The Madness Project
Where your mind is your biggest enemy.
Apophenia is described as the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things. Pareidolia is a form of apophenia which is strictly tied to visual pattern recognition. This project aims to create and visualize a shifting environment utilizing pareidolia, paranoia and hallucinations as tools.
Innovation Claim: Witness your environment shift seamlessly according to your character's mental state.
"Mental State" refers to the level of sanity the character has. In other instances outside this project, this could refer to emotions such as happiness / sadness or the character's perception of the world based on their personality or choices.
In its simplest form, the project could be described as acting like a karma system that alters the state of the environment based on the inputs it receives. This allows for a more appealing visual cue for the user than only having UI that displays the information.
For this project, we visualized the following loop:
-> Lack of Sleep.
-> Recognizing pareidolia in the environment.
-> Rising insanity levels as a result of long exposure to pareidolia (paranoia).
-> Visual and Auditory "hallucinations" as a result of increased insanity.
Using this loop, we could better visualize the core part of the project: the shifting environment.
I started by creating the environment. Having an appropriate playground would be a key part to this project, as it would allow myself and whoever were to work with me in the future the ability to change anything and everything about the environment to suit the project.
I decided to create a 1800's "Farmhouse" environment. While the environment is named "Farmhouse", it doesn't actually have one yet. However, it features a barn based on the one my family owns. It features a menacing claw that swings back and forth, collapsed sections and fallen doors. It's surrounded by dense trees and has a small pond in the back. For a closer look, view the Farmhouse environment here.
From there, I used aspects already in the environment to concept ideas for how to implement the features I'd need to really bring the environment to life. Some of these concepts included playing with shadows, lighting, negative space, blend shapes, and a mix of a bunch of other things to really sell the idea of being in a changing environment.
We played with the following ideas once we got in engine:
- Blood Rain
- Skybox Lerping
- Monstrous Trees
- Camera Vingette
- Audio Intensity / Blending
- Post Processing alterations
- Fireflies that morph into eyes
- Changes in environment hue/tone
- Other miscellaneous ambient effects
Watch what we've accomplished below!