I am working on a small prototype that shows off the effects I have already made, and will hopefully allow me to judge how these effects are making people feel. Lynn suggested that I put each effect into a room and see what reaction each one gets.
I started off by creating a trail into the rooms, as I wanted an opening moment similar to Proteus, in that you are introduced to the concept of exploring and get a bit of a wow moment.
My first decision atmosphere wise was to remove the hands and the crosshair. The crosshair reminds the player that they are in a game, breaking immersion slightly. I really want the player to feel like themselves in the game, rather than a character, thus the hands went.
I then added footstep sounds, as I feel that hearing footsteps grounds you in space as a player. With my choice of darkness, this really helps get a feel for where you are. I used the velocity of the player with a break to make sure that the sound played only when you are walking.
The darkness was chosen to utilize the meditation and mandala ideas that I’ve been researching, where the tunnel like space that I have made leads the player into the heart of the mandala, which I used as a door/portal. This central focus draws the player into the experience, much like is used in Diablo’s lighting and mandala designs.
The shader for the mandala uses an orange to reflect the colour of the candle lights, and a purple, as this colour is generally viewed as magical or mystical. I added the circular shapes and black center motifs that are characteristic of these images.
I achived the warping effect by taking two clouds textures with different panning and uvs and adding them together. I then multiplied this with a colour. I made a second version of it but panned it vertically, to create the look that the two forces and interacting and clashing. I then lerped them together, and multiplied this with an rotating alpha texture to create the motif. Lastly, I used the alpha channel from the texture I used to create dust a while back to fade out the edges for a less harsh look.
With the entryway set up, I created a block out for the branching rooms and started to work on functionality for this room. I decided that there should be some kind of event on entering, as I think the mandala sets up expectation for something to happen.
I set it up so that when the player enters a trigger box at the start of the room, the light comes on and a sign is displayed. I put a slight delay on to make sure the player sees everything switch on.
I made a sign that illuminates the words choose your path. I thought that implying that there’s a choice to the game adds a some interaction and gives the player a sence of agency, whist the use of the word your reinforces the idea that the character is the player themselves, and gets them ready to be introspective.
There’s already a few things that I can test with this really small prototype – I can look into how the colour choices and wording effect people’s emotional states and whether sound is a large part of the atmosphere. ( I think it is, which is a bit worrying as I want the visuals to speak more than the sound – sound is important but I am a visual artist in the end) My next steps with the prototype are to create a proper model and material for the sign, create doors/portals/curtains for the rooms, and start to populate these rooms.