Layers of Madness

Trailer

We wanted the narrative of the game to move from the outdoors, to the indoors and then finally to the unknown nightmarescape. The concept I had for the first level was to make the forest look like wallpaper patterns while still maintaining the feel of a forest space.

The one thing that I felt worked the best visually with my design was the very visceral paper rip. Even if the player became so immersed that they forgot that the scenery was not just stylized nature, the obvious paper quality of the rips would pull them out of that leaving them unsettled.

One comment we heard repeatedly was that tearing the paper was very satisfying which was in keeping with the feeling we were hoping to inspire in the player.

All other characters, save for the player, were meant to look like shadows in the wall.

Enemy concepts.

For these designs I was looking to take the key terms that came up in “The Yellow Wallpaper” such as: medicine, the nurse, babies, fungus, dank rot, etc. and use them to inform the shape of the enemies.

When designing the Shadow Woman, the boss that sends out the smaller enemies, I wanted her to come from the player’s own shadow, to make it clear to the player that they are fighting against themselves.

As the game dealt with issues of mental health and depression I wanted the enemies to be the things that this character would be worried or paranoid about. So I had the Shadow Woman’s mouth rip open to spew out smaller enimies at the player.

When the concept of the Shadow Woman was placed in the game it became apparent that greater exaggeration needed to be made to her mouth otherwise she ended up looking more like a muppet than a scary shadow monster.

Description

For this project I had two roles. First during the initial production I took on the role as lead artist. I designed and created all the art assets for the game. As the our concept for the game was based on the Victorian short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” the design needed to be Victorian in aesthetic but while also having the properties of wallpaper, specifically Victorian wallpaper.

This presented a challenge in and of itself as Victorian wallpaper/fabric tends to favor a flowing natural feel while Victorian architecture and clothing has more of a layered cake look.

For my second role, during later development, I worked as level designer. This was the first time I had designed levels for a 2D platformer. The one thing that did work overall were the implicit mechanics teaching moments throughout the game.

The major feedback I got was that the levels felt very liner and that there was very little use of vertical space. This issue was caused by our lack of foresight. When first coding the platforms we did not take into consideration that it would be easier for players to navigate platforms if the colliders on the platforms were not present when players jumped from below. Had we considered this feature earlier I would have utilized the vertical space to a greater degree.

Team
Code: Coulter Baker, Jesse Baker
Art/Animation: Kate Sergeeva, James Paterson
Sound/Music: Joseph Facciuolo

Role

Lead Artist, Level Designer

Date

February 20, 2015

Type

Video Game, Platformer

Engine

Unity3D 4

Awards

3rd Place Sprint Week Award