Game / Level designer
Made in 2018 (3 month project)
Group of 3 team members
Created with Unity
Themes: Music | Nature | Puzzle
Pitch: A long time ago, the botanical world of Swan lived in harmony with music. However, it has now lost its melody, decomposing all the flora. Only the robot J³ can bring back nature’s chant with his musical box by bringing it to the broadcast tower.
Selected for the Hits Playtime 2018 edition, Phyllon is a 3D puzzle-platformer game. J³, the robot which embodies the player, is activated by a passing animal. He recalls the purpose of his mission: to bring a musical box to a broadcast tower located far away.
With the help of it, he can orchestrate Nature’s behaviour by playing different music styles. Each style affects in its own way the behaviour of a plant, which allows him to reach new boundaries by orchestrating them. It is by being a real conductor that J³ will be able to overcome the challenges that hinders his journey.
Mostly a linear game, the player encounters on his way diverse puzzle situations that he needs to solve in order to progress. Sometimes, some puzzles also challenge the player on his precision and dexterity, hence the platformer aspect of the game. A contemplative aspect emerges to allow the player to venture into the world of Swan without being pressured.
The controls of J³ are quite simple: he can move around, jump and switch the style of the music played (between calm, neutral and dynamic). We wanted to create a game playable by a large public.
The behavior of the plants playing a part in the puzzles was carefully designed so that they don't contradict each other at any moment and block the player. All of them behave in rhythm with the music and give a more or less significant effect depending on the style of the music (as an example, the bumping mushroom will allow J³ to jump to a greater height with a dynamic music rather than a calm one).
It is by studying the behavior of the encountered plants depending on the style of music played that the player can overcome the puzzles.
The world of Swan is a musical world. The flora loves to dance in rhythm with music and this can be felt through its design: cymbals can be found on the barks of trees instead of mushrooms, some trees have the shape of a harp, others the one of an accordion. Flowers look like bells from trumpets and so on...
Unfortunately, the world has lost its melody, as fauna and flora don't tune together in harmony anymore.
As the world is dying due to the lack of music, J³ has been created to change this.
J³'s mission is simple: to bring a musical box to a broadcast tower to save the world of Swan. As a robot, J³ has no emotions. Contrary to nature which behaves in rhythm with music, he can't feel it. Therefore, the player understands the unfortunate fate of J³ who through his journey, won't feel the emotions that he lives by restoring the flora of Swan.
Music transmits feelings. Therefore, by its music, Phyllon is our way to create awareness about how our neglect of Nature can perish the Earth (global warming, pollution...)
Phyllon was a project which was selected to be part of the HitsPlaytime 2018 edition, a french student game development contest. Unfortunately, we didn't win the first prize, but it was an interesting challenge to experience as we had to give our best in our free time to deliver an awesome game at the end. Every week, we were asked to send a #screenshotsaturday on our Facebook project page to show some progress. This allowed us to keep being motivated to work on the project and to stay on track!
Creating a puzzle game isn't an easy task. Indeed, the solution to a puzzle is clear for a designer, as he/she is the one working on it, but might be very difficult to understand for someone out of the project. Therefore, a lot of testing has to be done to see if the puzzles work. Also, designing/producing clear visual and sound feedback for the behavior of a plant, depending on the music style played, helps to better understand how to solve the puzzle.
What I've learned...