Seek is a project created in both Maya and Unity. It places a single player in two-positions, an authority figure and a helpless victim, based upon how the player interacts with the scenes. The project focuses on creating intensity through environments changing color, images, and clues that are activated by action-based engagement. The central point of this project was to create an interactive space, where tools from the horror genre can be used to drive the narrative of child abuse.
For this project, I was really inspired by the atmosphere of horror when developing narratives. I started my research by looking at different ways in which games and films used lighting and space.
With certain topics I was interested in, I created a mind map to look at different spaces to work in. As I looked into Unity, I was quickly drawn into the idea of the interactivity because I often use animations with no interactions for audiences. So I had the goal of seeing ways buttons and motion-activated events can be used to develop a story and convey information. Unity became a visualization tool during the process, and the possibility of using Unity in a cinematic form seemed interesting.
This is a sandbox when figuring out how to activate events, like lighting. Here I started with making a box appear before moving to lights to have a basic foundation down. Since focus was on setting and motion, character controls were downloaded by a standard asset. From the package, the first person controller was parented to the camera to allow movement.
Unity Standard Asset Package:
After solidifying some of the button in sandboxes, I created sketches of possible layouts. I developed three rooms with the intention of using one room at first and picking the best to test the responses to buttons (kind of an explore a single room and gather info); however, I really liked the ability to play with different atmospheres as a first person player. So after drawing it out, I started to play with possible placements of buttons and what they would do to lead players through that designated scene. In a way, it was becoming like a player moving through an animation story with an absence of characters.
After building scenes in Maya, I dropped them into Unity and added boundaries along the edges. As I was adding the event buttons, I started to realize that I could isolate the components further to see how far each element – text, audio, visuals – could be utilized. The first scene relies on mainly text. I was curious on how visual words could direct attention to specific clues or information. Moving into the hospital scene, it relies on light changes and objects moving to generate atmosphere and move the plot along. I was really curious how lighting could influence player emotion during a shifting experience. The final scene in the house relies heavily on audio queues to progress the information.
Through this project, I was able to start looking at ways the player’s position to activate events in the game can create different emotions, like fear and curiosity. Because I was working in a 3D-interactive environment, it gave me a better understanding of space and position of a user. While the outcome gave me a lot of new knowledge moving forward with the generation of emotion in an audience, I realized there are still a lot to consider in terms of lighting outputs, accessibility, and attention to level of intensity for a variety of players.
- How to utilize a genre’s techniques to propel a narrative forward?
- How to use the space of VR or gameplay in a way that works for animation or a cinematic experience?