In a world split by two times, there are tales of a beautiful twilight that occurs at the top of the tower. The two chosens, Dusk and Dawn, must embark on their own individual journey to reach the top, but realize why it's been centuries since the tower has been conquered. It requires the cooperation of not only each other but of the various faces they will meet along their journey who will aid them by giving them a gem after fulfilling their quest.
The tower is made of multiple sections — 4 main areas each relating to a certain type of world aesthetic (for example, ice, fire, light, and darkness). The scope of the game will be reduced to one section, and in this case it will be the ice section.
Dusk and Dawn is a single-player 3D platformer, in which players will rotate between four camera views around the tower. However, playing as Dusk can view two out of the four sides, while playing as Dawn allows the remaining two. Players will play as Dawn or Dusk at one respective time and must switch between the two characters until they reach the top to create Twilight.
Team Roles & Responsibilities
Jimmy Tan (Programming)
- Lighting, Asset Integration, Camera and Movement
Katrina Chen (Programming)
- Quest and Dialogue System
Jason Zhou (Programming)
- Level Creator, Puzzle Designer and Collisions
- Puzzle Implementation & UI
- Art Assets, Level design, and Characters
- Sound FX and FMod Integration for adaptive music
- BGM Music
1. Low Pressure game: Dusk and Dawn is not driven by any sense of urgency. There are no enemies in the game, it is single-player and if the player falls off a platform they will simply respawn back where they fell off of.
2. Whimsical Discovery: Dusk and Dawn is a game focussed on exploration, discovery and "cycle of fun" type interactions. The player is in a loop of completing mini quests which reward the player with animations, dialogue, and a gem. To ascend the tower, the player must collect 4 gems as Dusk and as Dawn. Players can get gems through chests we plan to place in interesting places to incentivize exploration and through mini quests with NPCs. We plan to program 4 gems to collect for Alpha, but for Beta we plan to program 1 more for Dusk and 1 more for dawn , making it 5 gems required for each.
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3. Semi-Linear Progression: Dusk and Dawn will initially restrict the player in order to teach them the mechanics and goals of the game. Then during the gem collection phase the player is allowed to play the game in whichever order for both Dusk and Dawn. This gem collection phase will have the whimsical discovery elements. Then the player follows a linear ending where they must complete an ice sliding puzzle.
4. Character Interaction: Dusk will have dialogue with Dawn and vice versa after each mini quest is complete. This serves to build the two's relationship and get the player immersed into each character. Additionally we will have 2 main mechanics that require the two to work together.
a. Ice Sliding Puzzle: After Dusk and Dawn have collected their 4 respective gems, the door to the ice sliding puzzle for each character is unlocked. This puzzle is similar to the ice sliding puzzles in the Pokemon games, however the player must maneuver 2 characters to get to their desired location. Additionally the solution requires the player to use Dawn as a collider for Dusk in order for Dusk to get to her desired location. The player is also rewarded with dialogue between the two characters.
b. Disappearing and Reappearing Platform: Dusk and Dawn will each have 1 of their gems gated behind a disappearing platform. This platform will appear for 1 character, if the other character steps on a pressure plate to keep it visible. For instance, if the player wants Dusk to reach the gem, they must switch to Dawn and have them stay positioned on a pressure plate, then switch back to Dusk to use the newly visible platform to reach her gem.
5. Single Play Experience: Dusk and Dawn is focussed on fine tuning an experience for the player designed around a single playthrough of the game.
6. Player Mobility: Controls will consist of just movement, jumping, character switching, and NPC/quest interaction. The movement controls will feel snappy and not floaty.
7. Automatic Camera Control: The player will not have to worry about manipulating the camera. The camera should always center around the player in an intuitive way so that the game experience is never disrupted due to disorienting camera positioning. Additionally the Dusk and Dawn will each have physical access to 2 sides of the 4 sides tower (Dusk has 2 sides, and Dawn has 2 sides). The camera will orient itself relative to the current character and current side the player is on.
Dawn Camera Angles. Front and Right sides of tower
Dusk Camera Angles. Back and Left sides of tower
This will be a PC game. Both keyboard and gamepad controllers will be supported for our game. However, our priority will be to input the keyboard controllers before the gamepad controllers due to accessibility restrictions.
Character & Assets Design
For our character design, it reflects the narrative about the idea of the two chosens. The narrative and the thematic meaning of the words Dusk, Dawn and Twilight all lead to this mystical vibe and the character designs reflect those characteristics of a fantasy JRPG and emphasizes the idea of exploration. The character designs of Dawn and Dusk take inspiration from Bravely Default through the fantasy-like clothing.
Dawn's appearance uses the colour palette of a dawn sky, with soft yellows, reds, and hints of a pastel-like blue. Dusk's appearance uses the colour palette of a dusk sky, with deep blues, purples, with accents of magenta that wrap around her gloves and dress.
Both characters have their respective symbol placed on their chest.
Through the interactions based on the NPCs and the mini-quests they complete, the two characters also reveal tiny bits of their personality, what they symbolize, and their outlook on said journey. For example, Dawn is more optimistic about reaching the top, to see the world and what it has to offer more than what she already knows. She gains excitement from wanting to see the unknown. In a way, she symbolizes illumination, hope, and creation. She's your soft-spoken character but won't back down on her own opinion and often will stick to what she believes in instead of wavering. She's kind-hearted which acts as both a downfall and a strength because when players interact with her inner monologue with Dusk, they soon realize that a lot of what she does is quite taxing on herself, but knows that without her kindness shown to others, they may suffer greatly.
Dusk, on the other hand, wants to see the top and this so-called Twilight, but is fearful of the fact that something so beautiful won't last forever in her life — that it won't return. She symbolizes death, fear, and closure — representing the other side of the spectrum. She is a pensive character, often thinking about herself and others. While she may not be the most out-going person or the loudest in the crowd, she looks for those that share a similar mindset to hers and slowly lets them in her small, inner circle, revealing small tidbits of her inner thoughts. She feels emotions deeply to the extent that often when she listens to other peoples' worries or their problems, she is able to tune into them and take it upon herself, but struggles to showcase them properly. She is hesitant to lean onto others and develop close bonds.
We're going for a low-poly look for all of our 3D models. However, our post-processing will be based on a lo-fi pixelated look, getting the chunky pixel look that is prevalent in A Short Hike.
Here's a mock-up of Dawn's 3D model. The two photos below are an experimentation of the pixelated processing that Dusk and Dawn will use.
Assets include snowy-themed items for a wintery landscape. These include basically anything such as trees, rocks, icicles, that help solidify and ground our world than just being bare snow and we further achieve this by creating these small, mini locations (which we will now refer to as branches) and that's the main aspect of our level design. Furthermore we have to create chests, houses, flowers for the quests, and bonfires. There are also 2D assets that must be created such as the dialogue interface, any sort of menu interface (start/quit/continue buttons) and other game UI (i.e. item icons).
Our NPCS will be non-humanoid characters that are more suited towards pixelated processing. The NPCs will all have their own distinct personality which is further discussed in our Game Flow section. Also the NPCS on each respective side will follow a similar colour palette.
In terms of our environment design, the skies switch depending on the character you are playing as. These colour palettes were inspired by Ori and the Blind Forest in which we thought the colour palette suited the theme of opposites in our game. Dusk's palette uses a lot more blues with a hint of purple to represent the night sky while Dawn's colour palette uses more warmer, red tones.
At the top, the two colour palettes combine (red and blue) to make Twilight (purple). In a way, by having Dawn and Dusk share this moment together, it's a "passage of souls" and that's the whole point of the tower and these trials — to witness something so rare. This game explores many themes between the simplicity of life but also the complexity of it, making simple fetch quests have a story behind them. Our main theme is based on connection, but also what comes with it — what it means to authentically connect to others, to listen, and to empathize with painful experiences but showcase it in a way that is delicate and rather to cherish what you can do rather than the things you cannot do.
For our level design, we started off with a quick sketch and developed this idea of these "branches" that stray away from our main tower to allow for more exploration.
Here's a tentative tower idea (that is grey-boxed) that further showcases the branches. The branches lead to mini-locations that we showcased in our environment design. Some locations include a forest, a graveyard, a waterfall/lake area and a lot of houses scattered throughout the level to emphasize that this isn't a desolate area. There would be bonfires in certain areas, most often perhaps next to an NPC to keep them warm or next to their homes. There's a giant square in the middle and that would lead to the ice-rink puzzle we mentioned before.
When players reach this moment of the game, there is only one way to enter for both characters while the other rotational side that was usable before is blocked off. This means that they must complete the puzzle inside the tower together to help get on their respective side and climb the staircase that leads them to the top of the tower. This ascendance to the top will be a spiral staircase, leading to the idea that the two chosens and their opposite selves are now being fully intertwined — it's the conclusion to their journey.
Here's a breakdown of each floor and how they branch off from each other as well as how the level progresses.The purple colours indicate the sides that Dusk can use while the yellow sides indicate the sides that Dawn can use. There are ladders, stairs, bridges and jumpable platforms that lead to separate areas and sometimes there are hidden chests (like on top of a house, for example) that require platforming to incentive exploring. Scattered throughout the entire level are the NPCS.
Music & Sound Design
For our music and sound design, the major and minor acts as a reflection on the character's approach to the trial and atmosphere of their time. Dawn's version, right from the beginning, leads into a "grandeur" feeling. Dusk's version is, of course, not as bright as Dawn's as it reflects the night of the winter, colder days but in a way that is comforting. There's a sense of caution present in the music but until characters begin to familiarize themselves with the icy-themed world and new npcs that they will meet, it presents a warm feeling and this is through the instrumental choice of synth pads that creates a nice echo-y, ambient feeling. The synth pads allow for the long, slow chords to build up and decay away slowly and dreamly. Due to our game being on exploration, we present a world full of warmth even in the coldest depths. We plan to have a soundtrack for the ice level that will switch between both characters as they share the same melody. However, another approach would be after the ice-rink puzzle (which indicates the middle of the journey), the music changes to minor instead to indicate the progression of them reaching the end.
We plan to have 3 major themes. The ice level theme, the main menu theme, and the final twilight theme where both characters reach the top and share the special moment together. A lot of our music relies on the ambient atmosphere and hopefully invokes a more emotional response. We want the world to feel big and grand, relying on the idea of exploration, however the twilight theme will shift the atmosphere to a more intimate one, using piano keys as our main instrument. In terms of sound design, we're using sounds that would be identified as "shimmery", "light", or "magical". For example, the collectible sound is a slight twinkle. The ice sliding sound has a shimmer at the start. The sound design is similar to the reflectivity of ice. Furthermore, character dialogue will have the Animal Crossing-esque type of sound when they talk.
1. Dawn's Tutorial Explanation: At the start of the game, the player plays as Dawn. The player spawns at the bottom of the tower in Dawn's village where the village elder lives. Dawn talk's to the elder where he explains that Dawn must journey to the top of the tower to meet Dusk and create twilight together. He gives Dawn 1 gem and explains that Dawn needs 4 gems to ascend. Then the barrier to leave the village and progress to the middle section of the tower for Dawn is lifted.
2. Tree Sapling Quest: Once Dawn reaches the middle section of the tower, the player notices a tree sapling at the left branching area. Once the player interacts with the tree sapling, the tree's dialogue will trigger and the quest will activate, spawning in
3 "Sun Energy" pickups scattered around Dawn's area. Dawn must pick these
energies up and give them to the tree sapling. The tree sapling grows to a Tree and thanks Dawn, rewarding Dawn with 1 gem.
3. Dawn's Disappearing Platform: On the branch that leads downwards (still in the middle section of tower, but branch faces the player), the player notices there's a missing platform to get to a chest. To make this platform appear, the player must switch to Dusk to step on a pressure plate. This makes the platform appear on Dawn's side. Dawn can then jump over to the platform and then to the chest containing 1 gem for dawn.
4. Chessmates: On the right branch Dawn finds an old man sitting in his chair, there is a coffee table, and on the coffee table, there is a board of chess that is mid-game. Dawn can choose to interact with the NPC, which will triggle his dialogue. According to the NPC, although our character cannot go to the other side of the tower, people who live in the tower have the ability to travel to the other side of the tower. This old man has a great friend, who is about the same age and lives on the same level, on the opposite side of the tower. His friend usually visits him and they play chess together. One day, his chess mate didn't show up on the day they usually play chess, and the old man hasn't heard from him since. Because this man is so old, he cannot walk around much. He asks our character to visit his friend. This triggers a dialogue between Dawn and Dusk. The player can then switch to
dusk to find the old man's chess mate. After Dusk completes the corresponding 'Chess Mates' quest on his end, Dawn can collect 1 gem from the old man.
Dawn: Hello, may I ask what game this is?
Old Man: It's a game called chess!
Dawn: That sounds interesting! But, um…
Dawn (confused as she only sees one person at the table): Who are you playing with?
Old Man: I have a friend I play with.
Old Man: Though he hasn't showed up in a while…
Dawn: Has something happened?
Old Man: Hmm, I'm not too sure to be quite honest with you. I'm a little worried. Old Man: He's from the other side of the tower, but as you can kind of tell, I'm in no way
shape or form to really be moving that greatly — let alone climb up a tower.
Dawn: ...How long have you been waiting?
Old Man: Quite some time. This match has been unfinished for years now.
Dawn: And you've just been waiting here all along? Why?
Old Man: …
Old Man: Because this is all I have left. This...silly old unfinished game. I'd like to see the end of it, but...
Dawn (cuts him off): I can try to find him and see what's going on.
Old Man: That would be very helpful.
Dusk and Dawn Monologue:
Dawn: Dusk. Did you hear that?
Dawn: We gotta try to find him at least.
Dusk: I'll look for him.
Dusk: Are you the old man's friend?
Friend: *cough* Yeah…. W-who are you?
Dusk: Don't worry about that. He, uh, he sent me to look for you.
Dusk: He was wondering why you stopped showing up, but..
Dusk: I think I got the gist of it already.
Friend: Yeah..Doesn't take a lot to see that I'm not doing too well….
Dusk: How much time left?
Friend: *chuckles* *cough* That's a morbid question…
Friend: …. a couple days, I guess.
Friend: Since you're here, let him know…
Friend: The games with him were the most intense I've ever played. Dusk: I'll let him know.
Dusk and Dawn Monologue:
Dusk: He doesn't have much time left.
Dawn: I heard...We have to do something.
Dusk: There's nothing we can do, Dawn.
Dawn: ….What if we have them play their last game of chess together, through us?
Dusk: He'll be gone in a couple of days. It's best if they depart separately.
Dawn: ...You shouldn't say something like that. It does matter, Dusk! It'd be the best gift we can give him.
Dawn to Old Man: Dawn: Hello!
old Man: Ah, you again! How's he doing?
Dawn: Unfortunately, he isn't doing well. He only has a couple of days left.
Old Man: Ah… I see….
Dawn: But, hey, we can finish the last game with him. He won't be able to come here but he can tell me his moves and I can play for him. Old Man: That... would be great, thank you.
*Transition to ending of game*
Old Man: Even in this state, your plays are just as sharp as ever… Good game friend, that'll make our record 50-50.
Old Man: Thanks for entertaining this old man one last time, Dawn.
Dawn: It's the least we can do for you both.
Dawn: I'm sorry for your loss.
Old Man: Hah, why do you look so sad? Don't be sorry. He lived a long life.
Old Man: If anything, I'm glad he got to win the last match. I always liked winning, but sometimes it's ok to lose.
Old Man: I was gonna say this earlier, but, maybe I was just scared of finishing the match that all I did was wait. Maybe I was just scared of the end and that I would be satisfied with the unfinished match.
Old Man: *smiles* but you made me realize that I needed this.
Old Man: That I needed to see the end.
Old Man: Anyways, I want you to have this:
*Gives Dawn 1 Gem*
Old Man: Haha...how time flies. Goodbye friend.
Dawn to Dusk Monologue:
Dawn: Hey Dusk.
Dusk: Something the matter?
Dawn: I don't think the man was talking about the chess game there.
Dusk: …I felt that too.
Dawn But, I think he was happy in the end.
Dawn: A loss still kind of hurts though.
Dusk: Of course, it's … more about which outcome gives less suffering.
Dawn: That's not wrong.
Dawn (to herself): I don't think that's quite the right way to go about it though.
Dawn: Thanks for helping me out...with the old man and his friend.... I'm grateful.
Dusk: Don't mention it.
Dusk (to herself): Helping people out isn't so bad...I mean, he would've been worse off had he not seen his friend, right? But, *sighs* my head hurts.
Dusk (softly, out loud): We did what was better for him, right? At least I'd hope so.
Dawn: Sorry, did you say something?
Dusk: No, it was nothing.
Dawn: Oh? I thought I heard you mumbling something?
Dusk: You must've misheard me.
Dawn: Hmmm. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't.
5. Catch the bird(Beta): Dawn sees a bird flying in a zigzag pattern with a gem in its claw. Dawn must platform around and catch the bird. Doing so rewards dawn with 1 gem.
1. Dusk's Tutorial Explanation: Quest mirror's 'Dawn's Tutorial Explanation'.
2. Dusk's Disappearing Platform: Quest mirror's 'Dawn's Disappearing Platform' quest, however Dusk requires Dawn to step on a pressure plate on her side in order to activate the platform for Dusk's side.
3. Moon Flower: Once Dusk reaches the middle section of the tower the player notices a NPC on the left branching area. Once the player interacts with this NPC, a dialogue will trigger and his quest will activate. The NPC requests the player to take a photo of a 'Moon Flower' blooming. The player finds this 'Moon Flower' on Dusk's Disappearing Platform, where the flower is bloomed and sitting next to the chest. If Dusk interacts with the flower, after already talking to the elderly NPC, Dusk takes a photo of it. After Dusk brings the photo back to the NPC dialogue triggers and the NPC gives Dusk a gem.
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4. Chessmates: After Dawn finds the old man, Dusk will be able to enter the old man's friend's house. Dusk finds a man laying on his bed and coughing. Man tells Dusk, he is almost at the end of his life, and wants to play the last round of chess with the old man. They play chess through Dusk by having Dusk explain to Dawn his moves. At the end of this game, the man falls asleep on his bed and never wakes up again. After a blackscreen, there is a grave on the left side of the house, on the top of the grave, there is a gem.
5. Hide and Seek(Beta): Dusk sees a family on one level. It's a dad, a mom and a cute little girl. You see this girl playing outside of her house, and she asks you to play hide and seek with her. If you win, she says she will give you a treasure she has. The girl hides after a ten second countdown and asks you to find her. The little girl will hide in a hidden location, where Dusk is most likely not able to find her. However, when the player switches to Dawn, Dawn will be able to see where she is hiding. Switching back to Dusk, Dusk can access the hidden location by using Dawn to see where she is. When Dusk finds the little girl, she will give Dusk a gem she found in the hidden location.
Ice Sliding Puzzle:
The ice sliding puzzle is the last puzzle to the top of the tower. During this stage, Dusk and Dawn finally get to meet each other physically. This will be the only scene that is inside the tower. On this level of the tower, the floor is made of ice so slippery that neither Dusk or dawn can walk normally on it. They must slide on the ice, and once the player inputs a movement command, the character can't stop until hitting the wall or a boulder. The camera will shift to top down view when entering this level.
The puzzle is designed to be such that when Dusk is able to travel to her exit immediately, once the player discovers the solution. However, Dawn will not be able to go to her exit without Dusk's help, where Dusk must act like a boulder for Dawn to collide into.
Regarding our workflow we will have biweekly meetings to perform scrums in an agile-like fashion. Each person will state their main goals over the next few days, any troubles they have so far that way we can remain flexible in other deadlines people might have.
We plan to iteratively integrate features into the main development branch. This way we can also gain iterative feedback from a third party so we can continue to refine and remove unfun aspects of our game.
Barebones Level skeleton
- Mapped with colliders
- Textures and shaders applied
- NPCs and assets placed
Disappearing Platform Quest
- Script disappearing platform for both Dusk and Dawn
- Add chest and script to give player 1 gem when they open chest
- Add particles and textures to disappearing platform to distinguish them from regular platforms
Camera, Movement, character switching:
- Snappy movement and jumping
- Camera Turning and transitions smoothly
- Camera transitions between characters smoothly.
- Animations for player for movement, idle, jumping
- FX for jumping, sliding on ice puzzle, collecting an item
- Music, with transition from major to minor. (Test this approach and compare/contrast with just 1 soundtrack approach)
Pixelization of 3d models:
- Custom shadow shader
- 2 Camera setup for pixelization
Lighting the level:
Ice Skating Puzzle:
- Top Down Camera view
- Puzzle Mechanics
- Sliding in 1 direction until they collide with wall or border or another character
- Physical level created in unity
Quest System: Dialogue System:
- Dialogue system foundation setup
- 1 quest for both Dusk and Dawn fully ready with the accompanying dialogue.
- Track key items for quests
- Track gems
- Character Assets created and animated to walk
- Npc Assets created (not animated yet)
- All environment assets finished and coloured
- Trees (with leaves and without leaves)
- Rocks (variant of at least 5 different shapes of rocks)
- Waterfall area
- Graveyard area
- Small patches of grass
- Wooden Fences
Menu System and UI:
- Start new game
- Continue game
- Save system
Gem Collection complete: All Npc quests implemented:
- Script of all dialogue with npcs complete
- Implementation of script dialogue
- Implementation of quest objective
Chest locations and interesting platforming implemented:
Interesting dialogue when dusk and dawn meet in ice puzzle:
Hide and seek gem puzzle:
Integration of additional art assets and animations:
Tutorial village level for dusk and dawn with dialogue:
- Can talk to elder
- Elder gives 1 gem to dawn
- Dawn is able to progress up tower
- Switch to dusk and do same
Final demo(April 1):
- Gather feedback and polish game
- Final cutscene
- Intro cutscene
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