Seminary of Sight
Team: 10 students
Software: Unreal Engine 4
Role: Gameplay Designer & Level Designer
Duration: 6 months
In the cosmic horrorgame ‘The Seminary of Sight’ you embark on the divine journey of a priestess as she follows her God through the dark depths of space and time. This journey brings her to the Seminary of Sight, a holy place built by her God among the bright stars, God’s ever-watching and judging eyes. The seemingly abandoned seminary houses cosmic nightmares, the blinding ones, hellbent on stopping the priestess on her travel to the Highest Place.
At the start of the development of The Seminary of Sight I had the responsibility of participating in the general Game Design, figuring out the gameplay, the broad narrative lines and structure, as well as the different goals we wanted to hit. Designing a horror game is an incredible challenge, as creating the buildup of emotions required is a very difficult task to do effectively, especially when dealing with a complex themes like cosmic horror and religion. A pre-requisite of cosmic horror, is that the human character that you play is completely powerless in the presence of the horrifying cosmic forces. This powerlessness is what the gameplay design conveys, limiting the player mechanics kit only to realistic human interactions and player observation.
Later on in the development time my responsibilities shifted towards gameplay prototyping, Level Design, Scenario Design and for a short while Set Dresser using the asset pack of our talented artists. Implementing the build-up throughout the level, making use of tension and release cycles, turned out to be the hardest challenge. This resulted in multiple blockout revisions from scratch and experiments, each better then the last, eventually culminating into the final Level Design. The design is by no means perfect, but I am proud of how it turned out despite the frustrating but satisfying challenge of working with limited mechanics and emotion build-up.
A more in-depth document on the lessons I learned and applied about Horror Level Design can be found below.