Dare to be Digital 2011 team Digital Hazards talks exclusively to Develop about working on their entry title Shadow Light.
The game’s main mechanic, aside from traditional platforming elements, consists in the ability of the main character to interact with two different timelines simultaneously. In our game the protagonist’s past and present coexist in the same physical space, overlaid one on top of the other. The player normally sees into the past, but can, with the use of a very special flashlight, peer into the other timeline.
Aside from aesthetic differences, items you can interact with will vary between timelines and it is this that allows us to create a multitude of puzzles. The main mechanic is heavily tied to the game’s story and there will be several surprises you can expect before the end, but naturally I will not spoil it here, so you’ll just have to get a copy when it’s out or at least drop by to play the demo at ProtoPlay this August.
From my personal perspective the game is intended to be not only an exercise in gameplay and narrative design, but also a technical showcase and an opportunity to build a solid foundation for future game projects. To this end, Alex and I wrote the game engine in its entirety by ourselves, as well as all the tools and the assets pipeline required. Without going into too much detail, the first two weeks had me and Alex setting up the game architecture, integrating Bullet Physics, OpenAL for audio, as well as re-programming Autodesk’s Maya into our own world editor customised for the game so that we can, with the touch of a button, move levels into our engine. Although it was a lot of work it is also incredibly satisfying to see our own engine improve the way it has in just a few weeks. We’ve also spent this time tuning our graphics engine, implementing GPU-based bone animation and so on.
In the meantime Michael has been extremely busy with the art direction of the game, trying to get just the right mood across. He’s also been laying out all our levels and testing them on paper beforehand. He’s been working closely with Nicky who’s been doing an excellent work modelling our detailed levels and animating our character. As for Oliver, he has proven to be the fastest member of the team, having composed more than 20 minutes worth of music and having recorded, edited and created a plethora of sound effects. We just can’t keep up with him, but I’m definitely not complaining.
The industry advisors have also been a great aid to us. Ranging in skillset, we’ve had producers, designers, artists and programmers come in to talk with us about the development process. I’m sure I speak for the whole team when I say that their help and time is much appreciated.
There’s still a lot of work to be done but we’re really excited about Dare ProtoPlay and hope that we’ll have a great demo for everyone to play in August, so hope to see you there.
Team information and videos can be found on the Dare to be Digital team profile.
Also, we have a team Twitter account: @DigitalHazards