Behind the Design: Song of Bloom – Discover
When designing games, Philipp Stollenmayer has a confession to make. “I get bored easily,” he says. “And I just don’t want the player to get bored when it’s me.”
The German developer’s aversion to monotony has fueled a prolific number of creative and baffling titles over the years, including Sometimes you die, Sticky termsi Bacon – The game. 2019 Flower song it goes even further. The Apple Design Award-winning puzzle game is enigmatic and changing, with a series of layered and intertwined levels inviting people to touch, shake, draw, and explore their device.
“It’s an abstract game [that develops] in something more comprehensible over time, “says Stollenmayer.” The more you go into the story, the more you discover and the more the interaction changes. “
This concept is a fundamental part of his philosophy around game design: to create an idea that can be understood instantly, then keep thinking, driving and inviting players to go further. There is no real “goal” beyond the exploration of storytelling and puzzles; in Stollenmayer’s words, the game is “the user experience in its most real form.”
Flower song grew out of one of Stollenmayer’s holiday experiments. After making a video looping waves on the beach while in Italy, he decided to try to add a new look with the rotation of the device: when the video is turned, the water falls out of the frame. From there, “it became a process of triggering new ideas and new experiments,” he says.
Unlike other Stollenmayer games, nothing is constant Flower song. “Not the elements, not the interaction, not even the style,” he says. One puzzle may look like a rough sketch, while others include hyperrealistic popcorn grains. Your favorite puzzle in the series? A milk carton with stop-motion inspired by risography.
There is always this doubt in the back of your mind if what you are seeing is real. This contributes a lot to the mood I am trying to convey.
Each image a Flower song is generated by computer, the result of experimenting with code, sometimes with unwanted results. “As a designer who is not the best programmer, my code usually creates visual errors,” says Stollenmayer. “It simply came to our notice then [be inspired] because of me ”.
This included manipulating elements to make them look more like they might be in a real-world environment. For example, a puzzle, which requires someone to virtually weave an item, includes the kind of lost holes and small branches you might expect from a newer weaver. “Making digital versions without these bugs is a lot easier,” says Stollenmayer. “But copying the flaws creates moments when you wonder: could it be real?”
He was inspired by both immersive installations and puzzle games, including multimedia artists Laure Prouvost and Franz West, and games such as black box, Device 6i Pruning. “I look at a lot of art to understand color, composition, but also how to control and transform the environment,” he says.
I am interested in the middle, where everything comes together, because in our world, nothing exists without context.
Every visual, haptic, moving, and verbal signal in the game is designed to get the player to explore that space and interact with their images. Because puzzles are often very abstract, Stollenmayer used the haptic to help guide people through the game, using them to signify mood in more or less betting scenes, or to help someone evaluate. possible solutions. “Like in the real world, the player expects a reaction from every action,” Stollenmayer says.
One of his first concepts for the transition between puzzles Flower song it was that of someone blinking his eyes: he solves the puzzle or goes to the main screen and the whole screen flashes in and out.
Stollenmayer experimented with several multi-touch gestures around this concept, including a pinch gesture, before settling into a button, a single curved line, in the corner. “I had to put it in the player’s mind,” he says. This meant creating something easy to find and understand, and not adding gestures that could be activated by chance while exploring a puzzle.
This fine curved line is one of the only consistent and persistent interface pieces in between Flower songThere are many artistic changes. “Like the home screen of full screen iPhones, it’s just there to remind you [it] it exists, without disturbing the current scene with any contrasting content or style, “says Stollenmayer.
By tapping, it allows people to return to the main game screen and see the branched tree of the puzzles that have helped them grow. This tree also serves as the only mechanism for indicating the game, allowing people to use long presses to look at possible areas to focus on within the game. The more you play, the bigger the story (and the tree) and the more clues you discover. Along with the original music, this fertile combination of strength is what gives the game its name.
With so many different art styles and creative influences, it’s amazing how easily they all combine in Song of Bloom. The story is important, of course, but for Philipp the design is really about how he feels. Named Flower song whatever you want — a game of personal discovery, a provocative story of art and clues — for Philipp Stollenmayer, the goal is simply to play; to make people feel both captivated and released in the same one-hour session.
In Song of Bloom, you only play for the sake of playing. And that’s what he was trying to achieve: to help the player get lost in his own interpretation.
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