Sunday, 11 January 2015

Mash Potato Murder Mystery

Our new brief is up! It’s a group project which I’m always excited for, we more or less reassembled the dream team (Mash Potato Murder Mystery) which was our older Film Room (CTRL ALT DEFEAT) group with the addition of one lucky extra. It’s a nice ensemble where everyone is a similar skill and dedication level so I’d be surprised if we had any issues arise from the group itself.

 ‘The brief focuses on creating a game level where a player will begin at a fixed starting point then journey through the level to a fixed destination.

The player must experience some interaction with the level to allow them to progress to the goal. This interaction could be as simple as opening a door but it must be included.

The main focus of this brief is to:

1.       Make this journey interesting and rewarding for the player

2.       Create a visually interesting environment working within rigid size constraints of shipping containers.’

So this is a whole level project, we are allowed to choose between sci fi containers and dystopian. My initials thoughts on this weren’t particularly strong for either side, dystopian meant we could probably have something totally messed up looking with an abundance of plant life and clutter, sci fi in my mind was a more techy, clean and shiny dynamic. I flicked between which one I preferred for the entirety of the first day like yo-yo in constant flux.

As a group we came up with loads of different theme ideas, these were some of our strongest:

 A journey through a scifi bank

 Creepy science (Dystopian transition into hard scifi)

 A dystopian washed up, stranded beach city,

 Insect infestation, with eggs and what not, that could be applicable to dystopian or scifi.

A dystopian container palace, trashy made nice sort of thing.

We decided the best way for us to quickly explore the potential of all of our ideas was to divvy them up and have everyone responsible for making a mind map geared towards one specific idea. So we shortly reconvened and still didn’t come to any definable answer. As a team we started to quickly sketch our journey and map ideas instead, with very little regard for our themes just to see what shape of level we leant towards and what would adapt well into the design shape. We very quickly grew attached to a cylindrical path. This was naturally more acquitted for a scifi genre map, so we then revisited out original themes and see which one fitted best. The bank was the natural choice, although we did experiment with combining some, like putting the bug infestation or creep science inside the bank, but decided against it.  

This is an early iteration of the map I made based on the sketches, the idea is that it would be a structure with 3 accessible layers, the third layer being the goal, which is blocked by a locked door, and the player must find a way to the lower floor which hides the key. This was our interactive gameplay point, picking up an object to unlock another and proceed to ‘complete’ the level. We also made sure to have blocked corridors to steer you in the right direction and make the player need to backtrack through so that the level feels bigger just by making the most out of what we modelled.

This was a white box made based on the map and sketches. All of the rooms are on the inside because it didn’t make structural sense to have them on the outside, however the corridor on the outside looks jaunty and out of place, luckily since you don’t go outside, it isn’t really to much of an issue what it looks like, as long as it feels right from the inside.

This lead us to our next discussion though, what justification was there for a sci fi container made bank? Our ideas matched the art direction examples we were given, but we couldn’t think of a reason this structure would exist in a world. We came up with a world that was set in a future that had descended into dystopia, so while the tech and design is there, the idea is that it’s massively degraded and is being inhabited band used like a slums, put together with salvaged containers from whatever scifi transportation thing it was before. We were reasonable happy with that explanation but it still left us a little uncertain of our context in the world, the story also has a tendency of changing depending who you ask. It will all become clearer when we have some concepts.   

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