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Here is how I'm making a game about a tiny world in a terrarium


So as I wrote in my previous blogpost, I want to make a game about a Tiny world in a glass jar.
I thought about letting this jar float in space, to highlight the feeling of being a "self-enclosed world". This is inspired by real terrariums. Once you put the lid on one of those little worlds it will self-sustain, you don't need to add oxygen, water or food.​
Before I did this digital concept, I did some tiny sketches in my sketchbook to explore some ideas and create variations on the character.​
TIP: My professor advised me to create physical prototypes! I think it's a really Interesting way to come up with more unique game concepts. With "normal" brainstorming I feel like you end up creating a variation on something that has been made before, quite often. 
This little character was originally born from a sketching session with a classmate (who is doing an exchange semester at a different uni in Scotland now). I kind of fell in love with this little fellow and kept sketching it ^^

​3D MODEL of my little sprout monster

As I'm having some problems with thinking of my characters usually only from front-view, I wanted to also create a quick 3D model to get a better impression (and make sure the body shape is "readable" from all sides).​
TIP: I used Blender (free) for the basic model and then used the browser-based "sculptgl" (free) to add additional details.
​I then did a quick paintover to see how my Monster would look like from the side,

Ecospheres and photos

​After I had finished some of the first concepts, I posted about the game/my process on my Twitter and this Blog. Luckily some of the artists following me gave me some interesting pointers.
​She is talking about the photo on the left. This was a mockup I did for fun some time ago. Recently I also participated in a gamejam (screenshot on the right) where I combined one of my photos with hand-drawn graphics. I think it's certainly and interesting, unique style to explore, that makes use of my photographic strengths. So eventually I'll just build & photograph a terrarium to use for the game scene.
I also got an interesting pointer for some more research.
I looked this up and found quite some interesting videos. People showed their terrariums that had not been opened since 1-12 years and were still alive with all the plants and animals inside.
The natural circles (nutrients, oxygen, etc.) in such an "ecosphere" could be an inspiration for the mechanics of my game.​

Next steps

  • build a terrarium (I already bought some nice jars for this - now I just need to drive to a nearby forest - thinking Tentsmuir Forest)
  • develop the game design - what do you do? What does the monster want? How can you help it?
I'll also have a talk soon with Mal from the ​ co-working space/game maker collective, to see if I'll work on my games there the next months.
I'm gonna leave you with some pics of the jars I bought to build my terrariums!

This post first appeared on Tiny Worlds, please read the originial post: here

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