My first homework assignment for college involved coming up with a game concept based around Forests. This is the research that I did and the idea that I came up with.
(Please note, I was asked to present the information in the form of a moodboard, but due to limited resources this is the best that I could do. Here’s a moodboard anyway)
First I looked at real, well-known forests around the world. This I found most interesting.
This is a picture taken of a tree nicknamed “General Sherman”, in the Sequoia National Forest. What fascinates me most about this forest is how large all of the trees actually are, General Sherman in particular is currently 83.8 m tall! (Sources: image, facts)
I next looked into some fictional forests. This included images from the famous movie Lord of The Rings, DeviantArt and other video games.
I found some images that had this ominous blue glow in the forest and thought that this was a really nice look, it was unique – not seen in many places but used extremely well in a game called Ori and The Blind Forest.
Ori and the Blind Forest is an indie game released for PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360. I love the stylised art style of the game and think that the colour palette is used to perfection. The game won awards for it’s animation and art design whilst being nominated for others.
So I had an art style that I liked, I began to think of other ways to use the colours and create a unique stylistic experience by taking a different approach.
I wanted to create a 3D experience, something that wasn’t necessarily a game, but then not a movie either. Recently there have been many games like this, and I feel like this “magical” art-style suits this sort of game. With this, I began to expand upon the idea.
The Walk (name in progress) is a game that sets the player on a path in a mystical forest, a forest that transforms from a beautiful, well-lit wonderland into a dark, eerie nightmare. A strong atmosphere could be set into place by a range of mediums creating a nice transition from a relaxing and sombre experience to an intense and scary existence.
A range of colours will be used in a way that changes the mood of the player. For example, one area of this forest could have a heavy pink theme, with blossom trees and falling petal particle effects; whereas another area of the forest would have a strong dark blue theme, eventually turning to black with frog ponds, mist clouds and thicker, deciduous trees.
Lighting would change throughout the walk, but there would be one clear change that the player would notice. The overall mood would get a lot more glum as we transition from a bright, cheerful light – to a dark, gloomy and eerie light by the end.
Sound would follow the same pattern. At first, we would hear natural ambience: birds chirping, frogs croaking, lakes moving and the leaves blowing in the wind. But by the end the player would be hearing: twigs snapping, wolves howling and maybe even voices in their heads.
This experience would create a range of emotion for the player as they travelled through the forest and experience the switch in atmosphere themselves. The beautiful nature of the beginning would immerse them enough to play through the scary theme at the end. This could be developed to tell a story symbolically, for example – the walk is symbolic of a persons life, we make the Character Controller get slower the deeper into the woods you get, and at the end of the path – a grave.
There’s a lot that can be developed with this idea, but I wouldn’t want to make it into anything that would last longer than 30 minutes. I don’t think that many mechanics are needed except for walking, as they would draw the player away from the scene around them and ruin the immersion.
So that’s my game idea, The Walk.