Released: January 9, 2015
Platform: Unity (webplayer)
Games that are made in this way have to be played and felt rather than written about. – Alpha Beta Gamer
The Sinking Feeling is a short audio-visual game made in seven days for the Music Video(game) Jam (which is a jam organized by James Cox). It was a collaboration (one of my precious few) with the inimitable and immensely talented Megan Turner and Elise Smorczewski. I did the coding and game construction and Megan and Elise did the art and animation (which is awesome). The game idea and story construction was a group effort.
The structure of the jam was thus:
- Choose one of the pre-selected songs on the jam page.
- Make a game in seven days in which the only audio is your selected song.
- The game must end when the song ends.
I used an audio plugin tool for Unity called Koreographer that allowed me to time events to the music – including scene changes, lightning flashes, flare flickers, and much more.
The game itself is a surreal short experience about a diver slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean and a young girl chasing a butterfly. The story ended up being a little more open to interpretation than I typically go in for, so spoilers ahead for those of you interested in a little more explanation.[**SPOILERS AHEAD**]
This takes a few logical leaps to get to this interpretation, but the story was intended thus: the little girl is chasing the butterfly. As she is doing so, she is constructing an elaborate fantasy for herself in which she is a deep-sea diver and biologist. The moments where you are playing as the diver are the moments during which she is fully immersed in her fantasy. This is why the controls carry over between game views – you’re always controlling both because they’re happening simultaneously. This is also why the gameplay switches back to just the child at the very end – the butterfly is caught and the fantasy is over.