Design of the environment level ‘The Roots’

Story driven presentation for the standalone environment. Made in Unity. 2017.

The plot is a person visits an abandoned cabin in the woods wrecked by the roots of the giant tree.

Objectives

  • To make standalone environment from scratch;
  • To complete the project within 10 days following the schedule;
  • to gain experience of creating levels in Unity;
  • to share the whole process of developing.

Development process

The idea was to find inspiration in some gloomy atmospheric references to create horror environment with some background story. Here is the schedule:

02.02.2017 – Day 1: The concept
03.02.2017 – Day 2: Blocking out level
04.02.2017 – Day 3-5: Refining and modeling
07.02.2017 – Day 6-7: Texturing
09.02.2017 – Day 8-9: Lighting, FX, polishing
11.02.2017 – Day 10: Release

Project purposes
Design and complete the project within the deadline. Improve texturing, lighting and vfx skills in Unity. Design experience of the story. Add the project to the portfolio.

Restrictions
Develop a small level based on a few custom assets with no gameplay within 10 days.

Level type
Standalone environment. Output: video presentation.

Idea
Forgotten cabin in the woods wrapped by a massive tree.

Story
Main character found human bones in the basement where the family was trapped in the struggle against the tree that attacked the cabin.

Interactive (extra)
By pressing W button player moves through the environment revealing what happened from first person. Like in The Walking Dead’s QTE.
Player reaches the basement and removes the roots bloking the entrance by frequently pushing E. The root knocks him down. Fade out.
Extra: Night. Player is hanging from the tree at the backyard. Looks around untill focuses on the fuel barrels in the store. Root tangling his face. Fade out.

Atmosphere
Foggy morning. Diffuse ambient lighting, desaturated sun beams appear through branches. Colors are from cold blue to pale yellow. The environment feels like being frozen in time and out of place. Early autumn. Rare sounds of wind moving leafs and trees creeks through the silence. Dust and the roots rule inside the cabin.
Extra: Night. Deep blue to swarm green colors. Evil awakens – moving roots are everywhere.

Memorable features
Look of the old cabin strongly tangled by the massive tree.
Feeling of unrevealed and lost in time tragedy. Mystical touches at the start of the exploration turning to horror at the outcome.

References

Initial scheme

Rough sketch

Main structures

The environment and texturing

Atmosphere, lighting, postFX

Final shots