Designing Games: A Couple's Perspective

This blog chronicles the game designing journey of husband and wife team Will and Sarah. Mostly written by Sarah, this blog is meant to be informative, interesting and fun. Oh, and a historical account so we can come back in the future and laugh at our naive selves. ;-D
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Designer Diary 11 for Project Dreamscape: The Finished Look

Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
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Written by Will Reed

After wrangling the game into shape, it was time to make it look presentable. This all starts and ends with a good theme. Thankfully, I had incorporated that theme from nearly the beginning of the process once I had a mechanical framework in place. Plus the partner we teamed up with thought it was a great theme. The trick was figuring out how to express a science feel alongside a whimsical dream world.

The Science

Ben Haskett, designer of Tower and Baldrick’s Tomb and our partner, had the perfect idea. Using the videogame Portal as inspiration, he created a layout that was scientific in design with just enough tongue in cheek to make the whimsical elements not feel out of place.

All the rounded edges soften the typical hardness in a stereotypical science environment. The added bonus is that the theme states the study is about dreaming so using a scientific frame further pushes the concept of science framing the dreams.

Ben continued his brilliance by coming up with the perfect font for the game. Project represents the science involved so it has a serious type face. Dreamscape, on the other hand, stretches the imagination; so long whimsical lines make an excellent counterpoint to the way Project is styled.

The Dreamscape

It was fortunate we had a chance to see a friend’s art when we did. Julie has a very dreamy quality to her pieces that effortlessly evokes a dream world. She was the first and only person we thought of to do the main pieces for the game.

This was her first time doing art for a game so we all had to figure out how to direct the art. We started with a general concept of each ability and let Julie have the opportunity to envision the world. After some preliminary drawings, we evaluated whether or not to go with this approach.

We ultimately decided that what might work best was to describe a scene for Julie and let her do the rest. Man, was that the right way to go. The very next few sketches were more than we hoped for. It ultimately came down to finding a level of direction that worked for both parties.

In the end, we are creating a game that I wouldn’t mind having just for the art. This is not to say I don’t love the game play, but the art just sells it for me. This is why it was essential that Julie’s name gets placed right on the front of the box.

Next Time

I don’t know when the next time will be, but I hope to be able to talk positively about the campaign for getting this game made.
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