‘A first-person paranormal horror where you play as a character locked inside a haunted university library. Explore the surrounding floors and rooms to find a missing friend but beware; ghosts and other mysterious shadowy beings roam the hallways.'

The idea behind SPECTRAL was to create a paranormal horror game as realistically accurate as what could be achieved, as I wanted to do something different to what was already being done as I found existing games of this genre only focus on certain type of phenomena, Poltergeists. My assumption was that this types of entity are used as it was one of the most recognisable or perhaps one people would instantly relate to when thinking of a location being haunted.

Therefore, to be different to what had come before I studied the different types of paranormal phenomena ranging from full & partial manifestations, whispering, to full scenes being played out in front of the individual. To gather this information I utilised both first hand accounts via stories as well as the reasoning behind why spirits are drawn to certain locations and why they appear to begin with, as to not get facts wrong and possibly insult people. The main reasoning behind the location of the game being set in a university library & surrounding floors, as i wanted to use a location many would familiarize themselves with and one where the atmosphere would instantly change in a different daytime hour, or perhaps if no one else was around.


Mechanics and other features in SPECTRAL consist of standard walking-sim controls with buttons being used for general movement (i.e. waking, running & jumping), to more environmental interaction such as using computers, bookshelves or with a more direct approach like moving chairs, opening doors. Using a first person camera removes the disconnect that would occur with a third or top-down camera, and instead results in a more immersive experience and more impactful decisions and reactions to in-game occurrences.


The main focus of this game was not only to make a horror game that was different, but also to delve into the world and level design, which involved each section of the school itself, and the placement of any and all pieces of furniture (regarding tables, chairs printers etc), windows, stairs or rooms. It pushed me to intellectually think about how the interior of a building might be laid out in a way that would make it appear 'lived-in', as well as the entire map of each floor, acting as not only a pathway through the game but a school with classrooms and stair cases.

Complete Games Design Document (GDD) including detailed story, map designs and other game elements can be found below.

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© 2023 by Jackal J - Joshua Bullen