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Greg Rice

Black Lake: Voting Discussion Thread

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Have you heard of the Baku ? I quote Wikipedia :
Baku (獏 or 貘?) are Japanese supernatural beings that devour dreams and nightmares. (...)

The traditional Japanese nightmare-devouring baku originates in Chinese folklore and was familiar in Japan as early as the Muromachi period (14th-15th century). (...) An early 17th century Japanese manuscript, the Sankai Ibutsu (山海異物), describes the baku as a shy, Chinese mythical chimera with an elephant’s trunk, rhinoceros eyes, an ox tail, and tiger paws, which protected against pestilence and evil, although eating nightmares was not included among its abilities. However, in a 1791 Japanese wood-block illustration, a specifically dream-destroying baku is depicted with an elephant’s head, tusks, and trunk, with horns and tiger’s claws.

Seems like something you could use, don't you think ? :)

Come on people, this game just HAS to see the light of day. :)

Ok, Wow! You folks are on fire with the posts today!

Weird thing here, I think I wrote this into the game before I knew about it. More feathers on mine but Wow. Maybe Baku's been feasting on my dreams and taking parts of my soul and memories with him. I was saving that one but that was too coincidental. Thanks for the post!

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I think that might be ok

That’s totally OK. Any game stating “Lucid dreaming” or “Astral projection” in it’s description and correctly delivering those features (of course there will be trade offs for game play reasons :( ) is automatically on my wish list.

Even more, it automatically would support your ideas like there are these evil “beings”, shadow creatures, not constrained by physical laws, in the dreamworld or astral plane, which have suck up on animals and are making them angry/unhappy/aggressive, taking away their life energy and feeding on their suffer to get bigger and stronger and protagonist wants to destroy them/ put them back in realm of darkness/lower energy and free them for some reason he has but we don’t know. And close some kind of portal through which they come into that world which opened because of some some evil deed with a lot of evil thoughts/energy put into it.

That supports the design of them too, as they take "form" of animals they have attached to.

But they still have some tiny piece “of being good” inside them, just it has been crushed by fear and sufferings they have gone through themselves. Freed from that injustice they could even turn into helping beings/spirits.

That would also support idea of extending one sense over other, because You can focus just that much, but if You focus on single thing You can be better on that, than when splitting Your focus. That makes things even scientifically correct.

Additionally You wouldn’t need any sort of ritual to get to that realm (well in case of Lucid dreaming You need to sleep :) ) And it would release the potential of interaction from “physical world” constraints.

Additionally You could put protagonists fears against him in form of things that it fears the most like if it is afraid that someone could follow it in it’s journey, There could always be something following all the time in back, somewhere in shadows, and near lake protagonist could need to kill last shadows, his own fears, to be able to close the portal.

A bit of my point, why I mentioned that :)

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Anybody heard of the artist Ben Baldwin? If not then I really recommend checking him out. He has done some really cool stuff that implements humanlike forms in nature.

This one hangs above my television.

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@ Crystal Indigo

You get the game completely!

I used the term Evil in my pitch video but that's super generic. It's more a journey of Creative Thought (Dreaming) vs Fear/Stagnant thought (which causes destruction). As a player you'll do more creating and repairing than burning and looting. Might have to take a few nightmarishly transformed creatures out of their misery though. But you'll feel bad after the fact because they used to be cool creatures that you would have liked to hang out with.

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Might have to take a few nightmarishly transformed creatures out of their misery though. But you'll feel bad after the fact because they used to be cool creatures that you would have liked to hang out with.

That's O.K. Sad things are bad only when they have no meaning :)

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@ Crystal Indigo

You get the game completely!

I used the term Evil in my pitch video but that's super generic. It's more a journey of Creative Thought (Dreaming) vs Fear/Stagnant thought (which causes destruction). As a player you'll do more creating and repairing than burning and looting. Might have to take a few nightmarishly transformed creatures out of their misery though. But you'll feel bad after the fact because they used to be cool creatures that you would have liked to hang out with.

Oh my goodness, I want this game.

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@AnAnemoneInAnonymity

That is one epicly great post! Good choices. Man! Bone sounds great. I never knew it had those themes going on in it. I'm for sure going to check it out now that I read that huge awesome spoiler. I'm working out mechanics right now that involve going into a sleep state and having your dream self pour out of your own ears or nose. This etherial dream version of you can interact with dream elements that your physical self can't. Something like mending (weaving or sewing) damaged sections of dreams back together. Thanks again for the great reference!

No worries. The spoiler bit in the post really only spoils a few important elements of the world lore that you otherwise wouldn't find out until WAY later in the novels, but there is still a lot of cool lore there that my post doesn't spoil, and Jeff Smith's art and writing in that series are just phenomenal. I'd recommend it for the characters alone.

You really wouldn't think the series had this darker side if you just read a bit out of the first novel, or perhaps played a certain video game spin off about a cow race. That would be like if your only knowledge of Lord of The Rings was the shire.

Probably the best way to think of bone is Lord of The Rings meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It sounds crazy on the surface, but it just gets better and better and better as it goes along. One of the most inspiring works of fiction/art I own. Hope you can find a copy!

The more I read your ideas for how the real world and dream world affect each other and how the player will be able to play with it, the more it reminds me of the Veni Yan Cari. You're totally safe, though, because there are differences. *avoids further spoiling* ^_^

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FolkTale Inspiration

Anyone have a favorite dark folktale they really like? Maybe something Disney ended up turning into a brightly colored musical? Russia's got some good stuff!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Yaga

Russian Fairytales are always good. Snegurochka, and the two stories on Jim Henson's The Storyteller(The Soldier and Death, and The Luck Child) are probably the other major ones to bring up.

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I think I'm with everyone else in the confusion why this game isn't doing better! Why isn't this game in the top four(or it wasn't on the first day of voting)? The idea, especially with the mention of Lovecraft, has me so sold on this game, I WANT THIS GAME.

TIM MAKE THIS GAME. I would so buy it.

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BlackLake Prototype flow

BlackArt for BlackFriday.

These are visual brainstorm doodles I just did while drinking coffee and eating a muffin.

Thanks for the support everyone!

ProtoFlow.jpg

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Looks good. Especially the "sneaky fox" frame. :D I really wish for this game to see light. I actually almost built the whole "my version of" storyline yesterday before going to sleep, from the reason why, to the end. That's a bit too far for non-existing game xD Thanks for giving Your valuable time to this concept.

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Come on now! This game has to be made! Just imagine how it could be exploring this mystical forest and the dreams of its animals. Can an idea be more awesome?

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It sounds really cool in a Shadow of the Colossus sort of way. SotC was really a game about two things:

1) Find the creature.

2) Defeat the creature.

This game seems to be on track for a similar sort of experience, but with distinctive differences. In SotC, pathfinding was sometimes difficult, but really the only tracking method you had was your world map and the shine off your sword. In Black Lake, though, you'll be able to actually track via clues, and you're not so much "killing" them when you find them as much as you are sort of... absolving them? Best word I could think of.

I like the idea of standing in the forest, thinking to myself that I need to find that Wendigo, and then instead of holding a sword to the sky for it to point me in the general direction, I start looking around for scratches on tree bark, or for broken branches, or for tracks.

I wonder... would you have to track all creatures in a sequence, like SotC? Or could you find them in any order?

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It sounds really cool in a Shadow of the Colossus sort of way. SotC was really a game about two things:

1) Find the creature.

2) Defeat the creature.

I would like to expand upon this by stating that this entire process was underscored by the inherent melancholy of the hero's actions in SotC. Often the creatures he killed were beautiful, generally undeserving of death, and this conflict was not only germane but integral to the narrative. In Black Lake the hunt cannot simply be a matter of bandaging wounds, but bandaging knives as well (in the Beuys-ian sense).

There must always be the question of the hunter's position : whether it is hunter/hunted, or whether it is hunter vs things that should not be hunted, or (and this is the trickiest to pull off) whether a hunt is a solution to any problem. Example : Hunter vs wolf. 1. Is the wolf hunting me or am I hunting it ? 2. Should I kill a adult wolf and spare a baby wolf or just kill all wolves? 3. Why am I hunting the first place ? Is it my place to be killing wolves?

To summarize : lets not make it just a hunting game.

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Seriously, Double Fine, you HAVE to develop this game, whether it is in the top 4 or not. This idea is so great ! It has so much potential !

If you wanna be sure players would be interested, it could totally be your second Kickstarter campaign, once Double Fine Adventure is finished. I, for one, would support a game like this in a blink.

Tim, come over here, we have to talk !

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It sounds really cool in a Shadow of the Colossus sort of way. SotC was really a game about two things:

1) Find the creature.

2) Defeat the creature.

I would like to expand upon this by stating that this entire process was underscored by the inherent melancholy of the hero's actions in SotC. Often the creatures he killed were beautiful, generally undeserving of death, and this conflict was not only germane but integral to the narrative. In Black Lake the hunt cannot simply be a matter of bandaging wounds, but bandaging knives as well (in the Beuys-ian sense).

There must always be the question of the hunter's position : whether it is hunter/hunted, or whether it is hunter vs things that should not be hunted, or (and this is the trickiest to pull off) whether a hunt is a solution to any problem. Example : Hunter vs wolf. 1. Is the wolf hunting me or am I hunting it ? 2. Should I kill a adult wolf and spare a baby wolf or just kill all wolves? 3. Why am I hunting the first place ? Is it my place to be killing wolves?

To summarize : lets not make it just a hunting game.

Good point, I don't get the impression that your concers are valid here since the plan is for the player to "repair" the dreams of the animals. This description comes to mind: "Animals may be having nightmares in which their dead family members, killed by your father, need to be put to rest by firing bullets out of them back into his gun."

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I'm really digging this concept so far. It's like Pan's Labyrinth, Spirited Away, Okami, Little Red Riding Hood, and H.P. Lovecraft came together for a really freaky orgy, the result of which ended up being this awesome lovechild who came out of the womb soloing on an electric guitar or playing spoons or something.

...

Okay, so that was a really bizarre analogy, but I meant it in the best way possible.

Anyway, one idea I'd like to see implemented would be secret areas, non-essential to the game as whole, that tell a micro-story on their own. I know there's going to be a lot of that already going from one dream state to the next, but I'm speaking more along the lines of secret caverns. Like maybe you find a small hole next to a tree, one that you wouldn't necessary find if you weren't exploring, and it turns out that the hole leads to a small cavern that someone had previously taken shelter in. Within the this little den maybe the previous occupant left a few items that might hint about who that person was, what they were doing there, etc. Maybe an ancestor or someone directly linked to whatever's happening at the center of Black Lake? Each little hidden area you find along the way might further fill in the pieces on this enigmatic person or the larger back story as a whole. Or maybe a side-story? Not entirely relevant to the main plot, but related in some tangible way.

I think that may be an interesting device to expound certain non-essential story elements in a fashion that avoids too much hand-holding while simultaneously rewarding the player with a sense of discovery -- like they found something secret that maybe no one else knew about. Some of my favorite moments in games such as the Legend of Zelda were always finding the secrets areas; places you might only find by chance or real exploration. Sadly, the potential these areas possess never seem to be truly taken advantage of. So much more can be done with the idea than just hiding an empty room with a few pots full of rupees.

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Good point, I don't get the impression that your concers are valid here since the plan is for the player to "repair" the dreams of the animals. This description comes to mind: "Animals may be having nightmares in which their dead family members, killed by your father, need to be put to rest by firing bullets out of them back into his gun."

I appreciate your description, I think that would be an interesting direction to take the story in ; the daughter redeeming her father's actions. However, I'm also wary of the preachy environmental narrative - hunting is a natural part of human existence and its not something we should feel guilty about I feel (overhunting , yes, but hunting for necessity is fine)

The only reason I voice my concern is that I think every game experience must include moments of reflection and self doubt (ie "why am I participating in this reality?")- in this case the hunt is what is questioned. In gaming terms, this can manifest itself in monster that try to dissuade you from the hunt/cleansing, or monsters that ask for your forgiveness. I would love to see a nightmare ask you (in a convincing fashion) : "why is the killing of animals wrong but the killing of nightmares right ?"

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Good point, I don't get the impression that your concers are valid here since the plan is for the player to "repair" the dreams of the animals. This description comes to mind: "Animals may be having nightmares in which their dead family members, killed by your father, need to be put to rest by firing bullets out of them back into his gun."

I appreciate your description, I think that would be an interesting direction to take the story in ; the daughter redeeming her father's actions. However, I'm also wary of the preachy environmental narrative - hunting is a natural part of human existence and its not something we should feel guilty about I feel (overhunting , yes, but hunting for necessity is fine)

The only reason I voice my concern is that I think every game experience must include moments of reflection and self doubt (ie "why am I participating in this reality?")- in this case the hunt is what is questioned. In gaming terms, this can manifest itself in monster that try to dissuade you from the hunt/cleansing, or monsters that ask for your forgiveness. I would love to see a nightmare ask you (in a convincing fashion) : "why is the killing of animals wrong but the killing of nightmares right ?"

Yeah I don't see going in this direction helping the underlying story, as the aim is for the daughter to make it to the Black Lake where all the darkness that has enveloped the animals originates. If I were to guess an underlying theme it would be closer to her own fears and through what she knows(hunting) to track down these fears, and overcoming them by finally facing off against her darkest fear(the Black Lake). Past that it's hard to pinpoint what he will give to her as fears to overcome. Perhaps her father drowned in the lake, and it's haunting effects still plague her?

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Seriously, Double Fine, you HAVE to develop this game, whether it is in the top 4 or not. This idea is so great ! It has so much potential !

If you wanna be sure players would be interested, it could totally be your second Kickstarter campaign, once Double Fine Adventure is finished. I, for one, would support a game like this in a blink.

Tim, come over here, we have to talk !

I second this. I would totally help fund a Kickstarter campaign for this if it doesn't make it in the top four.

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I'm really digging this concept so far. It's like Pan's Labyrinth, Spirited Away, Okami, Little Red Riding Hood, and H.P. Lovecraft came together for a really freaky orgy, the result of which ended up being this awesome lovechild who came out of the womb soloing on an electric guitar or playing spoons or something.

...

Okay, so that was a really bizarre analogy, but I meant it in the best way possible.

I don't know, that sounds sexy to me...

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Just wanted to say this is my favorite game on the current list. Here's hoping Tim opens it up to 5 or 6 like Jane said he has done in previous years. In the meantime here's hoping it cracks the Top 4.

"Previously people will pitch their ideas to Tim, and then Tim determines which ideas (around 4-6) the company as a whole will pursue in those 2 weeks. I actually don’t know how many Tim usually shoots down"- Found in the "Was Opening Amnesia Fortnight A Good Idea?" forum.

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I think the *official* plan is to prototype the top 4 choices, but the thing to keep in mind is that they are just going to prototype them. It's not necessarily a guarantee that they will make it all the way to being purchasable games. For example, DF has never made a space simulation game before. Suppose they start playing around with Space Base and decide that maybe they're not sure they're ready to pursue that one just yet. That would leave a slot open for one of the four, in which case they could choose to try out #5 or #6.

I don't know that that's how they actually do it, but it seems like the natural thing to do.

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I agree with Anemone, I hope that if this is out of the top 4 then it will get created anyway.

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I'll be sad if this won't make it in top 4 :(

The art really impressed me and the gameplay ideas sound neat!

I hope it will be considered even if it doesn't make it in top 4!

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Vertical art should help us get to thread page 5 quicker.

TaliaFox.jpg

As will quoting vertical art! I do think it looks awesome though so it's ok.

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Vertical art should help us get to thread page 5 quicker.

As will quoting vertical art! I do think it looks awesome though so it's ok.

Ha! I new that was gonna happen!

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