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How to create a scary atmosphere
Melvin Offline
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#1
How to create a scary atmosphere

Hey Frictional Games forum,

How do I create a good scary atmosphere; how do I let the player suffer with fear with each step he makes?

What are the do's and don'ts?

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(This post was last modified: 10-03-2012, 10:45 PM by Melvin.)
10-03-2012, 10:45 PM
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Adny Offline
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#2
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

Subtlety. Small sounds and events here and there. Do them often. After enough tension has been built, do bigger events (usually involving monsters). Jumpscares are a good release from the tension as well (I mean real jumpscares, not the flying nude deity).

It's hard to break down something like fear and try to make it formulaic, but there you go.

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10-03-2012, 10:48 PM
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Melvin Offline
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#3
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

(10-03-2012, 10:48 PM)andyrockin123 Wrote: Subtlety. Small sounds and events here and there. Do them often. After enough tension has been built, do bigger events (usually involving monsters). Jumpscares are a good release from the tension as well (I mean real jumpscares, not the flying nude deity).

It's hard to break down something like fear and try to make it formulaic, but there you go.
So what you're basicly saying is that you must build up tension with small things, and then you suddenly strike. (No flying naked guys, that's obvious).

It's noted! thanks

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10-03-2012, 10:51 PM
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Kman Offline
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#4
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

Basically what Andy said. Don't force any of these kinds of things either. For example, if you make an object fall off a shelf, don't make the player look at it, don't try to make it stand out in any sort of way. Yes, there is a good chance that the player will miss it, but if they catch it and you don't try to force it it will be waaaay more effective. If you force them to see it or you play an event soundtrack right then or stuff like that, I've found it tends to kill the immersion more than anything. It's like screaming "HEY, HEY PLAYER, LOOK AT THIS SPOOKY SHIT THAT'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU SCARED", but when they notice it out of the corner of their eye or happen to glance by the event just as it's happening it can do wonders, since then it actually feels like it's part of the environment and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's... kind of a hard concept to explain, but I hope you got the basic idea behind what I'm saying.

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(This post was last modified: 10-03-2012, 11:15 PM by Kman.)
10-03-2012, 11:14 PM
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Melvin Offline
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#5
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

(10-03-2012, 11:14 PM)Kman Wrote: Basically what Andy said. Don't force any of these kinds of things either. For example, if you make an object fall off a shelf, don't make the player look at it, don't try to make it stand out in any sort of way. Yes, there is a good chance that the player will miss it, but if they catch it and you don't try to force it it will be waaaay more effective. If you force them to see it or you play an event soundtrack right then or stuff like that, I've found it tends to kill the immersion more than anything. It's like screaming "HEY, HEY PLAYER, LOOK AT THIS SPOOKY SHIT THAT'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU SCARED", but when they notice it out of the corner of their eye or happen to glance by the event just as it's happening it can do wonders, since then it actually feels like it's part of the environment and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's... kind of a hard concept to explain, but I hope you got the basic idea behind what I'm saying.
I get it! Thanks man, you guys help alot.

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10-03-2012, 11:16 PM
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Melvin Offline
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#6
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

Can you guys tell me a little about particles? Like fog.. about when to use them and stuff.

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10-04-2012, 12:38 AM
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Adny Offline
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#7
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

(10-04-2012, 12:38 AM)SmokeMelvin Wrote: Can you guys tell me a little about particles? Like fog.. about when to use them and stuff.
Depending on the environment, fog & light dust will be most commonly used. For light dust, use it near light sources & disable "fade at distance" (something like that, it's a check box). For fog, color it lightly to match the environment, and set the distance settings to:

min in: 4
max in: 5
min out: 10
max out: 20

If the fade in distances (above) are set correctly, even if it clips through walls, the player couldn't really see it. If you need it to be even lighter, set the alpha value to 0.5. The aforementioned values are pretty much default, therefore will be need to changed and tested in game very often.

Hope that helped.

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10-04-2012, 12:45 AM
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Statyk Offline
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#8
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

Also PLEASE be sure to match the fog particle's color with the light it is nearby. I can't stand seeing grey fog next to orange lights. Dust and fog are going to light up like any other object in the real world, therefore, the fog will match the surrounding color.
10-04-2012, 02:29 AM
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Adny Offline
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#9
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

(10-04-2012, 02:29 AM)Statyk Wrote: Also PLEASE be sure to match the fog particle's color with the light it is nearby. I can't stand seeing grey fog next to orange lights. Dust and fog are going to light up like any other object in the real world, therefore, the fog will match the surrounding color.
This so much. Why didn't FG put a "tie color to point light" option for fog/dust like they did for billboards? In real life they're really not different, just different mediums for light to travel through.

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10-04-2012, 02:51 AM
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FlawlessHappiness Offline
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#10
RE: How to create a scary atmosphere

Also think about stuff like: Is there an outside area? Is it night? Will you be able to hear the wind? Are there animals outside? And owl? Did something break here? Would there be dust here?

Look under the ambience sounds in the sound menu. There is some good drone-sounds. Drones usually help built up tension.

Trying is the first step to success.
10-04-2012, 09:04 AM
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