TAG | indiedev
I have recently done another draft of the story for The Time Project and so I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to have an adventure.
Adventures are an exciting, bold experience in a different place that challenges us. Adventures may expose parts of ourselves that we didn’t know existed.
Adventure stories are usually based around a quest where a character has a strong desire for something. Usually an object like a treasure chest. This is the outer, physical adventure, the journey the characters must embark on to get their hands on the goods.
A character’s outer journey often mirrors some kind of inner journey (to use Michael Hauge’s terms).
At some point, usually at the height of the adventure, these two journeys collide. The adventurer must complete their inner journey in order to complete their outer journey.
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana is on an outer journey to save his father which becomes the larger effort to get the Holy Grail. His inner journey is a bit more up for interpretation, but I see it as about him growing closer to his father despite their differences. This is shown by him literally following in his father’s footsteps in two ways: by following his father’s journal and by trying to catch up to him to save him.
Both Indiana’s outer journey and inner journey inform one another, and are reinforced all throughout the movie. There are many points where the inner and outer journey meet. In the case of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, they are tilting towards one final decision: to keep the cup or let it go. Life or death.
So that’s all well and good, but do characters always have to have an inner journey that results in a change?
Some characters refuse to change even though they have gained insights throughout the course of the story. Others may completely miss having an insight or a realisation, but us readers have it instead. Some characters triumph by not changing, by staying true to themselves despite challenges at every turn. The adventure tests their mettle.
I’ve been thinking about the outer and inner journeys of our characters and how challenges in the game can harmonise or complement their journey. How they walk, how they look at one another, the world, the environment, the myth and lore. When it comes to challenge, I also think about how the game is played because the puzzles are the challenges for the player.
Solving puzzles affects the outer and inner journey of our players. My goal is to connect a player’s inner emotional journey with our game to the physical journey of completing our puzzles. They must either complement or harmonise. What do the symbols in the puzzles mean? How are they a part of the story world? Asking questions like this help me figure out how puzzles can inform the story and how story can inform the puzzles.
I do this because I think part of what makes a good game is one that takes us on an adventure, an outer and inner journey that allows us to have an insight, a realisation.
It makes us feel a bit different for having played it.
Maybe expose parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed.
It’s no small task but that’s what’s keeping me out of trouble at the moment!
Brand new concept art from
The Time Project A title is coming we promise…
I am pretty excited about where we are going!!
More Making levels out of lego!
I smashed out three levels of genius – as you can see – and then asked for photographic evidence.
It helped to tell myself a story about the level and how the characters were moving as I was building: they go in through a cave and come out into the courtyard where there is an old ladder leading to a landing.. and so on!
When I was done, Henrik brought them to Unity and used our tools to create a rough mock-up of the level structure (which still looks very lego-like). Then it’s about planning paths and potential spots for puzzles and obstacles for the characters. This will help inform how we are going to shape the environment and what we want it to ‘say’ about the story.
This process has been pretty successful for us so far but it’ll be good to see us bring one of these through to a working prototype.
There you have my foray into level design!
Following from our last post, here is another level we have been working on.
Yes! A new colour palette!
Our adventurers make their way up the windmill in a mysterious swamp..
We call this level The Spires and it’s come a long way. We’ve been play testing and trying to figure out the best pacing for the puzzles in this environment. Extending the colour palette and adding new things into the scene to give it more of a story and more meaning.
There is a lot more concepts to do but we are starting to get a good workflow going!
I think Henrik looks like he is having too much fun to be working!
This is what level design looks like in the office at the moment. Henrik was saying that it helps him map out the path of our adventurers in a 3D, rotating environment. He will then take photos and experiment with puzzle positioning in Photoshop. Can’t wait to see all the different prototypes we will have!
I was showing The Time Project today with Henrik at Unite!
It was lovely to show our game to people and we had so much positive feedback.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by and played!
Ps. The Lego is Henrik’s level designs!!
The Time Project by The Voxel Agents
We have gorgeous water and more ambient fog. I’m really loving how this level is coming together. We have been working on other levels, too, and I hope to upload some more windmill level pictures soon!
I have been play testing The Time Project today!
I felt very happy with this moment and proud of our progress so far. 🙂
Modelin’ up some pointing statues for a puzzle in the Swamp of Vestiges (as I like to call it!).
The aim is to make sure they clearly represent something, that the player can attach a word to each one to help them remember and solve the puzzle.