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Thread: Working title : Trugbild

  1. #1

    Working title : Trugbild

    For the 3rd PGD Challenge I decided to try something I never done before : an abstract "game" with a serious theme. Actually I was hoping for a theme that would allow me create something more serious (and dark) and after reading the contest's rules, creativity immediately struck me and I decided to create a game about life (and death) and all it's negative aspecsts. Although this won't be your typical kind of game as it'll be more of an abstract experience. If I get it finished the way I imangined it, it should be a pretty interesting experience to play.

    The working title is "Trugbild" (translating to "Delusion") and it'll have you "command" (or better guide) a human being through life by answering different questions. Each question will be represented as a corridor that your character then will walk through, leading to another questions on his journey through life time.

    Each answer will influence different aspects of your character, mostly physical and psychic health, and bad decisions can even lead to death. You'll only have a limited amount of time to answer a question, and failure to do so will impact your character's self esteem.

    Currently I plan on having you guide the character through the different stages of life (being born, exploring the world as a baby, being a child, a teenager, growing up, getting old and dying), though I'm not sure if I'll get all these covered within the one month time frame.

    As far as the technical stuff goes there's already a working prototype that'll set the stage for the game's dark (and disturbing) visuals. It's running on OpenGL, will use frame buffer objects for off-screen-rendering and shaders for certain visual effects. The first screenshot already shows the film-grain / noise filter that looks much better in motion.

    Depending on your character's situation, the screen may tilt stronger, heartbeat is reflected by a constantly increasing / decreasing FOV and I plan on adding different effects that reflect insanity or low physical health.

    Download : (~5 MBytes, Windows only)

    Video :

    Screenshots (in reverse chronological order) :

    2013-09-07 :

    New visual type (ladders), and debugging shots :

    2013-09-02 :

    Now with main menu, even more shaders (blur!) and different visual styles as well as a death scene :

    2013-08-24 :

    First screenshots from the "reality" scene that the game starts from and which is shown during the different stages of it.

    2013-08-19 :

    First ingame screenshots.

    2013-08-17 :

    And here's a first screenshot from the current prototype (including debug display for FBO and color picking). I've made this prototype this morning, and it already looks almost like I imagined the game's look in the first place, so I'm pretty happy with progress on this one, though it won't be heavy on the technical side and the content will be more work than the coding (at least that's what I predict).

    This is btw. the mockup I made in Potoshop and after which I'm modelling the visuals after :

    Last edited by Sascha Willems; 14-09-2013 at 12:05 PM.

  2. #2
    This game seems to be right up my ally. I really dig these more abstract and experimental kind of games with a more serious tone.
    I can already now picture the game in my head. Judging by the screenshot and your description this could be a game setting an amazing and intense atmosphere.

    I wish you good luck and really hope you'll make a great game/prototype so that I can play it
    Imagine I've written something clever here inspiring you to make something awesome. If that happens give me credits

  3. #3
    PGD Staff / News Reporter phibermon's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    The concept sounds verymuch like one of my favorite childhood games 'Alter Ego' but a lot darker, if you've not played it it's available for various systems, notable version on the C64, deffo worth a go
    When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie - that's an extinction level impact event.

  4. #4
    I know about alter ego (you can actually play that one online), and even played it myself back on the C64.

    But my game will be very different. It's not about making decisions change how you life your life (like in alter ego) but rather decisions on how you actually see life itself, inflicting your mental and physical health. And now imagine the screenshots above with some dark ambient music and you'll get an idea of what I'm aiming at

  5. #5
    Things are moving quick, the prototype is already "playable". The technical base is done with heavy use of shaders (for halos, highlights, noise, and more planned) and frame buffer objects for offscreen rendering (currently four) and the design document is growing nicely.

    The visual stlye is now almost 100% what I imagined in the first place, and seeing it in motion (which the screenshots won't judge, I'll try to get a video up soon) is even better as it looks totally as dark and visually nightmarish as I wanted it to be.

    Over the next few days I'll implement an editor for the questions along with different visual types. Currently there are only corridors, but I want to use diffferent "objects" as a metaphorical tool to emphase on the type of player choice. I'm planning on adding holes (for very negative decissions), upward stairs (for positive stuff), windows (for things realted to other people or stuff out of the player's control) and plain light cones in the distance (maybe for decisions that are connected to being lost and or lonely).

    Since fragment shaders and stuff make it kinda easy to get a nightmarish, dark and hazy look I also plan to make extensive use of them for different visual effects that pertain to the player's current mental and physical health.

    And last but not least some screenshots (click on the tumb nails, best watched on a well-calibrated display on a dark background) :
    Last edited by Sascha Willems; 19-08-2013 at 08:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Blog Entries
    Oow, screenies already! I like your style Mr. Sascha!

    Lookin' good so far. Kinda scary looking, but pretty cool. Throw in some moody music and I might just pee my pants.
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development

  7. #7
    Well, it looks even more disturbing in motion, believe me And nah, it won't be the type of game where you wet your pants. I thought about adding jump scares and stuff, but I want to create a rather depressing atmosphere, and scary demons / effects out of nowhere wouldn't fit the game's time I guess, so it'll be more of a calm "game".

    And the other day I had an awesome idea about the setting of the game that perfectly fits into my initial idea. I dunno how it's for you folks out there, but I usually get the best ideas when not being near a PC. So this one came to my mind while doing some complelty boring routine stuff at home. I guess my brain is bored in such situations and decides to spit out great ideas

    The game will now play in the mind of someone who's about to die and starts off during his last moments on a sickbed, with doctors and family around him / her. So upon starting the game you can see people around you talk while you're just lying there and your eyes getting more and more weary. At some point you lose consciousness and the real "game" starts, where you (that's still the same as in my initial post) guide that person through his / her thoughts. At certain points your character will suddenly wake up for a short amount of time and see more conversations between the people around him.

    I made a quick drawing of how this scenery would look at work, and over the last two days I implemented it as a dynamic 2D scene into the game. It contains animated discussions, several effects and some old-school parallax effects when "looking" around. Once again this looks much better in motion, and maybe I'll get a video of the current version done tomorrow (no promise. not much time for video shenanigans).

    But here are two screenshots from the game itself (click the thumbnails) :

    So it's progressing along very nice, and seeing it on motion in a complete dark room with some moody dark music is kinda scary.

  8. #8
    promising game idea

  9. #9
    Small status update (from @work) : Half-Time is approaching, and I've been pushing really hard. Currently I spent 8 hours in front of my PC @work and up to 7 additional hours in front of my PC @home to get this done in one month's timeframe. Dunno about you guys, but that's really exhausting, and my coffee consumption is going through the roof

    But what drives my is the result and the desire to reach the goals I set myself. I usually try to set myself a certain target for my coding sessions after work (or on the weekends), like getting a certain scene or feature done and usually stay pretty focused until I get it done.

    With that way of working I'm almost done with the game's features. Yesterday I (almost fully) implemented the main menu, the days before I finished the "death scene", the scene that'll fade in shortly before you die and added a lot of stuff to the gameplay. So if your time on answering a question is running out, you get lots of additional effects, answers will become blurred, film grain will get stronger, screen becomes darker and at some point the game will have you fade back to your sickbed where you're in the process of dying as a white light statrs to take up the whole screen.

    I hope to have all gameplay features and the game's logic completed by this weekend (and I'm hellbent on hitting that target ), so that I can start doing all the sound stuff next week and then start to implement the game's final content.

  10. #10

    Pushing hard...

    I'm pushing pretty hard to get this done in time. Lots of stuff to do at work, and with a business trip starting tomorrow, this week won't see much progress

    But I got a lot of stuff done nonetheless. You can actually "play" it now from beginning to the end, with several chapters, different questions and visual types and so on. The game now has a main menu, an about screen and an ending screen that's displayed when you die. How do you die? By simply not answering a question. For that I added even more shaders, and the longer you stare at a decision, the blurrier it gets and at some point reality starts to fade in with many people standing around your death bed. If you won't answer in time then, your journey will end. I also added music (found a nice and very fitting track over at and (though not necessary, but helpfull) logging.

    The game now also has three different visual styles for the decisions, it's either long corridors, holes or "flying" doors (I guess you can see the tribute to a certain mystery series from a mile away ). I have mockups and plans for more visual styles, though I don't think they'll make it into the initial release.

    The game now also records your answers and tracks your bias towards life that'll then be displayed in the ending screen.

    So yes, I'm pretty much on track, though this week will set me back a bit and the final version may be a bit rough around the edges.

    Oh, and no post without new screenshots :

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