break;

June 15, 2016

A non-linear, interactive tragedy where you search for the truth in a recursive, fractal inspired dreamscape conjured up by an imaginative but troubled gamer. Can you break out?

Prototype             Abstract              Report

 

About break;

A tragic, story-based psychological adventure game, with elements of puzzle-solving, horror and fantasy. break; is an artistic inquiry into escapism and mental health. Designed to be a moving, personal experience, we limit our reliance on explicit narrative. As a result, any meaning that the player takes from the game is  speculative.

To progress, the player must find their way to center of each imagined world, where they can find the entrance to the next layer of memories. The space is Non-Euclidean and recursive, so as players progress, they seem to shrink, or the world seems to grow, in order to accommodate their continued journey inwards. As the player explores, strange, but familiar doorways appear in their path, offering a glimpse of an altogether darker reality.

As the players understanding grows, they will begin to question whether they have been playing the game right at all. There is only one ending, but it will take emotional strength to find it.

The core gameplay of break; revolves around decision making and leaps of understanding. There will be many clues spread throughout the world, and the only gate to progression is knowledge. Secondary gameplay is derived from games across a variety of genres, a decision which is always guided by how particular gameplay affects the player's emotional experience.

break; explores the structure of videogames and stories in a very literal sense, and aims to tie the two together more tightly than ever before.

Features

  • Tragic, psychological adventure game that explores the potential of Video-games as a storytelling medium.
  • Unique Artstyle, juxtaposing different aesthetic styles,that generate a procedural, emergent glitch aesthetic when they overlap.
  • Interconnected game world comprised of different realities.
  • Puzzles that involve bending/breaking the laws of reality (gravity, friction, non-euclidean space, using cheats)
  • Emotionally engage gamers on difficult issues like mental health, on their own platform and with compassion.
  • Atmospheric and beautiful world inspired by recursive fractals and Glitch art.
  • Multiple Endings depending on the choices and understanding of the player

Accolades

The break; prototype, featured in the video above, was my final major project at university. It was built at Bournemouth under supervision and guidance from Boredomresearch. In June it was displayed at the 2016 British HCI conference. It was given a co-creation award which included money to aid development, and Bournemouth University awarded the prototype best Interactive experience at the end of the academic year. The project's extended abstract has been published on the online eWic and ACM repositories and can be read here.

The Team

Vitor Rodrigues:  3D Artist, modelling, texturing, concept artist
Robert Poncelet: Technical Director, Programming, Production Assistant                         
Graham Donnelly: Audio Designer  
Laimonas Vokietis: Composer

Influences

Jenova Chen (of ThatGameCompany), 

Valve's Portal

The Beginners Guide by Davey Wreden, 

The Stanley Parable by Galactic Cafe,

 Limbo and Inside by the incredible Playdead,

 Antichamber by Alexander Bruce,

Kairo by Locked Door Puzzle, 

Mind: Path to Thalamus by Luka Nieto et all, 

Only If by Creability, 

FingerBones by David Szymanski , 

Underhell by MXTHE, 

PT by Hideo Kojima 

Soma by Frictional Games.

Of Interest

The Shattering by super sexy software, 

DARQ by Unfold Games, 

Anamorphine by Artifact 5, 

Manifold Garden by William Chyr, 

The Museum of Simulation Technology by Pillow Castle.

My Role

Development Lead

I wrote the backstory, plotted out the experience, and designed the structure and game-play of break; which is inspired by fractals, non-euclidean space, and the artwork of Roger Dean, Mario Martinez and Ernst Haeckel. The gameplay of Break is part first person platforming and part horror. The player orients to whatever surface that they find themself standing on, and must solve puzzles by navigating through a surreal environment.. 

World Building

Organic and Hard Surface Modelling

Photogrammetry

Lighting

Level Design