A group of Second Year De Montfort University students studying Game Art Design.
This blog is to document our participation in the 'Off The Map' competition from Game City, Crytek and The British Library.

So Much Poe-tential - Initial Research

This Year’s Off the Map competition saw us delving into the world of Gothic. From what we were provided in the brief, our team took immediate interest in Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death. We saw so much potential and it also got us thinking about other pieces of gothic literature alike. With prospective ideas at the ready we set off to gather imagery to culminate mood boards.

This process aided us in expressing where each individual saw the project going, to inspire us further and also arrow head certain themes such as mood, lighting, colour pallets and possible restrictions we may face. It will also make the concept stage less strenuous and everyone happier as a result.

Early on in the research process we were fortunate enough to visit Wollaton hall, an exquisite manor house built in 1588 that resides in Nottingham and relishes the fact it was featured in the Batman films as Wayne Manor. This provided us with a huge wealth of information which will aid us in future decisions regarding scale, architecture and design choices which will help with overall continuity. It also provided the opportunity to don a cape and pose for some really great photos.

Upon discussing what we wanted our scene to comprise of, we talked of how we were keen to lead the player through an enclosed forest before slowly revealing a manor house. This was when we were advised to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. It did much to reaffirm that we were heading in the right direction and we were all on the same tangent. By capturing stills from the film it gave us a better understanding of how we may lay out the interior to optimise lighting, draw the viewer’s attention and hopefully create some really mesmerising set pieces.

From our initial research it is clear we are all excited to include gothic literary and film references within our scene. We love the idea of the different themed rooms from The Masque of the Red Death but don’t want to restrict ourselves to the one short story.

Our initial idea is to create a manor house scene with ‘seven opulently-furnished rooms, each decorated in a different colour’ each encompassing nods to a famous piece of gothic literature. By implementing smart but subtle references, we hope to create a scene which is a treasure-trove for avid gothic literature fans.


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