Designer & Developer ∙ Optical Puzzle Game ∙ PC
Anamorphosis is an optical illusion puzzle game I created in Unity3D during my leisure time. The core concept is transforming a type of art called anamorphic art into a core game mechanic. You may see this type of art before, a distorted projection requiring viewers to occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image. The distorted image can be anywhere on the ground, wall, or multiple surfaces.
In Anamorphosis, the player has a special camera to reconstruct the anamorphic image into reality. Players need to solve the puzzle by reconstructing the distorted image into a part of the environment, an interactive object, or an item from the vantage point in the level. That allows the player to complete and progress to the new area or levels.
Tokyo Game Show 2015, Sense of Wonder Night selected this game as the final Top 10 Indie Games Competition. I am very honored to present this game at The Tokyo Game Show Stage and had an indie game booth for letting hundreds of players test this game during the TGS.
‣ Developed a first-person puzzle game from high-level concept to prototype. Including creating game mechanics and gameplay systems.
‣ Designed 10+ puzzle levels, from paper sketching to the blockeout and the final design implementation with art assets in the game engine.
‣ Coded essential functions of the game, such as switching scenes, the menu, input, and UI features.
‣ Communicated with 3~5-people, including programmers and artists, to develop deeper puzzle game mechanics.
‣ Completed multiple playtests and collected feedback to improve the puzzle, mechanics, and level flow.
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First, I got lots of inspiration from many anamorphic arts, also first-person view puzzle games, such as Portal, The Talos Principle, and Antichamnber. I want to deliver an experience is based on this type of art, not just a tiny part of the game mechanic. I started drawing and designing the puzzle layout on paper at the beginning by using anamorphic art as the core mechanic of the level.
The puzzle is designed straightforwardly and easily from Level 1 through Level 4, like tutorial levels that explain how the mechanic works. So players can understand the core mechanic from the beginning. The levels are getting complex afterward. For example, requiring players to complete multiple steps to solve the puzzle or add the twist in the level.
After drawing the initiating idea of the puzzle on the paper, the following is the “White-Box Level Layout”, which was a critical step during the level design process. This step also helps me verify if the puzzle’s logic makes sense or is clear. Furthermore, I can build and adjust the puzzle and the level faster during this step.
There are some level design techniques that I have used while building levels, like using lighting to guide the players, building consistent language with colors in the environment. In Anamorphosis, each color represents a different meaning to the player.
- Yellow: The only object is yellow is the destination door, which is each level’s goal where the player needs to reach for advancing to the next level.
- Blue: It gives players information or a hint to solve the puzzle. Players usually look for blue objects (dots) in the level first.
- Red: This color means danger in the game in general. The area with the red color is the danger zone; once the player land or touches this area, the player is killed and respawn from the checkpoint.
- Green: the object with this color can be switched between a distorted image and a physical object.
The game Mirror’s Edge inspired this color-coded method; that game uses simple color in a desaturated environment to indicate players’ directions and parkour areas. Using this method in Anamorphosis allows players to focus on the puzzle and provide more accurate feedback.