Lux and the Shadowmaker is a computer game about light and shadows being developed by Constance Fleuriot as Pretty Digital. The plan is to make a VR version too for Oculus Rift. You can follow the development of the game on prettydigital.co.uk
It all starts when Lux is woken up by a finger of moonlight coming through the bedroom curtains at midnight, and goes outside to explore a moonlit landscape. There are magical creatures and trapped shadows to encounter, and a mysterious Shadowmaker to avoid.
Lux is not your average action hero - Lux is a young child who lives on a hill farm with Mother and Granny Lumb; all the men have disappeared and Granny mutters about the Shadowmaker when Mother isn't listening;
“Shadowmaker sucks souls of women dry and disappears men to war..."
Granny Lumb knows that Lux needs to be wary of any encroaching shadows, and keeps a watchful eye on Lux’s wanderings just in case...
(Shadowmaker Image by Stuart Griffin, from an original photo by Constance Fleuriot)
Where did the idea come from?
The story of Lux and The Shadowmaker which unfolds over the course of the game is influenced by fairytales I read as a child, where brave children would outwit terrifying beasts and all would (hopefully) be well in the morning. It will, I hope, reflect the blurring between fact and fiction in children’s sense-making which has always interested me - for example, Lux believes Granny when she says there are people trapped by the Shadowmaker, but have they really just left home? Is Lux dreaming or is it real? What will Lux find in the morning after these midsummer-night adventures? [Trying really hard to not include too many spoilers here for those of you who want to play the game!]
What will gameplay be like?
Children not only create imaginary worlds layered on reality (I've just been on a trip to the zoo with my grandchildren dressed as tigers) but they also experience the world from a different physical viewpoint to that of most adults; playing as Lux will make the player see things from the perspective of a child as they wander through gardens, try and open locked gates and climb up and down trees.
Two other things I really want to do, apart from explore how to create Lux’s world, are
• to write a game/story where it is not clear whether the main character is a girl or boy• to write a game where the interaction and gameplay encourages and rewards exploration of the storyworld, rather than a game that encourages fighting as the main interaction with other characters.
Some of my very rough concept sketches, starting to develop the characters in the game…
There's a bit about why I want Lux to be a gender-neutral character here. I need to draw Lux in a way that stops people assuming girl or boy. And need to find some nice pyjamas.
There's more about Granny Lumb and where she came from here on the blog.
Whispering orbs of light
I'm delighted that Three Cane Whale are letting me use some of their delightful instrumental music to set the tone for the game - you can hear a bit of it in the video. I'd love to involve them more in developing a soundtrack to the gameplay.
Want to know more about the game?
If you want to know more then head on over to the Pretty Digital website to read about the game as it develops. There willbe info about the story, the images, the people involved. Can't guarantee many kittens.
Where will the crowdfunds go?
I am asking for £5000, which is just about enough to build a working prototype of the game idea, with the money being spent on:
• a 3D artist to take the collection of sketches and photographs and translate them into digital artwork for the game
• a Unity coder who will programme the game and the interactions, incorporating the 3D artwork and sounds
• a writer/designer/producer/pr person (that's where I come in)
• a sound designer to work on music and sounds for the game
Any more than that and we will have longer to work on the game before releasing to the beta-test group, as well as being able to afford more music and sound work to be done.
(Photosketch of the field that inspired level 3)
As well as raising cash to pay a team to develop the game, the project is supported by the lovely folks at Bristol Games Hub. The games hub will provide deskspace and mentoring, as well as be a source of skilled people to work with on the project and enable me to develop the idea properly.
Am I a Queen of Code?… help my chances!
Needless to say, the more money raised, the more time we will have to develop, the more we can put into the game. The more supporters I get, the more chance I have of winning an extra £3000 from Queen of Code (set up by Creative England and Crowdfunder to support women to develop their own game ideas).
Don't forget to check for updates on the progress of the game on PrettyDigital.
At the end of one month of collaborative effort we should have a mac/pc version of Lux and the Shadowmaker that we can share with all our supporters who have signed up to play as Beta Testers of the game. Their feedback will help us to produce the final version that we want to make available for download at £6 ($10, €8). And then there'll be the VR/Oculus Rift phase of development.
My name is Constance Fleuriot and I have a background in writing, research and making interactive art. My first foray into making an interactive game was back in 1993 with a bunch of artists creating Media, Myth & Mania - a game you play as an aspiring Media Mogul, making life choices that you think will help you to make to the top.
I also worked on an interactive project called Dreamhouses, where I explored myths from around the world where women didn't get punished for their behaviour. Those stories still lurk in my head and may pop up in the game from time to time...
I've spent two decades mostly working in pervasive/mobile/locative/younameit media research. I rediscovered the joy of making games at the XXGames Jam, the world's first all-women game jam, which was a great way to make tentative steps into the gaming community. Since then I have been lurking around Bristol Games Hub getting involved in jams and talks and suchlike, and this project is me coming out as someone who wants to write and make games.