Thinking about death
Year 2, week 19 2/21/21 - narrative writing and exploration
Current thesis thoughts:
This week was much like last week. I have been working on my game and figuring out how to use the new engine I have downloaded. Well, it cut my work time down by a lot of learning curve. It's rather steep. This got me thinking, is it worth it to have someone else design your game for you on the coding side, at least. Because of the nature of unity, several people have created various engines and platforms through the programming; the engine that I'm using is just the first one that popped up that looked the friendliest, the corgi engine.
But that's a thought for another time. As I'm working on this project, I've begun to think about what it's like to be dead, in a fictional sense. This had me thinking a lot about the afterlife, what I hoped things would be like, but I'm scared they probably could never be—thinking about my loved ones and the way I want them to remain. When I talked to Maria, I got out of my head a little bit, I want to create games, but they all don't have to be about death. This game is just for my current exploration, it's just what I'm circling right now. And I think it has a lot to do with the fact that death has a lot of gravity in every culture. It's easy to write about; Well, I mean, it's easy to write about the subject matter and access to narrative resources. But I find that it's hard to think about what comes next more and more. Not because it scares me, but I don't want to feel naive. Looking at my culture how death is viewed, I can't help but think it would be nice. It would be nice to think that that's where they are. Just a different place, that they're allowed to leave at any time. I think that's what I want to design games around. I want to design anything around "it would be nice, I think ... "
as stated before, I was using someone else's engine in unity to produce my game. Because of the nature of coding and content generation, I had to take some time to learn the ins and outs of their programming because I was in someone else's toolbox. That being said, this is a very robust engine, one that I think I'll be using again. Has almost everything that I wanted already created and easily accessible with notes appended to each C# script. If there's one thing that I could have differently. So the tutorials don't help me understand the finer details of his creation. It helps a lot in finding where I need to go to find out how to do something. But it feels like the creator of this engine had created a tutorial entirely based around tools that they found the most important. This is okay; it's an extensive engine, you will not be able to cover everything if what you want to do is showcase your work. As someone who has been recently educating people on how to do something, I do understand the pitfalls of telling someone specifically how to use something. It might end up stifling creativity or keeping people from messing with things you want to be messed with.
In my last race, I am ready to develop a vocabulary list based on the words that I want to be used in the game, and Maria pointed out that I should probably also talk about how that list will live in my game. For reference, I will copy and paste those words again for this week.
· loss-losing someone to death
· land of the dead - "this is where the dead LIVE"
· denial - a desire to run away from a problem.
· anger - a desire to release negative feelings in explosive ways.
· bargaining - desire to trade your lot for something less bad.
· depression - impassive and aggressive feeling of nothing matters
· acceptance - knowing that your relationship with your loved one has changed but has not been lost
I think I won't last to mean different things in both worlds. In the land of the living lost means absence, a genuine separation, an emptiness. In the land of the dead, I want to mean transition. I want to be in a crossing into something new. But that would mean it is a little out there. The Disney movie Coco Had done a pretty funny tongue-in-cheek understanding of the transition. For anyone who's ever crossed the Mexican border, they know what they were referencing. I was almost inclined to do the same, but it got me thinking that that was a little sad. But I want death to be is borderless. If a person is allowed to visit you, I think there needs to be some mechanism to see you, but I don't think it entails you going through customs.
Land of the dead, I think, is pretty self-explanatory, at least to me. But in the living world/the waking world, I guess it means wherever we think people see when they die. That means different things for different people. For this game, the land of the dead is a city. And I wanted to feel like a border city. Anyone who's ever lived on a border said you understand this tiny transitional area between the place you know is it you don't. El Paso, TX I want my land of the dead to be El Paso, Texas.
I don't have the stages of grief and what they mean, at least in my game context. But I wanted to symbolize specific things in it. Each word, each concept, I want them to represent or be personified by a level. In anger, the player will have to deal with aggressive creatures chasing them. It will make the player disoriented, the camera will shake, and the music will become overbearing, And I want the aesthetics to become similar shapes to know fine detail.
Bargaining, now it became kind of hard to think about. I initially thought I could make bargaining a character someone who actually sold you bargains, but that felt like a quick way out. Instead, I think I want it to be a choice-based puzzle. The player is going to go through one of two vertical routes. Both of which the player is capable of seeing. I could do code in the game, then no matter which path the player takes, the player will meet them with monsters. The route player will not take will always be filled with currency. Being that I currently do not have any form of money in the game might make it a fun choice.
Depression I want to be the last challenging level for the player. The aesthetics will be dark injury still the same kind of city that I wish to. I also want to reference the narrative that they see the world land of the dead the way they want to where they choose to, perhaps a reference to help we see the afterlife. In the depression area, there will be small creatures that become larger. As it taught another, it should be some honor to code needs to stand. She ate that if two monsters collide with one another, one of them disappears, and the other becomes larger.
In the end, I wanted to get to this acceptance level. And I want there to be kinder music sort of near to transition to the back where they meet the thing that they were trying to get at the beginning. I've been on the fence about what I wanted to happen there, but I think I landed on them looking for their sibling.
I have a few questions, but it all circles around what I do next after this project. Which I think is a little thinking too far ahead. But I will list them out so that I do not forget because I know I will. If I design games based on how I want to see the world, I could start focusing on speculative fiction. My fun right now I want to have developed around the concept of letting grief live in you and not be controlled by it. This idea of how the world could be, not how it should be, is my driving force. Many educational games help people think about "if we don't act now this is the world you're going to give yourself, "and I found a lot of value in that work. I see the question I have is, what if there was work where I told people this is the world we could have? Which we could do. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. I am just making games.
likely next steps:
I'm going to keep trying along, and hopefully, by the end of this week, I will have a game that I can present to my peers so they can playtest.