One of our rapid game prototypes for this year was a game called “The Old Ones”. As the story goes, the world has been torn asunder by an unknown cataclysm, players wake up to find themselves with the responsibility of being the sole person to restore this world. Players are guided by a wisp as they traverse the world trying to repair the damage and return it to how it once was. We decided not to go forward into production with this prototype because it lacked gameplay, but I still feel as though it would make an excellent environment to showcase Himalayan architecture. So far, The Old Ones just focused on a generic ancient architecture based on Disney’s Atlantis. I would like to examine how this game could look if I have the chance to apply some more original concepts and a more direct architecture movement to it. Fortunately, it already has a bit of a backstory and some type of gameplay to experiment with in terms of world and level design. By building upon this with Himalayan architecture and Far Cry 4’s sense of orientalism as inspiration, I believe I could add the extra level of intrigue and detail that this prototype was missing.
What am I Designing?
I have opted for the first option of Environment Art Context. I will be designing a very simple world in Unreal Engine 4. My game will have a few simple interactions but will largely be a walking simulator to showcase environment assets.
I will be designing in Unreal Engine 4, making use of the Landscape and Foliage tools to build a more open world. I will also be making use of simple Blueprints to give my game a small amount of interaction and movement.
As I will be designing my own assets I will primarily be using Maya, Zbrush, Speed tree and Substance Painter.
The Mysterious sprite will be used in the game to help guide the player without giving them explicit visual or audio cues. The sprite will generally follow and hover around the player, and try to indicate the general direction the player should go. This will be achieved using Unreal engines Matinee system.
The Intention is to create a simple and intuitive experience, controls will be native to FPS, so WASD to move and controller support.
Initially, the player will be introduced to the game by a cutscene, in which the camera follows the mysterious sprite’s flyover of the level until it reaches the player. The player will then be given control and will need to follow the sprite through the level.
Level & World Design
Initially for this prototype there will be a main island, with 1-3 other islands surrounding it at varying levels. In the center will be a beam of light, which is holding all of the islands in their positions, barely. The goal of the player will be to find a guardian which will bring these shattered pieces of the world back together.
For the scope of this I will only create 1 island with a single guardian that the player will need to find. Once they have followed the sprite to the guardian, they will activate it and the guardian will be returned to the centre, bringing another island closer. This is where the game will end.
I intended to create an open looking environment using the terrain and foliage tools. The main features in the game will be the bells, prayer flags, temples and murals based on my architecture movement.
The player awakens to a world destroyed. In the center of the world, where the guardians used to dwell, there is an energy force just barely holding the four pieces of the world together. The last remnant of life you find is a mysterious sprite, and by following its guidance, you must restore the guardians and bring the world back together.
Previously, Brianna had designed the aesthetic for our games. She and I determined that the further away from the source of power the environment is, the less life it will have. While I like her original aesthetic, I want to create something more realistic and less low-poly. However, I will be keeping our original concept of making the environment more vibrant towards power sources. I also intened on designing my colour pallet to look more like Far Cry 4’s.
I intended to move my aesthetic away from the game’s original low-poly look to something more realistic, but not hyper realistic. I want to focus on creating strong silhouettes and gradients within my assets.
Brianna’s Original Concepts
How this will be complemented by my research
One of the key elements that I would like to incorporate is the use of spirituality. Much like Far Cry 4 or Journey, I do not wish to perfectly capture the exact look of Himalayan architecture, rather I want to embody its connection to orientalism, mysticism and spirituality when I build my world.
I want the world around the player to feel like there is a mystery to be solved. I will be making particular use of spiritual icons like the prayer flags, bells and architecture to bring life into this world and give players the impression that something was once here. I want to use the Himalayan and oriental influences to create an air of mysticism in this world.
Assets Break Down
- Trees x2
- Grass x3
- Rocks x3
- Grass and Rock
- Grass and Dirt
Thematic Assets (Modular Pieces)
- Bells x4
- Prayer Flags x4
- Story Mural x4