How we got here:
We're participating in the 2022 Summer Dev Camp at ULHT, and we were tasked with conceptualizing a videogame we could develop during our stay here. We wanted to go for something more traditional this time in terms of narrative, and with our professors' help we came up with the idea of a game set in Évora, a scenic Portuguese city full of culture and secrets.
We chose "Ossiri and the Bala Mengro" as a main story to base our concept around, and designed a protagonist whose parents come from different cultural backgrounds (Portuguese and Romani), who is 10 years old and homeschooled, because we thought it would be an interesting perspective to showcase.
The level design started our ambitious, so we ended up narrowing it down to a contained vertical slice in which the player gets to interact with their environment at will and learn from the different objects and characters as they go.
There are 4 main characters, some Portuguese, some Romani, but here's the catch: you can't see them, you can only interact with them through their closed doors, enhancing the feeling of loneliness and helplessness the protagonist feels being stuck between cultures. You experience the story in 1st person, through her eyes and a sequence of closed door behind closed door, where even the slightest helping hand can push you forward in uncovering a truth bigger than you.
The map currently looks like this:
You can only explore the outside area for now, being that everything is completely covered in scattered shoes and clothes, which give you slight information about who was once there, and the main area of the festival that had been goin on (celebrating Romani day and the Portuguese 2008 football cup). You can find traditional objects all over and familiar cafes and shops.
The vertical slice is divided in two main instances, the first serving as an introduction to the mechanics and your purpose in the story, the second providing with context as you explore and interact with everything, making the right connections as you go.
The inventory system (which we will expand upon on a next post) has two sections, one for collectibles and one for information objects, as well as the ability to rotate all of them. What hidden clues will you find there?
- Object Interaction: The player can pick up and rotate all objects, as well as collect them in an inventory where they can carry all info objects and up to 3 key objects at a time, they can also "equip" key objects in their hand in order to show them to characters in the scene and get their reactions or unlock new objects.
- Object Rotation: All objects can be rotated and viewed from any angle, giving the player an immersive experience and ability to figure puzzles out through hidden clues.
- Character Interaction: There are 4 characters available to interact with, all which have their own story to tell and unique view on Yebora and the situation, some of them might be hiding more than they seem, so pay attention!
- Puzzle Solving: All of these mechanics culminate in the puzzles, players will need to pay attention to their environment, for they will have logic puzzles to work through in the form of simple sequences, hidden objects, scenery cues and telling dialogue, all done through exploration and observation.
That's all for today folks! Thank you so much for your time and attention! See you again soon.