Recently found this illustration of a house that I found relatively interesting in my research. It displays the various levels within a house in contrast to its exterior counterpart and how everything is condensed within the architecture. Potentially could use this a benchmark for adapting my house to fit an exterior shape, although it isn’t particularly of importance at present.
Knowing that I want to build a 3D model of a house and what I briefly want to have the layout to be, I set about mocking up a quick sketch of what I’m currently visualising to be the house that I want to base this game inside. Seeing as I want this to be for a game about survival and using your instincts and spatial awareness to gain the upper-hand against an opponent, I wanted the environment to reflect the tight spacing that an ordinary house would afford in stealth based scenarios. This would mean that the level would thus have to give the player multiple routes and possibilities through these narrow spaces.
I started off with this quick sketch of the lower floor. It’s divided into 4 sections: The living room, the hallway, the kitchen and the garage. The kitchen will house the main exit point for the player to strive towards, this room is only accessible from the living room. The living room will provide multiple routes through for the player and will have a hostile situated within it to be a barrier to success for the player, obviously as this is primarily an environmental project as far as the primary objective goes it’s still worthwhile to note where the antagonists elements will be situated when it comes down to that section of the project further afield. The hallway will be the ‘quiet zone’ for the player, for them to catch their breath and attempt to escape through the front door (Of which will be a stumbling block for the player as they fail in attempting to open it), the hallway also leads to the second floor.
On the second floor, it comprises of two bedrooms and an ensuite bathroom. I haven’t finalised any ideas just yet, but I was thinking of telling a story utilising the environment and trying to show why there’s another bedroom and of whom it belongs to in relation to the protagonist, i.e a child or other relative. Then the question would be, “Why is the child not there?”, of which will be explain through various objects and interactable things within the environment.
Moving on, this was a very brief idea I had for the front of the house and by “very brief”, I mean very brief. Although it doesn’t essentially matter too much about the exterior of the house as the interior is the priority, I wanted to highlight and have a building that wasn’t symmetrical and stood out architecturally (I didn’t particularly do a good job of that with this sketch but the idea is there). For those that can’t read my writing or can’t see because of the image/camera quality, I’ll recant the annotations in bullet points below;
- Windows designed to be big enough for the player to jump out of?
- Possibly the addition of a front porch. This would then require more extensive design on the exterior of the house.
- More potential for architectural curvature to make the building more defined and stand out more.
In order to familiarize myself with architecture and to get a general feel for creating a building, I thought it best to quickly draft the interior architecture of my own house with a relatively large amount of exaggerations. Now I didn’t mock-up the entire house as I didn’t see the need in doing so and only really required one floor to help me visualize my designs.
A quick basic layout but I think it really helped me with visualising the layout and how much space the player would need to navigate through. The exterior layouts I don’t particularly like but I don’t necessarily feel I need to prioritise the exterior over the interior so it isn’t something to worry over right now.
When looking into games that fit this specific type of project, the one game that jumped out at me was one that I had previously looked at in a previous module in a different context, Gone Home. An Indie game created by The Fullbright Company, is a game that is essentially exploring a house. Although not on par with the concept of my project being that it’s a stealth game and not an exploration game, its environment and level design is notable as a recent piece that is relevant to the primary objective of the project and thus is potentially influential in helping me decide on the final design for the level. The other thing to note, of which is why I selected to re-discuss this game, is that it is made in Unity, the engine I intend on creating my level within.
Here we have a screenshot from the game that depicts a bedroom. The primary launching point from the concept of my project is that it starts within the players bedroom and leads on from there as the player discovers why their house is being invaded but also trying to stay alive. The reason I decided to show this screenshot in-particular is because of how easily it is to display life and storytelling within a level just from the items on screen. Whether or not I could replicate something of this visual fidelity within my allotted semester time span given how many rooms I have to cover, is another issue that may reduce the quality overall but won’t impact the end result too much.
I included this one as a reference point for how I want to intend to produce the lighting within the level. Scenic and horror-movie esque that visually intensifies the situation. Now it’s a similar situation in both games that it’s based at night in order to provide that element of mystery, although with my intended project I do intend on having most lighting off within the level which isn’t particularly an easy thing for the player as they need to see where they are going so I’m sure I can negotiate some source of lighting within my level somewhere.
These two are reference for how populated the level could become in terms of assets, I’m not particularly sure on how many assets I want to create for the level as my main concern is the level itself but without assets it wouldn’t particularly be representative of an actual house if nothing was present.
Lastly, this image is a screenshot from within Unity that the developers had taken during development. It may not seem like much but when it comes to designing the level it’ll help me immensely when it comes to designing how each floor and room will be designed and put together in Unity.
For those wondering, the RockPaperShotgun article that discusses Gone Home more in depth in its prereleased form, can be found here.
House and Home
Describe the character’s house/home:
- Simon lives in a one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Anaheim, California. Being a skydiving instructor he generally doesn’t have much in the way of possessions and his apartment is generally not very well maintained. He lives by himself and works happily from 8am – 6pm, leaving generally no time to clean or make food. So he frequently visits local takeouts for ‘nourishment’ so it isn’t to anyone’s surprise that his apartment is littered with the empty cartons of Chinese, Thai and Indian cuisine.
- Ever since he was a child Simon lived a very sheltered life as a result of his fathers affection for not losing another of his family. Occasionally his father, a freelance graphic designer would often go out of town to find client work to earn money. This would result in Simon being left with his grandparents fairly frequently. His grandfather one christmas decided to give Simon a skateboard, he grew to cherish the skateboard and when his grandfather passed years later and kept it as a memento of the admiration he shared for him.
Level of Education:
- Academic-wise Simon didn’t ‘excel’ in the way his father would have wished him too. By the age of 16 he had started to dabble with ‘Adrenaline-Junkie-esque’ activities much to the dismay of his father. Seeing school as an obstacle to his enjoyment he dropped out. Initially it had been his dream as a boy to become a pilot but his fear of heights had always put him off. After getting over that fear when skydiving for the first time, he realised his true calling. With being a pilot a narrow opportunity he decided to garner the desire to skydive for a living.
- None of merit, he dropped out of community college whilst doing an associates degree in Physics.
Current Job Title and Description:
- Trainee Skydiving Instructor – As a job he mainly observes the other instructors in action whilst taking clients into the air. He is still required to pass a few more tests before being able to go into the air with a client. Although he is allowed to skydive by himself.
Name of Employer: