Presence

Good day! It has been a while. In this post I’ll be talking a bit about presence, one of our game design courses.

Presence was one of our free-choice electives for this year. The course puts focus on creating a simple game in collaboration with the PXL music departement. However, due to lack of participating PXL students, the music part in our group was done by one of our own Game student as well.

The theme this year was to focus on an animal, any animal, and create a fantasy environment as said animal would experience it (“Presence”). Overal, the theme and what exactly we would make was very open, which really excited us to get started.

To give you a brief view: We had many different ideas on which animals we could focus on, but eventually settled on going with the beautiful Koi fish. Figuring out the gameplay however… let’s just say that our group had many ups-and-downs trying to settle for one clear idea. Visual looks, 2D or 3D (or a mix perhaps?), movement… for several weeks it seemed as if our project was bound to fail. It wasn’t until we were near the end of the course that we suddenly felt like there’s was something we all agreed on, but once we did, our motivation and workflow suddenly rose up by several hundred percent and we created something we were all proud of.

With permission, we had created a 2D game but with a more top-down view of the koi fish, rather than a world seen through its own eyes. My part of our group was the creation of all the artwork. While my initial concept sketches (see below) showed a more realistic view of the koi world, they eventually evolved into fantasy-esque ponds inspired by pixel art and traditional Japanese/chinese art. My main lesson in this course was to try not to hold on to one idea too much, but instead learn to set it aside and create something entirely different. This was something I more or less already knew, but I think many artist notice that in some ways they still like to hold on to something once they really like it. Therefore, it can be really hard to completely step away from it.

First concept sketches

Evolved towards this more fantasy look. Created purely by experimenting with random settings in Unity.

fishy

The final gameplay consists of guiding a koi fish in pond of umbrellas, while mimicing the path of a second koi fish.

You can see all of the final art & gameplay in this youtube gameplay video < < Nishikigoi Gameplay > >

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Case 1.4

Case 1.4 / End Case

Final task of the year was to create a game. (as our study direction suggests we do).
The idea/concept of our game was something we’ve been working on the entire year.
The last three weeks of the year were the time we had to make the game.

I’m not going to go too much into detail about this one, as I’d probably be writing an entire
book if I did, but this task really showed a lot about how much an idea can change throughout
the year. Mainly because of limitations of ability or time, but also because you tend to
grow tired of ideas that otherwise seemed to be incredible to you. I think this is probably
one of the most important lessons learned from this year.
I didn’t manage to put everything I wanted into the game, but despite that, I’m quite proud
and happy with what I’ve achieved.

To give you a basic idea about the game I made, here’s the pitch:
To save the life of a dear friend, a boy (the player) gets pulled into a sort of watercolour world.
It this world he must collect pieces of her heart (Heart Pieces) by finding his way through a route
with the help of watercolour techniques. He must learn to use these in a simple but smart way.

It’s a simple game that mainly focuses on the calm atmosphere and story and wants to let the player
relax a bit. But of course he must sometimes think a bit about what would be the best way to reach
his goal.

1 Liamallicia

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