Codename: Peace Pipe – The Idea

In the beginning

The one thing I’ve found is that a great idea doesn’t just happen, and the first idea you have is probably not going to make it at all… I started out thinking about how I could integrate my previous shortfilm idea, Endeavor, and create a game around that. I came up with a VR concept that was extremely interactive but narrative driven at the same time, reacting to the way you interacted with the world. The story basically came down to finding out that the world you live in is not real and that your mother wasn’t really your mother but an entity of some sorts. Rick and Morty’s idea of simulated worlds was a bit of an influence.

This isn’t even my final form

So the next morph of the overall idea came after mulling on the idea of alternate dimensions and introducing a hive-mind antagonist being able to control the minds of everyone  except those that are terminally ill.
Influenced by Stranger Things as well as Rick and Morty again. So this idea came down to you controlling a young terminally ill boy thats been taken away to an unknown facility, where the hive-mind can monitor the people it cannot control. It’s a puzzle horror type game where you need to navigate the facility and escape without any physical engagement. Another mechanic I explored was the idea that direct eye contact could open a path for the hive-mind to infiltrate your mind but you could close your eyes and cut off the connection thus causing an xray, memory driven effect with highlights on objects or areas of interest.

And then there was light

So finally, I came up with this:

3rd Person adventure game in which you are a young boy exploring this strange new place. The light is your goal but darkness claws at you in the form of nasty demons, trying to drag you back into chaos. You need to escape the demons, navigate obstacles, solve puzzles and find your way to the light.

Visualising the concept

I drew a little sketch of what the character might look like, as well as the starting scene.

I was experimenting with an idea about merging 2 worlds or places in a natrual yet unnatural way. Making it that you, as the character, know the two places are different yet are able to traverse the two worlds naturally.

Tip: Visualising a scene or object or any part of your project is a great way to make your idea come to life, not just visualy but fleshing out the idea, filling in the holes, realising what can work and not work together.

Solidifying the concept

The majority of my concept was only conceived after drawing the scene above. After that, the story just kind of unfolded. I knew then that I wanted to create a story about the “limbo” state after death, coming to terms with what has happened and deciding what the next stage is. I had the first level and the end goal, get to the light, but what was to come in between? I wanted it to feel simple in the beginning, introduce the player to the character, controls and set out the main task. Once that was completed, introduce some drama. The character would fall down into the darkness at the bottom of a rivine and have to then make his way out to the top. I wanted there to be more danger, so I came up with a dark shadow entity that would try and drag you back into the darkness. You would need to escape the dark and head for the light.

Prototyping time

I started prototyping the first area of the world in Blender and imported it into Unity. I introduced some heavy fog, cloud particles, a setting sun with sun rays, bloom and motion blur, mixed with warm comforting colours. I created a basic 3rd person character controller and used some standin animations and a model from Mixamo.

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