Creating Atmosphere

Goes without saying this is important, it can make or break a map in some cases. How to obtain the right atmosphere for a map is very difficult.

The key to it, can be lighting and having sounds in your map. Ambient generic entity for sound and the various lighting entities.

You can have all sorts of sounds, many are found in the sounds folder of various mods, and in the halflife pak file. Sounds can create a more atmospheric environment, as say you have some high mountainous land, without sound its just some rocks, add some wind sounds and it can "feel" like your higher up. Its about immersing the player.

Lighting also plays a part, full bright maps probably wont have as much gripping atmosphere in a game as a dark map with different styles and colours of lighting. Thats not to say dont make light maps! Shadows can play an important part, you want shadows on your maps, so make sure you have the right angle you want in the light environment, some angles may cast less of a shadow than what you want and some may be too large, it depends on the structure of your map and the angle of your light environment.

If you want your map to feel like a hot summers day, then you want an orangey light colour, like a summers day. Textures in the map could be some of the more brighter textures, although darker textures in bright lighting will give off very good effects. Dark with light can provide many styles and qualities. On the other hand you might have a arctic style level, blue shades of light are going to make it feel colder are'nt they, its common sense in the most part.

All in all you need to have various sounds in the map, a map without sounds is rather odd.There are so many sounds to choose from, you can have sounds triggered from anything. Often the best way to have smaller .wav sounds is to trigger them, say you have a little tree or some grass, a trigger which triggers off some bird sounds when you go near it is good, this may some basic and boring, but still its adding some atmosphere. You can have .wavs playing throughout your map as well, such as on some dod maps, they have a .wav file looped to give off shelling, gun fire sounds etc, although if truth be told its a lot easier to create atmosphere in war maps, because pop in some sounds of war, and there you go, instant atmosphere, still need a decent map obviously, but creating an atmosphere in say a dam or village at day would be much harder.

You've just got to put in what you feel is right for the map at the end of the day, even a map with no sounds etc has atmosphere, just not as good as it could be. So try adding some some, giving your map atmosphere can add that extra dimension and get across to players the whole scene of what the maps trying to achieve.

GiMMe S0m Mo!