Berserker Insomnias Reboot Design Concept

For Studio 1 we really hit the ground running and had me somewhat lamenting all the wasted time over the break that I didn’t use effectively enough to increase my skills, especially in programming. Blasted procrastination, I would tell you more, but will leave that till tomorrow okay.

Our first game build was a reboot of the old classic arcade and Artari game Berserker.
Berzerk Original cover art courtesy of Artari Games.
Berzerk Level screen shot courtesy of Classic Arcade Games which I took a shot off.

As part of the project we were also given an artist to use as inspiration for our version and reboot. I was given Dorothea Tanning, Insomnia series which was just perfect for me. Dorothea was an original member of the Surrealist Movement through her work as well as in marriage. Dorothea was an amazing woman and artist, who also inspired me in the fact that she published her first book at 94, which gave me heart that it’s never too late. Please check her out, I have attached a link on the image below. This amazing lady is truly an artist, pioneer and workhorse of the 20th Century. I could continue a whole blog on her but I aint no art critic, and besides this post is about game development..Anyways continuing…
I love the type of surrealism,that allows the viewer to form their own opinion of what they see. The images in their heads are usually influenced by many factors including upbringing, knowledge and education, etc. Dorothea’s Insomnia series, is one of those series that let me do just that. My inspiration for that game came from this painting.

Dorothea Tanning Insomnia piece courtesy of Dorothea Tanning Site

That piece above is a classic example of all her work in that series. Everything seems to be in a dream like state, with images not fully formed or perhaps a fleeting glance of various scenes played in your head. I love that there is no order and everything is a juxtaposition of muted colours and various images in various states of formation of fading. My eyes and mind also picks out a distinctive ‘T’ in the middle, which leaves me with another burning curiosity and wonder of what does it stand for or represent? Tanning? Trouble? Tension? Terrific or Tremendous? Who knows, but it is an interesting image for myself. So using this particular piece I went about creating my own reboot.

I wanted to make each level look like you were in a dream or nightmare. The softer muted colours are meant to represent how colours appear to us when dreaming.

I also wanted to portray the fear and frustration of being caught in a nightmare loop where no matter how fast you try to run you cannot seem to get away from your protagonist. I wanted to represent this by bestowing a status effect on the player when they passed through one of the white clouds and if they are seen by the ghosts, it is harder to escape.
enemyGhouls relentlessly pacing up and down waiting for the opportunity to chase you. The player is represented by a female sprite as Dorothea playeralways had some sort of female form interjected into her Insomnias paintings.

The randomness and sometimes confusing and disorientation generated in ones dream is replicated somewhat by the green and yellow mist traps that are dotted about the levels. If the player touches one of these traps they are then transported to a random location on the level.Mistrap.PNG
As it is a video game I also included Light traps that when the player touches them, the player is killed instantly. I put these in to try to represent objects that look beautiful and shiny can also be dangerous. It’s like setting a trap in the dream.

I was going to have a shooting ability for the player but then thought otherwise, as how often in a nightmare do you have a useful and usable weapon?

The aim of the game is to navigate the level from the entry portal Entryportal.PNG, represented by a mini whirlwind or tornado to remind me of Wizardexitportal of Oz – ‘this doesn’t look like Kansas anymore Totto”, to the exit portal without being touched and killed by the ghouls or falling into the traps.

The player can use the white clouds and traps to hide from the ghouls line of sight radius. If being chased by a ghoul they can then run through the clouds but this will then slow them down making them vulnerable to a ghoul on the other side.

Finally to add another element of nightmare terror, I will have a Mist of Death that will start advancing relentlessly through the level killing everything in its path until it reaches the exit portal end and everything is dead. The Mist of Death will give the player a ten second head start, but after that you will have to flee.

As we are a competitive lot, I also plan to implement a leader board system where the players with the fastest time to complete all four levels given the honour of listing. As a further twist, if the player dies on any of the levels, they then have to start all four levels again without a reset of the timer. They will be able to die and be reborn 3 times before it is GAME OVER.

Lets hope it all goes to plan.

Thank you for your time and look forward to your company again soon.
Peace and Blessings

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