While playing with the environment settings I came up with this moody atmosphere. Like many things, it was born from a bug (in this case, the sun intensity stayed at zero, even when it shouldn’t have). The fog has a brighter color than the ambient, giving the scenery this unreal feel. I don’t quite know, where the vertical stripes come from, but I have to reproduce them conciously and use them.
Exhibiting a game in a pleasing way is a challenge. When you put a monitor on a table, the atmosphere is basically that of an office.
I recently had the opportunity to exhibit Mundaun for the “Werkbeiträge Applied Arts 2018” in Lucerne. I was very lucky when, during the preparations, I found a nice old chest of drawers. At first, I wanted to just exhibit some drawings of Mundaun on it. Then it hit me. Why not exhibit the game itself inside one of the drawers? It fits thematically and visually and makes the exhibit appealing to non-gamers as well.
The feel of playing the game which was almost laying on the floor, while standing up, was quite interesting. Quite immersive, if a bit dizzying.
I had to drill and saw a hole in the back for the cables. There were loudspeakers in the middle drawer. The resulting sound resonated interestingly through the wood. Plus there was some room for additional display materials on top and in the upper drawers, making for a nice well-integrated display of Mundaun as a game as well as a project and process.
In addition to the chest of drawers with the playable game, there was a table with sketch- and notebooks of the Mundaun project. Hidden in one of the drawers was a tablet with a making of and the trailer running in a loop. This gave me the idea of putting displays into drawers in the first place.
On the walls, I put quite a large selection of the original pencil drawings, which are the source of all the textures of Mundaun.
I wanted to add a puzzle involving a pattern on a wall with some missing bricks. You would then have to find them and insert them the right way. The two bricks are the same, so it doesn’t matter which goes where. But they can be rotated in 90 degree steps and have to be inserted with the correct orientation.
Can you solve it?
Nobody except me, the designer, could solve it without some substantial hints. As I don’t want obtuse logic puzzles blocking the way and disrupting the flow senselessly, I decided to take another route.
The player now has to find three distinct bricks and place them in that wall to open a door. It’s not a logic puzzle anymore, but a way to block the way for the player in an intriguing way until she has all three bricks. As they visually complete the wall painting, putting them in is satisfying.
Of course I kind of liked the original logic puzzle but having it in the game adds little, while at the same time potentially frustrating players into giving up or looking up the solution. It’s either unsolvable if you don’t see the right pattern or very easy if you see it.
To accentuate the hand-pencilled aesthetic of Mundaun, some 2D visual effects are animated frame-by-frame. In this case, it is a painting by Giovanni, the sinister artist of Mundaun. The things he paints seem to become reality.
The process: An initial pencil drawing is scanned. Parts of the drawing are then erased and redrawn for the next frame, which is then also scanned. This is repeated for all the frames. This process has the advantage that only part of the image has to be redrawn and the smudged quality of the resulting sequence also perfectly fits how a painter would move paint around on a canvas.
The images are then alternated in quick succession in the Unity engine, resulting in the painting coming to life.
A piece on Mundaun that was shown on Telesguard (Rumantsch / Swiss-German)
Visual inspiration is vital to create the world of Mundaun with its many details. While looking through an old book with beautiful photos of chapels, a focused ray of morning light came through the studio window. I took some photos of the pages and in some of them, it almost seems that the ray is part of the image…
In Mundaun, the player is able to drive a Muli. It’s a hay loader vehicle that collects hay that has been scattered across the hills. The Muli is a means of transport to get to different sections of the mountainous world but also a loyal companion to the player. For example, if the vehicle is lost or unreachable, you can recall it with a small toy version from your inventory. It will flash its lights to guide you to it.
I’ve been working on making the Muli more interesting and dynamic. It now has a radio, which will play all the songs you have discovered and collected from radios across the game world. Those collectable songs are only one of many things that motivate the player of Mundaun to explore thouroughly and have a peek in every building and corner. When entering the Muli, hay fork and rifle are stashed on the hood of the vehicle and hung behind the player. Where you go, your tools go.
Another thing I have added to the Muli is a gauge that shows how full the hay compartment is, so the player can see how much more he has to collect. I had this neat idea, that the needle of the display is a miniature Muli that will slide over a background of hay and seem to get fuller and fuller (left). It’s fine when looked at from close but doesn’t really work in the context of the game as it lacks quick readability. I went with a much clearer design (right) that is readable at a glance while the player mostly has to concentrate on driving the Muli.
A time-lapse of drawing the textures for the hay gauge.
A small extra video: I love how sinister the Muli looks with its headlights on in the dark. The radio is backlit and provides some musical comfort in these dark times.
I’m obsessed with details. They make a game world believable and real, no matter how out there it otherwise is. I’m especially fond of coming up with fictional brands. This is an ammo box for Mundaun of the brand “Drei Herren”, which roughly translates to three gents. As ammo should be sparse, one box only contains three bullets. Hence the name.