wow, it's gotten so pretty! Great job!! - Laure
A downloadable game
By Uti Azulay
Igualada River is an abstract, conceptual level inspired by Igualada Cemetery, near Barcelona. The cemetery’s floorplan, designed by Enric Miralles, is intended to mimic a river’s path, with winding roads that twist around one another. I took this metaphor and applied it to a more linear design, where the player starts at the bottom of a hill and weaves upwards until they reach a structure at the top. As they climb, they come across five obsidian graves, each with a human face on it, with each being cleaner and more beautiful than the last. During the climb, the player is intentionally denied any opportunities to look up or down the mountain--they can only barely see their final goal. This denial creates a sense of seclusion, contrasting strongly with the flat, open-air architecture of the buildings themselves. This subtle tension builds as the player climbs towards the top of the mountain and the level grows more claustrophobic, finally resolving at the very end when the player stands at the top and looks over everything they have traversed.
When developing this location, I made a few key changes to the original design in order to make it more conducive to a video game. The first was doing away with any nonlinearity and fixing the ideas to a more linear design. I also thought that presenting the player with hundreds of graves to look at would be distracting from the core idea of the level, so I decided to forego the format of the cemetery almost completely and instead put in the five graves. Another choice I made was to make the water metaphor more obvious by putting in sewer grates and water level erosion. This was strongly inspired by the GDC 2010 talk “What Happened Here” by Matthias Worch and Harvey Smith, where they show some great examples of how a lot of strong level design is characterised by environmental storytelling and leaving indexes of what happened before the player got there. This became of my biggest focuses as the project went on. Overall, I made the level more direct and conceptual as I designed it, as it didn’t have any practical function like a real cemetery.
I hope you enjoy it!