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Shadow Shoppe - Postmortem

Hello and welcome to the Shadow Shoppe!

Shadow Shoppe is a game created to research on how people associate different types of traits to body shapes.

A major mishap has occurred in a small town: the people of that town, including the player, have somehow lost their shadows. The player is 'assigned' to be the shadow maker's assistant to help create and return the shadows to the townspeople.

We encountered many different challenges in the making of this game. At the beginning of the project, we had no idea how we were supposed to create a game that collected data like a survey and yet was fun and entertaining for players. One of the greatest problems we faced was the lack of a right answer for our ideas: we did not want a game that would force players to think and answer in a certain way and we understood the importance of gathering accurate data.

Initially, we wanted a multiplayer game that friends could play together but due to time constraints, we had to rule it out.

In the end, the idea we liked and adhered to for Shadow Shoppe was to judge players based on their own decisions.

Art and Audio
We understood, based on our research question, that in order to gather information on the shapes of bodies alone we would have to present them as perfect silhouettes. The solution we arrived at was the idea of shadows, and from that point we tailored a fictional world around that idea, with the intention that it would engage the player visually and conceptually.

The process of finding an art style for the project was a matter of assessing our own strengths, styles, and desires, as well as drawing on inspiration from a variety of sources. Our artists set out to establish the mysterious, Victorian-era fairy-tale feeling by drawing on ideas from movies like Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, The Triplets of Belleville, and the Nintendo DS game Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Though it was important to us that the game feel wholly it's own. In the end, it was vitally important that the art and story elements of the game come together to draw the player in to the world of Shadow Shoppe. It was clear that a large amount of our game's strength and interest originated from the pure concept itself, and so it was important to do our part to live up to the interest and mystery of that first sentence: "Once upon a time, the people of a small town lost their shadows..."

Furthermore, the art style greatly influenced the music. It was our aim to evoke mixed feelings of mystery and playfulness to some extent through our game's music. The theme of Shadow Shoppe is rather specific, therefore choosing the proper genre of music for the game was very important. Our sound engineer drew inspiration from composers like, Joe Hisaishi, Michael Giacchino, Django Reinhardt, Dean Martin, Klezmatics, Nicolo Paganini and a couple more. The music also had to draw the player's attention and feeling to the concept of the game.

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