Week 1: Starting Out

Feb 24, 2019

When I picked this topic for my senior project, there was no way for me to really know just how much work I had cut out for me. Sure, I knew that game development was a naturally long and hard road, but only once I actually started on my project did I realise just how much I really have to do. I met with one of my senior project adviser, Ms. Nikolic, to discuss how I should go about starting my project. As I filled her in on what my project should look like, she informed me that before I started on level design, houses, and other game elements, I needed the most basic element of any game: a story progression chart. Authors and screenwriters use these all the time, and many students who have taken English classes know what these are: outlining the background and exposition, it’s a rough outline of what the synopsis of the story is.

The first week of my Senior Project was therefore dedicated to creating a storyboard progression chart for my game. While I originally had planned for there to be three phases for my game, I lowered it to two for time constraints. I’m not trying to make a fully marketable game here; it simply needs to be sufficiently scary and sufficient to play. Because I am dealing with the horror genre, I am allowed to be more lax when it comes to lighting and plot. I get to ask as many questions as I want and not answer any of them. At the end of the week, I drew up this chart and thought up a highly generic plot for my game, very roughly based on IT by Stephen King:

Johnathan Lange is a self-proclaimed exorcist who overhears the locals in a small town talk about a creepy clown that inhabits a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of town. Eager to investigate, he ventures into the house to explore, only to have the clown┬átransport him into its own illusionary world. Lange must find his way out of the monster’s world and back into his own, all while avoiding the monster’s traps.

Next week, the real level design begins.

8 Replies to “Week 1: Starting Out”

  1. Ivana B says:

    Caleb, will you be able to post a link to the game here once it’s done? I am no gamer, but I would try it if I could just click on it from here. I also have three gamers in the house, whose feedback may be useful for your project.

    1. Caleb W. says:

      I will definitely post the game once it’s done. I plan to put it online in some format that people will be able to download and play.

  2. Dennis Woo says:

    That’s sounds like a psychedelic masterpiece and also reminds me of the ascendant plane

  3. Rishi A. says:

    Hi Caleb, what is your game going to be about and what are the different concepts that will make up the story and appeal of your game? I’m excited to see how your game will develop over the next couple of months. ­čÖé

    1. Caleb W. says:

      My game is essentially a horror-themed game and tests player’s reactions against regular tropes found in horror movies and games, such as jumpscares, run-and-chase scenes, and darkened rooms. The simple exposition just sets up the game as the player plays a man called Johnathan Lange who’s investigating a haunted house. I’m basically creating different versions of the game, some with certain sound files taken out, and some with more lighting elements. I will be surveying and recording playtester’s reactions to different versions of my games and observing the difference.

  4. alexisjefferson says:

    I hope that you also have been researching what makes a game scary. Have you played any video games recently that have made you scared? What about them made you scared the most? Was there a particular scenes from books or movies that made you feel scared? It’s good to draw from experience.

    1. Caleb W. says:

      Definitely. I’ve been playing more jumpscare oriented games such as FNAF (Five Nights at Freddy’s), and also some classics, like the Resident Evil series (particularly Resident Evil VII, its VR compatibility makes it a lot scarier). Even games that aren’t styled like horror games, like Destiny 2, will still occasionally make me jump when monsters crawl out of the walls. I remember specifically a scene in IT where the kids are watching a tape in the garage, and there’s a clown holding a balloon and his red hair obscures his face, and slowly, frame by frame, reveals IT’s face. Stuff like that makes me unable to fall asleep at night, and it’s just fascinating knowing there’s all these ways to scare a person’s mind.

  5. Daniel L. says:

    I am scared so easily. Can’t help testing the game… Yet, your storyboard seems very organized. Excited about your game and not be playing it!

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