For my game ‘Scared of The Dark’ i focused heavily on use of light and lack of to create an atmosphere within the environment – how completely stripping the player of relying on the game to supply the safe feeling light usually brings can change they way one perceives the game.
My game is centered around the character Clara, who is stuck late at night in a snowy dense forest without a clear way out. Constantly surrounding her is ‘The Dark’, an omnipresent being of unknown origin who embodies darkness and shadows , any contact with will cause an instant fatality. Clara encounters various obstacles she needs to find her way around to progress through the forest, as well as various strangely abandoned broken down houses. She can’t stay anywhere for long as the dark is always lurking, she needs to get out of this forest before its too late.
The player needs to be aware of Clara’s health, fear, and light. Falling from high places, and falling in the ice cold water will damage her health. Being surrounded by an overwhelming mass amount of the dark and anything that damages Clara’s health will heighten her fear. Light will slowly decline, and running out of matches will kill Clara instantly unless she is near a lit fireplace or campfire – but those fires will only last so long, and moving away from them into the darkness will kill her, so it’s more of a false sense of security to rely on them when the matches run out.
I focused heavily on psychology on my research and ideas, looking into phobias – specifically Nyctophobia (phobia of darkness) – and how i can apply it to my game.
Partial inspiration which help me when i was developing the game was from the two classic fairy tales ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘The Little Match Girl’. They are both about girls trying to survive, both in different circumstances but nonetheless going through quite the struggle. Red Riding Hood is trying to make it to her grandmothers through the woods with a dangerous wolf trailing her. The Little Match Girl is trying to stay alive in the dead of winter with the snow and cold being a constant threat.
My favorite parts in this project was creating the story and characters .
I used primarily Photoshop to digitally develop my game, i made my character designs, backgrounds, HUDS etc. in the program. I mainly used the pen tool to create sharp, precise forms. I prefer to use Photoshop as it is a program i feel i work best in.
Working in Unreal Engine was particularly difficult for me, i really struggled with the controls and tried my best to create something presentable from my game. Personally, although i do enjoy the design and creating of video games, the programs and technical side isn’t a skill i currently have.
I chose to give my game a mainly black and white – with some grey tones and other minimal amount of colours like icy blues for the water, and bright red for the huds. I played around with different way to present colour in my game, mainly with my background and map design. With the water a started off with a dark blue but changed it to a lighter one to present the climate, as well as make the flooring white instead of grey to present the snow.
As i stated earlier, light and darkness is a very important and imperative aspect in my game. The player is given all the control to survive, with no alternate other than dying but to just keep going through the map until the end of the game. Darkness always carries a sense of eeriness for most, what is lurking in there? Is it something dangerous? Any noise is heightened and often carried with a feeling of apprehension when the brain is strained, and tired, and scared.
Imagine you’re home alone, its pitch black and the lights are broken, there’s no one around – no one you are aware of – and you hear a noise, what was that? You’re supposed to be alone. You see something in the corner of your eye, did it just move? You can’t see what it is, will you find out when its too late? What can you do in this situation? Go to sleep? Can you when there might be something there? Something that might hurt you? Something in The Dark.
That is the feeling i want my game to instill.