I find the way I pursue ideas to be a bit odd. It’s not that I lack them, but more that I have too many and do poorly with focusing on just one to turn into something real. While the idea may change in the future, here’s my current thought.
The game is untitled so far, but focuses on being more an experience with a serious undertone than a traditional obtain-all-the-points game. The topic I am most considering (and most cautious of) approaching is mental illness, specifically its affect on those afflicted and those they come into contact with. The player plays the role of an empathetic, auric wanderer, roaming a foggy world with people appearing every once in a while through the mist. These people will have various emotional states and afflictions, able to be seen by the wanderer. For various encounters, the player will have a choice to adopt the mental state of the person encountered, to share the current mental state with them in hopes it can help, or to let them pass by. These choices will have various effects on the person, and will have a cumulative effect on how the game world is viewed from the player’s eyes.
Core game elements of this experience will be visual and sound. The player will inhabit a world of mist and fog, with little visibility in the beginning of the game. Characters (and the emotions they hold) will be seen primarily by the auras that surround them (a colored haze, color dependent upon the emotion in question) and heard by a sound attributed to each emotion. The player acting to change an emotional state will result in change of this tune, and visible auric change in the NPC with which the interaction is taking place. The question of ambient music still remains, but the beginning tone is likely to be soft and more acoustic, with louder contrast provided by the proximity of NPCs. The player will possess their own soundtrack as choices are made, which can change based on subsequent decisions.
While the idea is still being added to and changed, it is here that I will draw the description to a close. As the game is refined, more posts will be added. To be honest, creating a game that has the potential to address mental health is a bit daunting. I intend on visiting various university departments (Talley and Psych) for insight into how best portray the topic, and to the music department for how to approach sound in this context. This will be supplemented by online research into the nature of empathy and auric perception, and by pursuit of written and documentary sources through the library and internet.