Exploring Dreams Minor Project Brief

Dream Keeper
Anderson, Rich (2012) Norn Hunting

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

The Brief
Generic Name Studios is beginning development on their latest game, Dream Keeper. It is a game aimed at school children (ages 7-12). Its platform will be smartphones and tablets, to target the growing audience of school children who are permitted to use their parent’s technology to be kept entertained. It is an adventure game, with emersion and exploration at its centre. Whilst it is meant to be somewhat scary – the child is very much in the role of the hero and the bringer of happiness. The main antagonist of the game is the Dream Keeper, who is the operator of this realm. It is the distributor of dreams, both happy and nightmarish. Your job as a character designer is to create this creature.

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

The Premise
“All that we see or seem is but a dream with in a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe The player is a young girl, Dido, who has fallen into the gaps between dreams. Here they meet the Dream Keeper. Fascinated by the newcomer, the Dream Keeper becomes increasingly obsessed with keeping the player dreaming, while the playing is trying to wake up and escape. By taking the player to various dream-realms and appearing to them in a variety of guises, the Keeper is trying its hardest to keep them asleep and trapped forever, while the player is trying to find ways out.
McQue, Ian (2010) Red Hills

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

The World
The world game is divided into four levels: the Connection room and three dream levels, each one representing a common dream for children. In each of the levels the player is trying to find a way to move closer towards waking up. Meanwhile the Keeper has taken on a guise to deceive the player and to try and trap them in dreams forever. The levels have to represent a child’s understanding and view of each environment. Also, as the player progresses the end of each level, their waking conscious begins to fracture and destroy the dream, lending a new element to its design – these changes also affect the Keeper, whose guise also begins to twist and degenerate. While this project is most certainly a Character Design brief, the Keeper’s guise and style is extruded from the environment, making establishing the gist of his surroundings crucial.
Malin, Emmanuel (2011) Vessels, The Path

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

Level 1: The Connection Room
Dreams exist as places of story, accessible to people when they sleep; their minds now free to wander. However, if dreams exist as separate spaces that people must access – someone must govern and operate the process of connection. Thus the Dream Keeper. Working like a huge switchboard operator, he monitors the hive of human minds for those falling asleep and connects them to the night’s dreams. It is this room that the player has fallen in to. It is a space not meant to visiting, not meant to be seen – a purely functionally space for the Keeper to work in unseen eternity. Fascinated by this new entity, the Keeper is intrigued and desperate to find out more about the minds he has served for so long.

Lipton, Laurie (2009) Communication

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

Level 2: The Playground
“The theme of something ordinary, even beloved, turning into a threat suggests that your child may be struggling with some situation or person that is usually known and kind, but may sometimes seem inexplicably difficult and harsh …This could be anything from a playground buddy who occasionally plays unfairly to a situation at home that becomes confusing because it flips back and forth between "normal" and "unsettling."” – Dr. Holloway, Gillian (2011) This dream embodies the desire to find a friendly face or empathetic person in a strange place. Playgrounds, with their fenced in areas and friendly colours, are places of safety – and to find what appears to be a contemporary in the same situation is comforting. Having glimpsed into the newcomer’s mind, the Keeper enters them into a world where he can welcome this person to his realm. Initially friendly and accommodating, the Keeper becomes increasingly frustrated with the player’s desire to wake up, to leave. He becomes more antagonist, clingy, and angry – all of which begins to distort both the dream and himself.

Chan, Jason (2008) Zombie Playground

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

Level 3: The School
“Children have different kinds of monsters in their dreams, and the action involved varies … When a monster is chasing the child in a dream, or yelling and threatening, we have a clue that the monster may represent not so much a situation as a person in the child's life.” – Dr. Holloway, Gillian (2011) After being told by the child-Keeper that it’s going to “tell on them”, the next dream the player finds themselves in is a school. School plays a huge part in the life of most children, containing many of their best memories, but also some of the most scary, embarrassing, and vulnerable. The shame of having the whole class’ attention while being scolded, or the ultimate fear of being sent to the “Headmaster’s Office” is for many an extremely strong and uncomfortable memory. Here the player is confronted by the Librarian as an intimidating and terrifying Headmaster – from whom they must escape. As the dream becomes more distorted, the headmaster becomes more and more the child’s fear incarnate.

Selick, Henry (2009) Coraline

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

Level 4: The Bedroom
“The child’s dream is a reaction to an experience of the day, which has left behind it a regret, a longing or an unfulfilled desire. The dream brings about the direct unconcealed fulfillment of this wish.” - Freud, 1920 The player is now one step away from escape into the awake and conscious world – in fact, for a second they might think they already are; warm and safe in their own bedroom – a place where the monsters can’t get them. But this is not their room. It is a twisted representation of all the monsters in the closet, the beasts under the bed, and the toys that come alive. This is the Keeper forcing himself into the dreamers world and embodying all that is terrifying about it – and the only way to wake up, is to overcome your fears.

Petrossian, Tony (2008) Three Days Grace – Never Too Late

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

The Dream Keeper
The Keeper is the orchestrator of this the realm, its manipulator and authority. He can traverse through dreams easily and instantaneously, leaving ripples of distortion – dreamy or nightmarish – in his wake. He’s job is to connect minds entering the realm of sleep into appropriate dreams. He is neither inherently good or evil – delivering both wonderful and terrifying dreams. His job is solitary, endless, and repetitive – people always pass by him in transit, he has never met the creatures whose minds flow through his fingers. To him the player is an anomaly causing much excitement and intrigue – to which he doesn’t know how to react, but knows he wants it to stay. His approach is rather like Lennie Small petting a mouse. Over the course of the game he has four incarnations: his previously unseen, unbiased form; an interested child; a stern and predatory headmaster; and his original form tainted by a child’s fear and anger. The design progress must include defining some recognisable characteristic across each of his forms that captures his identity as the Keeper.

Lim, Mike (2010) Chaos Librarian

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

Visual Influences

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

Deadline Requirements
• Four developed 2D concepts for the Keeper’s four incarnations. • Well presented progress and documented design decisions. • One concept taken through the character modelling pipeline. • Resulting in a fully rigged character with demonstration animation. • A detailed “making of” to accompany the final design. • Restrictions: • Poly count: • Texture size: • Resolution:

Minor Project – Jonathan Pearmain

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