Thursday, 21 February 2013

Loch Maiden - Intro and concept sketches

A world where kilt eating monsters strive to win the heart of their Loch Maiden.

I have been coming up with ideas for short films, games and environments over the last few years that have all been lots of fun to think through and work on the concept sketches and other elements. Well I am adding another one to the mix, and it has held my attention for an entire sketchbook worth of doodles, drawings, rules, mechanics, writing and more over the last month or so. Welcome to Loch Dreagan!

The whole idea is a board game where players take on the role of a monster trying to win the heart of a stunning, yet fickle female Loch Monster in competition with your fellow Monsters. Over this courtship period you will need to deal with events and obstacles from whirlpools to rampaging Scottish longboats. By the time the fair maiden monster makes up her mind, the suiters will all be hugely long and doubtless upsetting the local villages to the point of bringing their war parties upon you all.

You can see by all the concept sketches that there is lots of variety in the monsters themselves and that enhances the narrative logic of the game. Each monster will have traits and afflictions evolve through the game as they try to complete the females ‘desires’ for trinkets, dessert, displays of power and rare gifts. Your monster must navigate Loch Dreagan to get hunt down what she desires and that keeps changing…

The concept sketch compilations below have been quite a few ideas explored which included a more ocean faring version with pirates, reefs, merchant vessels and Krakens – but we are back on track with the nice Scottish tartans, bagpipes and accents. The board should be very appealing, with the monsters wriggling above and below the water in classic Loch Ness fashion. This was actually the initial spark from which all the other ideas and game mechanics have flowed now and it should look groovy with multiple monsters and other game elements all writhing about on one board. I will go into the mechanics of how Desires, Energy Tokens, Growth, Events and the AI are looking in later posts as they really do need more work.

One of the factors that gives this board game project extra legs is that the look’n’feel and narrative translate very well into crafting digital trailers and short filmic pieces that can hopefully be used to complete my COFA MDM degree (finally!) I envisage that a little tale from the perspective of a struggling Loch Monster and true love would make a fun little story and serve as a trailer for the game itself. The tech for such a thing could be just 3ds Max with rendering straight from there, or bringing those assets into CryEngine to develop skills in that platform as well. 3D printing is another obvious link to that digital 3D modelling side as the board pieces should work quite nicely with the resolution of very approachable devices – how cool will that be.

So here are the pencil concept pieces so far – roughly reverse-chronological order if that shows the evolution of the ideas (note these are compiled from lotsa separate pages with only a sketch or two per A5, just in case you were wondering about the composition):

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