Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Inspired game idea: Stratastencil gameplay

My Paper Mind, by Javan IveyA friend of Greg's just linked this to him: "My Paper Mind," an animation of paper stencil cut-outs, using a technique referred to as "Stratastencil." The interesting thing is that the stencils are layered on top of each other, and photographed and lit such that the previous frames are visible behind the current one, receding into space and shadow. The effect is mesmerizing. Visit Javan Ivey's My Paper Mind page to view the video.

Now obviously, if you're a game developer, you'll likely think "oo, I wanna make a game like that!" At least that's what I thought. The easiest thing design-wise would be to copy the same visual effect, where the game world is a stencil, with previous frames in the background. It might take some graphics trickery to do the lighting such that it looks realistic. Or you could just make a sheet for every possible combination of object locations. Heh.

But what if you made a game based on the abstract concept of this, instead of the literal visual effect? What if you could see your previous actions in the distance, and that affected your current choices? What if you could go back to those frames to alter the current one? How could you design interesting gameplay by showing the past and the present at the same time? One draws parallels to something like Braid, but let's think past that.

Imagine the space that exists from the front frame to the back frame. What happens if you collapse that space? What happens if you connect it, creating a 3-dimensional form from that space? How do you explore such a space?

I think exploring some of the later questions could lead to some interesting game ideas.

1 comment:

BigBossSNK said...

Hey there, torn, I've got an email account at gmail under my username, too. Any questions come up on art-games, I'm there to clarify.