This is the Blog I have set up to debut the work I’m producing for my Game Design Document as the first part of my Second Year assessment. Inspired by my chosen story – Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka – I have taken the idea of metamorphosis; synonymous with ‘change’, and decided to use this as a defining feature in my game. In short, the world in which you play in has suddenly been transformed by a malevolent force and you, the player must combat the parasitic corruption which threatens to destroy the land. In my development you can see where the story has inspired me. The appearance of Insects and the ‘Metamorphosis’ of the land are fairly obvious however I also wish to introduce aspects from the story in my own narrative.
Briefly, Fracture is a 3D Adventure game for a target audience of 3+. The aim is to prevent the spread and also to cure the corruption that has recently erupted into the land. I have opted for a Low-Poly art style as it is aesthetically pleasing and identifiable for young children.
The inspiration for Fracture came from a number of sources. Initially through my ideation process which can be seen in my sketchbooks, I mashed together abstraction with environments. This led to my idea of a primitive geometry world with crystal-like creatures within. The environment would contain fantastical landscapes with floating forests and islands. After this streak of inspiration I set out to model a couple of objects like an Ant and a Tree just to get an idea of how I would be producing these assets. I then looked at linking the concept back to Metamorphosis and expanding it, this involved creating mechanics and a story and then thinking about platform and genre.
After this little exploration I decided too see if I could find any other geometric or low-poly games or art. This is when I happened upon the work of J.R.Schmidt.
Seeing his work firmly cemented the idea in my mind that I wanted to create a game using triangular polygons. His work gives off a very game-esque vibe and his abstraction of components such as water and the mushrooms in this piece inspired me greatly. He also produces all of his work in Photoshop and Cinema4D which means that these pieces are tangible and could be used in a game world.
I also found Grow Home produced by Ubisoft which shares a similar art style that I’m striving to implement. The purpose of the game is to grow your beanstalk to reach your spaceship, It isn’t particularly challenging in terms of gameplay however its more like a visual experience, much like many of the game releases currently.
The Paper Fox by Jeremy Kool is currently a Interactive storybook in development with a ‘Papercraft’ Art style. I find it visually thrilling and I’m going to look very closely at their shader and material development to assist me if my game is taken to development. It’s also really interesting to see the art style taken into more of a storybook role.
Despite other sources of inspiration I just wanted to detail those that were most influential to my work and iterations. I hope to produce a game that rivals the competitors I’ve picked out in my game overview.
Taking full advantage of the University facilities, I decided to produce a couple of my assets for Fridays exhibition. To this end I 3D printed one of my Octopus assets and four of the geometric Sheep. I could possibly sell these as merchandise were the game to be developed.
All thats left to do is paint them!
Due to the target audience of my game, and their prevalence in many of the titles I have played. I have opted to introduce a companion for the player that will offer assistance via hints and tips on various aspects of the game. Immediately when companions are mentioned I obviously can only think where they have worked well; Aku Aku from the Crash Bandicoot series would further the story arc and offer assistance to the player, acting as a sort of father figure this aided to build rapport with the character. Another few examples include Sparx the Dragonfly from the Spyro series and additionally Garrus Vakarian from the Mass Effect trilogy.
Companions come in many different types; Garrus for example acts as a member of a squad which provides combat support in battle scenarios, however Sparx and Aku Aku have very little gameplay impact and act more as a guide for the player. You can also consider companions such as the Companion Cube from the Portal series and the Dog from Fable as different variants as they actually act more as a game component than offer information to the player. I consider one of the most important aspects to consider when designing a companion is that you are able to build an emotional connection with them, this can be introduced through backstory or dialogue. I cannot think of a scenario when I haven’t empathised with Elizabeth from Bioshock, the Dog from Fable or any of Shephard’s squad during the final moments of Mass Effect 2. True companions have something to add to the gameplay experience, are versatile and interesting.
Companions should serve a purpose in the game and should not under any circumstances hinder the player or gameplay experience, for this reason my companion shall not interfere in Gameplay but act in the background as a sort of information reservoir for the player. This is because in games such as Mass Effect where the companion works with the player to provide firepower and combat support, the AI needs to be well designed. Examples of terrible AI would be Tails from Sonic 2, where Tails proceeds to explode bombs in close proximity, collapse platforms before you can reach them, and run into spikes without any care in the world. A special mention needs to be made to the AI players in Left 4 Dead who decide that when you need to hide from the Zombie horde that the best course of action is to run around shooting at anything that moves.
My companion for Fracture is the Elder, He will fill a father like role to the player and offer them on the fly assistance if the player doesn’t understand how to complete a puzzle. He can also inform the player on items that they’re currently holding or identify animals. I would’ve liked to explored different companions for the player because young children tend to relate best to animals however as the Elder is already part of the narrative and subsequently the game I may be able to build an emotional connection more easily.