Saleem’s Experience with Water

Okay, so I should explain what we (the design team) are doing. Over the next few weeks we’ll be asking members of the team their experiences with a particular soundscape. We will pick each soundscape (the next is “city”), ask a team member about their emotional reaction to it, and then think about incorporating their experience into the game, perhaps even into a “level” (section of the game world that needs to be harmonized/reconciled). Each of these signature levels’ reactive sound (the ripple emitters sound response) would then need to change slightly to reflect a city, water, forest, etc, but not completely.

For Saleem, I asked him how water made him feel. (This might seem weird that I’m writing these like biographies, but w/e)

For Saleem growing up in Kuwait, the sea:

  • was a place of family (his father took his family for boat rides)
  • air tasted unnervingly salty
  • always existed, for him as a child, on the precipice of danger. When he would go swimming, an underwater fence separated the swimmers from sharks in the outer sea. He could see exactly where he would be no longer safe.

From Saleem’s experiences, we take a couple ideas:

  • Is there a “family” aspect to the game? Are there objects that are “friendly” and signal safety?
  • Are these objects also slightly annoying to be around? (which would provoke the player to leave safety after a given amount of time)
  • In the first part of the game, is there a section that the player can see but not enter which is the “unknown” and presents inherent danger, without providing a visual as to what that danger is?
  • When the player enters this dangerous area later in the game, what embodiment of danger awaits? (since we are not completely set on avatar death)

I have some of my own answers to these questions, but feel free to chime in!

  • If we wanted to convey a sense of family, giant pulsing organisms could “inhabit” the environment. The organisms would emit huge, slow ripples that could not be blocked by the player but present no danger to the player. The sound emitting from these organisms would have to be calming yet annoying over long periods of time.
  • I am fond of the idea of a “danger zone” that the player knows is there but cannot enter. The zone could be separated by “glass” (which is a wall in the game world that breaks after a certain intensity and/or pitch is reached). Visually, the inside of the zone would appear foggy/dark/gloomy and chaotic from the outside. The sound when one approaches this part of the world would have to change to reflect danger and uncertainty as well.
  • In order the enter the zone, the player must encapsulate ripple emitters in bubbles to move them close to the glass wall. (Only emitters with strength below that of the thickness of the bubble can be captured, I’m not sure if J-F explained this.) Once enough emitters were present, the player would throw bubbles into them at the same time, organically creating a cascade effect (note here that for two waves near each other, their velocities add. This means opposing waves cancel, waves moving in a similar direction reinforce). If enough power was exerted, the wall would shatter.
  • I imagine that this “danger zone,” once entered, is actually the “city” level we talked about, and would appear less frightening when entered (like how sometimes what is feared is not as horrible as the fear makes it out to be). The city level would be the most demanding to harmonize so far in the player’s experience.

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