Alice in the Forgotten Lands is an ambitious epic fantasy adventure VR game. It will take the player though an unforgettable journey and experiences, with high regard for realistic and surreal visuals, animations, and gameplay.
Note: All the images and clips from the video are real-time captures of the characters, and landscapes, in the Unity game engine.
Start of the Story
Above the clouds lies a small platform of land floating in a peaceful matter in the endless space were time does not exist. It is home to three very well-known characters, Alice, the White Rabbit, and the Dormouse.
Scared and worried the rabbit decides to quickly take a hold of a new book that appeared on the tea table in front of him. As he does this Alice awakens from her sleep and is intrigued to why the Rabbit is acting so strange. As the cinematic camera transitions, the player will find themselves as Alice in first person. The player questions the Rabbit as to why he is so terrified, to which the rabbit will tell them that the book that he has, Forgotten Lands, holds a terrible secret. He tells them that the book is magical and who ever starts to read it will materialize in the stories along with everyone they know, and be trapped in there forever, unless they get to the end of the story by finding the pages in the book’s world. The rabbit also tells the player, Alice, that no one has ever seen or knows the writer of the cursed book.
Curiosity takes over Alice, not believing the rabbit, and the player now in control tries to take the book form the rabbit. Once they success. The player will be warned by the rabbit one last time before they finally open the book, to find all but the first page blank. As the player focuses on the first page Alice wakes up in a very surrealistic and odd world of the first chapter of the book, the start of the adventure.
The game is based on stories and characters of fairy tales and mythologies. But with a dark epic fantasy theme. Although the characters are from different well-known tales (public domain), they will be interconnected in the main plot. The landscapes along with the characters will change throughout the chapters of the Forgotten Lands.
At first, I started to develop the game as a learning process of game development, but with improvements and by learning new tools it started to look amazing, and I had to make this a full video game project. I wanted all the characters to be unique with a quality that the public will remember in their lifetime. And with VR we have the possibility to create never seen before gameplay styles.
Style of Visual Art
The art style had to be like the colorful fairytale feel that one would normally picture when reading these types of stories. But since the game had dark elements we also wanted the art direction to be beautifully eye catching, with a haunting surreal elegance. Since in this project we wanted the characters to be movie like and different from other video games, we focused on the creatures and characters first. Each character in Alice had to have its own personality and features. We did a variety of concept artworks and took information from public domain stories in order to find the right characteristics for each one of them.
The White Rabbit was our defining character for the rest of the game. Due to his very unique features that will easily be remembered by the public, and the perfect mix of dark surrealism with the classical fairytale look. To create these good quality 3D characters, we experimented with many types of materials, animations, and shaders inside of Unity. Most of the visual work on the characters was modified and improved directly in the game engine.
Optimization is very important to us, so we made sure that most of the characters have less than eight thousand polygons. By keeping a low number of polygons, we can use more computer resources on more important features of the game like real-time kinematic animations.
The environment style was later based on the characters that lived in that location. We matched the environment to the characters color and feel to keep visual harmony. The same dark surreal look for the world of the Forgotten Lands was kept throughout the chapters.
Style of animation
Animation is a very critical part of our project. Unlike other types of games, we wanted the animation to be very realistic and movie like. Having realistic and dynamic animations helps the player feel a greater sense of emersion in VR.
Style of gameplay
Because we believe that VR is the future of video games, we decided to create Alice in the Forgotten Lands for this platform. One of the things we like about virtual reality is that it is very new, and we are able to create never seen before gameplay. To keep immersion the game will be in first person. The player will be presented with a variety of quests and puzzles, some will contain a lot of action, others will require the player to think. Since the game is an adventure RPG we will give the player the freedom to change the outcomes of how they decided to solve the quest. The reason that we decided to make this game part RPG is so that each player can have their own experience and choices when playing the game. It becomes more personal to the player.