The Spirits of Bluebirch Forest (Late 2018)
The Spirits of Bluebirch Forest is a small and cute passion project I made for the Harvest Bitsy Jam in September 2018.
[Quick summary: I use my knowledge of visual communication to convey space and narrative, and to highlight interactions to the player within a new and limited engine. I practice scoping small for a tiny game.]
In this game, the player is a little forest spirit who wanders into a farm during the autumn harvest, and finds many gifts waiting for them. Bitsy's tiny editor challenged me to think carefully about composition and communication. How does the player know where to go, what to do, and what they can interact with?
I decided on a left to right approach re: navigation to keep it simple - fences and trees ensure that this is obvious. Interactable objects 'blink' with 2 interchanging frames to get the player's attention, and I also used recognisable symbols like arrows and targets. Characters who can be talked to either had simple 2-frame animations like waving hands, or were otherwise placed directly in the player's path.
The game's story takes place from afternoon to sundown, so each new location has a different colour palette to show the passing of time. The world of Spirits is a small one, but by using the interactable fruits and vegetables to insert flavour text, I was able to write quite a lot of lore into the game. This was also the most fun part of making the game!
Nearly all of the games I'd made before this were university projects, where development spanned several months. For this game, I had a week to make the submission deadline, and a much smaller, more limited engine than what I was used to. The most useful and simple tool for this was a to-do list. It allowed me to see every idea and task I had in one space, and made it easier to sort between what was necessary, and what was nice to have.