Thematics leading to design

To add to Ian’s post about my experience growing up with water, I just wanted to explain the grounding thematics and idea that is helping us design our gameplay. The central idea focuses around “an exploration of a dying conscience’s last fantasy of reconciling past memories with the power of voice so it can die in peace.”

So we’re following the imagination of a drowning person as they struggle against their death and are forced to reconcile emotions and memories before their time is up. This is all subtext in the game and is never clearly laid out but we want to give enough emotion and evoke certain sounds so that the player can fill in their own feelings and experiences. In thinking up game mechanics (sound bubbles and ripples) and the interplay between voice and its effect on an environment, I’m trying to keep the design of mechanics constantly asking important emotional questions.

One Response to “Thematics leading to design”

  1. J-F_bourbeau says:

    I think our current game mechanics are a fantastic metaphor of voice in our everyday life.

    Our voice gets incarnated by bubbles, just like our voice sends out vocal messages in real life. Sometimes, we can control where they end up or how they affect the world. Sometimes, we can’t.

    But we’re not alone. There are other people around us. These people emit messages of their own. These messages can hinder or help our own. I think the ripples emitter represent that perfectly.

    As in real life, what we say can have an influence on other people’s thought, just like the bubbles will actually influence the ripples emitters.

    I think having that in mind will help us design the puzzles and give a meaningful edge to what could become just “gamey” situations. As well as being inspired by soundscapes of our past, what if we also bases our design on “communication situations” that we lived?

    Imagine a puzzle based on the city soundscape. Communication wise, what does it say? I think of thousands of unique voices, struggling to find my own. This way, the puzzles in these levels would consist in many ripples emitters, while the player would have a difficulty to come up with the bubbles he needs and to actually make them have an impact on the environment.
    Another example could be the idea of “propaganda”, in the largest way possible (we’ve all talked trash about someone in our life :P) Then, the puzzle would be centered about creating a bubble, dragging it to an emitter to activate it, which will activate another emitter, and another…thus causing a chain reaction of which we lose control.

    I think that these axes (death, soundscapes memories and communication situations) are very powerful and can lead to a lot of diversified, unique, fun and profound experiences

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