The Moon

Dear Insane Children, 

Get your spacesuits ready! Today we’re working on The Moon

You may recall I previously shared a section regarding Alice’s imprisonment in The Circus (Denial Realm) and details of how she’s kept captive. Here’s an excerpt: 

The Circus Realm has become – in recent days – a bore. Alice has attempted to escape a thousand times. Being a precocious and curious child, she’s always in search of something more. She craves deep mystery, proper puzzles, and an unscripted adventure. The problem is, The Moon. He floats above Wonderland day and night (mostly at night?) watching and waiting for Alice to run. And when she does he’s there on her heels singing a gentle lullaby. Before she knows it, Alice is fast asleep. And when she awakes, she’s back in The Circus Realm. And, like a dream, her memory of running away and all the days before is foggy and unclear. So she writes herself notes to remind herself of what’s come before. And from those notes she knows she’s been trapped in this place for a very long time. And that her only hope of escape is a confrontation with The Queen. 

I’ve talked with the team about the concept of The Moon and how we’ll present it during the early stages of the game. I want there to be a bit of misdirection with regards to the nature of The Moon. I hope that Players will initially perceive The Moon as a character unto itself – a sentient creature floating around the skies of Wonderland. But that notion will be shattered when Alice realizes it’s actually a large mechanical vehicle driven by minions of The Queen. 

Omri did a quick sketch of several variations on presentation. And he sent along a list of questions and comments. Let’s answer those together, shall we?

Omri Says: to have a face full moon, my problem with it is that in Victorian-era the moon was shown usually from the side… also it kinda looks like a sun without rays at the front so- a side face. that part is the outside in the general structure.

American Replies: Using Google Image Search I got back the following results… 

This seems to suggest that Victorians also had a notion of the moon as seen face-on. That makes sense because these interpretations of the moon are a function of the moon phases. And the moon phases have always existed. 

Full Moon = A full, front-on face. Crescent Moon = A side-on or silhouette face. My point here is that I think we’re free to choose which way we portray it without violating some notion of what the Victorian era people thought of in relation to the moon’s “face.” 

I had initially thought that our moon would be seen full face-on (a big round face). But you’ve presented a version I think might also work… 

If this were rendered as a 3D model and floated around the sky… I think it would work as well (as the full-face version I had initially envisioned). And would be interesting to see it looking up/down and side-to-side.

The main points to keep in mind: It needs to be able to animate (talking, looking). And when seen up close there should be details that reveal it is a manufactured object (a mechanical device – rivets, seams, etc).

Omri Says: i thought about the way it’s built, i think that the whole inside should be turned 90 degrees when the ceiling is a one way mirror so from the outside it looks like sky but from the inside it looks like a glass ceiling. also fits with the escher concept. also when you look “up” you actually see the denial realm from above, understanding you are actually upsidedown/tilted

 American Replies:  I think this sort of thing will be easier to show in 3D – or you can perhaps try to sketch it. Describing Escher geometry in words usually fails to get the actual idea across. 

My thought was that we keep the interior logical, mechanical, and “normal” (not using Escher geometry). Why? Because it’s a product of Hatter Industries. And Hatter tends to build big, heavy machines from metal, gears, rivets, springs, and very solid geometry.

Omri Says: railing, i keep seeing it on a railing. i’m not convinced on the air balloon/plane etc. i feel like there should be a maintenance chute where she can get inside of a cart and travel there, it’s canon for Alice. like the moon needs coal to work right? or some kind of organic material to use in order to work. so something must be reaching it, why not take a ride. i would imagine that for this kind of HUGE mechanical thing there would of been a security net that will make sure nothing will touch it. if the moon has the power to take alice and place her wherever it wants, it should have the power to shoot down whatever she’ll try to use to get near it. any basic security system will have that… just a thought tho. stars also hanging with the moon on the railing which should be randomized. 

American Replies: Rails are rail-y ugly. (Har). Imagine the rails strung across the sky, criss-crossing this-way and that. Not only will they clutter up the view but they’ll also immediately destroy the illusion that The Moon is a Wonderland creature (as opposed to a mechanical conveyance). Let’s not do rails, please. At least not here. Plenty of other places for rails. 

Omri Says: i want the inside to be a continuation of the face of the moon from the outside but deformed, horrible, scary and when you walk inside of the area i want his eye to follow you. so all the levels inside are actually centered and not touching the walls.

American Replies: Uncertain how this would work or be build/displayed in-game. I see you’ve tried to render something to show what it might look like… but as with most Escher concepts, the trick will be to translate that into in-game 3D in such a way as it can be viewed and navigated in some rational manner. 

Again, I would prefer a standard industrial/mechanical motif for the interior. That will provide lots of places for Alice to climb, swing, float, jump, and navigate her way to the control room. The interior is A Gameplay Level. We need to play inside there for a while.

If you have another way to render or present what you have in mind, go for it!

Omri says: so i understand you use the Moon mechanics to get to Queensland, great, is the railing good for this as well? personally i wouldn’t mind the having railing to break and the moon will fall with alice into queensland, and she’ll spill out of it into the big fight of the chess and cards scene.

American Replies: Yes, we’re going to carjack The Moon and drive it to the Queen’s Castle. We’ll crash some distance from the actual castle so that there’s some challenge in getting to the Throne Room. Grand Theft Lunar. 

Let’s make sure that when we crash we also smush a bunch of annoying Card Guards or something.

Please, no railing. Don’t make me rail against railing! 

That’s it for the back-and-forth on those comments. 

Omri and I also had a Skype call and talked about who would pilot The Moon. I had initially thought it might be minions from Hatter’s Domain (his workshop built the thing after all). But Omri pointed out that since The Moon is doing the bidding of The Queen it would make more sense for it to be Card Guards at the controls. I am fine with that too. 

Crowd Design Time!  

Let us know in the comments below what you think about The Moon, its design, and any other details that spring to mind! 

From Shanghai With Love, 


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