Xuanxuan Chen

The Tale of a Dream

Bachelor of Design Interactive Unreal Engine Environmental Storytelling Narrative Environment

“The Tale of a Dream” is a 3D historical experience-based game. The game will represent Chinese Tang dynasty’s architecture and culture, telling a fictional story through environmental storytelling. In this project, I will examine the possibility of virtual environments and how players can experience an ancient story. The role of visual design in game development become one of the main areas to explore in my contextual Frameworks. The Semiotic theory of signs used to explore the relationship between objects and different events in the game world. The semiotics plays an important part in visual design, since the constructed game tell a story in the same way a person would. In my game, the player needs to collect different clues and solve the mystery of the story.

I am interested in 3D interactive narrative-based game since my last year game design project. A wide range of narrative game such as The Witcher 3, Layer of Fear and The Evil Within use visual design to convey narrative and teach interactive systems.

The challenge for my project was the build a 3D world that represents historical buildings, these environments need to tell a fictional story which challenges the player’s belief system. To represent the ancient culture and architecture of Tang dynasty requires huge amount of research and it takes time to modelling and texturing the 3D assets. To create a linear narrative for the player to experience, requires further understanding the Tang dynasty ‘s and culture background. My research question is “ How can I create an environmental storytelling game that presents the Tang dynasty’s architecture that uses level design to led the player through a linear narrative.

This project is worth doing because it explores the role of visual design in game development and has various methods to represent a game rather than ignoring the possibility for visual guidance. In Asaf Friedman’s essay, “The role of Visual Design in Game design”, he state that the game design theory in academic only investigates two parts, studies of the player’s behaviour and criticism of games. The creative process of visual design has been neglect, which it should be an important area to discuss in a game. Therefore, my project will focus on the visual design of the game’s world and how it impacts the narrative.


-Asaf Friedman. (2015). The Role of visual design in game design. Vol.10(3). Game and Culture. Retrieved from gac.sagepub.com.