Game & Multimedia Artist

LevelDesign - The Light of Dreams

The Light of Dreams

The Light of Dreams is a walking simulator where the player explores light in space in many forms. It is a digital take on the art of James Turrell, who has been recognized for his artistic and architectural contributions to the art world. Setting up spaces, its purpose is to make the audience to indulge in a dream-like spaces with unique combinations of space and light. Although, it does seem that the game will let the player walk around the open spaces, there are restrictions - keeping the player explore the limited space and indulge in. Restriction are the walls, the doors, the darkness that stop player from going to far. Dreams tend to do the same - leads you to a certain path and not let you stray away. Thus, the physical properties guide the play movement through environment. This game may be a one time experience or a creation based on a famous artist’s work, it still has a simple story to it. In 3rd Level, there are several things that come to play:

  • Use of pattern

  • Rebirth of past spaces

  • Conclusion?

level3_1.png

In the introduction of the 3rd Level, we notice three areas that the game leads us through. It creates pacing, rhythm, to build up for another narrative arc for the player after experiencing the build-up in the previous level. Due to the presence of concise, memorable pattern, the sequence of 3 particularly helps to slowly bring the pacing. The first area reminds us of the 1st scene except there are changes. There is area light inside the room and columns that brings more structure and breaks the negative space in the room. This keeps recurring in the other areas, to remind the players of the past and what is yet to be changed. In the 1st level, we recreate the feeling of aimlessly wandering down the museum’s hallways. However, now, we break them down, to give off different feelings. One of the examples is the big wide white lit room. Here, we previously had just an empty white lit room where players can take a break, purify and clear themselves from the neighboring rooms. However, the space is now broken apart giving the player to think more and asses the space.

Light is a big factor in this game. Always kept in mind in determining the light source and that it always comes from a definitive source. Because we want to portray the environment as a dream, we made use of the light in different ways. Thus, we tried to make use of emissive materials on walls so they would glow and combined them with area light to create glow/radiation from the walls - mimicking Turrell’s work. This project has accomplished its purpose. It also, however, technical problems. We did not expect how a crucial element of the project, lighting would be this expensive, forcing us to leave out several rooms. While waiting for the lights to bake perfectly, we realized these rooms would clash with rest of the environment and the story we are trying the player to experience. We did not want to break the illusion of a dream.

References:

  • GDC 2010, What Happened Here: Environmental Storytelling by Mattias Worch / Harvey Smith

  • "Level Design Workshop: How To Light A Level" by Robert Yang

  • GDC China 2012, Level Design Workshop, Section Three: Pacing