Game Noir

Game Noir Tumblr dev blog

 

“Game Noir” (Project title) will be my master thesis project for my studies at Cologne Game Lab.

I’ll give you a quick overview on my plans so far for the finished product and the theoretical groundworks it is based on.

On Torment Avenue

 

INTRODUCTION

Game Noir is an interactive narrative where the story will physically be experienced by making extensive use of a combination of projection mapping and movement/touch sensors.

This project will be done in co-operation with Tim Fehske and Onat Hekimoglu, but there will be more collaborations with other artists in the future.

 

STORY

The story is about a police officer and his lover, whose life is inevitably in danger due to the dangerous nature of his work. Will he choose to save his lover’s life by choosing never to meet her, or will he choose love over life?

Game Noir choice moment

During this interactive experience, the participant (“player”) will experience the thoughts, memories and struggles of the main character in an interactive way, but will have to make decisions regarding the fate of the main character’s lover…

 

APPROACH

This project contains the usage of several innovative techniques.

Projection mapping / 3D Projection
Projection Mapping

image courtesy of: http://createdigitalmotion.com

3D Split-screen

Drawing inspiration heavily from split-screen films like The Tracey Fragments,

The Tracey Fragments

image courtesy of: http://www.moviecritic.com.au

and Picasso/Braque’s cubism art movement,

Braque - Violin And Candlestick

image courtesy of: http://www.wikipaintings.org

I would like to use these concepts in a 3-dimensional, interactive space.

Below is an image that will explain the projection mapping in a visual manner:

Explanation Projection

 

I chose this visual style and technique for several reasons:

  • It’s a visual representation of the main character’s struggle: choosing between life, death, love and grief, which makes for a restless, fragmented mind.
  • By separating the ‘frames’  into 3D space, the composition of imagery will become more interesting (and complex) than traditional screens;
  • And directing the viewer’s gaze will become more complex, but will provoke a more active viewer, whom will become more immersed in the story.

 

Interaction on two levels

This interactive narrative will employ interaction on two levels.

The first would be for the player to be experiencing the story through physical means, like walking to a certain position, touching an object or making a gesture with hands and/or the complete body. My focus here will be in making these interactions as meaningful as possible, without using the technology for its own sake.

The second is letting the player influence the course of the story by presenting him/her with several choices. Will the player choose to let the lover survive by not getting too involved/not meeting her, or will the player still pursue love and happiness, if only it would be very temporary?
Making this choice as difficult and as personal as possible will be my main gameplay-focus of my research.

This project will also touch on (what I think is) the very essence of interactivity through the story, by posing a question : “If you had the chance to change something in your life by going back in time, would you do it, or would you accept fate?”
Games and other interactive installations are the perfect media for exploring and experimenting with this personal question.

 

Here’s an example I wanted to use to make the player experience one of the main character’s memories, by making the player wiping a blurry bathroom mirror to reveal a love-scene in the reflection of it:

Explanation Projection 2

 

THEORETICAL RESEARCH
Depth of interactivity

As mentioned before, the meaningfulness of the interactions that are presented to the player will be a very important subject of my research. How the player will  interact with the story in a way that isn’t too “gimmicky”, that will feel coherent to the story, and will feel as a significant catalyst for the player to be immersed in the story(world).

Cinematography

By using split-screen cinematography, and projecting these separated frames onto physical objects in 3D space, the viewer will have to take into account for, literally, a new dimension of viewing a visual narrative.
Directing the viewer’s gaze in 3D space will pose a significant challenge. Extensive research into traditional cinematographic techniques, as well as the split-screen technique used in films like The Tracey Fragments, Timecode, The Thomas Crown Affair and Grand Prix.

Emotional impact: keeping the player in the magic circle

This story is intended as something that the player can relate to on a personal level. It’s a love story, but with an added twist of having control over fate.
To keep the player interested, engaged and immersed, it will require balancing gameplay (e.g.: having meaningful interactions), storytelling (e.g.: applying a correct story-arc), visuals, sound and music, and the added feature of 3D space.

Researching all these areas will be necessary to deliver an effective final product.