Grey’s life has been nothing but a struggle. A constant downward spiral, and it seems even reality has turned against him. Grey awakens to find that the world has gone quiet, the streets empty. You must find help. Explore the grim world Grey lives in a completely new and unique world, and find clues to his shattered past. Grey is a total conversion Half-Life 2 horror modification where the player must solve puzzles, fight to survive, and find out what is happening to the world around you. We have made a lot changes to the base Source engine and have added countless new mechanics in the mod such as the objective indicator, portable medkit, donator based extras, pickup animations, failed reloads, new picture based GUI elements and much, much more!

Report article RSS Feed Ambiance Update!

A new member joins the Grey Dev Team and his sole goal is to adhere to all of your audible desires.

Posted by ThoughTMusic on Dec 13th, 2011

Hello everyone! My name is Garrett - otherwise known as GDawgTUK - and I recently joined the extremely talented Grey Dev Team in order to focus on the game's audio needs. My sole goal is to amplify the gamer's experience using sound FX, music and especially ambiance. For a game like this, ambiance and atmosphere is just about as important as the devices "On" switch that you plan play on. Ever play Silent Hill on mute?

It's definitely nowhere near the same experience. Knowing this, I am going through the mod step by step to create appropriate sounds for every situation. I am also aware that some scenarios benefit far more from having no sound at all, then trying to fill the game with some kind of background noise at all times. My goal, on top of the load of work, is to frequently provide samples of my work to the fans and take in ideas and suggestions. I love talking about music and especially it's relevance to gaming, and from what I have seen in comments there are definitely some fans that are looking forward to the full package from Grey. From what I have played of the mod even without the majority of sound, you are all in for a treat. I'm going to get back to putting the icing on the cake, so to speak, but very soon here I will provide an example of what you have to look forward to in the audio department.

In the meantime, I would love to take in suggestions or just chat about music in relation to horror games in the comments.

Enjoying the tunes!

Random Fact: Today, 35 individual sounds were created for a single hallway. :D

Post comment Comments
MagnumPI Creator
MagnumPI Dec 13 2011, 11:21pm says:

Cellar of Rats makes the best creepy ambient music, I think.

+2 votes   reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 14 2011, 12:16am replied:

Their music is definitely some pretty chilling ambiance. I like the idea of having a melodic song with a dark or depressing tone to kind of crack people's defenses before they play something that is meant to scare them. Kind of helps you sink yourself into the world a bit more. For Grey, a song like "Tristram - Ur Ångest Född (Hypothermia Cover)" would fit the bill pretty darn well.

+3 votes   reply to comment
TheShadowCookie Dec 14 2011, 12:22am says:

Glad to see that the team has somebody onboard who cares a lot about good horror music and ambient sounds >)

Sound is definitely the most important aspect of a horror game. You can throw in as many disturbing images, gore and etc. as you like, it won't create any atmosphere without the fitting background noises, music stingers and build-ups.

You can walk down a hallway... And suddenly hear something fall over in the distance. It creates a feeling of danger and uneasiness. That lonley sound around the next corner or down that dark set of stairs... What caused it? Will I encounter it? Is my mind playing tricks on me?

Or maybe a strange melody is playing in the background, a distorted and out-of-this-world tune. It clearly shows that something is not alright. The dark tunes represent insanity and the feeling of being out in the open. Why is the music building up? What is going to happpen once it stops? Will I suddenly run into a nasty surprise? Will everything just be calm again and I was fooled? Or will be fooled into thinking that everything calmed down... AND THEN! ... evil strikes.

I'd definitely be interested in talking about this kind of subject. Having played almost any horror game that exists, I have gathered quiet the knowledge about sounds and music. A very exciting category of gaming indeed.

+4 votes     reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 14 2011, 1:06am replied:

(Went over 2,000 Characters, Part 1 of 2) I couldn't agree more TheShadowCookie. One thing I found very interesting with scare tactics was from an interview with Akira Yamaoka. He stated he always started his music off queue in Silent Hill, so when you expect to hear it and it starts either early or late, it immediately throws the player off without them knowing.

A lot of the scare factor in a game is anticipation. It's ultimately the most frighting enemy in any horror game. The fear of an encounter is a lot more frightening than an actual fight. That's why a game like Left 4 Dead, which had all of the ingredients that would be sought out for a horror game, was nothing more than an action game. There was nothing scary about it, and that's because it lacked the necessary execution for that outcome. Of course, I know it wasn't meant to be slow and scary, but with a little more sound work and probably 3,000 less zombies, players would actually be taking their time in anticipation for the encounters. It's amazing how just one factor like sound could change the way people play a game.

I love the idea of toying with the mind. Psychology is a fascination of mine and it gives a lot of insight into how you can achieve so much, with something so subtle. There are so many small methods that you can do to achieve some sort of uneasiness without the player actually becoming fully aware of it. Just as an example: One ambient song I have made so far features distorted vocals which blends in with everything else that mocks you and your chance for survival. You can hear it, but only if you REALLY try. You don't consciously pick up on it, but your subconscious does and that makes a person become uneasy.

+3 votes   reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 14 2011, 1:07am replied:

(part 2/2) Another method I am fond of is making a melody out of sounds that are played in reverse. My prime example of that is my song "Fond Memories" (found here: where most of the song is played in reverse, except a flute that compliments the reversed melody. When your mind processes that there is something about the song that is "off" but you the player are focused on other things. You're left playing with the sense that something isn't right, which leads you to be more susceptible to other scare introductions. It's not that these are the end all be all tactics, but they are one piece of an intricate puzzle that works together to create a creepy atmosphere. I'm definitely not the first to use the two tactics, but they do contribute when done right. I could go on for pages and pages but that's just two examples of many right there.

I'll see if I can add some songs or sound demo reel on the next update. This is definitely an area of passion for me, so I am more than happy to talk about the subject as long as you want to. :D

+3 votes   reply to comment
TheShadowCookie Dec 14 2011, 2:20am replied:

Glad that you replied in such a huge paragraph Sir >)

Yes indeed, the SH games are so very famous for their sound and music. I remember plenty of creepy areas where the off-queue really worked well. Sometimes you enter a room, and half-way through this insane music just starts to play, making you want to run for the hills. At other times the music is right there from the beginning, letting you know that the area is not safe. And one of my favorites at times is even just dead silence. Like walking through the narrow corridors of the apartment in SH2, because you don't know what is going to happen.

About L4D, I agreee. It truly is an action experience, even though certain melodies can be intimidating. Like the tank song, but it is more of a jump-scare when ti starts playing, rather then creepy atmosphere. When it comes to zombies, I still prefer the good old creepy atmosphere of, say, the remake of Resident Evil for the GC. A slow and moaning zombie that can take up to 10 bullets on hard mode is much scarier then a fast one going down in one shot. I can imagine a slow L4D, where you are trapped in an alley and have to figure something out while a horde of slow zombies is slowly coming closer...

Psychology is certainly the best way to penetrate the human mind and ignite fear within the player. A subtle melody in the background... It is not screaming DANGER into your face, no... It twists reality. The voices invade your thoughts, make you wonder what is nightmare and what is not. You become nervous, attempt to ignore what could only be an illusion. Yet the voices whisper into your ears like the sirens trying to lure sane individuals into a deadly trap. You know... something is there. Not nessecarely in the same room. But somewhere out there, waiting in the shadows. The music becomes the frame of your prison, destroying all hope of ever being able to escape into normality again.

(continued in Part 2)

+4 votes     reply to comment
TheShadowCookie Dec 14 2011, 2:29am replied:

(Part 2)

A very nice melody you created there. The reverse effect makes the notes seem like they are drowning in a world of dreams. What you are experiencing seems like a bad dream, and you are trying to find the exit. The melody gives the slight feeling of hope, as if there is still a light left to guide you through the darkness. Yet, it is also decieving. The notes are heavy, trapped. The comfort is short-lived and just a small moment of peace the mind can experience. A boost of stamina, which can quickly be broken again by the nightmare continuing.

You give the player a place to rest, to feel relief and reflect upon what is happening. Those who can experience such emotions and sink into the ficitonal will try to forget the monsters and disturbing events for the moment. However, a thin pillar of hope can break with ease. And the faster it breaks, the sooner all the weight filled with freight and horror collapses back down onto the victim, making them vulnerable, forcing them to accept their new world.

I feel like I have found a soul here that shares some of my greatest interests. I may not be able to composs, for my knowledge lays within video editing, but I am feeling rather happy about being able to write down so much to this matter. Thank you very much for your time Sir Garret, master thief and music composer >)

+5 votes     reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 15 2011, 8:14pm replied:

You are quite welcome TheShadowCookie (nice thief game reference btw :D). I wanted to give some kind of response to let you know I checked what you said, but at the moment all my allotted computer time has been going to music. I promise I will give you a large response sometime today or tomorrow. ^_^

+2 votes   reply to comment
TheShadowCookie Dec 15 2011, 9:22pm replied:

Thank you for the kind response Sir >) I am glad that you responded, and yes, I did check from time to time. No worries about replying late, it's all good. I shall patiently wait for your response to write another giant answer as well ~

+3 votes     reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 17 2011, 12:06am replied:

(Part1) Thanks for the compliment with Fond Memories. It's funny you mentioned that description for it because when I made it for a small project, it was for the following situation:

A girl is in a nightmare where she is trapped in a Silent Hill'esk world. Through all the horrors and trails, she made it to a room which was shaped in a disturbing way, but had all of her childhood pictures and fondest memories on scattered over all the walls. You, as the player, were technically safe in this room, but it was a very momentary sense of safety. That's pretty much what you described and you nailed it on the head!

I absolutely loved the Remake to Resident Evil on the GameCube. I re-purchased it on the Wii because it supported progressive scan, but sadly that was literally the only improvement if you don't count being able to use a Wii controller with it. I was so bummed. Even on a widescreen TV you are just left with big black bars on the side as it's still forced to be 4:3. I was hoping at least like....inventory management or map or something. I was just expressing my love for the GameCube Remake to my cousin who is just getting into the RE series:

+2 votes   reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 17 2011, 12:08am replied:

(Part 2) In Grey I am definitely keeping it creepy, but I feel with any game like this some kind of peace is required. It's far more effective to scare someone a few times, then allow them to get comfortable, only to scare them again. Like I mentioned before, if you are just aiming for rapid fire scares, eventually no one is going to care (I think I just made up a new motto). I still have to run this all by Ashkandi, but with any hope there will be a place or two in game to shove in some cool break moments. To jump back on the Psychology subject, you are completely right. An understanding of Psychology is a generalized understanding of people, and that's exactly who's playing your games! To know what makes people tick is basically your blueprint to how to achieve a desired outcome them. Of course, this is all my opinion but I certainly would argue that it helps a lot. One thing this relates to is I find a lot of games that try to be scary over saturate a certain department. Be it "BOO" type frights, to the sound work or lack there of, to the lighting in the game. It's another reason why I appreciate the Silent Hill series. One thing they have done that almost no other horror game has tried to do is calming you down from time to time. In Silent Hill, it does it with the music. If a game is just rapid firing the same kind of scares at a person left and right it becomes predictable and a person adapts. After that, the game gets really stale, really quick. Silent hill knew it didn't have a concept that would allow for a lot of calming moments, so they did it through audio.

+2 votes   reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 17 2011, 12:08am replied:

(part 3-WOW) A lot of games miss that queue. Not only does the music calm the player, but it also makes them emotionally invested in the story and character's progression. Silent Hill's game play is not very....varied, by any means, but I definitely believe that aspects such as the music helps keep you glued to your seat. Resident Evil tried this concept with the save rooms, but it didn't seem to have the same affect since you were always guaranteed to never be attacked in a safe room.

As I type this I'm listening to one of two songs I made that could fit that category (it's a nice break from all the creepy stuff) so with any luck i'll get to share some soon.

Hopefully my post made some sense, I went on a home brewed beer tasting spree tonight :D. Best way to ensure each bottle is alcoholic is to try it myself haha.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Angerfist219 Dec 14 2011, 12:40am says:

Lustmord has the best dark ambience. ^_^

+2 votes     reply to comment
Bobfuria Dec 14 2011, 6:17am says: +2 votes     reply to comment
ThoughTMusic Author
ThoughTMusic Dec 18 2011, 2:50pm says:

This was interesting/funny to me:

+2 votes   reply to comment
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