It's a bit difficult to explain what this project is all about.
For many years I’ve been doing mostly still image artwork, and during the time of creating one of those still images, I had an idea that it would really be cool to actually be able to experience what was taking place in the image instead of only having the still image. One thing kind of led to another as I had ideas for things, and I realized there were a whole bunch of ideas I have had for images, and other things I enjoy doing, like playing music, painting, coding, that were all kind of converging and could fit together into this one single work of art. It's really turned into a whole new way for me to do artwork.
Although I'm using a game engine to create it, I'm not really trying to create a game. I'm more trying to create a painting that you can walk inside of, very much what being out in nature is like in the real world. So I guess in the end, the game engine is like a paintbrush, and I’m not necessarily trying to make a game, but a piece of art that is experiential.
Since it's not something that I'm planning on trying to sell, I thought it would also be fun if you could play the game while I'm making it, so you can find the link to the working prototype here: http://www.artoflightandmotion.com/downloads
Purpose of the Project
To tell a little about the purpose of it and the core of what it’s about, it’s a work of art that is all about the heart and having an open heart versus having a closed one, but since it’s experiential, I really just want to make something that opens your heart while playing it and maybe even brings a bit of healing or respite from the difficulties in life, if that’s possible. I think in the end, being able to have an open heart and knowing that we are truly loved and accepted as we are, that we are okay, is what we all long for the most, but can be one of the most difficult things to have and accept because it makes us vulnerable to being hurt. This whole idea of the heart changing is central to what this game is about. Love coming in and flowing back out again, and that when the heart is closed off, it blocks the love from flowing.
For me, it was Jesus' love that opened my heart and keeps on opening my heart each day. His love has changed who I am as a person, and I don't really even know how to describe what it means and the reality of His realness; but when you really encounter, not a religion, but the existence of this person Jesus in your life, everything changes. There is know way to ever go back to an existence without Him, and He's as real as someone standing in front of you. It's like, my goodness, He's real and alive, and what's more, He completely knows me, yet loves me so deeply, and I'm worth so much to Him. A lot of days, it's really tough to keep my heart open with all the difficulties that come in life, and all the things that come from all of us interacting with each other, but that's just kind of the way life is when we have free choice to hurt or look down on each other. Yet, in spite of those things, I know everyday that I am forever accepted and loved by Him just the way I am, and that love has a way of opening my heart again.
It's why He gave His life on the cross was because He loved each of us so much. As the prophecy that was written about His death seven hundred years before He came says, "Surely He took up our pain, and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities (sin or evil we do to each other); the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all... After He has suffered, He will see the fruit of His suffering, and will be satisfied; by knowledge of Him, My righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:4-6, 11, with footnotes) It really was His incredible love for each of us and His heart's desire to bear the consequences of our evil so that we could have eternal life with Him, if we choose to be with Him, and it pleased Him to go through what He did, looking back upon what He had done and being satisfied. It just always makes me so sad though that so many people miss out on getting to really know Him in their lives, Christian and non-Christian alike. They don't know what they're missing out on :). He really is the one who everyone is searching for, if they would only ask to know Him and make Him the ruler of their hearts, but that's another story :).
To get back to the main topic though, really the entire CG industry is based around all of us wanting to be loved for something that we’ve made. It’s one of the things we all long for the most in life. For me, it’s such an absolutely wonderful thing to wake up everyday being loved by God. To know that you are loved so completely changes everything in life, and I guess it just seems like, out of all of the things we live for in life, if there is anything I would like to do, it would be to be a part of opening someone else’s heart to be able to care and love again and, in some way, know that they are loved as well.
This rather old interview with someone explains this heart change quite well too:
And that’s it really; it was a bit long, but now you know why I’m making it and what it’s about.
Things in the Artwork Already
Real-time seasonal transitions
Real moon cycle
Real day/night cycle based on latitude
Teleporter room to travel around the landscape
Wind movement in sync with audio
Latest Screenshot or Video
General Overview of update 016, with just added grass:
Groves with new Aspen trees:
Previous new feature videos can be found here:
Poem at the Heart of the Project
The heart is such a fickle thing, the way it seems to mirror what’s been put in.
Even mirroring the things we hate, when shouldn't we want to become the opposite?
Yet I find that, as others bring pain to me in the coldness of their hearts, my heart cares less and brings pain to others, and that which I hated so much, I have become in other’s eyes.
It is said that we should love our enemies and bless those who hurt us.
Is there any other way to live?
If I give pain for pain, am I not just the same as them?
And if I am the same as them, can I ever be against them?
But can I ever love again?
The risk of pain can be so great,
and what I need the most I run away from.
To open my heart and give.
But this heart must come alive, to let love in and breath again.
For if I am to love again, I must first let love in.
So let the doors fling wide, and let my heart beat again
To let your love flow in and flow back out for others
For that is true life, when my heart beats and love flows through.
I do not always get to choose the things that happen to me, but I can choose who I want to become and the heart I want to have.
So who do you choose to be?
Inspiration for the project
If you would like to go deeper and read about the philosophy behind the artwork, as well as the inspiration for it and the game’s story mentioned below, you can read all about it here: http://www.artoflightandmotion.com/about-the-game
It's also a bit long, but really worth reading over a cup of coffee if you have the time.
Music in the game
Just a short word about the music, so far all of it has been done by me, but for the most part, they aren’t actually composed songs, just music I play spontaneously. Even though it is spontaneous, they usually do still end up sounding very nice, for the most part, and it’s always really neat to see the kinds of songs and melodies that come out. I think so far the piano sessions have turned out the best. Also, it’s not the best of audio quality since I only have my laptop’s mic to record it with.
You can find some of the music on SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/user-304480
Things I Could Use help With
Right now, the main thing I need help with is just testing it while I’m creating the game, and letting me know how well it’s running. I try to heavily test everything out as I go along, but I’m still not going to find all of the bugs. So it would be great if others could test it out and letting me know if they find anything, or even just let me know how well it seems to be running on their computer.
Game Design Document
Here you can find out more about what I plan to add to the artwork, and check in to see where the overall game is headed. As I have ideas for things, I'll be updating things below and in this folder here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fyfmyqpsx3if708/AAByzAGRfJrKdipuS6NOnVx2a?dl=0
You can read more about the story there as well.
Story in the Artwork
I’ve had ideas for a story and puzzles to solve that I’m hoping to have in the game (eventually :) ) that you might stumble upon while playing it, but it’s not the main purpose for playing, just something that enhances the experience of the art.
I don't have any details worked out for it, but it would be something along the lines of that you are inside of an older person’s memories, going back through time to different events and things that took place in his life that closed down his heart and made him into the person that he is now, and as the story progresses, the person would be working through all of the emotions around those events in some way. I had already planned on having several different houses in the game, but basically each house would be a place that this person lived in through his life, and you would go back in time to certain dates when the person lived in this house and solve puzzles that would be for that specific time period that would reveal a part of his life story, and work through opening his heart again in a certain area of his life. With having seasons, latitude, and a realistic sun position, I think it could also make for some really interesting puzzles having to do with time and where the sun or stars would be at certain latitudes and times of the year. Also, just a really interesting environment being able to change the entire look of the map with different seasons or even what direction the shadows are going in.
Overview of the areas in the map
I thought I would try using SketchFab as part of a visual game design document, so here you can see the entire map as I have it so far and what I’ll be working towards in each area.
If anyone has ideas for improvements, I would be glad to hear about them :)
I guess that's everything for now. Enjoy!