what techniques did the developers use to create mood and atmosphere in virtual environment

For this task, I had answer the question “what techniques did the developers use to create mood and atmosphere in virtual” and present it as a power point, I will answer this question by using three examples of different games using the techniques to create mood and atmosphere. We did this task so we could learn how the developers made mood and atmosphere with the environment, this is so we could use this in the future when making environments.

PowerPoint: what techniques did the developers use to create 

Full detail description:

1st example: Alien Isolation

Alien Isolation has many ways of creating an atmosphere and mood, the game does this in many ways, one of them is lighting. The lighting can be very dark, only lit by a couple of counsels, making the player feel very lonely and curious to explore but the darkness also makes the player feel terrified of what is lurking in the dark.

Another way it creates atmosphere and mood is through sound, specially Foley and music; the music has sharp short bursts when ether seeing the alien or being chased by it or another enemy, this way its strikes terror into the player. Foley is used constantly from creeks and rumbles from to actual aliens, this makes the player always on the edge and feel alone.

The game also uses very chunky old technology, this is because it is using same sort of style as the film alien, this gives the player a nostalgic feeling; this also has another effect, it makes the player feel like all the technology is slow and bulky, this way if the player is being chased, it makes the experience more terrifying as everything is slowing you down as the Alien approaches fast.

Alien Isolation uses textures in a very unique way, such as they blood they uses for victims to the alien or other enemies can show how recent the kill is, if the blood is dry and dark then the victim died a while ago, where as if it is glistening and bright red then they have recently been killed, which means the one who killed is still near by, making the player feel worried and on edge. They also use a glistering effect on the alien, to show it is disgusting and horrible, giving the player more reason to stay away from the alien.

The player will be able tell from all these techniques that this is a horror game, as the mix of creepy ambient music and foley sounds with dark lighting fits perfectly with the horror genre.

2nd example: Bioshock

Bioshock uses very unique techniques to create mood and atmosphere, one of it’s techniques is using textures. They make the textures for their game very decrepit and rusted, this makes the place seem a little creepy, keeping the player on edge but it also makes feel sad as they walk through a fallen utopia.

Colours are also a big part of the game, as it uses dim neon lights for its signs and machines such as the little vending machine shops. These neon lights make the player feel relief as ammo and health kits are hard to find and if the player is in a stich they can quickly buy whatever they need at the vending machine, making the vending machines lights seem like a beacon of light for the player, something they can trust. Colour is also used to show how dark this game is, with its dark blue sea and rotten brown colour to show decay, creating a dark atmosphere and making it seem abandoned, this makes the player feel alone.

The game also uses music to also scare the player but it also uses it for another purpose. The game uses old fashioned music which comes from old radios scattered across to show that rapture is very old and hasn’t had much contact to the outside, this because their music hasn’t changed and reminds the player of an older time, the music is also used to make the player a little more excited and happy, this is because the music is very bouncy. The game also has music that is ambient, this music is used to up the creepy and horror theme by using sharp instruments like the violin when a creepy scene or situation appears, like when the player is attacked by splicers.

Lighting is used to foreshadow that this is a dark place where many horrible things happen, the dark lighting also makes the player wonder what is lurking in the shadows, again keeping the player on edge. the lighting is also used to show that rapture is very far down in the sea, so not much light gets to it, this also could show that nothing good comes to rapture anymore. There are some bright lights in the game, such as the neon lit vending machines, which dispense ammo and health kits for the player, these things are hard to find down in rapture that’s why they are a beacon of light to the player as they are the only things that help you out is your in a bad situation.

The game also use ambient sounds as well, this is to both keep the player on edge and feel unsafe, one of the sounds the player hears a lot is the sound of clacking and crawling, these sounds usually mean that there are splicer/s around, this makes the player both feel on edge and unsafe. Another use of the ambient sound is the creaking of rapture, this shows the pressure of the sea on rapture, this makes the player feel unsafe as the place could bust at any moment.

From the techniques the game uses, the player again will be able to tell that it is a horror game, from the lighting and the music but will be able to tell that is more of a creepy horror that a jump scare horror. This is because the music is more rapid than the usual horror music.

3rd example: Halo 3

Halo uses a lot of different techniques to create different moods and atmospheres in its game. One of them is colour, in the first mission, it is very bright and vibrant, this is because it starts out in a jungle but the colours are made bright and vibrant to make the player enthusiastic about the game, the colours make the game less gore and violence to being more fun and friendly. The colours also make the first mission feel nostalgic as the first mission in Halo 2 was also bright and vibrant. At the end of the mission it slowly returns back to more harden colours like grey and metallic, showing that war is tough and hard.

The music Halo 3 uses is very action packed, this is because they use a cluster of instruments to make a specific scene very action packed, this makes the player feel excited and hyped as they play the game, this kind of music can also make moments very intense. Halo 3 also use music to show ether a sad moment or a calm moment, this done by having a piano solo slow and light, completely opposite to the action, making the player feel calm or sad.

Texture is used to make moods and atmospheres, such as the flood level mission, where you go into the center base of the flood. The texture they use is very shiny and glistening, with the disgusting orange as well, this level makes the player feel disgusted, making them rush through this level to get as far away from the flood as they can. This works to levels advantage as it is a bit of a maze, this makes the player feel terrified that they will never leave again.

The player will be able to tell that this games genre is a able sci-fi action game from the lighting, textures and music the game uses. This is because the lighting is very normal, however the lighting for some of the plasma weapons and explosive are very bright and neon coloured, this makes it seem very futuristic with bright colours flying through the the battle. The textures make it seem action packed because they are very hard and gritty textures, which makes it look like a war is going (which there is), this is because wars are very gritty and metal used a lot as it provides protection which is why a lot of the textures are hard and plane. The music makes it action packed as well because it uses again a cluster of instruments with a fast tempo, making it sound action packed. All these techniques insures that the player knows it’s a action packed sci-fi game.

My evaluation of my power point

When I presented my power point I would have my text on one page and a picture on a separate slide, this presented to problems as I was merely repeating myself when showing the example, that is why I have placed each example on the same slid as the description so I wouldn’t repeat myself.

Another improvement I made to the original is that I added a example of the flood level on the Halo 3 part, this would allow me to show evidence that the flood level did look like this and allow the audience to further understand what I was explaining.

The description was fine over all, explaining nearly every technique the developer used to create mood and atmosphere.

What I learnt 

I learnt what the different techniques the developers use to create mood and atmosphere such as using sharp instruments to create horror and how they use textures to create disgust. This will help me to create a mood and atmosphere in my 3D environment for the mini project that I am doing.

Source of images:

Alien Isolation: http://business.financialpost.com/fp-tech-desk/alien-isolation-review-perfect-atmosphere-imperfect-pacing?__lsa=bf25-089a

Bioshock: http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Ryan_Amusements_(Level)

Halo: Image 1- http://www.gamespot.com/forums/system-wars-314159282/which-is-better-between-these-two-turnaround-maste-29451015/

Image 2- http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/halo/images/1/11/Flood_wall.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20070928203220


5 thoughts on “what techniques did the developers use to create mood and atmosphere in virtual environment

  1. Jack, excellent analysis of mood and atmosphere in these virtual environments. You could make reference to genre in each case and think a little more about how the audience understands the experience through the use of these techniques and genre conventions.


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