Over the past semester, Robyn Gray and I have steadily been working on our Intermediate Game Development project, The Ballad of Tam Lin. We’ve been invited to show our game at a few shows including TEDxUSC and SCA’s own First Look festival. We’ve received comments that the game is surprisingly polished for a project completed in 2-3 months. This came down to good audiovisual design, scoping our project well, and playing to the strengths we knew we had as designers and developers.
As the programmer for Tam Lin, I’d like to talk about how we achieved the layered paper cutout look for our game from an implementation perspective. I remember someone mentioning that very often when using art and design tools such as Unity – and even with many professional-level tools – there are residual tells which indicate that the end product was made using those tools. We aimed from the start to create a distinctive visual aesthetic for our game, and we went to great lengths to achieve a look and feel that was unique to our game. A number of people who played our game during playtests, showcases and galleries commented that they appreciated the distinct visual style we presented in Tam Lin. I’ll explain some of the techniques I used to achieve this style.