Blueprint (Gameplay from Aesthetic)

The design of this game began with a simple idea: What if you could see only in a ring around you, where you could see faint blue outlines of the building you’re inside of.

The building you are in has no doors; no entrances, no exits, save for a curiously placed elevator in the center of the mass. The goal is to wander this space, half blind because of the weird way that you see things (I call it Goldilocks vision), to find the keys to unlock the elevator and escape. Goldilocks vision would contribute not only to the aesthetic, but also the gameplay mechanics. What would happen if players could see really far away things, even through walls, but stumble around, bumping into things close to them. Or, if players could see the things in their immediate proximity, but be blind to objectives further than a few meters away? I wanted to see what sort of gameplay would arise from this visualization model, and somehow build a game around it.

Visual References:


Using Shadergraph, I created an effect where there is a two-tiered visibility check for any given rendering of an object: the boundaries of the inner and outer edge of the ring.
The beginnings of the visual aesthetic. Made in Shadergraph.
A demonstration of the “ring of visibility.” Combined the two shaders together.
An important milestone where I decided to allow the player to expand and contract the Goldilocks zone, allowing the player to decide what they wanted or needed to see.
Added UI and office props to give players more context. I wanted players to feel like they were driving a drone, navigating a deserted office space, tasked to look for clues. I think a huge part of its success as a visualization method is the ability to see pipes and fillers that most games would exclude (understandably, to conserve resources). As I had hoped, being able to see through walls close to you became both a boon and a drawback. You could scout far ahead of you, at the cost of probably bumping into the objects close to you. Level design took on a whole new level of intricacy; I had to think about verticality, hidden objects, and tricky placement of props and objectives to direct player attention and give them interesting things to look at.

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