I've been dwelling on a videogame concept that employs a "shadow" gameplay gimmick. It seems that most gameplay nowadays is a rehash of the tried-and-true, and that games like that newer Prince of Persia (with its well-executed *time* gameplay gimmick) become memorable (and a franchise) because of the new dimension that they bring to a tired genre. Shadows offer an interesting new dimension to consider, methinks, so first off: does anyone know of an existing game of any genre that explores *shadows* as a dimension of gameplay?

If not, here are some variables for consideration:

Genre (side-scroller? FPS? puzzle?)
Opportunity for new & compelling light effects
Shadows move independently from objects / people casting them
Shadows break the depth of field
Shadows have mass
Shadows become a hole
Shadows are "safe" / "dangerous"
Shadows at night
Shadows *are* night
Shadow properties are inverted
Vampires hiding from the sun
Ninjas hiding from sight
Plants want more light / fewer shadows
Moths fly into a flame / bats prefer darkness
Nike's shadow-jogging commercial
How the coverage of a shadow affects the object upon which it is cast
How overlapping shadows affect one another
How casting a beam of light into a shadow changes its properties
How light / shadow affects (in FPS, for instance) the character's ability to "see"
How irregular foreground elements can form cohesive shadow shapes



At 7/20/07 7:25 PM, Blogger Ben Rinne said...

"Shadows become a hole" immediately brought to mind the childhood cartoons where those wondrous black discs were conveniently thrown onto any surface to evade chase and hasten escape. Mine always resulted in bruises to the forehead.

Love the list so far.

At 7/20/07 9:16 PM, Blogger Nathan Verrill said...

Use shadow(s) to reveal secrets in the game that you cannot see otherwise (like the fairy in Super Paper Mario).

"Shadow Splitter Attack" - the shadow splits into 6 shadows that move independently and attack the opponent, and then return to the original shadow.

Have opponents that can only be attacked by the player's shadow, so you have to manipulate the player in response to different lights, to in turn manipulate the shadow, to attack.

At 8/7/07 9:40 AM, Blogger d.g. said...

FWIW, shadows play a fairly significant role in gameplay for the "Splinter Cell" titles, in which hiding in shadows is one of your primary tools for avoiding detection.

At 8/7/07 12:18 PM, Blogger hebchop said...

this brought to mind a short hand drawn animation i saw a long time ago, where a man fights his own shadow. 30 minutes later i still cannot find a link.

however, I think a simple side-scroller would be easy to accomplish. The ability to flip the world vertically and play as the shadow to get to certain places, use stealth would be fun.

At 8/8/07 12:43 PM, Blogger cowboy said...

This platformer takes place in the not-too distant war-ravaged earth, blab, blab. Staying in the shadows for too long gets you killed by evil 'spirits' Certain sections of the game required one player to 'light the way' for another player to advance throught a particularly dark area. For example, player A would manually train a spotlight on player B while he traversed a dark room. It was an interesting addition to typical team-based gameplay.

At 8/8/07 1:40 PM, Blogger tokyocrunch said...

Nice observations on the use of shadows in existing game titles. However, they all seem to use shadows as, well, shadows ... seems the opportunity is in changing the characteristics of the shadows themselves (mass, physics, dimensionality, muckmuck).


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