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The Faded Grove


The Faded Grove is my Major Production project from AIE Seattle. This six-month, ten-dev culmination of those two years takes the form of an atmospheric adventure game that earned a place in a local indie games expo.

The game’s story is relatively simple. Players step into the worn-down boots of the elderly adventurer Agatha, who returns to the Veran Woods she grew up in only to find it bereft of color and her mentor Chromis newly petrified. It falls to Agatha to unravel what happened in her absence and restore color to the forest she loves, through an alternating combination of sliding-block puzzles and fast-paced combat.

The game’s influences are intentionally transparent. It reminisces of classic top-down Zelda games as well at atmospheric isometric masterworks like Bastion and Tunic. The nostalgia factor is a key selling point of The Faded Grove, and it’s one we leaned into aesthetically, albeit with a distinctive twist.

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What I Did

By the time Major Production rolled around, I was well acquainted with switching hats. I took well to leading our daily standup and bi-weekly sprint planning, particularly since it gave me a bird's eye view of the game's progress.

It also meant I was most familiar with what was being done and what needed doing, so a fair number of smaller design decisions came to me. Making and implementing these decisions meant I got to work closely with the programmers and the UI artist, and ensured I got plenty of practice communicating ideas and making mockups. I also photobashed cutscene animatics, coded lore tablets and tutorial popups, and even built a shader for god rays.

When the game’s combat system was realized to be lackluster at best, I created a strike team to refine it to a polished edge through rapid iteration. When the game needed exposition, I suggested adding dialogue built off of the tutorial popup and cutscene systems, and then wrote the dialogue itself. I negotiated with our instructors for outsourced audio, sketched out particles, and can take a good bit of credit for the game’s ending.

All told, my days were incredibly unpredictable. And I loved it! I wouldn't have had it any other way.



The thing about Team Prism Break that I most love and yet am most remorseful of is how incredible the other team members were to work with. They worked hard, communicated clearly, and when there was a compromise that had to be made they didn’t hesitate to make it. This project was a producer’s dream… but that doesn’t give me much to say aside from praise for the team, now does it?

Of course, if you’re not learning from every project you do, you’re not thinking about it hard enough. What working on Faded Grove with Team Prism Break taught me above all else was how to make graceful compromises and put your wholehearted faith in your fellow devs. Mutual trust, respect, and admiration were at the heart of this team, and it’s that foundation that made Faded Grove such a great game.

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