week 14: final project documentation (Moon)

Partner: Jerry

Project Name: Ghost Talk

Link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~jy2122/final_project/

  • Inspiration

In this project, we want to make a detective game. However, as we think traditional detective game may be too normal as many people have made similar games, so we decided to make some different point:

1.One important element in our project is the clock. Users can interact with the clock to adjust the time, and there will be different elements accordingly.

2.The way to “detect” is the ghost communication–the soul of the dead can talk with different things and find clues in those communications.

3.The killer, in the end, is the dead himself. Because he cannot accept the truth that his wife died 1 year ago, so he had split personality disease. Part of him act as his wife and part of him act as the husband, which makes him do a lot wired things and finally leads to his death.

Actually there were several different ideas in my mind when thinking of the story, one is about AI: maybe a AI machine in this man’s room killed him because it have autonomy, so that we can provoke people’s thinking about people and AI in the future. Another one is that the man is actually living in a virtual  world like The Matrix, maybe he finally find out that all his memory is fake and his brain, his consciousness, his sense are all controlled by machine, which could also have some profound meanings. However after discuss we decided to choose the split personality story as it is easier to convey the message.

 

  • Working process

First is to have a basic idea of what’s going on in this story, in other word, how split personality killed the man? Then I came up with the idea that the man’s wife has illness, and he fed his wife with the medicine that day–which is feeding himself the medicine. But the medicine is harmful and poisonous to normal people, which makes sense, and he dies because of it.

Then, we decided the materials would be in comic format, as it would be very time-consuming if we take video, also, real video recording have too much restriction, and comic picture would help convey our ideas a lot. So we began to searching for suitable pictures. As learned from my comic project, all the pictures and elements in our picture is “from the same world”, though it is very difficult to find many pictures of the same style, but it worth the time because it makes the visual effect a lot better. There are something I want to stress about the pictures:

  1. The dead man: I  make the picture all in grey, because I don’t want to show the gender of the dead very clearly at the beginning, as he act as both the wife and the husband. I first use cut out the died man part from a picture then us PS to make it into grey and deal with some details.

2.The goldfish: Because time is a important element  in this story, so at 11am, there are three alive goldfish, and 2pm, there is only 2 alive, with one dead. This gives user the information that the goldfish died because of lack of food, and the man’s wife is responsible of feeding them. At first this is the materials:(the original picture only have 2 fish)

But after some user test, people said that the dead fish in the 2pm picture is not clear enough, so we finally decided to made the dead picture out of the bowl–on the table, which is much clear.

3.picture on the wall: There is a portrait of the deceased for his wife, but the man hide it behind a picture on the wall. This is the original picture I found in the Internet:

however, the wall in the picture is not horizontal:

if put the picture directly on the wall, it looks wired, so I changed the shape to make the Perspective Effect:

Finally, because a bare picture on the wall look not very natural, so I drew a nail and lines there, so this looks more like a mural painting hanging on the wall. And in the game, users can remove the picture to find out the portrait of his wife.

4. Because time changes, so the light should be different. We put the two pictures together and adjust the opacity of each one to make it get darker. Here are the four different background pictures. (Pay attention to the light and the setting sun effect outside the window)

5. Also, because we want the “ghost” to “shaking” rather than stay still, but no css animation can satisfy us, so we first use AFTER EFFECT make this still image to a gif, then we cut the black background frame by frame to achieve the effect we want.

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The Script is another important part, as we rely on the words to tell the story and the fact. Because split personality, we need to show the contradiction between his memory and the fact, so we think a dialogue between the soul and the things should be a good way rather than only the things tell what they “see”. We wrote the dialogue directly in the txt so that they can appear on website:

Then, because we think that have a voiceover would be super helpful, so we asked a friend to record the man’s voice. However, for the objects, in order to create a sense of non-human, we used virtual sound which assembles by machines. In this circumstance, we use google voice Api to constantly turns text into audio.

  • Reflection

Overall I like our project, but there are some point I think we can improve:

1.I think we can have a more logical story to make the end more surprising to users. I think it would be better if at first people assume the murder is someone else, and finally find out that it is the murder himself. But in our current story, the only suspicious people is the delivery man and the wife, and there are not many information which can mislead users to think the delivery man is the killer. Though we tried our best to form the story, maybe there are still some details that we can improve. Maybe if we have more time, we can read more detective novels and it can help us construct the story.

2.Another thing we may improve is the animation. Because our project is based on static pictures, the only dynamic thing is the “core flame”. If we have more time we may put more dynamic things on the picture to make it look better, for example, we can make the goldfish swimming, make the shadow moving with the time. Also, when the soul merge with the “core” of different things, there could be flicker to make it looks more amazing。

3. There are some minor logic problems regarding the sequence of the items. Because I wrote the dialogues based on time, so we restrict people “jumping” from time–people need to follow the time sequence. Also, inside one single period, we make the “fire” to appear one by one if there is strong logic, for example, the medicine and ring in 4pm. But inside some period, such as cup and TV in 10am, it should better to first talk to cup then talk to TV, because the conversation with TV begin with “Hi! The cup told me there was a person came here at 10am or food delivery, did you see that?”, which causes a time sequence. But we didn’t notice this beforehand, and this need to be improved.

4.I think it would better to have 2 clocks rather than one, so that users can switch from time to time more easily.

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