UAT Article on Delirium

7 Oct

The following is an article written by fellow UAT student, Andrew Moursund. It was featured on the University of Advancing Technology’s intranet in October of 2011.

 

 

Game Design student Pralie Dutzel has her work cut out for her now that her new XNA game project is in production. The game’s title isDelirium, and it is billed as a 2D horror-platformer with a unique visual style. The project is being run through Professor David Wessman’s special topics class, SPT323, and Dutzel hopes to have the game finished and up for sale on Xbox Live by the end of the fall semester.

The game involves an aging man moving through his rotting house and going to bed. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a demented dream world and is forced to confront his fears and inner demons, one by one. The journey will be mysterious and introspective, but the team is not divulging further specifics. It is confirmed, however, that some environments will include the twisted dream version of the house, a lonely forest, and a prison camp.

This marks the first time Dutzel has led a whole development team, but she will be aided by lead artist William Tate and lead programmer Brian Hartong.

Tate has been handed quite a bit of freedom to determine the art style of the game, having been given the broad directive not to make it “monochrome” and “grungy.” He has settled on a style that he describes as “crazy, vibrant, acid trip, color splash everywhere mixed with heavy, thick, comic-style black lines.” His work on this project is inspired by the art of Alex Pardee, known for his use of full color and bold lines in his surrealistic and horrific scenes. Tate’s other major responsibility is making sure that the artists under him are producing work that is consistent with the overall style of the game.

“I paid close attention to the last art lead that I was under, who was Zach Robinson [on Trade Secret]. I paid a lot of attention to how he ran things,” says Tate. “I haven’t been this confident in a project in a while.”

“I definitely wanted to do something different,” Dutzel says about the art style. “Most horror games you see, even 2D ones, they’re very, very dark monochrome, and it’s kind of boring. I mean, I don’t understand why something can’t be colorful but still terrifying.”

Dutzel seems very confident in her abilities to lead this team and bring the project from conception to completion. She’s been writing horror fiction for around 8 years and currently holds a position at an educational games studio called Singapore Math. This is a project she’s had in mind for about a year, but only now saw the right set of circumstances and talent to begin putting it together. There have been some rough patches near the start, as she and the other leads learned who is reliable and taught new members how to use Assembla, a project management suite, but she is sure those difficulties are behind the team.

“This is my first project, like actual full-blown game project, that I’ve been [the] lead on. It’s pretty interesting,” Dutzel beams. “I’ve learned a lot already.”

– Story by Andrew Moursund

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