The Dark Wood of Error is a place many of us know. We may not literally be there, but we have been there metaphorically. This is the starting place for the game, just as it was the starting place for Dante’s story. At the beginning of this project, I researched posters created for national and state parks because of their distinctive style. Later in the process, I explored pixel art and 8-bit games as another illustration direction. Eventually, I created a forest scene of clean vector shapes to serve as the opening sequence. Then, the style decision filtered throughout the game.
The levels for this game are based on the circles of Dante’s Inferno. Each one has environmental cues gleaned from the writing. From snow capped rocks to tree limbs and archways, I wanted to incorporate features that related back to the literature. At the same time, I also wanted to make it my own by adding angled platforms that are slippery and interpreting a waterfall with horizontal shapes. These alterations were also created as a response to the challenges presented in the literature. Going foward, I plan to explore more ways of interpreting the geography.
For gameplay, I considered several options before I decided to go with a “fall down” model. The player drops down through each circle, trying to move across platforms quickly and efficiently. I wanted the interface to be simple and clean. For the final prototype, the player didn’t need any distractions. No score. No map. Just keep moving until you find the exit or light gems that will help you survive. There is a timer in the corner to help gauge your remaining light. The ball itself dims as you play, which makes visibility a challenge. Need help? There are light gems along your path to help you recoup what you have lost during your journey.