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Ignis Affero

What makes a map scary?

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Some of the most effective scary areas are dim, cramped mazes (don't go overboard with dimness, crampedness or maziness though), because you never know when monsters might be lurking behind corners, or even out looking for you. One moment that has stuck in my mind from the original Doom series is in Halls of the Damned, when you're patrolling the dark corridors, and the game throws you on a loop by hiding a Baron behind one corner, when at most you might be expecting an imp or a pinky. That kind of thing is surprise at its best: the game builds tension by having you expect to run suddenly into small monsters without warning, and then throws a LARGE monster at you to make that tension explode. As others have pointed out, building up fear through expectation makes the shock from actual encounters much greater.

Also, another fun trick is to have a fast-opening door trigger at some point, not far from where the player is, but don't but any monsters behind it; instead, have it provide access to another area, or maybe just put a little helping of ammo or health or whatever behind it. For the player, fast-opening door = monster trap, so even the sound of a door opening with nothing behind it can cause the player to jump, and will reinforce the knowledge that, sooner or later, one of those doors WILL have monsters. Again, the poewr of expectation.

And also as others have said: never underestimate the power of a good creepy music track.

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You can make people jump from the chair if in a silent corridor, without music, and just a low background sound, then sudently, you hear a loud sound of something crashing :D

Also, make alucinations. Like, you are walking through a corridor full of dead bodies, later, when you come back, the bodies just vanished, or vice-versa.

Or when walking, you may able to see a person, or a ghost, then it fades away, and you start to hear sounds. That's pretty cool

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Icytux said:

i know, thats half life 2. but here, it can be done in Doom too:


That was a really cool map. I've never seen anything like that done in doom before. But that is a good visual reference to have. I hope to have some screenshots up shortly. Maybe tomorrow I'll have some time to work on the map. We'll see how things play out.

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