*ambient music plays slowly*
September 2, 2018 5:26 AM   Subscribe

Other Places by Andy Kelly [YouTube] Other Places is a series of short films celebrating beautiful videogame worlds.
“Other Places is a celebration of video game art. A way to appreciate the work of artists, designers, and coders, free of gameplay distractions. The method for producing the videos varies from game to game. The most important thing is accessing a free camera, which allows for bespoke angles and tracking shots. Some games have this built-in – Skyrim [YouTube] and Alan Wake [YouTube], for example – while others require fan-made hacks or config file editing. For Dishonored, which has no freecam hack, I set the game's gravity to 0 and teleported into the air using the 'blink' power. Once I've recorded a lot of raw footage, I edit it together in Adobe Premiere and select a piece of music from the score that I think evokes the game's mood.”
[via: Video Game Tourism]
• Rapture (Bioshock) [YouTube]
• Yakuza 0 [YouTube]
• Metro: 2033 Redux [YouTube]
• Metro: Last Light [YouTube]
• Hitman [YouTube]
• The Witness [YouTube]
• Grand Theft Auto V [YouTube]
• Boston (Fallout 4) [YouTube]
• Lothric (Dark Souls III) [YouTube]
• Elite Dangerous [YouTube]
• Yamatai (Tomb Raider) [YouTube]
• City 17 (Half-Life 2) [YouTube]
• Alien Isolation [YouTube]
• Deus Ex: Human Revolution [YouTube]
• Shoshone National Forest [YouTube]
• Arcadia Bay (Life is Strange) [YouTube]
• Toussaint (The Witcher III: Blood and Vine) [YouTube]
posted by Fizz (41 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
I enjoy how chill/calming these videos are. I wish more games would allow for a "tourism" mode that lets you wander in a walking-simulator esque style. The recent Assassin's Creed: Origins has a Discovery/Education mode that lets you do just that.

For sure there are times when I just want to play the actual game but more often than not, I also just want to wander that world and be in its space but also not feel obligated to shoot a thing or fetch a quest.
posted by Fizz at 6:20 AM on September 2 [5 favorites]


These videos are a nice kind of in-between, good to just have on in the background in a loop.
posted by Fizz at 6:21 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


I think my ideal game would be 80% walking simulator, 20% FPS. Which means I'll forever be disappointed, I think. (And also forever sniped as I stand around gawking.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:26 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


I think my ideal game would be 80% walking simulator, 20% FPS.

I mean, I do this with games like Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. You just avoid doing any actual quests and run away when you encounter raiders/monsters/demons. I completed the thief/mage quest-line for Skyrim and now I just wander around because I love just being in this world.
posted by Fizz at 6:37 AM on September 2 [6 favorites]


Whenever I’m playing the Far Harbor DLC for Fallout 4 and the Mother of Atom track comes on I have to set aside whatever objective I had and just listen because it is so unbearably beautiful and sad.
posted by um at 7:27 AM on September 2


If video-games had their own music videos, this is what it feels like they'd be.
posted by Fizz at 7:31 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


What I love about this is that there are many game-worlds that I'll never experience through gameplay (because I can't stand the game mechanic, for example), but I can still enjoy vicariously through these videos. ++QualityOfLife, 5/5 stars, 100% best of the web.
posted by LMGM at 7:50 AM on September 2 [3 favorites]


Back when I played WOW, just being a tourist and wandering around was my favorite thing. I loved seeing this world created for my enjoyment, and I hated interacting with NPC & PVP.
posted by evilDoug at 7:51 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Should note the main link to his YouTube page has far more than the ones I've linked up above. I just pulled a few of the games that I personally enjoy. :)
posted by Fizz at 7:53 AM on September 2


This is lovely! I often take screenshots of video game landscape design, but the static images are greatly improved here by including the idle animation loops. Sorry not to see Horizon Zero Dawn here, it is amazing. Perhaps the cinematographer is on a PC though. Hitman is a brilliant choice, that game is all about environments-as-gameplay.

For walking simulators you can't do any more on-the-nose than Assassin's Creed: Origins. They built in a full tourism mode for just exploring. It fell kind of flat though, I wonder if anyone's done anything interesting with it.

(Kannst du Deutsch, Fizz? Or did you stumble in to Video Game Tourism's rare English article?)
posted by Nelson at 8:01 AM on September 2


(Kannst du Deutsch, Fizz? Or did you stumble in to Video Game Tourism's rare English article?)

Ik spreek niet. Just an English article I found.
posted by Fizz at 8:17 AM on September 2


Back when I played WOW, just being a tourist and wandering around was my favorite thing. I loved seeing this world created for my enjoyment, and I hated interacting with NPC & PVP.


Same here, evilDoug. I vividly remember my first time, playing as a night elf druid, shortly after joining the game in beautiful Teldrassil. I was walking the lush forest road from Shadowglen to the city of Darnassus. Nearing the city, I started walking across a bridge when...what’s that sound? It’s raining! I was...

I just sat down on the bridge, facing off into the forest, watching the multi-hues trees while the soft rain fell. It was magical.

I had many other moments like that since, sitting in cozy inns, or roaming the twilit glades in Ashenvale, swimming underwater, flying loftily above high mountain peaks and castle battlements. I’ve spent hours upon hours fishing in the game, in every locale, and earning every fishing achievement in the game. Before I got my swim form, I swam as a human the whole length of the Eastern Kingdoms.

I once celebrated New Year’s Eve online in dancing bear form in the city square in Stormwind, popping off fireworks and gleefully casting Mark of the Wild on happy strangers.

I played the hell out of WOW for two years, reveling in those incredible environments, mainly soloing with my Druid and joining pickup groups to run instances. Until they nerfed Druid flight, which induced me to quit. I haven’t been back since. I miss it.
posted by darkstar at 8:37 AM on September 2 [6 favorites]


I’ve spent hours upon hours fishing in the game,

I only played WoW for about two years back in the day (around the Cataclysm era), and this was my go to thing. I just liked chilling on a deck someplace with my rod and fishing. I maxed out fishing stats. I mean it helped rake in the gold too, let me make potions like you wouldn't believe but that was just bonus. I was there for the zen, just the calming sound of fishing.
posted by Fizz at 9:24 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


I remember my first video game sunset - Morrowind, near Pelagia, climbing a mountain and realising the light was changing. I stopped to watch it sink beyond a horizon of twisted, alien wetlands.

Then a cliffracer started pecking at the back of my head.
posted by dazed_one at 9:29 AM on September 2 [7 favorites]


Nvidia cards allow you to capture 360 panoramas which you can upload to Google Photos or Facebook as a sort of virtual reality spherical panorama. Two from Witcher 3 I found - sorry for the Facebook link as it might need Facebook, but I'm trying to import those pictures to Google Photos and I can't find the free tool Google used to have that adds the correct metadata to the images...

Kaer Morhen 360

Toussaint 360

Make sure to enter full-screen mode when viewing...
posted by xdvesper at 9:50 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Nvidia cards allow you to capture 360 panoramas which you can upload to Google Photos or Facebook as a sort of virtual reality spherical panorama.

I have this but I've never played around with it. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing. I might load up The Witness and see what happens when I record.
posted by Fizz at 10:05 AM on September 2


dishonored 2 & death of the outsider are both so gorgeous and i am INTENSELY obsessed with the karnaca aesthetic, minus the hideous bloodflies (altho i did toy with the idea of having a hideous bloodfly nest made from papier-mache) and religious fanatics.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:19 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Love Horizon Zero Dawn!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di-qMtNw6Bk&t=72s
posted by zippercollider at 10:26 AM on September 2


Dang, now I want to reactivate my WoW account for a month just to do some tourism.


Cheaper than an international flight!
posted by darkstar at 10:40 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


I think my ideal game would be 80% walking simulator, 20% FPS.

I mean, I do this with games like Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. You just avoid doing any actual quests and run away when you encounter raiders/monsters/demons. I completed the thief/mage quest-line for Skyrim and now I just wander around because I love just being in this world.


Yeah, it's an amazing creation. I never get tired of strolling around Skyrim (and Solstheim).
posted by homunculus at 10:51 AM on September 2


Metafilter: Then a cliffracer started pecking at the back of my head.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:00 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Dang, now I want to reactivate my WoW account for a month just to do some tourism.

You might consider going with Black Desert Online or Elder Scrolls Online. They have single upfront fee for the game itself but no ongoing subscription fee. Will let you satisfy that gaming itch but won't hurt your wallet.
posted by Fizz at 11:02 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


I only have a Mac at home these days, so that limits me a little. I’ve always wanted to dip my toe into Elder Scrolls, though, and that supports OSX. Hmm...

I think I just figured out how I’m spending my holiday weekend! Thanks, Fizz!
posted by darkstar at 11:32 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Shadow of the Colossus is still my favorite place to wander (pardon the pun (the main character’s name is “Wander“)), both on foot, and on horseback (Agro is a Good Horse).
So many great places to explore, with nothing really to find.
There is a small pond in the middle of nowhere that has absolutely nothing to do with the game, but there’s a fish in it that you can interact with.
posted by LEGO Damashii at 11:56 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised Andy Kelly hasn't done any of the Overwatch maps/settings. I'd love for the new D.Va-related Busan map to have this same treatment.
posted by Fizz at 12:04 PM on September 2


these are amazing thanks!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:51 PM on September 2


I really liked the video for Pauli's Diner from Arkham Knight. I never realized how much character animation was packed into that scene, which only lasts a few minutes when you're playing.

(The Other Places video stops before the scary part, if you were worried.)
posted by zompist at 1:14 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


If you're willing to buy the expansion, this is a great time to get back into WoW for exploration. Both Horde and Alliance have unique and enormous new cities.

Horde gets the Zandalari Trolls. Their city is Aztec / Mayan meets Dinotopia meets Wakanda. Dominated by a massive pyramid, but with neighborhoods sprawling around it. Perfect place for enjoying an afternoon tea, served by a Pandaren who's traveled very far to be there, sitting on a rich rug, listening to the priests argue which Loa one should follow, while watching the caravans stomp slowly into town with their brontosauruses loaded with plunder.

Alliance gets the capital of Kul Tiras, which is a gloomy and vaguely English port city. With broad avenues for Sunday promenades and dark alleys for the more meaningful pleasures in life. Can sit on the wall and watch the ships come in, or stumble across a hanging while getting lost in the slums.

Both are remarkably full of life. Both are full of little secrets, tons of tiny shops full of denizens from across Azeroth, and neighborhoods less than friendly to tourists. Feels like a diverse crossroads of heroes, thieves, refugees, unscrupulous merchants, and the soldiers + mercenaries who are forcing their own tired wars into new lands while getting bogged down in the ancient feuds.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 1:15 PM on September 2 [4 favorites]


Heh...while I was updating my system prior to downloading a game, I was overcome with nostalgia for the WoW milieu. So I then started downloading it instead of Elder Scrolls. Glad to hear it has even more ambiance and environment to enjoy.

The download is taking a couple of hours (damn CenturyLink), but I’m positively giddy about going fishing, swimming, picking herbs, making potions and generally being a tourist in Azeroth again.

If there were a way to play one of the merchant NPCs for Blizzard, I’d totally consider it after I retire.

I’m not sure what they’ve done to druid’s flight form over the past ten years, but I hope I get to fly around again...
posted by darkstar at 3:13 PM on September 2


Huh. I just realized there’s probably a niche for tour guides of online game venues.

Let me show you Kalimdor!! Interact with the locals! Exotic meals! Danger (if you want it)! Cheapest staycation ever!
posted by darkstar at 3:20 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


darkstar, not to derail too much into World of Warcraft, but this is relevant for what you're about to venture into:
“World of Warcraft's monthly subscription now unlocks access to all base game and existing expansion content, Blizzard has announced. So, for £9.99 a month you'll be able to play everything up to and including 2016 expansion Legion and no longer have to add on anything else separately. The caveat, obviously, is this August's big Battle for Azeroth pack. That's still a separate purchase, and priced £39.99.” [via: Eurogamer]
That means you now get to explore that much more of the environment/setting. Happy questing.
posted by Fizz at 3:55 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Woot! Awesome!

I just found out my Mac mini, which is now six years old (and has been great for basic MS Office stuff), doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for WoW anymore. :(

So tomorrow I’m doing a little computer shopping. :)
posted by darkstar at 4:35 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Easily one of my favourite YT channels. His video on Mirror's Edge was what got me first hooked.

His approach to cities in video games actually had a big impact on my thinking about design and landmarks. I excerpted some of his stuff for a video essay last year about digital depictions of San Francisco in film (Zodiac) and in video games.
posted by filmvisuality at 10:18 PM on September 2


Feel like it’s a great injustice that No Man’s Sky isn’t included here.
posted by newdaddy at 10:56 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Aww no Hellblade. Surely they're can't miss that one, it's gorgeous! Is there a place to put in requests?

To think that people still debate whether games are art. Ignore the gatekeepers, they are missing out.

It's an exciting time right now in computer graphics with nvidia launching new ray-tracing tech this month. It's a real shift in how these images are, um, calculated. And nvidia dominate the market right now, they can bring this tech in and make it stick. I don't think it's hair physics all over again.

Y'know that guy that spent 1200$ pre-ordering an rtx 2080?

that's me
posted by adept256 at 12:51 AM on September 3


I haven't played that game, but... Arkham needs a bat-health inspector. Pauli's needs to be shut down. Even the waitresses are filthy.
posted by adept256 at 12:59 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I was thinking about No Man's Sky, newdaddy. I love the game, have since launch, have 150+ hours on it. It's beautiful and very screenshot friendly. But I think the games' visuals are the opposite of what Other Places is trying to highlight. These videos are fantastic for highlighting specifically designed architecture, specific places.

No Man's Sky is almost 100% computer generated. And as pretty as it is the thing about NMS is every place is just like every other place. I mean each planet has its own random seed, so they are different. And every spot on a planet is rendered uniquely. But any particular place feels it could be anywhere. There's nothing unique like the Grand Canyon or Cape Cod or Mt. Everest. There are no landmarks or particularly beautiful set pieces in NMS. Just more of the algorithmic same. I don't mean that as a criticism, just a difference.

(The exception in NMS are the specifically designed places: space stations, ruins, crashed freighters, various buildings on the ground. I'm always glad to find these because they break up the monotony of the sameness of the terrain generator. Maybe those would make a good focus for an Other Places-style video.)
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on September 3


RE WoW: last night I was able to play a while after I realized that my computer would run the game after all. Spent a good five hours with a new character (for some reason, my old ones were gone). Went fishing, picking herbs, did some cooking and alchemy, chatted with locals, a little side questing and such. Ended up in a familiar inn in Stormwind. It was nice to visit the city again.

That said, man, the graphics are looking rather dated now. They haven’t changed much, fundamentally, in the past ten years, of course. Fishing on a dock made of wooden planks, and up close, the planks look like the vaguest general shape suggesting a plank, and the texturing and bright colors makes some of the environment look a little plastic.

It’s a beautiful place to visit, is what I’m saying, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I may check out one of the other games showcased in this post — something that has more recent graphics (once I get a computer that supports it)
posted by darkstar at 8:29 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Dang, now I want to reactivate my WoW account for a month just to do some tourism.

You might consider going with Black Desert Online or Elder Scrolls Online. They have single upfront fee for the game itself but no ongoing subscription fee. Will let you satisfy that gaming itch but won't hurt your wallet.


I would suggest trying Guild Wars 2, which you can play completely free. I've played for months without spending a penny and still haven't seen the whole world that's available for free. I think it's one of the best open worlds I've ever played for just exploring and discovering beautiful and surprising things. There are tons of hidden places, hidden routes and passages, secrets, and just fascinating design and art direction. I guess the graphics are getting dated now, but the artwork and design is top notch.
posted by straight at 8:53 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


After taking a tour of Azeroth a week ago, I returned to a game I’d bought but not played much of: Sheltered.

It’s a post-apocalyptic survival game, in which you are driven underground to life in a bunker. The graphics are ironically pre-VGA, so it feels like you’re playing a game from the mid-80s. I played almost all the way through, until a bug occurred, causing a dead attacker to block my entrance. The game understood the body was there, complete with the cloud of flies and the admonition that “We should probably do something about the corpse.” But it wouldn’t let me select it to do anything with it. Then the rats came. Eh, I was done with the game, anyway.

Obviously, not a game one plays for the atmosphere or the graphics. Just the opposite.

Then I watched Ready Player One, which is all about compelling video game atmosphere and the joy of playing the game, not to mention a warm soak in a tub of nostalgia for all the pop references. “OMG, the image on the back of that van! It’s Erol Otis’ illustration of the Sphere of Annihilation mouth portal, from Tomb of Horrors! Squeee!!”

This coming weekend, I’ll take a closer look at Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online. (Thanks for the suggestions!)
posted by darkstar at 5:38 PM on September 11


Dammit: “Erol Otus
posted by darkstar at 6:10 PM on September 11


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