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1385190 Posts in 66327 Topics- by 58809 Members - Latest Member: foggermachine

November 28, 2020, 06:20:35 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Monster's in Warden Cliffs - Open World Narrative Puzzle Game
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MastermindInc
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« on: November 20, 2020, 09:22:59 AM »

Hi everyone! I've been working on this game for a better part of 2 years mostly in the writing, design, concept and prototyping. I wanted to share my progress with the community for feedback, to keep a log of the journey and stay inspired.






About the Game

The Monster's in Warden Cliffs is a narrative sandbox puzzle game. It takes place in a small, idyllic 1950's town frozen in time and on the verge of both greatness and ruin. In this first-person game, you play not as one character, but you leap between various townsfolk taking on their unique perspective of the world; you see how they see, think how they think and experience the world with all of their abilities (or lack thereof). Spend time in Warden Cliffs uncovering their dark secrets, exploring their lives and solving their individual mysteries. Through living the individual stories of the citizens, you will uncover a larger mystery and ultimately learn who or what the Monster is in Warden Cliffs.

Inspirations for This Game

Writing: The Twilight Zone (original series 1958+)
Story-telling: Bioshock Series
Aesthetic: 1950's Retro futurists, Walt Disney, The Witness
Gameplay: Half Life, Return of the Obra Dinn, Untitled Goose Game, Goat Simulator
Music: Bernard Herrmann

About the Developer

I am a one-man-band, a swiss army knife, an army of one with AAA roots. I spent many years as an environmental and prop artist before moving on to iOS games and apps. I've spent that past several years prototyping and working toward realizing my dream game.

Release Plans

At this time, I plan to release on Steam and Itch.io under my Mastermind Interactive banner. I'm simultaneously building a VR and PC version. I plan to release when it is ready.  Smiley

Links

Coming soon...

Thanks for reading!
 
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MastermindInc
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 09:52:05 AM »

Blueprints and Block-outs: Designing Warden Cliffs

After spending the better part of 2 years researching, iterating and designing the layout of Warden Cliffs, I realized it's not easy dreaming up an entire town.

I decided to start out making a list of vignettes and points of interest that I want the player to experience. I wanted to player to feel like they were in a small 1950's American town.

So I did lots of research, starting with watching an endless array of movies and tv shows from the era to get a feeling for those worlds. The Twilight Zone and the Andy Griffith Show ended up being great references for this period. I roamed Google Earth looking at the layouts of small towns and ancient walled cities. I used procedural city generators to see what would organically develop. I studied urban planning at the turn of the century. I emailed city planners asking for advice.

I'll share a few iterations of the layout which were eventually blocked out and prototyped in engine.



I started off with a typical grid layout. This was heavily inspired by Back to the Future and Pleasantville. I explored the block-out and found myself easily getting lost and bored with the 90 degree turns.



Taking a turn at making the layout feel more organic, now. After the block out and exploration, it took me about 5 minutes to walk from one end to the other and while I liked the lack of 90 degree turns, it felt too foreign.

At this point I'm about 20 iterations in and over a year of design, block out and exploration with every iteration telling myself "this is the one!".




At about this time, I took a trip to Walt Disney World and dove head-first into the design of vintage Disney. I liked the experience of theme parks, how the hub-and-spoke design felt organic but also organized. You don't get lost and people enjoy walking through them. After a few more iterations, I realized that I would still need to have staples of urban planning in order to make my vignettes work in the theme park layout; there still needed to be a town square, row houses, streets with cul-de-sacs and farms for it to feel like a real place and not some fantasy land.

And this is what I landed on.

My original block-outs were pretty rough, being composed of white boxes and roads. I took it a step further and blocked out buildings and large props with an extra level of detail to get a real feel the world.



I spent a lot of time in VR exploring the world to get a feel for scale and to make sure it didn't feel like a chore to walk from one end to the other. I'll talk later about how I found the sweet spot and why I decided on creating a small open world.

Thanks for reading.

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MastermindInc
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2020, 08:45:03 PM »

Here are some shots from my second pass on the opening area of the game. It's probably obvious but I'm going for old, black & white TV show meets painterly 50's advertisements.
















If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reach out.

Thanks for reading! Mike
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Alain
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2020, 01:28:55 AM »

Hey MastermindInc! With what you are showing so far, your theme of 50s & 60s horror movies is right up my alley. Can't wait to hear more about your game. It is interesting to see that your approach to building a world is very different from how I approach it. Makes me feel like I rush into making things way too fast instead of exploring ideas and getting a feeling for them like you do. Can't wait to explore Warden Cliffs!
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MastermindInc
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2020, 07:11:12 AM »

Hey MastermindInc! With what you are showing so far, your theme of 50s & 60s horror movies is right up my alley. Can't wait to hear more about your game. It is interesting to see that your approach to building a world is very different from how I approach it. Makes me feel like I rush into making things way too fast instead of exploring ideas and getting a feeling for them like you do. Can't wait to explore Warden Cliffs!

Thank you! I probably spent too much time waffling on the design of the town but I saw it as the main character of the game and wanted to make sure that I hit the notes I'm going for.
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