Horror. Everyone loves the thrill of a good scary movie. Some people take this to new levels by playing scary games, namely titles such as 'Amnesia,' 'Dead Space,' and 'Silent Hill.' These have more to offer than movies. However, Minecraft can be one hella scary game. With all of the newest adventure map add-ons, it is extremely simple to make your own terrifying adventure map if you know how.
This guide will go in depth and show you step by step how to make your own horror map.
First thing's first: what type of horror is it? Is it survival horror, or is it action horror? What's the difference, you say? Well, let me enlighten you.
Survival horror is what I like to call 'all talk.' Most of the time, nothing happens. The suspense eats the player alive, even though most of the time, nothing at all is happening. This is often done with good sound architecture and 1 good, extremely good jump scare at the beginning of the map.
Action horror is a lot harder to make scary. It is scary for a number of reasons. It usually has extremely good atmosphere. Things will attack you. They often are not very strong, because the point of the map is not to make you fight wave after wave, it is to give you that special kind of thrill that only a scary experience could. These are very hard to make scary, as the player is almost relieved when the attacker jumps out, because it normally breaks the tension and means they are safe, at least for the next few minutes.
But a wise man once said that deceit is the source of a quality scare.
Once you have chosen a good sub-genre, it is time to choose a good location. Try to stay away from the old cliches. They are immensely overdone. In case you don't know what I mean when I refer to 'the old cliches,' here are a couple off of the top of my head.
• Old Mansion
• Cabin in the woods
Basically anything you've heard of before, because scary movies are pretty much all the same. Do something you can say "Yes, I created all of this. Every aspect was from my own original creation," for. If someone's done it before, it's not good enough. Here are some interesting locations I haven't seen a lot of:
• Farm in the country
• In your imagination (be creative with this one!)
• Coal mine
• German concentration camp (or something else of the sort)
While you shouldn't use them, there is a reason that the 'classics' are the classics. You see, scary is not physical. Scary is not what you see. Scary is what you are thinking. It is usually something in the back of your mind. Hospitals, for example, are so scary because many people are scared of doctors, shots, surgery, and many things that go on in hospitals. The players may not realize what you are doing - this is okay, as long as what you are doing works.
Other locations, such as cabins, farms, and isolated places are great for these types of maps. Why are these locations scary? You are alone. Not alone as in safe in your cottage. Alone as in no one is there to help. No one care here you scream if your neighbors are 2 miles away.
Airports and other locations are not very scary in my opinion. The small amount of scare factor comes from how populated these areas are and how tragic you can make your events seem simply by adding little evidence of living, breathing population. That is, living, breathing, and not trying to kill you.
The story and lore adds a whole new level of depth to your map. It makes players feel as if what they are doing is justified. It makes it less of a 'Why am I even here?' kind of situation and more of a 'I really wish I didn't have to walk down that hallway,' kind of situation.
Immersion is key. Make your player a normal guy. Don't make him master chief. Don't give him all the know how in the world. Make him something relatable. Make him that college dropout. Make him that guy in the office. Don't make your player a super hero. Think about it; a low life accountant stuff in an abandoned office building is a lot more scary than Batman in the exact same situation.
Why is this true? Because; he is batman. He can jump out of a window or something, there is just no real risk for him. I mean, do you think Batman is scared of the dark? No, of course not, he is the Batman. He's probably more scared of a brightly lit room.
Also make your story somewhat believable. Don't make it a normal adventure map story. Don't spawn the player with a book that says 'Welcome to my map. You randomly came to this island for no apparent reason and now you are stuck.'
That would scream to me that this is about to be an action map. It's not going to be scary, and even if it was, that kind of lore would just keep me from getting into the story.
Now with everything set up and a basic outline and lore, the only thing to do now is to build your map. This will take a long time. Just a heads up.
Try to make the map at least 30 minutes long. That's at a minimum, I would make the map about 2 hours long if I were building on my own, and it would take me 1 or two months to complete with my given schedule.
Make it dark. Do everything you can to make it as scary as possible. Try to give the players more than jump scares. This gets old quick. Work hard on the atmosphere. Make your own resource pack if necessary, even if it just so you can add sounds to the game.
With your first horror map, make it single player only. This will make it a lot easier on you. You don't have to worry about mischievous players determined to make it as non-scary as possible just to make you look bad. Multiplayer horror maps are extremely difficult to get fine tuned, because you cannot make them linear.
Build your map how you want it. If you enjoyed the long read, +1 this, and comment. If you would like me to add more to a certain subject, or go more in depth on a certain topic, please comment below.
Thank you, and I wish you a horrifying adventure map.
Due to popular demand (A whole 3 people) I am now going to add an "Effects" section, named as suggested by azarjeazar777.
Thanks for the feedback.
:insert effects section here:
So when you think of effects, think of anything that distinguishes your plain old adventure map from a terrifying horror map. It is pretty much everything: atmosphere, sound effects, jump scares (Which I will elaborate on later), lighting, blood; everything. Effects are very important.
Very, very important.
You use effects for many different things. For example, I am using effects in this very post. I am using a gothic type font, this alludes to things of horror, even though it is not scary at all.
I am also using spacing to emphasis certain things. For example:
"... Effects are very important.
<- Notice big space here.
Very, very important."
You see, that emphasizes the fact that it is important. You could have not read the whole paragraph before it, but you would have know whatever the subject was, it was pretty important. You can do the same with effects. If blood trails through a door, and the rest of the room is dark, and all the other doors are disabled, that makes that one door stand out. You can also use sound. For example, if you activate a wicked ambient sound whenever you came close to the door, 1, it would be pretty freaky, and 2, it would show that THAT is the door you should go through.
With effects, many of them are unnoticed, which is why many map makers much put signs on walls to kind of 'tell' a player how they should be feeling right now. For example, if you walk into an atmospheric room, and there is a sign on the floor saying "Dang it's scary in here," then that is the map maker telling you that you should be scared. Sounds ridiculous? That's because it is. If you must tell your player he is in a scary situation, then it is probably not a very scary situation. The player should be able to figure it out on their own. Use emphasis techniques to show players that the room is scary.
Ambience is an extremely important part of effects too. Psychology is pretty important in these types of effects, even if it is basic. You must understand a few instinctual behaviors of humans that are very rarely ever put into play, so therefor are never grown out of. For example, when you are extremely scared, you hit your fight of flight instincts. If you can't fight it because you don't see it, and you can't run because you are bound by a story line (Or trapped in a room, anything that prevents you from going the way you came), you just don't know what to do. You just continue as normal, only your sense of... Well... Everything is enhanced. I don't know about you, but I believe this would be prime time for some ambient sounds, such as scratching on walls, banging on ceiling, and other things. These sounds are ambience, they don't exactly do anything. Their only purpose is to bring the world to life a bit.
Lighting effects are great. They are the main way I emphasize things. Lighting can be hard to get right, however. With practice, however, and a good deal of understanding, you can achieve a lot with lighting.
Lighting works pretty easily. It's not real light. It's just brightening up the blocks surrounding the light source. Light works the same in all worlds, even the nether and the end. The light source has a luminance level. For example, let's say a certain block's luminance level is 14. The light level will change by -1 every time it passes through a transparent block, such as air, and goes to 0 every time is hits a solid block.
Experiment with different light levels for different effects.
Here's an example of nice lighting.
It's a small picture, sorry, but it has nice lighting. It emphasizes that something about the middle structure is significant.
Jumpscares, jumpscares, jumpscares. These are the most common form of horror moments in Minecraft horror maps, but they are not exactly the scariest. You can make a completely empty room, no action happening, just ambience and lighting effects, horrifying. Jumpscares are good for the occasional catch-you-off-guard moment.
To make a quality jumpscare, you need two things: good audio, and good visuals. The audio is easy, especially if you have your own resource pack. Just add a very sharp, ear piercing noise, and your golden. Also make sure you can't hear it longer than you need to, as it can kill the moment you worked hard to create.
Visuals are a bit harder. There are two things you can do with the visuals: Find a way to make a mob come out at exactly the right time, moving extremely fast, or you can teleport the player somewhere else where you have a scary painting, or a player head set up to scare your player. You should only show this area for a very brief second, or it will kill the moment.
Here is a fantastic video by some of the developers of the horror game Dead Space. They make some great points, such as: How to use timing, sound, how to make things scary with nothing going on, and more. Great video, check it out:
I can't think of anything else as of now, comment if you would like more! (Also tell more of what! )