Genre : Adventure
Two newly orphaned sisters must find pirate treasure or be separated...
Why I designed my level this way
I am very proud of this game as this is the first game that I made all by myself.
I was the designer, the artist and the programmer.
The game starts in the main character Maria’s bedroom. The second main character is Maria’s sister, Cece.
A bedroom is an intimate place and the Player learns who Maria is as a person by her possessions/assets in her room. We know Maria likes ballet, evident from the pair of practise slippers beside the bed, the large mirror and the barre as well as the picture of Swan Lake. This is a classic girl’s room. It is beautiful and the things inside are lovely, yet as Maria walks about the room and interacts with the various objects, we get a very different picture.
Maria is not in the least bit interested in her prized possessions.
This automatically puts a question in the Player’s mind. Why? Why isn’t this young girl interested in her beautiful room?
The reason is because something else is absorbing all her attention.
This is how I SHOW the player what is going on in Maria’s mind.
As the Player makes Maria move around, the answer soons becomes clear.
I deliberately laid out the assets in a semi-circle.
Maria starts at the bottom right of the room. She makes a half circle, picking up the ballet slippers, then passes the barre and finally the painting. This leads her logically to the door, which is the furthest object thus making the player explore the room exiting to start the adventure.
I use the sounds of a thunderstorm outside to echo the internal storm inside Maria’s heart. The Player later learns that her parents are dead. She and her sister are orphans and only have each other.
White lines denote camera angles
I used a camera swapping system and tilted each camera at an angle to make each room seem engaging. The camera is fixed.
The source of light is from the overhead light as well as the bedroom lamp, but because of the thunderstorm the room is at times lit by lightning. This contrast between the familiar (artificial lighting in the room) and the natural (the lightning) adds an air of unease which contributes to propelling Maria out of the room and into the start of the Pirate Adventure.
The only dialogue is a monologue of the thoughts in Maria’s head.
Maria’s room is grey, symbolic of her grief.
Maria steps out of the comfort of her own room and into a passageway – symbolic of the passage that Maria and Cece will now have to undergo. Here the sound of the thunderstorm grows softer which is natural as Maria is further away from the windows and the storm. On entering, I would like to have Maria hear crying. This would make the Player wonder ‘Where is the sound coming from?’ And investigate the source.
On entering the passage, I swap from the camera in Maria’s room to the camera in the passage. This is the normal method of 3D Point and Click. The camera is fixed. There is a hallway ceiling light in the middle of the passage. This is normal in most houses. It lights up two doors to the left and right, hinting to the player where they should go. The door at the end of the passage has the least light. This is the parents’ door and the fact that it has the least lighting is symbolic of her parents being gone. As Maria stands in the passage, there is the occasional lighting flash. For now, the only dialogue is a monologue of the thoughts in Maria’s head.
There are 3 doors. There is a door at the top of the passage, and a door on the left and the right.
Door at the top of the passage
This is the door to Maria’s parents’ room, and it is hoped as it is the nearest door that Maria will investigate this door first. However, the order of investigation is not crucial to the gameplay. When the Player tries the door, the Player receives the message “They aren’t here anymore.” The door that the Player has just encountered is Maria’s parents’ bedroom door. Her parents are dead. This door is now symbolically shut to Maria. So, Maria turns away and finds comfort in her sister when she eventually goes to Cece’s room.
If Maria investigates the parents’ door and then walks toward the camera, logically this should be the next door she investigates.
The bathroom is a normal bathroom, a nondescript blue, typical of most bathrooms. There is a toilet, a sink, and a bathtub. The bathtub has a coin for the Player to grab. It is shiny for the Player to notice. If they do, then they can pick it up. The sink acts as comedy relief which is necessary after the Player learn of the parents’ death. When the Player interact with it they can leave the water running. The room won’t fill up to prevent a game over scenario if the house floods. Inside, the sound of the thunderstorm is softer as Maria is further away. Camera is fixed. Light comes from the overhead light and there is a nice touch of the light being reflected in the bathroom mirror, adding to the authenticity of the bathroom. The only dialogue is a monologue of the thoughts in Maria’s head.
The irony, however, is that on a deeper level, the broken tap is also symbolic of the tap of grief that Maria cannot turn off
When Maria enters Cece’s room, she finds Cece on her bed crying. There are few assets as the focus for the Player is Cece. The sound of the thunderstorm is symbolic of the internal storm in both girls’ hearts. The camera is fixed. Light comes from the ceiling light, the bedroom light and the occasional lightning.
Cece is the only other person Maria can talk to. Not only does it alleviate the Player’s sense of loneliness, it also makes them feel for Maria since Cece is all that is left of the family. When Maria talks to Cece, we find that she is still upset about losing her parents. As the big sister, Maria must go out and find Cece’s bear to cheer her up.
This is the intermediate game objective.
The kitchen is small to give an intimate feel, plus this
is was a four-person family. Right now, the kitchen is bare as most of the stuff is packed away in boxes.
There is the kitchen bench, kitchen table and box. The kitchen bench and table are empty.
The only out-of-place item is a box on the kitchen table, which hints to the player that the sisters are in the process of moving house. By now, the sound of the thunderstorm is softer as you are further away.
Camera is fixed. The kitchen is lit by an overhead light with the occasional flashes of lightning. In here, the only dialogue is a monologue of the thoughts in Maria’s head.
A single dining table hints to the Player that most of the furniture has been packed. When Maria interacts with the table, she remembers the happier times when her family used to gather around the table. ‘The chairs are gone…’ just like those times are gone. The camera is set at such an angle that the Player can see the kitchen to the left and the Living Room to the right. We see a pile of boxes with what looks intriguing like a bear’s ear popping out of one box. This makes the Player want to move over to the Living Room.
The front door is visible, but you are unable to leave as Maria will say that she can’t leave her sister behind. Not only does this give us the excuse for keeping the player within the level, but also tell us that Maria views her sister as top priority. The tv is turned off and Maria doesn’t want to turn it on as she is sad. The couch reminds Maria of her Dad, so she comments on it. The sofa is place opposite to the tv, so the family can watch tv together. The is a coin hidden on the left arm of the chair too. The pile of boxes has Pooky in one of them and you know this when you see Pooky’s ears popping out of one of them. Once you pick him up, he vanishes from the box. And this is effectively the end of the first slice of gameplay.
But the Player is rewarded with a cutscene showing the box tipping over and the bear and an old photo fall out. As the photo falls, it breaks to reveal an old map hidden behind. This is the first clue to the treasure of the girls' ancestor - the pirate Andrew Purloin - which the Player learns about in the first cutscene.
The thunderstorm is louder as you are closer to the source. The camera is fixed. You see the hallway, kitchen and part of the dining table to let the player know they can explore that area. There is an overhead light and the occasional lightning. The only dialogue is a monologue of the thoughts in Maria’s head.