Update on The Garden of Synthetic Delights

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here is a short video I made demonstrating the symbols that outline some of the functions, states, or actions of cells or cell cultures in my fictional video game universe. Not entirely sure yet where in the final product this will come in, probably as some kind of interface element or infographic, and the design is most likely going to change and be refined.

Here’s the summary and explanation of the functions and symbols that I have worked out based on Dr Megan MacLeod’s research, and the behaviours of cells within the immune system on one hand, and game mechanics on the other:
ignore – inert, inactive, neutral cell
fight – active, attacks or swallows enemy cells (phagocytosis)
avoid – retreats from surrounding enemy cells (possibly to wait for an upgrade)
track – watches, follows enemy cells to attack on command
recon – scanning enemy cells, gathering information about their nature (the equivalent of a dendritic cell)
grow – increase size
shrink – decrease size
upgrade – add functions transmitted from dendritic cells or after learning process
hijacked – attacks friendly cells (autoimmune reaction)
zombified – attacks all surrounding cells indiscriminately, enemies and friendlies alike

Demonstrating some of these actions will most likely be an important part of the trailer-style movie. I will refine these functions and symbols further so that they make sense, even though I’m not designing an actual game.

Then I have a few items which will be showcased as interface elements of the game, like menu choices for the user. Even though we might not go to see into the details of each one of them, they would provide a glimpse as to the depth and logic behind such a game. These are:
– Create new cell culture
– Inspect your cell cultures
– Buy upgrades
– Write DNA code/sell your code (marketplace)
– Inspect evolutionary history of your cell culture
– Share your progress with friends
– Start / join co-op challenge
– Join a league (amateur league/professional league)
– Participate in research/donate your cell culture to science

In the next step I will produce some UI/UX wireframes or visual mockups. I’m also looking at the different scientific imaging methods used in immunology to see how a visual style based on those methods can work in 3D, striking a balance between scientific accuracy and cool game design.

Eric Schockmel, December 2013