Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

New Project on Silent Hill

Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2021

New Purpose for this Blog

For almost 2 years, I’ve been thinking about what I can do with this blog. I wrote a couple blogs when I first started this site in 2019, but something about them didn’t feel right. I kept thinking that I need to do something different. I just didn’t know what. One thing I did know was that I wanted to show that games including video games deserve respect. Showing that would also be an opportunity for me to share my love for games and demonstrate my passion for game development. But how should I do that? At least for now, I will do it as videos that I upload on YouTube and use this site to blog weekly on my progress as well as any thoughts I have on the project or on games. 
My first project will be on Silent Hill’s opening gameplay of Harry chasing Cheryl to the alleyway. Didn’t I already write a blog post on this? Yes, I did called Chasing the Rabbit: Silent Hill Intro Stage Part 1. I’m doing another project on this subject because Silent Hill deserves respect as a work of art, and I know I can definitely do a better job now. This original blog post was unfocused as I tried to write about too much at once. Although, it wasn’t a bad start to having my own blog site. 
This time I’m going to focus more on how the mechanics and gameplay contribute to the themes of Silent Hill. Again, I tried that in the first blog but it was messy. I will now do it as a video project with a demonstration of mechanics and gameplay in a 2D top down perspective. I could do it in a 3D third person perspective like Silent Hill, but I think there is an advantage to understanding mechanics and gameplay better by demonstrating it in a different view from the original game. 
 
The main theme of Silent Hill is discovering a hidden truth. The theme of the opening gameplay is chasing the rabbit.  

Today’s Topics

I’m starting this project by recreating the opening gameplay with Harry chasing Cheryl as a 2D top down perspective in Game Maker Studio 2. I will show what I have so far for the project. Plus, express why I chose the themes for Silent Hill and my plans for next week.

Project’s Current State

Here is the project after a week of working on it (average of 2-4 hours each day). The background image represents the section of Old Silent Hill where Harry wakes up in his crashed jeep and begins to search for Cheryl. The magnifying glasses signify the areas that Harry can examine and the speech bubbles are similar to Harry’s comments on his examinations. The orange sparks are the areas that trigger the robotic arm sequence. The crossed out arrows show that the Player cannot go back or continue down this street.  
 
The brown square with the green triangle is Harry with the triangle point being the direction he’s facing. Right now, I’m not very good at drawing sprites. So I will do my best to make characters and other game objects embody characters and other aspects of Silent Hill. I decided on a brown square because Harry wears a brown coat. The green triangle is for the green triangle that represents Harry in the game’s map. I programmed the brown-green Player to move like a tank just like Harry, but with the choice of the WASD keys or arrow keys. I will refer to the brown square/green triangle as the Player because it is the character that the Player controls. 
 
If you’re wondering what’s up with the robotic arm animation when there’s nothing like that in Silent Hill, that’s my way of conveying the game forcing the player to be at a particular spot. Silent Hill does it through cutscenes. I wanted to convey this by showing that an AI is taking control away from the Player. I decided to show this AI as a robotic arm. I was inspired to do the robotic arm moving the Player by photos of robots playing games like chess. It also gave me something new to learn in Game Maker because this was the first time I’ve made animation sequences in a game engine.
 
I would love to describe the work it has taken to get the project to this point, but it will make reading this blog much longer. I will explain more about that later. For now, I will explain why I chose the themes for this project. 

Themes – Why I Chose Them

Discovering a Hidden Truth

My idea of the theme for the entire game of Silent Hill being discovering a hidden truth was inspired by Reinstall Paul. Paul’s YouTube channel focuses on occult themes and symbolism in video games. As far as Silent Hill, he has a series of videos talking about Silent Hill 1, Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 2: Born from a Wish (Maria scenario). He plans on making a series for Silent Hill 3 as well. I highly recommend watching his videos if you’re interested in gaining a better understanding of Silent Hill as well as other video games. 
 
In Paul’s first video on Silent Hill, he explains at 4:59 that the word occult derives from Latin words meaning hidden from sight. He further explain that occultism is a hidden body of knowledge. This is when I realized that Silent Hill along with its sequels is about discovering a hidden truth. 

Chasing the Rabbit

Chasing the rabbit came to mind back when I was writing my first blog on Silent Hill on this site. I was looking at the map from the game and traced Harry’s route from his Jeep to the alley. Harry is going south meaning he’s going down. The alley acts as a rabbit hole. Harry chases Cheryl like Alice chases the White Rabbit. Harry chases Cheryl into the alleyway leading to the nightmare of Silent Hill. Just as Alice chases the Rabbit into the rabbit hole leading into Wonderland. Furthermore, Alice in Wonderland is referenced again with the colored plates puzzle in the hospital. 

Now I will talk about my plans for next week.

Plans for Next Week

The next step in this project will be programming the AI of the object that represents Cheryl. It will probably be a simple AI that starts with appearing when the player reaches a specific point. Then wait for the player to be in a certain spot to move into the alley and disappear once it is at the end. After that, I will program the screen to go dark when the Player presses the action (space) key at the gate in the alley with the option to restart the game. I would also like to add a layer of fog as well as the ability to pause the game which activates Player control of the inventory. 
 
Unlike Silent Hill, I will have the inventory at the top of the screen similar to games like Castlevania. This will give the Player a chance to see how he/she influences the inventory as the game is being played.

That is all for now.