The Dappled Forest was a lesson in game design for me. Between Ban-Na and the end of this game jam, I learnt a lot about scope, and how to let go of your own ideas!
The theme for the Jam was duality, and in an early design group chat, we spouted many ideas about perspective and a platformer type game where light and shadow determine what can and can’t hurt you.
Inspired by Over The Garden Wall, we initially wanted to tell a tale of a lost child. Trapped in a strange giant tree within a forest they would meet strange characters in the form of forest animals. Ultimately they would need to try and escape.
In the end, however, we see a very different game. A child runs around attempting to avoid monsters while remaining in either darkness or light to score points, and my role changed to writing character voice lines. Am I bitter? A little for sure, but that’s the nature of the game jam. My utterly BRILLIANT idea would have been too large for a team of five. And we only had a week and a half to complete it.
Instead, I created a page of barks for the child to say during the game. One of our teammate’s young kids did an outstanding job (I see an Emmy in their future) and a few of my lines got implemented into the game. Am I still proud? Absolutely!
Here are the voice lines for anyone interested. My aim was to capture the experience of a child, and how children interact with danger in a very different way to adults. If anyone would like to play, you can find the game here.