If you've paid attention to my articles, you'll know it's no secret that I'm a fan of horror. I love any game that can scare the pants off me, or at least make me think twice before turning off the lights in my apartment at night. The more effectively a game can immerse me in terror, the more I enjoy it — and what better way to immerse me than with Augmented Reality?
Night Terrors Turns Your House Into A Horror Movie With The Aid Of AR Technology
I never really got too into Pokémon Go, mostly because I'm woefully ignorant about Pokémon, but from the moment I heard about the way the game used AR technology, my interest was piqued. #VideoGames like Sara is Missing had already begun experimenting with immersive phone-based #horror, mimicking the appearance of a phone UI to draw you into the mystery — a game that could combine those ideas with AR techniques could be truly terrifying.
Enter Night Terrors, an ambitious horror game that turns your own house into a horror movie. Developer Novum Analytics have been hard at work perfecting their AR technology, using the phone's camera to map the limits of your house in order to create truly terrifying phantasms to haunt your home. There'll be no ghosts appearing hilariously on your toilet or dog like in Pokémon Go, though.
The folks at Novum Analytics are obviously fans of classic horror as well. Rather than 3D model their spooky apparitions, they're going almost entirely practical for their effects. A mixture of puppetry, make-up and practical prosthetics are being used to craft their creatures.
Advanced compositing techniques are then used to capture the actors/puppets and place them in the altered reality of your screen. It's a pretty awesome idea, and though there's a few hokey-looking effects right now (I spotted an especially goofylooking skeleton in one video), it's a great way to get around the hardware limitations of most phones.
The Calls Are Coming From Inside The App
In addition to a bit of fun reality-altering camera and screen hijacking, Night Terrors will also be incorporating ideas from games like Don't Talk to Strangers and Sara is Missing, incorporating the ability to act as if your phone and messaging apps are being taken over by the game. Players will receive mysterious calls from unknown numbers and ominous texts. In one trailer, the game was even shown faking a suicide message from a 'doomed' player so people wouldn't ask questions about their death.
It's certainly a disturbing addition to the field of altered reality, and one that may garner a bit of controversy. Personally I love the idea, imagine hiding from a specter, only to get a text letting you know that not only does it know where you are, but it's right behind you.
So far, Night Terrors is shaping up to be one of the most ambitious approaches to horror in a while, a sort of P.T. meets Pokemon Go, but it's yet to be seen whether it can live up to its promise. Still, it's one to keep an eye on, especially at night, when those shadows in your room just get that little bit darker.
Do you think Novum Analytics can live up to their ambitions? Let us know in the comments!