We've been talking a lot about multi-platform gaming and Unity, so we're thrilled to announce the first one out of the blocks is SuperSight. The game forms part of the ongoing brilliance that is SuperMe - the award winning content system devised by Somethin' Else and is commissioned by Channel 4 Education.
As with the previous SuperMe games, this project is a close collaboration with Somethin' Else and Coney, making sure what we make is pitch-perfect in terms of content, finely tuned to the audience and dovetailed with the project's other activities. I think we'd all agree it's feeling pretty darn good so far!
The game is being built in Unity, and will be released simultaneously on iOS, Android and browsers early August. Given that’s months away, I thought I'd give a little introduction to the game design and art.
SuperSight is a small and perfectly formed micro-action-adventure game, pitching the player against 5 incarnations of human emotions on a journey of personal enlightenment. The games takes our player on a journey through 'Fear Mountain inhabited by strange creatures intent on overwhelming our player and haulting progress.
The game is all about seeing a situation clearly, and then doing the right thing. Guided by the Wise Guy, our hero must learn to 'see clearly' in order to overcoming the creature-based challenges and complete their training.
The game has two modes; Story Mode delivering the technique training across five arenas, and an infinite Survival Mode locked until Story Mode (and the player's training) is complete.
Each creature encountered in the game represents a different negative patterns of thinking or feeling. As it stands, the Fearlines represent anxieties, the Stronghorns are inflexibility, the Ice Apes are worries, the Howlers are feelings of isolation and the Vermin are feelings of hopelessness.
The game is viewed from 3/4 perspective, and the character is controlled by touching or dragging (or clicking) around the game world. To stave off the onslaught of creatures, the player has a simple attack alongside a growing selection of techniques representing the superpowers of good thinking and reflection. These powers include area-effect attacks such as the 'Swipe' alongside more tactical move such as the 'Fakey’. The game is being designed to be simple and instinctive to play with strategic depth and longevity
As always the audience is playing a key role in the development of our game, and their input has already helped guide the art forward. Initial art and designs were presented to Southfields School and were warmly received back in April.
One of the biggest challenges has been achieving the art ambitions within the limited budget. We needed to create a strong style with high value, which was guided by three key principles:
- Zoomed-out: Distance can hide many things, so the game has been conceived to work best when the camera is pulled back from the action.
- Low-Poly: Apart from looking awesome, low polygon models have huge benefits for game speed, bring economies in construction as well as strong graphic fidelity at various resolutions.
- No rigging: Inspired by the likes of Quarrel and Mini-Gore all models use a mix of code-based and keyframe animation created with the animation editor. Avoiding complex animation and rigging was absolutely essential.
These principles also work beautifully with our choosen art direction heavily inspired by Charley Harper's geometric illustration style of the 70's, most specifically his work in 'Birds and Words' 1974.
Our approach has been to use a series of strong shapes and bold colour schemes to create individually recognisable creatures and environments. The aesthetic is close to woodblock feel which was true to Charley Harper's reductive and minimal approach, as well broader influences from Totem poles and tribal art.
Below are some coloured sketches, environment and creature concept art:
As this is our first project designed with multiple platforms from the outset, we're working really hard on workflow and smart processes to make deployment onto multiple devices (aspect ratios, specs, native inputs etc) simple and elegant. We'll almost certainly be posting our approach (and findings) in the coming months.
Stay tuned for in-game screenies and perhaps even gameplay footage very soon.