Production

This blog details my thought processes and operating system as a producer. 

In all my projects so far, I've used my interdisciplinary background as a strength. 

Marketing work experience focuses my approach on practical deliverables and big-picture perspective

Educational background in hard science allows me to understand technical needs

Study of art and history informs my aesthetic

A Fox Story - HTC Vive (Virtual Reality)

Production and Narrative Design

Building Virtual Worlds Round 4

Development Duration: 2 Weeks

Developed in Unity for HTC Vive

Programmers: Atul Goel, Himanshu Tekikar

Artists: Mohan Bai, Euna Park

Sound: Yifei Gong

Co-Producers: Atul Goel, Euna Park

  • Communication tools: WhatsApp 
  • Daily update meetings
    • Longer meetings scheduled separately on an as-needed basis
    • Checked in personally with team members at their desks, given the 1 week crunch

PLANNING AN EMOTIONAL AND INTERACTIVE NARRATIVE

While we all came to the table with different backgrounds and interests, we knew we wanted to steer the experience away from traditional gameplay mechanics and focus on an emotionally moving, interactive narrative. Exactly how we would achieve this effect was a challenge that we had no idea how to tackle, but we wanted to make something different. 

I had recently modeled and rigged a low-poly origami fox for practice, which provided a good launching point for the team's brainstorming session. The story we eventually landed on tapped into the inherent tragedy of parenthood; a baby fox who, after being nurtured by his mother, would grow to be independent and no longer need her help to survive. We decided to try and tell this story in the risky medium of an interactive animation, rather than going the more beaten path of creating a more traditional game.

After some initial brainstorming, we mapped out the story arc and the major events that would occur in the lives of the foxes. 

 Brainstorming and mapping out the interest curve of the proposed story, focusing on a linear narrative. 

Brainstorming and mapping out the interest curve of the proposed story, focusing on a linear narrative. 

We very deliberately kept the story as simple as possible to manage the project's scope, as we were already trying to do something different. 

 Brainstorming and mapping the when, where, and how of the story's interactive elements. 

Brainstorming and mapping the when, where, and how of the story's interactive elements. 

 Clearly laying out the major questions and issues that we were running into with our concept. 

Clearly laying out the major questions and issues that we were running into with our concept. 

GAMEPLAY, DEVELOPMENT, AND IMPLEMENTATION

Once we started creating assets and building the code, we quickly realized that even simple interactions in this kind of environment were going to be far more complicated than we had originally anticipated. Our interim goals became largely focused on building the aesthetic of the world. 

After communicating with the programmers, I found that one such problem was that they found themselves making decisions about timing and staging that they did not feel completely prepared to make. In order to help them, I blocked out all the staging for the guest and both foxes. The mapped result is shown below. 

 Storyboarding the story progression and interactions as they would be experienced by the guest. 

Storyboarding the story progression and interactions as they would be experienced by the guest. 

FINAL PRESENTATION

Our final presentation was received well. We demonstrated the world for the class and instructors. 

Pros:

  • Ambitious world that mostly works, with a lot riding on the performances of the foxes and the animation pulls it off
    • Going without any dialogue with a simple story was a brave choice
    • The story itself was a complete and compelling narrative about parenthood and growing up
  • World looked lovely and felt like a real place
    • Music and sound were good
  • Foxes have nice animation and interaction moments
    • Moments when the fox was tracking the glow and reacting to it felt very good

Cons:

  • The story became a little opaque when the fox interactions were unclear
    • More music progression could have helped reinforce the story beats
  • The guest has a role which is well connected to the story, though the role itself is rather fuzzy 
IMG_20171031_114517.jpg
Euna Park