This section of the document is about the environment of my island:
My island is 95% forest, so I decided that in order to make it look interesting I would need to include as much forest scenery as possible. I searched for anything a forest has inside it and came up with a list. If I include most of these assets it will create a busy, magical setting that will be refreshing for the player to walk through. So far, I have created mood boards for five assets that will be a part of the scenery and one mood board showing the overall layout and feel of my woodland. It looks mossy, foggy and includes many different features within it to make it crowded with life and plants. The reason why I would like an eerie and cold vibe to my forest is because it would match the overall aspect of my game which is based around horror genre.
For the layout of my island, the only real building I want to have on my island is a house with a long path leading up to it. Apart from that, my island is entirely forest. I chose to make my path have a turning so that the house is revealed for the player, like a surprise. The fact that the house is lonely and surrounded by forest makes it seem mysterious too.
Forests tend to be flat, so in terms of terrain I will keep it quite level with a few ditches and hills to climb up. The ground will consist of a hardened mud texture with some areas of moss and some areas of ground that have been covered in leaves. Moss and mushrooms will be placed around covering up the ground too. I would also like to include some swamps and small ponds where areas of the forest have been waterlogged. In these areas you will find rocks and logs.
The map of my island:
The mood boards used to develop the assets on my island:
A mood board to show what kind of look I want my island to have:
This mood board is to help with the design of one of my forest assets, ferns. I chose pictures that showed the most detail as it would help when creating my own version of the object. One of the images I particularly like is this one. The sunlight is hitting it perfectly, so every tiny detail is shown. We can see the stem of the plant and it also shows the shape and texture of it. This shows how lighting could look whenever sun hits the fern. The fern seems to be thin and so the light can reach through it creating a bright green colour and a darker and more obvious outline.
This image shows the colour of the fern and the shape of the smaller parts of the fern well. I want to apply as many details as possible to get an accurate representation of the object, so this was useful.
This mood board is to give me inspiration for what kind of mushroom I may want on my island and what they look like. I like this image as it shows so much detail. The closeness of the image means that every tiny aspect of the mushroom is shown.
I like this image as it shows a different and weird kind of mushroom that could bring that magical feeling to my forest. The red would also add a new colour in my forest so there would be less greens and browns if I included a mushroom like this.
This mood board is to show what kind of variations of log/stump there can be and what they could look like. I want to find the perfect reference that would suit the style of forest environment I want. This image is a nice representation of what a standard log looks like but there are lots of aspects I love. When looking closely at the image, we can see the different variations of colour well. The colours I can see are maroon, moldy green, grey-brown, and dark brown. Some of the colour variations could be from mud and staining, however the colour of wood can vary between shades of grey and brown anyway. It is important to take the colours on the log into account. I can also see lots of cracks all over the open side of the log. These tend to vary in shape and size. On this log, the cracks are curvy and have variety of lengths and widths. I really like how in the middle there is one big crack. This makes the log look more imperfect, so I want to include a feature like this. To contrast, next to it is an example where the lines are straighter. The way they line up slightly off makes the cracks look like lightning bolts. This is still a cool design, but I prefer the imperfectness of the log to the left.
This image shows the outside of the log and demonstrates what the bark looks like. Bark is extremely rough and tends to grow moss so that's something to think about. The colour of bark a lot of the time is grey-brown, but like the log above there is also a lot of staining. There are some green areas and brown areas on the log too that give it imperfectness and make it look real.
This mood board is to give me an idea for what pinecones look like in detail as it isn't something I see often. There can be many kinds of pinecones, but I decided to keep the trend of pinecones in this kind of style.
On this pinecone starting with the overall shaping of it, at the bottom of the pinecone the bracts are close together, so much so, there isn't even a gap. As you scan up, the bracts get more spaced out which means we can see more between them. The colour of the bracts closer to the stem are dark brown while the tips of them are light brown. These colour differences are easy to see but important. If you miss this detail, it will stop it from looking like a pinecone.
I also noticed how the tip of each bract has a slightly different shape to others. Overall, the shape of the tips is a fan shape but some of them are thicker, thinner, and wonkier than others.
I also used an image to really get a feel for the layout of a pinecone. Now I know the shape of the stem and how the bracts come out from it and how they look from the side.
This mood board is to help me choose what kind of rocks I may want to sit in my forest. I couldn't find many great images, but I liked this one as it showed many different types of rock from shape to size, and it shows where you may be able to find rocks. I think it would make more sense to find rocks near water so I will be careful and make sure I place my rock assets near a water source like this. Some rocks are grey, and others are red-brown, and all the rocks have a slightly different shape. The image is quite far away from the rocks so it's hard to go into detail about texture but that is what I can pick up from this image. I can also see staining on the rocks where I can see some red and green areas on them so I will apply that.
Here I have drawings of five of my environmental assets (Mushroom, pinecone, rock, fern and log) and the map design.
The house on the island
I want the house to have a 17th century look to it on the inside and the outside. I have completed a mood board to demonstrate the ideas for the outside of the house:
My next step is to investigate the inside of the house as the exploration in the house is a main part of my environment walkthrough/game. The family who used to own the house were rich, so I need the home to reflect that. I’ve already decided on five of the objects that will sit in the house in specific areas – clock, chocolate box, tombstone, plague mask and letters. These have all been thought out as they all have a meaning that links to the story of the house and island.
Here I have drawings of two of these assets (tombstone and chocolate box), my main character, a birds-eye-view of my island and two views of the house from the outside:
This section of the document is all about the game itself:
The story behind my game
On a cold winter’s day, a woman contracted the plague disease. This worried her husband greatly and they began writing letters to each other every night while she was ill. They wanted to find a way to communicate that wouldn’t get them too close to each other and would let them show their love to each other before it was too late. The chocolate box they shared once a week sat on the old table in the living room filled with two chocolates, waiting for them to get back the habit of sharing the refillable chocolate box again. The plague mask that stayed on the outside of their bedroom was diligently worn every day. The clock that was propped on the bedroom side table ticked away every minute until it eventually stopped on the night of her death. The man found life cold and empty from then and went on to cherish the things that were left behind after his wife died. No one was allowed in the house as he lived the rest of his life alone. Because of the anger he felt after being alone, he had the urge to constantly protect every special object in his house.
In the 21st century, 700 years later, the man stays in his house as a ghost watching over his precious belongings, ready to haunt and scare off anyone who enters or dares to touch his treasured items. A man decides he is interested in living in the deserted house and when he goes to take his first visit, he discovers a ghost that traps him inside. The ghost tinkers with the man’s nerves in an attempt to protect his home of deep history by killing any trespassers.
The objective could be to clear out the special artifacts and kill the ghost officially to finally end his suffering of loneliness and anger. In order to do this, you would need to find keys to open up to a spiral staircase which would lead you down to a stony underground room where you need to take each special artifact and put them in a pot together. This would cause a light to shine which would make the objects disappear and the ghost dies along with everything else.
What challenges would the player have to face?
The challenge would be to stay quiet while doing all of this. If he hears or sees you, then he will go after you. However, if you are quiet enough and stay hidden in shadows then he won’t see you and you can safely bring the objects down. If he sees you and kills you, the objects that were moved would be back to their original place and you would need to start from where the spiral staircase door was opened, so you don’t need to fully restart. By giving limited hints, the player would have to work most things out themselves which makes for a harder game. For example, if the hint of being able to stay hidden while in shadows was not given, the player would eventually need to discover this tip themselves. This leaves lots of discovery for the player.
Trigger 1 – When walking too close to the tombstone object outside the house, the ghost will come out the house to find you. Hiding behind trees would prevent you from being seen.
Trigger 2 – When interacting with the clock, chocolate box, plague mask or letters, the ghost will appear. Hiding in shadows or quietly running away would prevent you from being seen.
Trigger 3 – When the needed objects are in the pot together it causes a light to shine and the ghost is killed, and the objects are destroyed.
The plague research
Since my game’s storyline is based around the disease, I decided to look into it more.
The plague is a disease spread by fleas that lasted from 1346 until 1353. It has three types of disease: Bubonic, Septicemic and Pneumonic.
Bubonic plague causes sudden onset of fever and chills, headache, fatigue or malaise, and muscle aches.
Septicemic plague causes fever and chills, extreme weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, bleeding from your mouth, nose or rectum, or under your skin, shock, and blackening and death of tissue in your fingers, toes, and nose.
Pneumonic plague causes a cough with bloody mucus, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, high fever, headache, weakness, and chest pain.
Doctors wore masks with a beak-like feature because they thought that the plague was caused by bad smells, so they filled the mask with things like flowers to prevent bad smells.
My ideas for the assets inside the house
1. Clock – My idea for this object in my game is that it will be stopped on the exact time his wife died which makes it one of the many special objects in the house. This would trigger the ghost to appear if it is interacted with, as he wants to save it as a memory. Here’s a mood board showing my ideas for the clock:
2. Chocolates in a box – My idea for this object is that it holds the story of him and his wife sharing the box of chocolates once a week. The final two lying in the box would be the last two that were left over after they stopped sharing the box because of her illness. This also triggers him to appear once it is interacted with. Here’s a mood board showing my ideas for the chocolate box:
3. Tombstone – This indicates the death of the man’s wife and sits in the front garden. This triggers the man when people get too close to it. Another special asset that contributes to the story. Here’s a mood board showing my ideas for the tombstone:
4. Plague mask – This could be special to the man as it was something he had to wear everyday while his wife was ill, so this also would cause him to get suspicious and appear.
5. Letters that he and his wife would write to each other – He doesn’t want anyone to read them so he is especially sensitive towards the letters, this would cause him to appear if any of the letters are interacted with. The letters would be about how much they cared for each other and would reminisce all the memorable times they had together.
Main character design
I wanted my character to give off a garish look to his outfit that represents different meanings. I’ve decided to go for a suit that is covered in thick red and yellow vertical stripes. The red represents the anger he felt for the rest of his life after the death of his wife, and the yellow represents the opposite feeling. Essentially the happiness he felt when his wife was still alive. Here’s a mood board showing my ideas for the main character:
Here is the finished design of my character:
The plague idea arose from my own thought that plague masks look scary and intimidating. Because of this, I knew I wanted to make my monster/ghost wear one as it would be scarier for the player when they see him. This is also something I’ve never seen in a horror game so my character idea, in my opinion, is considerably fresh. Then I decided to put the idea of the plague into my story, so the plague mask had a meaning. This is how I decided what the home would look like and the story behind the monster and the assets within the home.
The idea for the inclusion of chocolates in a wooden box came from when I remembered the film Matilda. The character Miss Trunchbull kept a chocolate box in her house which she used to share with her niece when they lived together. I took this from the film and decided it was a logical asset to the story of the relationship of the man and his wife and could be used as an interactive object in the house.
When coming up with the look of my ghost, I wanted it to look intimidating. I chose to use his outfit to add this element. How you dress a monster is important as you want to prevent them from looking stupid and laughable, but you also need to include that intimidating, creepy element in the character. To create this effect on my ghost, I thought of what I have found scary before through films and TV programmes. I grew up watching Doctor Who which includes many terrifying and disturbing monsters. One that is memorable for me is The Silence. They are tall and have a big alien shaped head. Their skin is dead coloured and the outfit that they wear is a black suit and tie with a white shirt underneath. The whole look of this monster screams scary and I would feel horrified if I saw it stood outside my bedroom. I wanted to apply the same look to my monster, so I took the suit idea but completely tweaked it and decided on a suit that is covered in thick red and yellow vertical stripes to make my character unique.