spooky stuff?

Smoke

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hi, i am curently making a map that features an abandened combine facility(due to some headcrabs getting lose in the base. wonder how? :devil:lol) anyhow, i was wondering what makes a map scary?


is it the blood splattered walls? the corpses strewn about the place? the strange noises in the background? fighting off zombies with little ammo? extreme lack of light? flickering lights? small rooms?(claustriphobia) (spelling?) please bear in mind that this map is almost entirley underground when posting.

any suggestions at all on a spooky atmosphere would be greatly appreciated, im only just past the noob stage at mapping so any citicism and/or info would be very nice.

thanks
 

SnowBall

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Atmosphere is a big part. You have to set it up so the player knows "this will be scary" without telling them directly. Sometimes ambient noises or complete silence work well. Suprise scares usually work good as well. You have to make the enviroment feel unwelcoming and make the player tense.
 

Smoke

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SnowBall said:
Atmosphere is a big part. You have to set it up so the player knows "this will be scary" without telling them directly. Sometimes ambient noises or complete silence work well. Suprise scares usually work good as well. You have to make the enviroment feel unwelcoming and make the player tense.
yes i see, BUT HOW!?!?!?!!??! lol

edit: by the way i like ur avatar and ur sig is funny, also deviant art has some cool stuff i get my desktops and wall posters from that site
 

lister

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y dont u have a look at some scary games..eg Silent Hill 4, look how the maps are made, get sum ideas
 
S

semi-psychotic

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My golden rule of mapping is, for the love of all things Holy, never to bore the player. Repeating themes are okay, but rooms that look extremely similar (to the point of being lost) are a huge no-no. If you really want to re-use a room, if it is important for the storyline/concept for example, then populate it with different stuff, or use different lighting.

Anywho, here are some other pointers.

1) See Golden Rule.
2) Blood-splattered walls can be used here and there, but if your map turns out to be totally crimson, you've gone too far.
3) I personally don't like flickering lights. They're more irritating than atmospheric, especially if they are the main light source. If the flickering doesn't get in the way of seeing your enemy (for example, other lights in the room are steady), it's okay.
4) Lighting is a biggie. Lighting is the difference between creepy, spooky, scary, horrid, and lame. In fact, pitch darkness can totally ruin a map. Dramatic is the key: don't wash the map out, and don't leave the player blind without his flashlight. Try different colors, try experimenting with solitary lights, and try experimenting with *subtle* color blends.
5) To make the most out of lighting, learn how to use texlights. I'm not positive how they work on Source, but they were my preferred lighting method on the HL1 engine. Google might help you on this.
6) Claustrophobic areas... depend on the gameplay you want and the creatures in the map. Sometimes claustrophobia may end up frustrating and stupid.

Now, don't steal their ideas (that would be lame), but there are a few good mods out there to look at some screenshots and take some pointers. There's also Ravenholm from HL2 to check out.

Zombie panic, currently working on porting to Source:
http://www.zombiepanic.org/site/index.php

Their screenshots on the front page are pretty cool.

[edit] A few more things to take note of:
7) There's a fine line between "startling" and "scary." Okay, so the same zombie that you've seen before bursts out of a crate when you weren't expecting it. Yawn. What you need is something to so totally blindside the player that they didn't see it coming, and they are then horribly frightened by the event (fire, hordes, new horrifying enemies, flaming hordes of new horrifying enemies, etc.). Dead silence before the event, and then lots of noise during the event... cool stuff.
8) Try some stuff that's never been done before. Be creative in how you scare your player.
 

Smoke

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aaaaaaaaaawwwww but i just want info the easy way like eberbody ewse
 

Smoke

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i like their work on that zombie panic thing but ravenholm just well....it just didnt scare me in the slightest, at all, nope,nada,zip,zupe,nono,

/me slaps self *AND DONT DO IT AGAIN!*

anyhow, i think that the idea of the combine being forced to leave a base is cool cos the game portays them as all high and powerfull, so it makes it even spookier.


dont you think?

oh and uh,, keep this stuff comin its really helpin me(im actually taking notes so it is good stuff)

thanks.
 

Smoke

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lol semi-phycotic just read ur edit, flame, hordes, flaming hordes lol

could u possibly pm me?

just that u seem to know what ur talking about and i want to learn from your magical ways
 

Hectic Glenn

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stop posting random messages! use the edit button! you are scare me.
 

Aceallways

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Some ideas..

I would think the player (gordon) should run out of ammo and be forced to run away from the zombies. Make a mulitple path level with many dead ends so it looks like there is no escape.
 

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Aceallways said:
I would think the player (gordon) should run out of ammo and be forced to run away from the zombies. Make a mulitple path level with many dead ends so it looks like there is no escape.

I LIKE THAT! HUUUUHUUHHHHAAUUHHUHHAAA

*SLAP* "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU!"
 
S

semi-psychotic

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The thing with mapping is that there's only so much you can do to scare the player. The atmosphere from ZP and Ravenholm are terrific, but you're right, they don't do too much to scare the player.

What you need is some creative enemy placement and... well... unfortunately, there's only so much you can do with enemies that everybody has seen before.

To scare somebody, the heart of it is in scary events. You could have the creepiest environment ever mapped in a Hammer editor and compiled with ZHLT:Creepy version (I wonder when somebody will build ZHLT for Source...), but if nothing happens it's only creepy. To accomplish these events, you need to get used to the AI trigger and hint node system and get your noodle thinking on how to grip the player with a startling event and keep them shell-shocked with something truly horrifying.

My ways aren't really "magical," because I've just told you everything I can think of. I haven't created a proven, die-hard scary map, I can only conjecture at how (my mapping experience lies in a mapping WIP for an HL1 mod called Natural-selection). I'm sorry I can't tell you much more.

Happy mapping, Merry Christmas!
 
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semi-psychotic

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Sorry about that, was editing to clarify it as you posted. ZHLT is a (bunch of) set(s) of optimized compiling tools for the HL1 engine, so they don't have anything to do with Source mapping.
 

Smoke

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would anybody like to see some alpha:alpha:alpha pics?
 

Locust

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I got an idea for something scary. Have the player walk into a room or something and have a zombie arm pop out of a door way and grab the player. Or else have a hand suddenly wrap around the players mouth and drag him to the ground. Oh man, imagine if you were on the ground and you had to beat the zombie off you with some sort of fist mechanic. Oh well, there is a couple ideas on how to scare. The idea of being grabbed and being able to do nothing is a good way to scare though. As for atmosphere, you need to make the player know he is in danger, either by sound or by some sort of a backstory. With the combine thing, you could make a cutscene where zombies swarm the facility or something like that and the player is a dude running from some zombies he saw and seeks refuage in the facility only to find that he is in greater danger than he was before.
 
D

DreadLord

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abconners said:
I got an idea for something scary. Have the player walk into a room and have a zombie arm pop out of a door way and grab the player. Or else have a hand suddenly wrap around the players mouth and drag him to the ground. Oh man, imagine if you were on the ground and you had to beat the zombie off you with some sort of fist mechanic. Oh well, there is a couple ideas on how to scare.
I believe he said map, not mod...

E-mail the map to [email protected] and i'll test it out! lol :cheers:
 

Dekstar

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How about using the persons friendly-ness to scare them. For instance:
You see another room guarded by a bullet-proof window - A testing lab, and there's a group of scientists sitting in a group with shotguns, and they wave you over to a nearby door, but as you start walking the lights in the room flicker out and you hear lots of horrific screams, and banging on the glass.

Then when the lights come back on there's blood everywhere.

That'll not only make the player think that it's scary as "****", but it'll make them think their weapons are useless.

How's that?
 

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DreadLord1337 said:
I believe he said map, not mod...

E-mail the map to [email protected] and i'll test it out! lol :cheers:
A rehash with the same gameplay is not how you bring innovation to gameplay, just look at doom 3. I'm talking about situations where the player is actually in a life and death struggle where the odds are stacked against him. Also it wouldn't be that hard to implement a punching mechanic, atleast I think.
 

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I like your scientist idea. how about some thing where you follow a creature that looks friendly where it leads you to a dead end, and then the creature is gone. when you turn around, there the thing is, coming toward you and you have no weapons. all you can do is try to avoid it.
 

<RJMC>

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I remenber a japanese game called fatal frame (also called project zero) in that game you are a litle girl that is in a mansion whit gosht and you only weapon against them was a magic camera
I know is diferent of your idea but that game hav a very scary atmosphere

the levels were places a bit claustrophobic but not too much,but they were like designed to be a litle confuse and like a simple labyrinth,also the fact that the place looked alone and abandoned but whit a look to be inaltered by a long time
the levels hav a very low music that was really scary but sometimes where silence,and that silence was scary,and most scary when you hear a strange scream,also sometimes you hear very strange sound but not all the time and thats give a very good scary feel cuz is the sounds and noises appear many times is not so scary
the places where dark but not all,it was more darker in someplaces but not completly black,also where some unaccesibles zones that looked like accesible like a forest behind some fence,that give a good creepy feeling cuz the simple idea to see something in that lonely places scares
also how your only defends against was a camera,and the way to use the camera that were a litle complicated,helped to the atmosphere cuz is not like others games that you see a enemy and just attack them and kill, cuz the camera is not a super weapon,the way you use is like this: when you aim whit the camera it hav a circle that is the range so is the gohst is out of the range you will not damage your enemy,also when the gosht is inside the circle you get some magical power that made the shot more powerfull so if you hav more power you will make more damage but depending of the time the gosht is inside the range is the quantity of power you get,so is you keep the circle over the gosht by a long time you will get more power and and cause a lot of damage,and the way that help the scare feeling is cuz the gosht can get closer while your waiting for the power to charge and hurt you,and all this "combat" mode make the enemys hard to fight and give more scare feeling cuz you feel weak and unadvantaged
also the gosht dont appear too much and thats give more scary atmosphere,for example games like resident evil dont scare too much cuz allways appear zombies and zombies and that IMO quit the scary feeling a litle,so how in that game dont appear gosht all the time you are tense cuz you are thinking is a gosht will appear here or here and etc...

so make that short....I recomend this

make levels not so claustrophobic and a litle unconfortable to bee (like places where whit objects that make litle places where something can hyde) and give them a look of be alone for a long time and abandoned

silence can be very good to make a good atmosphere included whit rare noises but not all the time,and dont make the places too dark and add unaccesibles zones that give a mysterious feeling

the idea to hav low ammo is very good

make that the enemyes dont appear all the time cuz that can be repetive and dont make a good mysterious feeling,also whit evets like a monster jumping from some respective place

I hope be helpfull
 

bam23

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semi-psychotic said:
My golden rule of mapping is, for the love of all things Holy, never to bore the player. Repeating themes are okay, but rooms that look extremely similar (to the point of being lost) are a huge no-no. If you really want to re-use a room, if it is important for the storyline/concept for example, then populate it with different stuff, or use different lighting.

Anywho, here are some other pointers.

1) See Golden Rule.
2) Blood-splattered walls can be used here and there, but if your map turns out to be totally crimson, you've gone too far.
3) I personally don't like flickering lights. They're more irritating than atmospheric, especially if they are the main light source. If the flickering doesn't get in the way of seeing your enemy (for example, other lights in the room are steady), it's okay.
4) Lighting is a biggie. Lighting is the difference between creepy, spooky, scary, horrid, and lame. In fact, pitch darkness can totally ruin a map. Dramatic is the key: don't wash the map out, and don't leave the player blind without his flashlight. Try different colors, try experimenting with solitary lights, and try experimenting with *subtle* color blends.
5) To make the most out of lighting, learn how to use texlights. I'm not positive how they work on Source, but they were my preferred lighting method on the HL1 engine. Google might help you on this.
6) Claustrophobic areas... depend on the gameplay you want and the creatures in the map. Sometimes claustrophobia may end up frustrating and stupid.

Now, don't steal their ideas (that would be lame), but there are a few good mods out there to look at some screenshots and take some pointers. There's also Ravenholm from HL2 to check out.

Zombie panic, currently working on porting to Source:
http://www.zombiepanic.org/site/index.php

Their screenshots on the front page are pretty cool.

[edit] A few more things to take note of:
7) There's a fine line between "startling" and "scary." Okay, so the same zombie that you've seen before bursts out of a crate when you weren't expecting it. Yawn. What you need is something to so totally blindside the player that they didn't see it coming, and they are then horribly frightened by the event (fire, hordes, new horrifying enemies, flaming hordes of new horrifying enemies, etc.). Dead silence before the event, and then lots of noise during the event... cool stuff.
8) Try some stuff that's never been done before. Be creative in how you scare your player.
Everything up there.

-Add some sounds (from the zombies in your map) to add some paranoia, but try not to use it too close together or too much.
-Let the player see some stuff that occured before his visit, like a dead body that looks horribly mutilated with a whole buncha blood around. "Tell" the player that this place is nasty and they need to gtfo.

Try playing AvP2. You can learn something from that.
 

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abconners said:
I like your scientist idea. how about some thing where you follow a creature that looks friendly where it leads you to a dead end, and then the creature is gone. when you turn around, there the thing is, coming toward you and you have no weapons. all you can do is try to avoid it.
That would be extremely scary, if it was the right creature.

Infact, I'm sure you can do this with certain entities in hammer, so I'll say this before going to bed.

Right, it's just a corridor. Nothing fancy, a couple of blood stains here, a couple of corpses there. so you're already aphrehensive, and there's a long corridor that you must walk down. This corridor is noticably well-lit. And whenever you walk under a light in the corridor, it flickers out, and when you walk just out of range of it, it flickers back on.

Oh! You could add like windows next to some of the lights, so when they flicker out certain *spooky* reflections appear in the glass. That would scare me like hell. Obviously there's nothing there mind, just it'll scare the player into thinking there is.

And then, when the player gets to the end, they'll go "haha, nothing happened there - why was I so scared? And then they walk through a door and something attacks them. that'll scare them even more.
 

Smoke

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DreadLord1337 said:
I believe he said map, not mod...

E-mail the map to [email protected] and i'll test it out! lol :cheers:
dude u sure? i mean its like not even fully built yet,(as in bits of walls missing n stuff)

HAHALOL i love that scientist idea but i want to portray the player as a combine soldier, just woken up (from being knocked out) in a room with a bed in it n stuff (like his assigned quarters)
so u dont start off with the suit or any weapons, hows that for scary? imagine it, walking around a facilty thats just been left for dead with no suit and no weapons? (only at the start)

NOW THAT IS FUC*ED UP

i also like the light off/not so sure about on idea but i have no idea how u would make shadows, do you know how? if so please fill me in.

also blood splatter with the noticable lack of bodies would be spookier i think
 

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Man, I'm getting some good lay-out images in my head. Unfortunately, I'm absolutely horrid at Hammer, and all I can do is make simple rooms and hallways. I don't know how to use the AI hints or whatnot.
I'm sure that if I took the time to do it, and if I had a layout in front of me, I could at least get the geometry of a good scare-level in place. But someone would have to go through and set all the triggers and whatnot.
 

Smoke

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ill have some screenies in a mo


HEY MC, pm me and we will talk bout this map and map ideas, maybye we can both pull together on this or another map and make it brill! (pm me if intersted)
 

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I think the scariest thing is anticipation, nothing scarier than that. Random crap popping out is never that scary, it may make you jump but it isn't that scary. But somthing like a really loud banging coming from the other side of a door and then somthing scary pops it.
 

Smoke

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pm me then we can sort it out


also screenie

bear in mind that this is at a VERY EARLY STAGE
so feel free to critisize



meh...going to bed now......ill be back in a few hours though hehehehehe
 

bam23

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A... patch of blood on the wall in a dark room?
 

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Maybe like.. something which better demonstrates your idea?
How long have you been mapping? This seems like a really ambitious project to me.

Anyway, the general rule of thumb is to draft out your basic ideas then mock something up. Especially since you're approaching the community for ideas, you wouldn't want to work on something only to realise you could have done it another way. Mainly to plan first before working on it.

Don't deviate too much from your intended direction and good luck with it.
 

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The things that make a level scary are the little things... I mean sure, a zombie popping out of a closet or something makes you jump, but what scares me most is the overall atmosphere of a level. Things like hearing footsteps on the floor above you, fingernails scratching across the other side of a wooden door, catching a brief glimpse of a monster or ghost in a window then it disappears. Man, I can't wait for some scary HL2 single player maps. :D
 
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having to run. Nothing like playing off of the genetically hard coded fears put into us since before we were born.

Being chased and having to run without a proper means to fight back is an awesome device.

Perhaps a swarm of fast zombies , not enough ammo, and a long distance to a safe zone, perhaps some hazards along the way too.

Being surrounded. Feature a large area where a player cannot easily back himself into a defensive area. Apply some dim lighting and maybe some effects to make the exact number of enemies hard to establish.

Elevators. They can be a very effective horror device as it combines claustrophobia with fear of heights. Having a sequence where the elevator breaks down and you have to blast a hole in the cieling to find a ladder to climb out is alwyas nice. Especially if you have a timelimit before the elavator falls. Having lights that start to fail as this is happening can add tension.

alternatively the elevator can come under attack from enemies in different directions and also be about to fall. Featuring a good look at the horrible blackness of the elevator well is also a good effect.

the obligatory "outrun a large fireball thats chasing you" is pretty good for drama too.
 

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Here's the real deal.

The keys to fear are:

1. Vulnerability
2. The Unknown

If you make the player very vulnerable, and make sure he never knows where or when a threat is coming, he will shit his pants.

All this stuff about darkness and such is skirting the real issue. Darkness is a means or increasing the unknown factor - nothing else. Focus on the fundamentals and you'll reach a better understanding of what works.

Doom 3 wasn't scary because the player was never vulnerable because he was always armed to the teeth.

If you want an example of a scary game go play system shock 2. Old game, still the scariest ever.
 

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Tynan said:
Here's the real deal.

The keys to fear are:

1. Vulnerability
2. The Unknown

If you make the player very vulnerable, and make sure he never knows where or when a threat is coming, he will shit his pants.

All this stuff about darkness and such is skirting the real issue. Darkness is a means or increasing the unknown factor - nothing else. Focus on the fundamentals and you'll reach a better understanding of what works.

Doom 3 wasn't scary because the player was never vulnerable because he was always armed to the teeth.

If you want an example of a scary game go play system shock 2. Old game, still the scariest ever.
Very true, except the Doom part. At least, for me. I had a tendency to unload a few too many shells at things. Sometimes, for fun, sometimes, because I was scared and my hand was shaking.

One thing that I don't know would be possible with Source would be a shadow scare. What I mean is (I think I got this from the Mesh Does Doom videos. I need to watch those again, those were awesome) you're heading down a long corridor, and all of a sudden, you see a shadow of some beast go across the wall straight ahead.
When you go into the room, nothing happens, until you go to the next room. Then after the door closes behind you, you hear a rumbling, and something busts through the wall behind you.

Once again, not sure if it's possible without modding.
 

Tynan

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As for Doom 3, I personally didn't find it at all scary. Perhaps I'm too jaded.

I think one of the ways that SS2 increased the fear factor tremendously was simply to add random respawning of enemies. The game was structured such that you'd pass through the same areas many times over the course of the game. The enemies would never appear in the same way twice. The Unknown.

They also gave you VERY few bullets. I spent most of the game with under 2 clips of ammo. I'd ration individual bullets in conflicts with enemies. Vulnerability.

Fear is really hard in today's jaded marketplace. You gotta spice it up with something original too.
 

Smoke

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diluted said:
The things that make a level scary are the little things... I mean sure, a zombie popping out of a closet or something makes you jump, but what scares me most is the overall atmosphere of a level. Things like hearing footsteps on the floor above you, fingernails scratching across the other side of a wooden door, catching a brief glimpse of a monster or ghost in a window then it disappears. Man, I can't wait for some scary HL2 single player maps. :D
dude... what do you think im making?

edit: im gonna go that scientist/combine in the room idea, sounds proper funny but i might need some tips in putting somthin like that 2gether
 

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\\-shanE said:
Maybe like.. something which better demonstrates your idea?
How long have you been mapping? This seems like a really ambitious project to me.

Anyway, the general rule of thumb is to draft out your basic ideas then mock something up. Especially since you're approaching the community for ideas, you wouldn't want to work on something only to realise you could have done it another way. Mainly to plan first before working on it.

Don't deviate too much from your intended direction and good luck with it.
i did say this was alpha:alpha:alpha didnt i ? or did you miss that?

instead of critcising why not help?

edit: i havent been mapping that long but ive got more than the basics goin for me dont worry, and if ive got a prob then ill just come to you! :cheese:
 
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