When I had received confirmation that The Variable Man was going to be my first choice out of the two that I had picked, and the story I would then take forward for the game design creation element of the semester, I decided to do some initial thoughts about the elements that I had taken from the book itself. This would not only allow me to come up a wide variety of research subjects that I could look into to expand upon these subjects even further, in an attempt to distance myself from the source material. I chose to do this mainly because I was worried that the themes of ideas I would come up with would be too similar to my chosen book, and would initially be seen as a close representation rather than something its based off of.
Nothing is ever as it seems:
I started with the idea of nothing is ever as it seems to be at face value, with the belief that there is always two sides to every story no matter how one sided it may seem to be. I began to list all of the topics that I would instantly associate with this short quote and was at first led to areas surrounding different types of optical illusions, such as Motion Illusions and Stereograms (as seen in Sculpture JAM). This is mainly because they seem like patterned images at first, but then by them moving or you simply moving your eyes around them, can cause them to come alive on an otherwise static page. Not only this, but looking at them differently entirely will uncover a secret image in some cases, or perhaps even alter how your eyes perceive objects around you, which can either become distorted or even change colour.
Mazes & Labyrinths:
The other areas that I thought about looking into was mazes and how from an outside point of view they just seem like finely trimmed hedges, or intricate designs that can only be appreciated from above. However, it is only on closer inspection when they can become more sinister, and are mainly used as a way or disorientating whomever inside the confines of the wall. This can be to the point where they can no longer back track to find an exit, and instead must venture through the maze normally in an attempt to find one unless they are being led by someone on higher ground. The idea of getting lost in a maze and the sinister aspect that they can have got me thinking about Theseus & The Minotaur and how he too would’ve gotten consumed by the labyrinth of corridors if it was not for the thread that allowed him to find it way out. In addition to this, the Murder Castle in San Francisco which was owned by a serial killer H. H. Holmes, who had retrofitted the once hotel to have corridors and stairs that led nowhere, as well as trap doors which took unsuspecting victims to the basement where he would later kill them.
UFOs & USOs:
Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) or Unidentified Submersible Objects (USO) was the last area that I took from the quote nothing is ever as it seems, as this type of mysterious occurrence is the embodiment of such things. UFOs & SOs are objects that can be seen traversing out atmosphere and oceans in such a way that they both defy explanation and in some cases the laws of physics entirely. There appearance seems random and usually described as a series of flashing lights and move ‘unnaturally’ through the air before darting off into the distance or seemingly disappearing. USOs are similar in some respect however rather than being located in the air, they can be found in the oceans, where they seem to either rise up out of the water or appear as blips on a radar screen which then again suddenly disappear. Many scientists, along with governments and military institutions have dismissed the accounts of these objects completely, with some going to lengths to say that they are meteor showers or perhaps even air planes. The truth is, they aren’t called Unidentified for no reason.
Figures in the Dark & Paranormal Occurances:
Finally, I began to look into the reasons as to why people tend to mention figures in the dark which many have believed to be the ‘mind playing tricks on you’, with respect to your brain filling in what it is struggling to process. Which in relation to a dark room at night with minimal lighting, could be the areas that your eyes are struggling to focus in on or adjust to. This then led me to articles and websites surrounding Shadow people and other paranormal phenomenon which again is almost the embodiment of nothing is ever as it seems. Its mainly due to being accompanied by the previous statement as in many cases, a variety of variables can have the affect of a type of presence within that location, such as doors closing, slight banging or noises coming from an unknown location. With many people instantly jumping to conclusions and suggest paranormal activity, in many cases it can be narrowed down to either slight drafts in the area or even pipes in the walls which can change due to temperature. In any case, the paranormal is a highly controversial subject with many either believing completely, somewhat or who are not convinced at all.
Hunted, Stalked & Pursued:
One of the reasons as to why I thought about the theme and idea of being hunted was due to The Variable Man including entire sections of the futuristic type government which is constantly in pursuit the main protagonist. This immediately caused me to think about this subject however not simply in relation of being hunted by humans, but also possibly by some sort of animal, paranormal or not of this world. Although this was an interesting avenue to maybe explore, I also thought about the element of the unknown with respect to the identity of whoever or whatever is chasing/ hunting you, which caused me to think about a type of secret government organisation. This also got me thinking about other forms of being hunted such as being stalked and not harmlessly on Facebook, but with a more sinister element to it almost bordering obsession. Another aspect to this could be an element of running from the local authorities in a type of convicted criminal position, where they are trying to escape to freedom to live out the rest of their life.
Alien, Highly Destructive, Futuristic:
With regards to advanced weaponry, I began to think about what subjects came to mind when thinking about this in particular, and Alien technology almost immediately came to mind. This is mainly due to the fact that in almost every situation or scenario regarding highly advanced technology, it will in some way be tied back to aliens and set during the modern era in a type of post apocalyptic setting. This can be tied to films such as Independence Day & War of the Worlds which all document a highly advanced extraterrestrial civilisation coming to Earth to kill us. More often than not we somehow manage to win even though the difference in technology is like a modern army fighting knights. In other cases however, the aliens start their invasion without fully testing to ensure that they aren’t somehow allergic to the planet, which soon ends with death by common cold. The idea surrounding highly destructive weaponry seen in many of these films as well as modern military is something that influenced my initial game idea of having a military style sandbox. It would allow players to test the destructive capabilities of some modern day weapons, as a way to get a sense of scale as I felt this was something many don’t understand. (See My First Ideas for more information)
Ancient & Historical Technology:
In a complete U-turn from highly advanced technology, it instead made me think about historical stories, conspiracies as well as existing structures. This is mainly due to the fact that there are structures around the planet that we simply cannot explain the origin of with regards to the methods used in their construction. It is mainly aimed at the Great Pyramid of Egypt which is the largest of the 3 located on the Giza plateau and is a historical marvel which puzzles many to this day. Graham Hancocks deconstruction of the pyramid states that the structure weighs approximately 6 million tonnes with a height of 481 feet and side length of 750 feet. What makes the pyramid stand out however, is the fact that it is locked in to the measurements associated with our planet with a precision like nothing ever constructed especially with the tools that were supposed to have been available. To demonstrate, if you take the height of the Great Pyramid and multiply it my 43,200 you get the polar radius of the earth, and if you take the width and multiply it by the same number (43,200) you get the circumference of our planet. That alone makes you think that something isn’t quite right here, but then you take it further as 43,200 isn’t random as it is a multiple of 72 which comes from the slight wobble of the earth on its axis at one degree every 72 years. So for over 4,000 years throughout human civilisation there have been the measurements and scale of our planet which defined by the planet itself. Not only is this incredible but it also links back into the the fact that (especially with regards to the pyramid) nothing is ever as it seems.
(Link to website: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/09/08/graham-hancock-reveals-mind-boggling-mysteries-of-the-great-pyramid-who-really-built-it/)
Header Image taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-pile-question-mark-2492009/ on 09/01/2018