Flux was designed as a thesis artefact in response to taboo themes in games.
My topic of interest was mental health, focussing on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The game was created in 2 weeks using Unity3D.
What is Flux about?
Flux centers around an island that relates to the experience of living with someone who has narcissistic and/or borderline personality disorder. The island reflects the instability of the condition, and the destructiveness and isolation that accompany it for both the individual and their loved ones.
The island is fragmented and constantly shifting, so the player must constantly head for higher ground to maintain health and avoid treading water, which decreases health.
In Flux, a grey, low-poly island changes form with fragments or platforms either sinking, disintegrating or being driven up out of the water momentarily. Walls rise up and block paths, and debris falls from above. The atmosphere is bleak, with a downpour of rain and sounds of thunder.
The dark and dreary setting of Flux is a direct contrast to the title screen, which is light blue and peaceful. The horizon line dividing the title graphics from their reflection was designed to foreshadow the two sided nature of the disorder. It makes reference to the concept of ‘Borderline’, as well as how normal it presents on a surface level.
An example of an artefact that deals with mental health, Depression Quest has no reward and is not intended to be fun. It is informative in giving perspective on coping with depression and how it directly affects everyday life.
Flux is similarly unrewarding – its purpose was to act as a supporting element to an autobiographical interpretation.
Influence 2 – Rime
I took inspiration from the final chapter of Rime which has a moody, dark atmosphere, heavy rain and beautiful black reflective surfaces. The game is unexpectedly moving; the timing and feel of this bleak ambiance working to dampen the player’s spirits before the final climax of the game.
I took inspiration from Inside’s monochromatic colour scheme – the game is a stunning example of how lack of colour can add to eerie tension of a morbid, human world as well as using lighting, effective tonal contrast and texturing to create depth and atmosphere.