Sound Designer, Producer
Total Dev Time:
Bedtime is VR story-driven experience. You play as the father as you try to get your son to go to bed. Journey to Slumber Island and learn what secret it hides.
VR Story-Driven Experience
Made with Unity
Fully Voice Acted
Ideation | Feedback & Iteration | Narrative/Script Writing | Storyboarding
Every BVW project comes with a forced constraint.
For this project, we had the constraint of designing a game that had a compelling story while keeping the experience under a 5-7 minute limit.
This project was the most difficult to design in BVW for me because trying to balance a compelling narrative and engaging gameplay in a short time period was difficult. It was even more difficult to agree as a team as to where that balance should lie. Needless to say, I learned a lot as a producer and a designer.
The original concept for this project featured the player as a person helping an artist work through their problems by stepping into their paintings. As a team, we struggled to find how the interaction would be simple enough for the guest to get between paintings and simple enough to implement from an artist and programming side, so we pivoted.
After a few design iterations we decided on a father/son dynamic to not only make character relationship clear at the beginning, but also to make the interaction of helping the son go to bed also make sense as a through-line goal.
We originally had plans for the game to be more centered around choice. In the example sketch, we had a scenario where the player could chose how they could combat the creepy shadows on the wall. They could either turn on the "knight light" or close the window.
Each task was to be focused on how the father (the player) would approach bedtime versus how the mother would instead. We had to quickly abandon this idea however because of scoping, both in terms of animation load and interaction programming.
We finally agreed on a story about father and son going to Slumber Island because the simple interaction of sword fighting could be used as our through-line mechanic. The sketch shows the early storyboard of events in game. We originally wanted more of a gauntlet of enemies and possibly more than one environment, but we also had to cut back on that too.
Above is the final storyboard I sketched for the story. Being able to keep the the story beats within six panels meant we were on the right track to keeping the story short enough. From there I was tasked to write the script for the game's dialogue. I used Celtx to write the script.
After the script was completed and edited to cut down detail, I recruited two of my friends to do the voice acting for the script. I had Derek Chan do the voice of the father (his work here), and Annie Huang for the child voice (her work here). I also wrote music to accompany the dialogue as well.
Here is the resultant audio from the first draft of the script.
An example of four pages of the early script.
After feedback from interims, we were told that the angle in which the child came to drawing their problems was a bit unrealistic. This pointed to the underlying problem that story was lacking initial stakes aside from "do this, then do that." This made me go back to drawing board in terms of the script.
What I resulted from the rewrite was for the best. It turned out much more motivated. The change in tone meant I also had to rewrite the music. I still had Derek Chan do the voice of the father (his work here), but due to scheduling, I recasted the child voice to my friend Stefani Taskas (her work here).
Here is the resultant audio from the final draft of the script.
Here is two pages of the final script.
Overall, script writing and voice actor direction took up the majority of my time on this project. I learned a lot as a designer, writer, and a sound designer.
Agile | Task Delegation | Stand-Up Meetings
The way I ran production was similar to an Agile work flow. For task organization, I used a Trello board with deadlines in accordance to project deadlines. I also implemented daily stand up meetings to keep status with my teammates.
Being producer on two different BVW projects taught me that strategies that work on one team doesn't necessarily work on another. I hope to use the lessons I learned on this team in more projects in the future.
Here is an example of meeting notes that later turned into tasks on the Trello board.
Sound Design | Music Composition | Voice Actor Direction | Vocal Recording and Treatment
We ultimately had shifted tones over the course of the writing process from relaxed to a little more serious. I originally wrote calm music that functioned much like music in past projects:
When the script shifted to something more serious, I knew I couldn't write traditional music. The tone of the scene shifts as the story progresses. I instead opted to score the music closely to the dialogue, which is something I have never done before. Thankfully, since I worked both on the script and music, it meant that I could fine tune both ends if needed without too much trouble:
Scoring to the script taught me a lot about timing and how to emphasize or betray a line a dialogue with simple musical ideas. It also allowed me to play with music motifs, like the one at 0:53 which is about the idea of adventuring to Slumber Island.
This doesn't mean I didn't write traditional music for the more actiony parts of the game, but I did want the music to respond more to the story during the dialogue parts.
In this class we are given a sound library for use of our base sounds. For this project, I experimented a lot with paper and how it tears and folds to make the background sounds in the drawing. Using library sounds and synths helped round out the other sounds.
Vocal Direction, Recording, and Treatment:
Voice Actor direction was new to me for this round, because I typically had the voice actor (or myself) improvise the lines rather than working from a script. This was also the first time I wrote voice acted dialogue for more than one character. Coordinating lines between characters while still being able to cut down dialogue was a challenge for sure. Overall, the voice actors I got to work with were very understanding and helped me breathe life into the script. The voice actors who appear in game are Derek Chan who was the voice of the father (his work here), and Stefani Taskas as the voice of the child (her work here). All of the audio was filtered, edited, and sequenced in Audacity.