SHADOW: THREE KINGDOMS
Harry Han & YuQin Zhang
Qichen Harry Han & Yuqin Zhang Teamwork Project
Interaction between the game and the player is important. When it comes to specific environments and cultures, how can we keep the player’s attention on the game and communicate the game’s ideas in a clear and interesting way?
In March 2022, my partner and I completed our 26-week long graduation project prototype video, and a concept game promoting traditional Chinese culture and art took its first appearance. The concept and idea of this game combines our love for Chinese traditional culture and the idea of using games to spread values and messages, and we present it as a video prototype.
The vast majority of young people in China today have never witnessed the traditional Shadow Puppetry, some don’t even know what it is, and very few have actually seen it. We realized that this traditional culture is really lacking attention and is slowly disappearing. The reason for this is that Shadow Puppetry, as a traditional art, is extremely limited in terms of the techniques it uses and the visual effects it presents.
The Shadow Puppetry narrative relies only on the artist’s knowledge and music, and the skill of the artist in the performance process lies in the skillful manipulation of the shadow puppets and the production process of the scenes and the puppets, which is very limited and difficult in terms of effect and operation.
In contrast, with the development of film, animation and game industries, young people’s expectations for visual effects are getting higher and higher, and a 2D picture presented on a cloth surface is gradually losing its advantages.
Introducing Shadow Puppetry
Shadow Puppetry is a narrative performance technique with a very long history, and can be found in countries all over the East Asian. The figures in Shadow Puppetry are made from the skins of cows or donkeys, which are dried and soaked in various techniques, then carved, coloured, and assembled with the limbs, body, and head to form distinctive characters. During the performance, the performer uses two wooden sticks to control the shadow puppets behind a thin curtain, and sings the plot and dialogues according to the characters’ stories while performing. The puppets are illuminated by the lights behind the curtain to form lively shadows, and combined with various theatrical effects such as smoke, fire, and live music to bring the traditional stories or myths to life with realistic images and moods.
Roles & Focus Points
- My Role: User Research, User experience design, Character & Scene Design, Animation, Final video editing
- Focus Points: Firstly, we want to promote shadow puppets and traditional Chinese culture through the game, and secondly, because there are a lot of interactive actions and elements in the shadow puppet show, we hope to let players interact with them personally through the game.
First of all, thank you for your patience in reading this project. Because the project is in the prototype stage, there are still many parts to improve and design, and after continuous user testing, we are also aware of many possibilities. In the short term, our goal is to improve the work and fix the technical problems, and we hope that through our work, more and more young people or people who don’t know Chinese culture will start to be interested in Chinese traditional culture and slowly pay attention to those arts and works that are almost lost, which is also our final goal.
More details please visit https://medium.com/@hanqichenailinzi/shadow-three-kingdoms-b802b1e953ac