Philosophy towards atmosphere/uncanny valley of old HL maps Created 1 month ago2020-11-04 11:43:20 UTC by NineTnine NineTnine

Created 1 month ago2020-11-04 11:43:20 UTC by NineTnine NineTnine

Posted 1 month ago2020-11-04 11:43:20 UTC Post #344820
Not a very good title, but was watching this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03yL_JCeQBI) about how someone thinks playing old empty source maps has a 'creepy' feeling to it.
Like, the map is empty and has no life but you can hear the sound effects of traffic, which creates an unsettling atmosphere.

This never used to be a thing in my experience, from the past, but its like as games get older and begin to date more, it affects their atmosphere when you revisit them years later.

Got me thinking, because there's a bit of a theme with indie horror games that has arisen recently, where the game concept is about joining an empty server to an old game only for it to be 'haunted'. Or how a lot of indie horror games now have PlayStation 1 type graphics, as if they are now uncanny valley.

Wondering peoples opinion on this phenomenon, whether you find running around old empty HL maps to be unsettling as time progresses?
Posted 1 month ago2020-11-04 13:04:04 UTC Post #344821
Half-Life 1, no, not at all. Maybe it's because of slightly cartoony, comic-book art style(and it's a fast-paced shooter), it's very atmospheric with its ambience but not spooky. Running around in empty maps makes you feel lonely(obviously) and nostalgic.
Source, on the other hand, gives me this subtle feeling of dread. I think one of the reasons for that is slower movement speed. I always feel like I am tied to the ground, like in a dream where you can't run without stumbling. If something is chasing me, I won't make it. This causes paranoia.
Also, the art style is different. Textures and lighting are realistic, it's uncanny. HL2 is eerie already, but remove the combat or everything that distracts you and all that's left is a corpse pretending to be alive.
I'm afraid to play The Stanley Parable because of this shit.
Posted 1 month ago2020-11-04 13:23:27 UTC Post #344822
Perhaps, that corpse metaphor is a bit overboard, but I do hope you know what I'm talking about.
Posted 1 month ago2020-11-04 13:32:33 UTC Post #344823
In Source, I don't seem to have this effect, probably because I've been playing Source games since I was quite young (7 or so). It was creepy back then, but I guess not now lol.

However, with that said, I had had this phenomenon in one of my GoldSRC maps, de_kobbl. I can't tell what version was creepier to me when playing it alone, the day or night version. Dark, once-lively mining town with traces of its victims. Then you hear gunshots in the distance, and the wind. Oh, does the occasional wind make it creepy.
Admer456 Admer456If it ain't broken, don't fox it!
Posted 4 weeks ago2020-11-04 15:02:18 UTC Post #344824
Once you've gone out of the metro and explored the surface area, maybe go the library and check some of those old dusty books in Metro 2033, you're cured forever of these feelings. I don't think I've ever experienced this feeling in the Source games, but I do experience more of general feeling of sadness and nostalgia that the source/gold source community is dying off/moving on.
Striker StrikerI forgot to check the oil pressure
Posted 4 weeks ago2020-11-06 10:04:50 UTC Post #344828
I think you can get more atmosphere in older games where you use your imagination to fill in the blanks. I recall the street scenes in Timeline II being super crude, but really feeling the desolation of the world overrun by a new ice age and Xen monsters.

Even those old destroyed city skyboxes, where you kinda wish you could explore what's going on in the buildings and whatnot even though they clearly weren't explorable.
Posted 3 weeks ago2020-11-08 07:16:41 UTC Post #344833
Personally, in my youth I played a lot of hl and never had the feeling of fear, the same applies to fashion games and mods, the only thing that interested me in the game of valve was the fact that the zombies in hl2 speak humanly but it is reversed speech, but when it comes to o all games, I had a strange feeling when I uploaded the gta are sound from the archive x while being close to zombie cars, the same moving vehicles with such a melody in the background improved the atmosphere

So to sum up, silence or a delicate melody can scare you, but in hl I have never had the feeling of fear
Posted 3 weeks ago2020-11-08 10:12:07 UTC Post #344834
Perhaps, that corpse metaphor is a bit overboard, but I do hope you know what I'm talking about.
No I understand that, thats an interesting way of putting it. I also hadn't thought of the way the player moves/navigates the map to be a point either, but still, thats interesting.
Even those old destroyed city skyboxes, where you kinda wish you could explore what's going on in the buildings and whatnot even though they clearly weren't explorable.
Yeah like empty city scapes? Dead cities in a way huh... But yeah you're right, your imagination fills in gabs when you're younger, I hadn't considered that. When you look at low poly graphics now you tend not to do that, and just see it as it is, which makes it a bit more jarring
silence or a delicate melody can scare you
Oh, does the occasional wind make it creepy.
Also good points, something has to be said for both silence and subtle sounds in a map
feeling of sadness and nostalgia that the source/gold source community is dying off/moving on.
unfortunate truth
Posted 3 weeks ago2020-11-08 20:08:04 UTC Post #344836
I have much fonder memories of GoldSRC maps so Source maps don't really affect me in this manner. The last time I had anything close to the feeling of dread was more of a small existential crisis.

The map Carbaseus was a major hit on the TWHL HLDM server waaay back in the day. If I recall we had a 16 player server and when it was full it was an absolute blast. For the next few weeks, it was THE map we wanted to play. Then, back in 2012, it wound up being chosen for Map of the Month as nobody had voted for any map released on that particular month. In order to get the footage for the review, we had to play a few rounds. This time however, there were only four of us.

For the most part, the map was deathly silent. Given the scale of the thing and the sparse number of players, battles were infrequent and over quickly. It was sombre, like we were watching HLDM slowly fade away.
Running around in that map now, it's eery. From the chaotic, multi-sided skirmishes from 16 years ago, to the occasional quick shoot out in 2012's review, to the sheer silence of 2020. It almost feels as though you are surrounded by the ghosts of TWHL's former members who have since moved on to other things.
UrbaNebula UrbaNebulaGoldSourcerer
Posted 3 weeks ago2020-11-10 13:36:52 UTC Post #344844
I've thought about this in the past, and for me at least I think it's because locations feel like they're not secure. It's a combination of two things.
The levels are designed to be populated, but aren't. There's often ambient noise which indicates the presence of a wider world, but it's not one that we can get to. There's life here, but you just aren't seeing it.
Combine this with the fact that a lot of levels are designed to flow well, with a lot of areas having a minimum of two entrances, and you end up with a situation where there are things that hint that you're not alone and you can't keep watch of every entrance.
There might also be an element of uncanny valley as well because the game is attempting to show you a world and make it seem believable, but there are flaws that you just can't ignore.
Alabastor_Twob Alabastor_Twobformerly TJB
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