To challenge myself on game design, I am making experimental games for certain subjects or themes. This is the game I made for the theme of “Cubism”. Download link is at the bottom of this article.
- Name: Cubism (Of Course)
- Core Gameplay: 3D Puzzle Platformer with Multiple Perspective
- Tech: Unity / C#
- Platform: Windows / MacOS
- Time Taken: ~ 15 hours
- Movement: WASD
- Jump: Space
- Goal of Each Level: Move the Red Cube to the Green Cube.
What Was My Goal
The topic of the game is “Cubism”, an art movement led by Picasso and Braque, that essentially abandons normal perspective and distorts known figures and form, blurs the concept of depth and simultaneously present the object from multiple viewpoints.
Instead of just make a game that has cubism as its art style, I decided to incorporate the essence of cubism into the core gameplay of the game. Seeing the list of features of cubism, I decided to use Misconception of Depth and Multiple Perspective Presentation to mark the statement of the game.
How I Tried to Acheive My Goal
From the statement of the game, I came up with the idea of a 3D platformer. Firstly to present multiple perspective there has to be multiple perspective to begin with, that’s why I went with 3D. And then a 3D platformer with the player being a simple cube would be easier to make as well as clearer to convey ideas.
To create the feeling of misconception with depth, I disabled lightings and used monotomic color. Orthographic cameras enhanced the confusion even further.
After that I decided that the cube should still be visible even when its covered by walls, but as a different color. This decrease the difficulty of the game a little bit, but more importantly it allows the player to get more imformation of the confusing-looking levels, thus enables the possibility of more interesting and complicated levels.
In the end, the game looks like something like this:
What Did I Learn
For the technical side, I learned how to write shaders using the stencil buffer. I used it to create the see-through effect of the cube.
For the process of making experimental games, I learned that I should not constantly shut down ideas without actually start on one, until very late in the process. Even if an idea turns out to be not good, lessons could be learned, and it even might inspire more ideas.
I don’t have a specific game as inspiration or reference, but the gameplay is definitely not that innovative. It is impossible to say I wasn’t under influence from games like Monument Valley, Fez or Super Paper Mario. And of course cubism plays a huge part in the design process since its the topic of this experiment.
As the result, I think the game successfully captured my interpretation of “Cubism” and conveyed my intended feeling of confusion. I didn’t take much time to design the levels, but the first few levels are good as introduction levels to help the players understand the game, and the other two increased the difficulty by quite a bit to challange the players as intended.
In a word, I think this experiment is a success.