Project Introduction

“For An” is an atmospheric Adventure Game, full of exciting and strange worlds and creatures.
You play the wiry, funnel-headed Mo on his journey through several small worlds, which turn out to be equally as weird as they are alluring. The goal is to help him collect an item of each world and thereby bringing him one step closer to building himself his friend An.

The game was developed in three weeks during our fourth semester of studying Game Design at the DE:Hive institute. The overarching theme of the short project was called “Upside-Down” and entailed an uncharacteristic, experimental approach to design.

The game world consists of multiple small environments with their own unique aesthetics, physics and creatures.

Our first level is covered by fog and darkness, which gives off a mysterious, tranquil and almost fairytale-like vibe. This eerie floating island is home to a strange sort of creatures. These walking chair towers travel across the grass and seem to be quite shy if you come too close.

The second island, a junkyard inside a hot canyon valley, is everything, but deserted. Compared to the first world, the player has to rely a bit more on their dexterity, since the path winds upwards between towers of junk and across gaps. Odd mechanical creatures and moving metal flowers add to the overall bustling atmosphere of this world.

The small worlds are connected through portals, which each have to be activated through the game character by engaging in a world-specific interaction.

Mo, the protagonist of our game is assembled of various different objects. We wanted him to look childish and almost shy, but also athletic and agile since he had to perform typical movements like jumping, sprinting and crouching. His most unique main feature is his ability to repair objects by using his light-bulb hammer. Although this game mechanic may seem a bit odd, we decided it fit our theme of “Upside Down”.

The moving chair towers of our first level really set the tone for our game in general. They embody the style of stacked assets combined with an unusual and uncanny animal-like behavior. They also add to the experience by reacting to the protagonist. If the character approaches them they get scared and run away, but crouching on the other hand makes them walk towards you.

For our second island, all our creatures are moving on customly placed splines. Like before we were aiming for that same uncanny feeling but it had to fit the different setting. Going with the theme of a junkyard full of abandoned appliances, it was an obvious choice to have flying toasters up in the air above the canyon. Like with the player character we were aiming for an assembled-like design, which led to the decision to give the toaster brooms instead of wings and lightbulbs for eyes. Similarly to the first level, Mo has to repair one of these toaster-birds to be able to continue on through the next portal.

In the last week of our project, we decided to implement yet another spline based life form: A giant flying worm made out of spinning refrigerators. It moves above the world and can even destroy structures as it passes through.

Our focus for this project was to create impressive original environments, but we did not want it to feel like a static installation. By introducing the portals and the interactive objects, we were aiming for some subtle but important player interaction to enhance the feeling of immersion. The goal was not to create complicated puzzles. The events that revealed the collectables on each island were supposed to be a quick interaction between the player character and an actor of the respective world.

About Developer

The team "AJJIR" was formed at the beginning of this three-week project within the Game Design studies and includes us five students: Anica Gritzki, Jennifer Seeber, Julian Seidel, Jan-Ivo Lattek and Regina Golowkow.
For all of us in the team it was also the first experience to develop a game in the Unreal Engine.