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A Guide to Creating Video Games Horror Lighting: Techniques for Crafting a Creepy Atmosphere


Horror-themed lighting is characterized by the presence of shadows, darker colors, and a relative lack of light. This creates feelings that trigger an instinctual fear response in players when confronted with aspects that they don't understand or that give them a sense of being threatened.

In this guide, we'll explore some of the techniques that game developers use to craft a terrifying atmosphere through lighting.

Low lighting

Low lighting is a typical technique used in horror video games to generate a sense of unease and mystery; this can be accomplished by employing dimly lit locations, limiting the usage of flashlights, or requiring the player to explore a pitch-black area with only a modest light source for guidance.

Make use of flickering lights

In a horror game, flickering lights can heighten the sensation of tension and unease. This can be accomplished by employing lights that pulse or strobe or by employing light sources prone to malfunction, such as candles or lanterns.

Utilize shadows

Shadows are a potent technique for generating a terrifying mood. By employing lighting that produces long, deep shadows, you can obscure the player's view and make it harder for them to see what is ahead, heightening the sense of impending danger.


Colors can also be used to create a terrifying atmosphere; the use of a restricted color palette, such as desaturated or monochromatic hues, can evoke feelings of melancholy and despondence; on the other hand, employing bright, gaudy colors might give a sense of extraterrestrial or unnatural game aspects.

Player's attention

Lighting can be employed to focus the player's attention on specific items or places. For instance, you may use a spotlight to emphasize a shock or a flashlight beam to expose a hidden object.


Creating horror-themed lighting in a video game is a unique way to heighten the scare response of players. Through the careful choice of colors, shadows, and shapes, developers can create an effective immersive horror atmosphere that will frighten players without relying solely on jump scares and violence. Good lighting should not only be used to scare the player but also to give context to the events in the game and provide an effective means of guiding them through frightening environments. By creating beautiful yet atmospherically creepy lights, developers can achieve an unparalleled level of terror that will remain with their players long after the credits roll.

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