GLITCH

VIDEO GAME DESIGN //

LEVEL DESIGN // ENVIRONMENT DESIGN // NARRATIVE //

CONCEPT //

In a future reality two architects have concocted a social experiment whereby total control over citizens can be obtained. Two realities are devised back-to-back, as if on opposite sides of a coin, with no access to the opposing side. Fused at the epicentre, there is a spine that requires a precise 50/50 spilt of the population between the realities to remain in equilibrium. Both are overseen by an architect, with one reality christened Upside and the other Downside. Architecturally, they are at once identical in form and polar in finish, thereby creating facades of utopia and dystopia. When divided between the respective realities the behaviours exhibited by inhabitants begin

to conform with the surroundings - those in Upside become Positives, capable of only positive actions; Downside residents become Negatives, capable of only negative actions. Society continues its steady half-life under the authority of the architects.  

 

Decades later their reign is finally challenged by one Downside misfit. Unbeknown to them, they are in fact native to Upside but were relocated for the sake of equilibrium preservation - resulting in Neutral characteristics. When the Neutral finds a distinctive coin and flips it, they find themselves transported to the concealed realm of Upside. By doing so, a glitch in the

architects’ meticulously designed social system is triggered: the realities are no longer in equilibrium, the spine between them disconnects and, preceded by destruction-inducing tremors, spontaneous ‘revolutions’ are instigated that flip the Neutral from one reality to the other at a moment’s notice.

 

The Positives and Negatives are jolted from their monotonous slumber and their behaviour is enhanced to the point of chaos. It becomes the Neutral’s responsibility to traverse between realities in order to harness the support of both opposing sides in a revolution against the architects.

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Are Upside and Downside destined to remain divided under the architects’ reign, or can they combine forces as two sides of the same coin?

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GLITCH is a video game concept exploring the impact that both social fragmentation and an environment can have on those in proximity to it. As a response to a brief proposed by video game developer Sumo Digital, a basic outline was created then developed into GLITCH - consisting of visuals, physical models, CAD models and gifs which were supported by sketchbooks and photography. Anchored by the design of a fantasy environment the resulting project also introduces elements of video game development such as narrative, mechanics and gameplay to demonstrate how the concept could be fully realised. 

 

Contradictory views surrounding radical architecture of the 1960s and 70s inspire the duality within the spatial design which reflects the impact of environmental psychology. Brutalism informs Downside, with reference to The Barbican Centre and the DJCAD Matthew Building while idealism influences Upside, specifically the work of architecture firm Superstudio and the Eden Project. The environment consists of a circular plan featuring four significant locations arranged from the outermost edge to the centre: the Residential Zone, Church, Tunnels and Penthouse.  Inspired by Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse (tellingly, never realised) the plan consists of concentric rings that divide the urban realm into zones. Reference has been made to this much disputed masterplan as although intended as a utopia it bore many dystopian trademarks. 

 

GLITCH is designed with the aim of sparking discussion around environmental psychology and social fragmentation and, via the gameplay and narrative, hopes to demonstrate how these can be better understood. The video game format intends to make the work an immersive and inherently interactive experience that would be memorable, engaging and accessible to a vast audience if realised.

"[The project] is designed with the aim of sparking discussion around environmental psychology and social fragmentation and...hopes to demonstrate how these can be better understood."

 © 2023 by Anna Macpherson

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