Horror Games: Understanding Visuals | Henry Gacia | Skillshare

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Horror Games: Understanding Visuals

teacher avatar Henry Gacia, Horror Scholar and Wordsmith

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Welcome: What this is about?

    • 2. A Painted Hell: An overview on graphics.

    • 3. In our special place: Locations and Settings.

    • 4. In their hoofs: Characters.

    • 5. A demon by any other face: Enemies.

    • 6. The devil in the details: Graphic design.

    • 7. Thanks and good byes.

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About This Class

Many of us have dreamt of creating the perfect horror video-game and that is the quest with this new series of classes. 


On this particular class we'll do a basic deconstruction of horror video-game graphics, as we review and analyze our favorite games in the genre. This is not a tutorial, but rather a theory-focused class with small tips thrown here and there all in order to understand a bit more of what makes a good horror game from the visual perspective. 

This class is for beginners. The only pre-requisite is to love horror games and be interested in making one yourself. We won't discuss any game-engine specifics nor how-tos, so you will have to get your game-developing knowledge somewhere else and keep this class as a companion while you are creating that perfect horror game. 

Welcome, to Horror Academy.

Meet Your Teacher

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Henry Gacia

Horror Scholar and Wordsmith


I believe Horror fiction is a gateway to a more Magical life and as such it's been my obsession for all of my life.

My goal here is to create the tools for people to learn to better understand how to appreciate and create horror in all of its shapes; from literature, films, videogames, art, comics, and so on.

Welcome to Horror Academy. May you learn something new today. See you in class.

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1. Welcome: What this is about?: work a moral schoolers to these glass on designing over video games or this particular class, we will focus on Lee on understanding the officials off the camera. This is not a tutorial on creating your over game instead, but this place is about can be understood as a construction of a regular game. Officials different approaches. Most game developer stick on creating the graphics for locations, characters, monsters and even graphically sign in a row. Video games Well, in order to develop a better understanding of what makes a good or a game fund official perspective. As such, this class is targeted to those who either already have experience on game day Loveman or are currently learning game development apart from this class and want to create and focus on the road games. The price for this class, at the point of it, is to understand that feel for visuals is to create a college of images, drawings and pictures to have a board to check on, often for inspiration and guidance for your own or will be in the game. I think it's so much for checking this class. So you in the first lecture on Welcome Toe or a condom 2. A Painted Hell: An overview on graphics.: graphics in the game are kind of a contradiction. Did stays. It used to be that graphics were just a reflection of system limitations, as developers did their best to make their came to look as good as possible. But nowadays we have almost no limitations of that kind. And even one month, teams can produce impressive results due to the power of current computers. And these off access to modern, powerful and complete game engines, so by their graphics, is afraid that no longer means anything. All we have now is options. Nothing feels outdated anymore. Each style represents just developers intent on the limitations when present. Now, when you come from the teams on skills on budget. But even then, these attempts have come up with very interesting results as game that made in any other way would lose some of their charm. This doesn't mean that ever made games would be bad, but rather will be different games altogether. So our game graphics actually important. Well, yeah, they are. But what I mean by this may differ from conventional wisdom is not of the game. Graphics should look as good as they can all the time, but rather the game graphics you used Now you should reflect the type of game you are presenting and not so much it. Several quality, regardless of the camera you use in your game. What matters most individual area is the distance between the camera in the world and characters you have created. The further away, the small details you need to use on. Indeed, a game to packed with deals all at once in a single screenshot can look messy and chaotic on, while messy and chaotic is something you don't want to shy away from in a row games. It is still something you have to use with care as to not cause frustration to the player just by looking at your game. Keep your target audience in mine. Younger gamers may be attracted by the flashy and colorful, but the more mature audience may be more interested in the cool and edgy for adults. Well, others focus more on the game play and the experience in general. So in disregard, I'd say, would share a graphic stars you decide to use. It should just be a perfect match for the game concept, and that should be all. Well, let's see more in detail, all of it. Shall we 3. In our special place: Locations and Settings.: I would say setting as well of the first things that comes into mind when planning or designing a horrible game refers to imagine the forest, the hospital, the dark basement or the abandoned building, which the dark streets before we see the monster. That's usually how it works. So the importance of the settings look and feel cannot be over stated. We will be talking about level design. Underclass book. No, this any setting can work as long as you know what you want to do with it. In other games, we have seen it all. But there's always new, wasted twist old ideas, and I have come to identified three main approaches to any or a visual setting that should explain why and how most of them work. The first of these approaches is through the uncanny, slightly off. The point of it is to show a somebody ordinary place to a slightly distorted warp it or just plain offsetting lens. The trick with this one is to know, never use any effects or gimmicks at the normality of the place should be given priority. Everything but Ron or a couple of things should be as they are supposed to be depending on your game. This might mean well lit areas, characters around, acting somewhat normal. Call music on DSO On. Officially speaking, this area should look just like any other normal area, at least on the surface, on closer inspection or given for your thought that there should not if something is off on . While this may mean the destructions are supposed to be subtitled, they can also be really obvious, such as a silent Hill fog, as long as they do not turn the place into a full on nightmare. Hellish saying the big and obvious uncanny distortions will be able to keep the uncanny feeling present at all times. But just like there is no specific formula for anything or the uncanny to can be achieved in many different ways a light that blinks a character that looks deformed boat without being a full on monster. Appreciate is usually lead but is now in complete darkness, such as a mole or the lack of people in unusually busy place, such as a subway. In most of these scenarios, there should be a level of contrast on, by contrast, time into things one. I think that is off should be the only thing that is off has to make it stronger. If the many things are weird, then they become normal onto, if possible, to show the player how the pleasures really looks. We have the destruction on. As a matter of fact, the second type is really important, regardless of the setting or the approach to selling that. Remember, this is a video game, a media in which dragons exist and monsters are everywhere. If you show the players the distortion all the time, without any type of contrast, the bears was just assumed that the distortion is normal. I never feel that something is off a such the uncanny approach officially accompanied off a more natural light as nothing wrong should be happening on the whole place. The Dexter's are usually just stuff needed to give the feeling off the actual place. An extremely clean surfaces are not strange to this approach. The colors are those that are an approximation of whatever place you want to portray on mute. On light colors are often used. The second approaches the old abandoned. This is the most common approaching games were. Houses or castles are the main, saying it was the fear of being in a place you're not supposed to be, a place that waas abandon for a nun, known and possibly could be. Reason. This approach officials speaking, is completely different from the uncanny one in days. One, you should remark the decay and rot off, which are a pleasure character is in. Darkness is usually major component, as it is the easiest way to indicate that no one is there. Another reason why darkness is important is because it allows you to create mystery and fear of the unknown, since players won't be able to discern everything that is in front of them living openings for unknown things to look back at them, remember to focus on the deterioration again. Destino. Mix it up with you and Kenny. Approach dirty born or broken places and items are good ways to achieve this. But also Dexter and noise on the camera itself can achieve this particular effect. Don't be afraid to distort or otherwise clever day beautiful players. Most of their was not notice. Anything is wrong. Other than the overall duty as an abundant feel of the place the colors must used here are great on Brown's dirty and dark colors are usually best the Children last approach. If the organic look for all of those who love their hellish style, this is your stop. Organic look is duly and broken, like the older Bunton approach, but in a very different way. If you want blood and gore, this is your thing. But it also covers alien structures, slimy caves and rose two places that mostly feel alive. These savings tend to lend themselves to the highest level off outlandish details. The colors used here changed from the brands of the world abandoned to the right and copper of rust, or the green and blue finale in structure or the plain black of something sticky and slimy full of your own. Darkness here is using a different way. After Heidi artificial areas and the subject intensified. The usually he didn't living nature of the second and not so much to hide things to make them creepy, since everything around is disturbing on its own already. But there is a second years of darkness here, which is the opposite to use darkness to bring the constant weirdness as to not let the players get used to your setting to quickly by over exposing them too much. People will take it as normal if everything is or has a feeling off. This living organism contrast again and again is important, which is why most games that used this approach usually mix it with elements of the other two approaches, as one usually is not enough. Keep in mind as you develop your game that the longer it is, also, the harder will be to keep a single Bischel approach interesting. Something else to keep in mind when developing Bischel settings is to always be consistent in the patterns and themes you seem. They're colors lighting sticks, chur and graphic elements is to know make it feel disconnected. But also remember that the exact same setting can get repetitive and boring. So tried to use his library ations on it or go from one approach toe. Another 4. In their hoofs: Characters.: as we discussed on the first lecture, Try to keep in mind no, with the type of game you want to create on the funeral style you have chosen for it and try to apply that to your characters. He very gets The character may work well in Hanim, a style A game and engine, such as they are be maker games. What we look weird in a realistic first person came to give your staff present on character development at all times. Characters were egotistic proportions, but robotic animations can worst then squirt Minecraft like characters, moving the same way on as to how to start. Keep these tips in mind. Don't do anything crazy with them, especially for the main character. Make them simple people for over a game that focus on normal people and make them cool. Looking at your game is more action based and requires a badass character given minder goals as well as their back story for the way the address, their height, animations and so on. Little things like their hands on first person games also counter worthies, so keep in mind the whole thing. But once that's all say than done this a horror game, and the previous advice are for old types of games on maybe even other media. What about being more specific to horror? Well, since the main character is there to represent the player, we can do much about it to show the over. If you make it the world, the player may not identify waited, breaking, immersion and breaking your game, so keep the main character simple. But for the embassies, well, there are many ways to make them more interesting. You're gonna make them off in their behavior, the way they look, their movements, their locations, even their clothing. Every little thing, as long assisting theme with the rest of the game specials on our creative choices can enhance the experience of the player. And again, I have three main approaches for this. The first is the uncanny make the characters look off on word like a neighborhood. Lynch's movie character is going approaches to go. The kid route on this can apply for the member there on this, too, a certain styles. This is a great choice, as this characteristic is more shocking when it gets distorted or perverted the certain classes to make them as realistic as possible and to try to make them as relatable as you can. This, of course, was not always work, as each person that plays your game is different. But for does that do work? It will make the whole game a better experience. 5. A demon by any other face: Enemies.: just like with character. This time, most of sent will be closely tied to your game. Storytelling on game plea But I like characters. There is more room in most of for experimentation underway. The fun, of course, of your stories about some bizarre slashers. There will be not many new things you can do with a somebody like monster. But for almost anything else, there's a wide array of choices when it comes to monster design, giving your chosen graphic style game plan starting specifications always in the front of your mind, you can do any sort of combinations or mutations off any over a monster out there. You want some categories or specifications for different monster types. Humaniacs. Anything that may look like a regular human from afar can enter the section. Some basement bars, some word months from human. A creature. Sakic. Representations of your innermost fears. Holender here, your mother monster's play with around sense on fear off disease that an injury. If this is something that looks like a human but has something off which may include a mosque, it isn't scary. They are just a normal person. Even if this person has a knife anything that the forms are hides a human fear in a way that is subject unknown. Natural can work in this area. Animalistic. Do you know the dogs, the birds, the four legged monsters, even the shark or crocodile? If it looks like an animal, it goes here, even if it's technically no animal at all. This place with our natural instinct, fear off dangerous animals out there, but also with fear for beloved ones turning against us insect Towards they are animals, but they deserve their own section. There are multiple insect and erecting creatures that are very dangerous for the human being. We have learned to fill them on with reason on Boylston, as molted are not the only one, some of them may be able to crawl inside of you, roam below your skin and put some X in the back of your neck under officially alone. So different from most mama's is something we naturally can find. Discomfort in the morning Forces are those who come from a literal hell, evil creatures that are here to destroy under mentis, while human rights and inspectors, maybe forces of nature or off indifference. The most are pure evil on their behavior. Such, of course, there are more interesting ways to represent these beings, but the old pure evil still works here. These ones can look pretty much anyway, but reddish with horse are still a classic. The no monster approach is when you fight with the place or the circumstances themselves. Hunted houses are the best examples. Most of the time in the house, the setting itself, What will do old is scaring. No particular officials are needed on this has no need to restore the location is needed to achieve this. The items in the house are used as weapons, and things like shadows, floating tools on items or other inanimate objects like those can do all the work off regular monsters. This, of course, are just a few examples on the sort of enemies and different approaches you can take with them. But these are not the only ones. Some things, like aliens, can either be on any of these categories or be a category on themselves. Same with robots or ghosts. So my intention with this categorization was to not have an extensive list, but instead to show you how you can do your own try to experiment with any Most of you have in your mind, try to change their category or makes it and imagine how it will look. What would an insect or human ate some we will look like. For instance, I don't You make sure you understand the type of game you want to make on. Don't plays like a gentleman with change, so hands under psychological over game, you should be fine. 6. The devil in the details: Graphic design.: graphic design is often overlooked by new teams when developing a new game. And yet it is so important than a well crafted game can give a mediocre a feel when X graphic design is not up to the part off the rest of it. My graphic design I mean anything from the box design or thumbnail to the title screen to logo The fund used you. I generally sign pass on option screens, notification boxes, etcetera. The proper graphic design can communicate the feeling off your whole game, sometimes faster and in a clearer way than a couple of hours of gameplay. When you see these in a game like that determination Jor being told, this is not a super service game. When you see the school screen on the first aria your told his son action focused game this green keeps with a sigh. If I feeling and something more simple, like this is there to just let players access their inventory without any flash effects at all? Well, that's going to order, literally sign. Oh boy, these are complex area, and they're really, really suggest to have professional Well, no, that's important for games like for all other media. Your logo is still there to give the first impression, and I could go on and on about it. Seems graphical signs one of my actual expertise areas, but I would try to keep it simple. Just like with everything else. Make sure to keep the game theme. As with the rest of the game, color wise. Use the same pallet type of contrasts and textures the lovers there to not look separated from everything but blame him perfectly with the rest, so make sure to keep its overall design complexity very low. When doing any lower the signs, you should focus on just one interesting element. Bid the typeface itself the order one icon, etcetera after keep it simple and straightforward on. Also, don't confuse the lover with the effects. Apply to the local or even the colors. A good luck boys, a logo that looks well in white background on just black color. The next thing you probably have to think is the boats design or the thumbnail. The sign again. It really old depends on the world theme on especially the feeling of your game. An action packed game should show more off the action and scares. The game will have one more psychological or story here. The game will have to find a way to show it as well. You're surely through the characters emotions in the box. I wouldn't doubt when there's your game. Is the frenzied violin game. Always think that less is more exactly the same applies for option. And starting screens simplistically, especially for us in the game makers is important. The leisure made within the better. You can focus on things like textures, backgrounds and funds. However, in no regard should be function over form. Everything must be legible on. Easy to understand is the background started credit or the funds are not clear enough being because of a lack of contrast or because they are too small or because they just have are not designed. Your player will probably become frustrated with it and quit before even starting the fun Treatment should be consistent in the whole game in Japan's menu inventory menu, if any, during breathing dialogue or paddles, etcetera, function or form on. If you see multiple forms for different areas, that should be similar enough us to not break the flow when reading one thing over the other games were certain items such as letters have different 100 texts can be used, but should either be extremely eligible or have your character read over them or have subtitle options. Games are to be experienced by many people of many different ages on backgrounds. So your work with old texts and you I design in general, for that matter, is to be as easy to understand as possible. On that, For you are in general again, less is more and again function over form complex over complicated you eyes can be too confusing for most people. So unless your game uses at work system that needs to be communicated all the time to your player go there is around and just how ICANN's like pop from time to time when needed, or a health system you can only see on certain windows. Other tricks, such as bloody or distorted cameras, can work, but never overdo it, as it can become frustrating or even disorienting. For some players, myself included, complex backgrounds can be used, especially if it helps either the mode of your game or enhances the storytelling in general off it. But when in doubt just to simpler, more organized inventory. And you I systems. If your game is not action packed, don't show me my health old time or find ways that are not too interested for it or even better at the game characters themselves tell me how I'm doing. 7. Thanks and good byes.: Thank you so much for taking this class. And congratulations on finally finishing it. Don't forget to post all of your breaks down below us. I will be reviewing and committing all of them. If there is one particular area of the stuff that you want me to elaborate more on. I can always go back and re by seven via or at a new one, explaining more about it. If you have any questions or comments place, post them down below. And again. Thank you so much for taking this class on. See you the next one.