You are a shadow in the universe and the light has its prideful eyes on you. There is no sure safety: on mutual destruction.
Praise for this game:
“I like how the physics movement is free form.”
–Jose Zagal Ph.d. (Associate Professor, EAE Univeristy of Utah)
“I like the character. He looks funny.”
–Ezekiel Newren (Computer Scientist, Gamer, Cryptographer)
“This is my favorite part!”
–Edward Newren on Falling (Software Engineer 40+ years)
“I like the circular movement of the lights.”
–Several people (gamers and game developers)
Dive in now:
Controls: WASD/Arrows to move, space to jump. Esc to quit. R to restart the level
Genre: Experimental. A dark twist on experiential 3rd person games
Genre Inspirations: 3rd person, physics based movement, experiential
Nancy Newren: Original concept, Sole developer, AI, game design, level design, more
Tools used: Unity, C#, git
Special Thanks: Jose Zagal for the theme, Ezekiel Newren for sparking the game idea.
(as in the most deadly sin)
This is the first time that I was given a theme and couldn’t come up with a single idea! Literally! I could have spent the entire week just trying to come up with an idea! When I asked my Dad what kind of game with a pride, he suggested a game about lions. Thanks Dad.
Luckily a game idea that my brother had pitched me last year came to mind, just like it does every week when my bro says, “Why haven’t you made my game yet?” Well, I still haven’t. But his game pitch got me going on this game.
I started with the main character. Since you were a shadow that means that light destroyed you. So light was the prideful enemy.
I also chose to go with a simple camera again. This was a slight variation of the camera from To Save or Not to Save. I did play with making the camera rotate, but I found It distracted from the lights, the theme (pride), and made me a little dizzy. That last one aside, I really liked the idea of thinking you only need to see what’s in front of you, but if you’re not careful the lights come from behind and get you! It made the gameplay more fun with this simple camera.
Initially I had a bunch of blocks that you could move around to stay hidden from the light (being hit by light = death). But in the process of game development, and with my level design, I soon found that it was more fun to use the blocks to mutually destroy the light.
Next was the light. I wanted it to look dark without being dark so I made it red in a dark blue reality. I also wanted the player to see the light in effect searching for the shadow to destroy it. Originally I had it shooting out four spheres — one in each nautical direction. The plan was to have the main light rotate (you can’t tell, by it is rotating the entire time), and have it fire out these search spheres every 0.5-6.5 seconds. Then a happy accident happened: to track the search spheres I childed them to my mother light. Since the mother light is rotating, once the search sphere shoots out it begins to rotate around the center on an ever increasing outward projection: a circular movement outwards. The effect took my quite happily by surprise. If I had been intending this behavior I’m not sure I could have achieved it, but this happy accident gave life and interest to my enemy light in a way I could not have predicted.
I wanted the whole feel of the game to be dark. Not creepy, but strange to the player. Light, which normally gives us hope, and life, the enemy. As a shadow your very existence depends on light, but too much light and you are nothing. So rather than use a nighttime sky to place my character in a world, I thought, “Why be in a world at all?” So I added a galaxy skybox to make the game feel unworldly.
Cool Things I Learned
On the scene reload my scene was very dark, unplayably so, and got darker each reload. This is because I had a lot of dark, baked lighting. Layer that all on top of each other and it keeps getting darker and darker. The solution is to turn off auto generated lighting. This youtube video was helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-aUMLdIxRY
Childing objects is an easy way to get cool effects. Since my child lights were ever moving forward in their forward direction, and the parent is always rotating, it gave a fascinating, yet simple to implement effect with very little effort, and no math involved.
Ideas for Future Development
There is no winning with pride.
Once you destroy all the lights you have destroyed yourself. I would add a blackout. There is no winning with pride.
My brother suggested particle effect moving in towards the center light so the player has a feeling that they can move into the light – I wonder if these effects are instead shadows that only get destroyed when they touch the light.
He also wanted a way to pick up and throw the objects to make it easier to destroy things. That is also a good idea, but I’d be sure to keep the free form physics too. Most games like this one limit your physics capability to grabbing the object and then moving, but I really liked the free form feel of these blocks. But it would also be fun to pick them up and throw them.
My friend suggested that the blocks could be important statues that the player is destroying, or books. I like that idea. Especially the statue idea. In the game world they don’t even have to be anyone the player recognizes as important. But statues are difficult and expensive to make. Which means they are only made for/of “important” people. Destroying statues is disrespectful to religions, culture, nations, and your mom. It’s prideful. That’s why I like the idea: giving the shadow his own deadly pride. In pride no one wins: so I’d be careful to carry on the theme of mutual destruction.