Round 4: Story
Development Time: 3 weeks
Platform: Head Mounted Display
Immediately after we scoped down in our Round 3, the expectations were flipped. Now, we were given three weeks to develop a virtual world that communicated a story; it could be any story so long as the focus on our world was its story.
It was important for us as a group to tell a meaningful story and during a brainstorming meeting I presented a concept around telling a suicide story. It was well received by the group but we all had our concerns, especially with being sensitive to the topic. It became clear that one of our goals with this project was to ignite discussion in the audience and raise awareness about suicide.
The first week of our development time was spent trying to understand suicide better individually. We decided on an elderly man who had last his wife, but we noticed that we each had a different version of our main character and his story in our heads. For example, in just defining his emotional state one member thought him to be very sad almost to the point of regretting his decision while another thought him to be detached from the world yet peaceful with his decision. Realizing this discord and harmonizing it was a big hurdle for our group and once we overcame it our team became much more effective.
My biggest challenge for this entire round was to truly get into the head of our main character. At the end of the first week, I watched “The Bridge,” a documentary centered around people who jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It was also extremely helpful to consult a counseling psychologist who works in the Alachua County Crisis Center. These both played a big role in giving our group a shared language to reach the aforementioned harmony regarding the character’s emotional state.
For the art direction, I wanted to communicate that this man is alone yet his home still has remnants of his wife. This led to him waking up on one side of a two person bed, and the decision to have floral wallpaper and a floral tea set. In the third week, I finalized the texture assets and created the intro and outro videos. The first video has a modified picture of the Golden Gate Bridge with animated fog clouds, and the second is a picture from Google Street View. I wanted a pedestrian level view point that is true to what someone would actually see. I removed one of the railings and modified the picture to fit our style.