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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogssingmetosleep (dark surreal narrative) UE4 VR
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Author Topic: singmetosleep (dark surreal narrative) UE4 VR  (Read 13001 times)
acatalept
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« on: April 16, 2014, 09:33:26 am »







S I N G M E T O S L E E P


website | playable prototype | videos | twitter @acatalept



Your name means
"song of remembrance..."

You are our memory,
the memory of a dying world,
a world that lost its way.

The world around you
is so very big,
and you, you, my child,
are so very small.



singmetosleep is an atmospheric,
exploration-based interactive narrative.

Vast minimalist forms, a stark color palette,
and an evocative soundscape.

There are no real monsters.

Not really.



Download playable prototype (May 4th, 2014) -- with optional Rift DK1 support -- from itch.io!

Updated prototype with Rift DK2 support coming soon!


story details

singmetosleep website

playable prototype (2014-05-04) with optional Oculus Rift DK1 support

follow @acatalept on twitter







Some kind words from those who've played the prototype:





Kill Screen Daily

Alpha Beta Gamer

Warp Door

Game Sphere

Zockah.de




SCREENSHOTS




























VIDEOS


2016/11/13: vignette blur lens effect







2015/02/28: minimalist soundscape







2015/01/31: alternate visuals without dynamic lighting







2014/10/17: Brutalist ArchViz walkthrough (realtime global illumination)

https://vimeo.com/109240001



2014/09/18: Brutalist ArchViz flythrough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clCp3U_ufjA



2014/04/29: early Oculus Rift walkthrough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvrH5CGRcN4



2014/04/16: early exploration

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YcFpTQvMRA








website | playable prototype | videos | twitter @acatalept


« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 09:06:28 am by acatalept » Logged

SolarLune
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Hmm.


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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 09:46:00 am »

Prepare to be on Rock Paper Shotgun and Kotaku with a video as graphically impressive as that that tells you as little about the gameplay as possible.

Cheesy
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mirrorfish
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?!?! ... It's just a box.


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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 10:19:34 am »

This looks really cool. Great palette, cool sounds, and agree with Solarlune, the mysteriousness is great.
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acatalept
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 07:35:52 am »

Thanks for the kind words - here's a much more extensive walkthrough of the current prototype (also added to first post):




« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 12:47:47 pm by acatalept » Logged

ToyTree
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 08:04:52 pm »

Hello!

I replied to your message, but I'm not sure it went through, my internet stalled and then the message went poof instead of sending. If it did indeed arrive, sorry for the redundancy! My recent EP can be listened to and downloaded at http://toytree.bandcamp.com

Thanks for listening! And as I said in the potentially sent message I tried to send, if you need a second set of ears to sort through some music or bounce ideas off, I'd love to be of help!

Cheers
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Impmaster
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Scary, isn't it?


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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 10:39:57 pm »

epiicccccc
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ephoete
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 09:19:11 am »

I've been watching some minutes of a walk-through that doesn't tell me anything about the game itself but I just love it.
I'm literally in! Strangely I'm just going through Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle right and it just evoked me the same feelings.
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Swaggermuffin
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 09:09:52 pm »

It's an attractive tech demo, but none of us besides you really know what the game is about. Regardless, I'm very intrigued. Will be following.
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Irock
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cory in the house


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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 05:13:57 am »

Following. I like good ambiance. Gomez
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HyMyNameIsMatt
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Who makes video games anymore?


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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 06:57:51 am »

Bah I wanna see what's gonna be done with all this prettiness.
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One-bit Punch
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 04:38:23 pm »

Oooh I want to see more!!
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glass_sun()
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2014, 03:44:54 am »

That looks phenomenal.

Any chance it'll get Oculus Rift support?
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acatalept
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2014, 05:49:43 am »

That looks phenomenal.

Any chance it'll get Oculus Rift support?

Oculus Rift is already working nicely, other than some minor issues with postprocessing effects - I'll post a video soon for Rift owners to get a taste Wink

I'm using Unreal Engine 4, which includes Rift support out of the box.

It's an attractive tech demo, but none of us besides you really know what the game is about. Regardless, I'm very intrigued. Will be following.

I'm still working on a way to present enough backstory to give people an idea what they're getting into, without giving much away.  I've been tempted to just lay out the whole story arc for those who are interested in that sort of thing... but I think it's best to say too little at this point than too much Wink
« Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 05:55:19 am by acatalept » Logged

acatalept
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2014, 06:17:41 am »

I rescaled the entire world down by a factor of 10, to give me ten times as much space to work before hitting glitches with floating point precision.  A reasonably painless process at this early stage in the project, although gravity and physics calculations may come back to bite me down the road...

I also spent some time resculpting the landscape, going for a more low-poly-esque, wind-sculpted, stylized look, that complements the massive slabs of geometry better.  Unreal Engine 4's landscape tools are amazing!  I can't stress this enough: if you have $19 to spare, and you have even a passing interest in making games, Unreal Engine 4 is a must buy.

Oh yeah, and I spent some time walking around doing some photography: 














































































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Impmaster
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Scary, isn't it?


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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2014, 06:01:44 pm »

Looks like an HD gorgeous version of Kairo. I liked Kairo and all, but it was a little too obvious that it was a Unity game. It even had the default character controller and whatnot.

This looks amazing.
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acatalept
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2014, 10:40:57 am »

That looks phenomenal.

Any chance it'll get Oculus Rift support?

As promised, here's a current walkthrough with the Oculus Rift DK1!  I hope to have an interactive prototype available for download soon supporting both Rift and standard play.




« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 12:48:41 pm by acatalept » Logged

ephoete
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2014, 06:33:17 am »

Excellent! But still looking forward to knowing a bit more of the plot behind... Smiley
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acatalept
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2014, 01:50:01 pm »


Not A Game?

singmetosleep started out as a broad story outline, a sort of "treatment" for a film or game project.  A story without any definite beginning or end, which spanned generations, from several decades in the future to a million years or more from now.  And possibly not just other whens, but other wheres: dreams, memories, and possibly parallel universes / timelines / causality chains.  A story about two sisters, a story about a mother and her daughter, and a story about an only remotely imaginable level of sentience to which humanity may be heading.

Since the public release of Unreal Engine 4 in March, I've been doubling down on building an "interactive narrative experience" -- something I hesitate to call a "game" because it has no score, no dying, no win condition.

A "notgame?"

Something more akin to an interactive movie or even a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where you are experiencing the story through the eyes of the character, and directing the story arc, but in a subtle way there are greater forces at work, an ineffable inevitability.  Like being in a partially lucid dream, where you are "present" and in control, but no matter how hard you try, you just can't run fast enough to escape whatever dark thing you fear.

Mood and presentation will factor heavily into the experience: careful attention will be paid to sound design, and bold stylistic imagery is intended to be more suggestive than representional.  I'm building a world, not for the express purpose of realizing most of it, but to give the final interactive experience a rich context and self-consistency, and to provide more hints and signposts than actual exposition.


It's Forever In There

The story passes between times and places, touching on brief scenes in the characters' lives, any of which may be dreams or memories of the others.


The bridge looked the same.  It had been so many years, but time seemed to stand still in places like this.  The world lived and died on timescales orders of magnitude greater than the days and months by which we measure our lives: growth, decay, rebirth; a fluid, silent juggernaut of glacial inevitability.

She looked out across the rusted steel span, at the spot where her sister had last stood, where now there was only air.  Stinging tears suddenly welled in her eyes and she squeezed them shut, her breath hitching.  She hadn’t realized it would be this hard coming back here.

And there was the house, on the opposite side of the gorge.  The opposite end of the bridge she’d never made it across.



We experience the story as much as possible as filtered through the characters: colored by their thoughts and emotions and preconceptions.  Unreliable narrators abound, though not to the extent that they are actively subverting our impressions: simply that we are all unreliable narrators who see the world through our own lenses, not videorecorders retelling events with cold objectivity.

But I'm searching for the right balance: If some of these experiences are truly memories, how much can these be tampered with / made dream-like (possibly bleeding through from other memories/dreams), before the "factual" elements lose credibility?  E.g., if something jarring or clearly "unrealistic" happens, does it break our suspension of disbelief regarding everything else in that scene?  I want to give the impression that the remembered events really happened, that they are completely credible, while they are still just remembrances at this point, and subject to mental revisionism (the mind "filling in the blanks" of imperfect/incomplete memories).

Some of these scenarios may seem harsh and gritty; halcyon and tranquilly dreamlike; or abstract, surreal, even alien.


She's in a dream, the old world that was.  She thinks she's being watched, maybe followed.  Uncanny things are happening -- she sees someone in a chicken suit across a crowd, a large plaza, and the chicken suddenly stops its routine and stares at her, the mask expressionless with its empty black holes for eyes, the person inside and their motives a mystery.  Now that she's looking for it, she notices this uncanny regard from more and more people: just becoming still and staring, loss of expression/personality, even from small children.  She stops, pressing her palms against her closed eyes, telling herself she's just imagining it, seeing something more than what's really there.  She calms down a little, then she opens her eyes.

And everyone is completely still, staring at her.  As far as she can see, what must be thousands of people, even blocks away, standing, sitting, in cars, in windows.

"What?!" she screams, equal parts bemused and terrified.

Her bemusement fades when she realizes they had all screamed "What?!" at the precise moment she had.  When she realizes they are all wearing the exact expression she suspects she herself has.  When she sees them all moving in perfect unison: subtle movements of an arm, slight tilting of the head.  Breathing.  Blinking.



The Road Ahead
I have a lot mapped out, and I don't want to give away much at this point, for three reasons:

  • for the most obvious reason, to retain some mystery to be revealed as you experience the final narrative
  • because much of it will be better expressed non-verbally
  • but most importantly, because I'm aiming not just to paint a picture, so much as to create a canvas upon which your expectations, your preconceptions, your memories and dreams and thoughts and emotions can influence the unique experience that you will have

I'm currently iterating on a working prototype as I've been getting up to speed with Unreal Engine.  I'm using it at this point to test ideas and work on what is effectively "concept art," since I am completely unable to draw using traditional methods.  I don't want to draw some pretty pictures that the final product couldn't possibly live up to, so I'm going the opposite route and creating concepts in-engine that if anything will be only suggestions of the final product.



"The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else."

- Eliezer Yudkowsky, Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk

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siskavard
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2014, 09:07:00 am »

followin'
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Manuel Magalhães
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2014, 01:02:14 pm »

this looks amazing. following.
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