In order to keep my ideas flowing and take some influence from other successful game environments, I looked up some games that include underground environments to research.
Bioshock 1 & 2
Although these games are set under water as opposed to under ground, the ecosystem would work in a similar way to my design because of the need for artificial light etc; this and the stunning visual and sonic displays in the first two bioshock games make them a great source of design influence for my own environment. the dark atmosphere with colourful highlights from both natural and man made sources is also something I wish to capture in my work.
I also want to capture the sort of eerie, secluded peacefulness in a run down man made safe haven.
The sounds in bioshock are also applicable to an environment underground with the constant dripping and/or flow of water alongside the electrical buzz of man made technology.
Much of fallout 3 is set underground, in tunnels, subways, bunkers and caverns that lay beneath the nuclear wasteland.
Areas such as little lamplight and vault 101 strongly influenced my initial ideas.
Little lamplight is a string of caverns with wooden shacks and rope bridges, with strings of glowing lanterns draped between the cave walls.(image above) while vault 101 takes a more square and metallic aesthetic.
All of these areas include various sounds, including more mechanic and metallic sounds in the vaults, and echoed and animal sounds in the caverns.
The main part of dear Esther influencing my game environment is the many caves and tunnels beneath the island. The moodiness and realism of the environments and their sound effects (including the wind blowing through the tunnels, grass rustling in the wind, Gothic style narrative and sounds of the ocean) make you feel as though you are in a real place. Candles and moonlight bring subtle, eerie and mystical feelings to this environment, and it is that powerful mood that I want to capture in my own work.
Guild wars 2
Guild wars 1 and 2 are both impressive games when it comes to design, both the natural and man made structures are built stunningly, making even the most common of places exciting to look at. the caves throughout both games as well as the palace gardens in guild wars 2 especially inspired my own concepts, the sounds in the game include beautiful music that compliments the scenery alongside the sounds of nature.
Terraria is the simplest game I will look at in terms of aesthetic and sound design. The sounds simply include a lively musical background track and the sounds of the character interacting with the environment (fighting enemies and digging into the different types of terrain, each material sounding different when stricken with your mining pick) The visuals are simple pixel art but still manage to be pleasing and even beautiful at parts, especially in the underground mushroom caves.
References: See bibliography [click here]