__777
09-16-2012, 11:41 PM
Merged walkthrough with existing thread

St_Ivor
09-16-2012, 11:43 PM
Whoa. Thanks Lady_Luck. I didn't mean to foul up any of the forums. My bad. But thanks for the correction.

Tynz21
09-18-2012, 09:31 PM
I don't think decorating it would detract from it, I played it and I must say it was a bit bland to me. The looks of the heads and the doctor/hint giver appeared a bit unrefined to me, and not so scary. Another thing I think might be good to incorporate is light. Darkness by itself isn't What's scary, it's the unknown that lurks in the darkness we are afraid of. Based off this, I tend to use small but bright lights in my horror levels, which adds a lot of contrast with the maximum darkness around. Throw in some details and suddenly you start to get a little bit creeped out... hope this helps!

St_Ivor
09-18-2012, 09:47 PM
That does help. A lot, actually. I've republished the level about five times, each after taking criticism and trying to fix the level accodingly.

When I first published the level, it was rather bright. I was told that that didn't hide the monsters enough, and I realized that it really needed to be darker. So now it's nearly pitch black, and it also makes more use of the flashlight and limits your view so you have to be looking around constantly to know you aren't being attacked. The monsters are scarier when you can't completely see them, so you'll fill in what you can't see with your own imagination. Your imagination has to unknowingly do half of what scares you in good horror.

Keep in mind that the horror is not showcased through its monsters. It's based on its atmosphere, with the slow pulsing music and droning noises coming from seemingly nowhere to create an unnerving world that the player is supposed to feel helpless and out of control in. This kind of horror takes time to build, so if you didn't play for very long it probably won't have much of an effect on you.

Decoration is more of a personal complication. I have no idea how to decorate it from a topdown perspective and what to put in. There's some blood in the first room, but it's too foggy to see. What does it need? Furniture? Because I have absolutely no idea.

arbiekko
09-19-2012, 05:25 AM
Hiya St Ivor. You have my feedback in-game, but I'll say again here: I thought the atmosphere was good! I played it after you'd made the adjustments mentioned so I don't know what to compare it to. It didn't require a walkthrough and I made it to the end, I was pleased with myself for that. The final scene makes the level, it's suitably creepy and a nice reward, and I think it's a shame that some players seem to have given up midway and don't get to see those last few seconds.

On reflection, I have one suggestion which may enhance the "interactive movie" quality of the level as well as make it clearer for players that they've solved a puzzle and can proceed: add movie cameras that are triggered when a puzzle is solved and pans to the door that is opened.

Minor other suggestions:
- add points here and there, to guide the player and reward progress even if they're not invested in the story or the puzzles, and to encourage survival replays. (Adding points, however, will make the game feel more game-y and less cinematic and creepy, which may not be a trade you feel is worth making.)
- put the doctor's speech text on a sequencer so it can display as subtitles... creepier and more narrative
- add game cameras here and there which pull back and show more or less of a room, or move to bizarre angles, for a more horror-y effect

I'll say again, it's that ending scene that really makes the level for me, and I'm glad I played through. You do a lot with very little and have a quality director in you. Whatever you make next, I hope you put this talent to full use!

:)

St_Ivor
09-19-2012, 03:12 PM
Arbiekko, you're brilliant and I'm glad you liked the level so much. Your suggestions are very good and valid, but there's specific reasons why I didn't include some of those.

I find that taking the controls away from the player, whether it be to tell the story or to show the player something takes away from the experience at least slightly. I think as a story-telling artform, video games work best when the story reveals itself to the player as they continue on. I tried to showcase a mystery and challenge the player to discover specifically what happened to the main character. Some details are handled through the Professor specifically telling you, but some are told through symbols. The monsters and the seemingly random sounds and appearances leave the story clear enough, but also ambiguous for the player to interpret.

Oop, sorry. Got off track.

I didn't put in movie cameras because I didn't want to take away the controls from the player. I tried to design the layout with a clear goal of what to do and where to go. People got lost at the numbers puzzle, so I added a bright light where the player was supposed to go afterward that shines bright enough for the player to see it when the door is open. I think it helped create a sense of direction.

I thought about putting in points, but like you said, I thought it might break the fourth wall and take people out of the experience. What I didn't consider though, and what you made me realize, is that the player is going to need some reward for going on. If you get points, you'll want to get more. I'm a bit on the fence about it, though, because the level is all about the experience and sucking the player in.

I'll consider the doctor's speech bubbles, though. Speech bubbles do to break the fourth wall.

The bizarre camera angles are something to keep in mind as well. I kind of like that idea. I used a few to bring emphasis on some of the monsters at the beginning. But the use of camera might help the player feel less in control and more helpless. That's a good idea.

I'm also very glad you liked the last cutscene. That Hitchcock shot was fun to watch. I thought it important to show what the character the player has been controlling has learned as well as the consequence for his actions. I was cautious about the story being too clear, so a lot of how and why the main character finds redemption is left open for interpretation.

I'm also a little bit shocked nobody has asked about the story itself. I guess it's a good thing that people have decided for themselves what's going on, but I kind of thought people would want to ask about the blasted "symbolism" I go on and on about.

Tynz21
09-19-2012, 07:48 PM
Hm... decoration. Well a good start would be adding furniture, rubble, boxes perhaps... scattered papers, Maybe even corpses. I'm not certain what the environment actually is supposed to be, is it a house or...? If it is try this. Turn off your lights and walk around a room or even your whole house with the lights off and a flashlight in hand. Take note of things you see, and try to incorporate things that fit into your idea of what the place in your level is like. Maybe there are all sorts of old paintings? Some type of urn, some dead plants? Maybe the place is a mess with broken boards and scattered debris everywhere? Just try to answer these questions and try to learn to ask yourself things like this when detailing a level.

St_Ivor
09-20-2012, 03:16 PM
Well, you see, Tynz21, the spaces are very small and claustrophobic. Furniture would get in the way, as well as most of the things you've mentioned. It could also get in the way of the monsters, who I've already had enough trouble getting stuck on things. I can do things that don't get in the way, like stickers or carpeting, but in the darkness it's difficult to see if you can see it at all.

Stuifie3
09-20-2012, 03:59 PM
You got me excited, queued!

Tynz21
09-20-2012, 11:02 PM
Well you can say what you want about why there isn't much decor but the fact is that it doesn't look good with no scenery. It just looks like you walk through a bunch of empty black rooms. Your concept can be the best in the world but if it doesn't look good people are not going to enjoy it. And remember also what I said about darkness. There's nothing scary about total blackness. A limited amount of bright light used to show just enough of the gruesome detail but not too much so as to keep you guessing is best.

St_Ivor
09-21-2012, 12:02 AM
Tynz21, I'm not simply coming up with excuses. There's no room for furniture, for both the player and the AI.

The darkness I think is important to the atmosphere. Darkness isn't scary, but it's much scarier when there are creatures hiding in the darkness. As much as I'd like to be able to make things better looking, there's not much I can do. I think that gameplay is much more important than the aesthetic. The aesthetic, as far as I can see, is about as good as I can try to put it together. I'll try to come up with something, but my choices are completely limited.

Tynz21
09-22-2012, 05:09 AM
Do what you feel is best. However, I don't believe in bests anymore. Everything I think I've done a level the best I can I end up looking back, thinking of what would have been better, and topping the level. So it's up to you as a Creator to decide what's going to go on with your levels, but keep this in mind: once you've done your very best, do a little bit better.